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Farhana Chowdhury

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The Reconciliation
The Reconciliation
by Shilpi Ahmed
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Reconciliation- Review in Retrospect, 31 Mar. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Reconciliation (Paperback)
What a wonderful set of stories. The author draws on her rich experience of human nature and depicts with sensuous mastery how individuals deal with their inner demons of yester year. This book has a lot of meaning for young bengalis who were growing up in the UK in the 1980s. Easy to relate to, one is drawn headlong into emotions that have remained dormant for years. Fantastic human stories, and crafted with a masterful use of language and imagery that transports the reader into the story and that specific era. I found it difficult to put down. The stories were real, pulling one into the angst of relationships, the terrible pain that comes part and parcel of living our lives. At times I was moved to tears, drawn into the individual journeys of each character. With the torment there is also a catharsis, which is pleasantly soothing, like the peace of a welcoming shelter after a fierce storm. Thoroughly enjoyable reading, leaving the reader a slightly different person after the stories are done.


Perfectly Crazy
Perfectly Crazy
Price: £1.51

3.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of BOOKCHOWDOWN, 12 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Perfectly Crazy (Kindle Edition)
*Spoiler Free*

This was a quick read. It was interesting learning about Nell's life and that no matter how young or old you may be life always holds many surprises. It was nice to see Nell and David's relationship blossom and they certainly had a lot of romantic scenes.

The novel was very fast-paced and new plot developments were occurring left right and centre. The storyline was quick and you weren't too sure what was going to happen next. There were lots of surprising revelations too.

One thing that I have to say was that the book didn't feel realistic, with everything turning out perfectly and situations being resolved in a matter of minutes.

Nell was a good protagonist and it was intriguing to see how her seemingly perfect life had its fair share of bumps in the road too. She was a good mother and wife and overall very likeable. I do have to admit I did feel sorry for her husband though!

This was a nice quick read, a good form of escapism.

THE VERDICT
3 stars - A good read by Mitzi Penzes


Wolfsbane: Number 2 in series (Nightshade Trilogy)
Wolfsbane: Number 2 in series (Nightshade Trilogy)
by Andrea Cremer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

3.0 out of 5 stars BookChowDowns Reviews, 14 Aug. 2011
*Spoiler Free*

This was a good read, despite the questionable UK cover I enjoyed this book.

This book follows immediately after Nightshade with Calla being held captive by the Searchers. Except Calla learns that they're not actually her enemies like she's always believed. In this book along with the protagonist we learn a lot more about the world Andrea Cremer has created. There was a lot of history and sometimes I felt we were always being told what was going on, never shown. The storyline did not always hold me captive but it was interesting nevertheless.

Now for the love triangle. Shay was a lot more likeable as a character in this book and I did find myself warming to him. Calla was okay in this book, I did feel as if she fell a bit flat and sometimes she annoyed me, but I'm not too sure why. She just appeared a bit hopeless in this book, not the alpha she always claims to be. Also like most books there was the big 'revelation.' Notice the quotation marks around revelation, because for me it was not really that much of one. I figured it out like in the first two chapters. This revelation was revealed at the end with only a few chapters left, I assume for maximum impact, but I was just like 'erm...so.' I personally thought it was very predictable but I don't think it was meant to be. For example in a book you'll get 2 types of revelations. The 1st type is sort of known already, just meant to be released at a later date, if that makes sense. The 2nd type is meant to shock you as a reader and I do believe the one I guessed was supposed to fall under the latter. But it didn't.

Also there was no way in hell enough Ren! I missed him, I do believe he's my favourite character in this series but he was pretty much a no show. *Sighhhh* I do think however in the next book there will more Ren...much more ...*She says with glee on her face* >Cue evil laugh< lol.

I also missed the packs and their brilliant dynamic but for the most part I was entertained with the Searchers and their, I guess you could say, 'pack' instead. I really liked Monroe, he was really sweet and caring. I also loved Connor, he was hilarious!

This was a nice read with an interesting story but I wasn't enraptured and felt the main character, Calla, could have been a bit stronger and more assertive.

THE VERDICT
3 stars - A good book but by no means my favourite paranormal series.


Unearthly
Unearthly
by Cynthia Hand
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of BookChowDown @ Blogspot, 8 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Unearthly (Paperback)
*Spoiler Free*

This book was freaking awesome! I thought it would be some awful angel story about a girl who discovers she has wings or something to that effect, but it totally wasn't. The covers, the US and the UK ones, do not do this book any justice. I know that the authors have little to no say in them, but seriously this cover doesn't make this book stand out among the plethora of paranormal books. But it should, because this was a great read.

The actual storyline was different from other angel books because Clara knows she's part angel. It reminded me a little bit of Nightshade as both the protagonists know their path in life, there isn't some big revelation half-way through the book. Clara, although superhuman, was easy to relate to and I really liked her. Despite the whole angel aspect, she was a normal teenage girl with normal insecurities and worries. There was a love triangle but I actually enjoyed it, although I have to say I prefer Tucker over Christian. Some of the scenes between him and Clara actually make you smile, they were so cute together. Christian sort of annoyed me and I did feel that Clara only liked him because of her visions. They seemed a bit forced together. I do have to say the ending did sway me a little bit, I found myself liking Christian more and more. The ending itself was like gaspppp! I did not see it coming! Yet it was not cliff-hangery in the slightest, it left you with enough information to keep you content but also to make you pine for the next installment.

I also really liked the minor characters. Angela and Wendy, Clara's best friends, were the complete opposite but I found myself warming to both of them. Clara's mum however was a mystery, but hey I love a mystery. She kept a lot of secrets from Clara and it will be interesting to learn more about them in the next book. One thing I particularly enjoyed was the Wyoming scenery. I've never been to Wyoming but I could imagine it clearly in my head. Cynthia Hand's writing was beautiful and it flowed well through the book.

THE VERDICT
4 stars - I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Bring on Hallowed!


Where She Went
Where She Went
by Gayle Forman
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice ending, 31 July 2011
This review is from: Where She Went (Paperback)
*Spoiler Free*

I liked Where She Went a lot more than If I Stay. Adam's point of view was refreshing, especially as I liked him more than Mia's character in If I Stay. Interestingly enough, from his perspective, I learned to like Mia more as well.

I also preferred the writing in this book and Gayle Forman does a fantastic job at conveying Adam's grief. I felt so sorry for him in certain parts of the book and could imagine how awful it would be to have his life. There were a few clichés in this book, for example the fed-up rock star who hates crowded places, but they didn't feel quite as tired as those in If I Stay. I could really empathise with Adam, you could see how lonely he was, without Mia.

I also really loved the flashbacks in this book. They added a lot to the storyline, considering how much time had passed since the accident. It was interesting to learn how drastically Adam's life had changed, especially with the band.

The end of the book kept me on my toes and I was so happy with the outcome. I was really unsure what would happen in the last few chapters, Gayle Forman certainly kept me guessing.

THE VERDICT
4 stars - This was a good ending to the If I Stay series and you are left with a feeling of satisfaction.


If I Stay
If I Stay
by Gayle Forman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It was alright, 30 July 2011
This review is from: If I Stay (Paperback)
*Spoiler Free*

This book has had a lot of hype, but for me it did not really live up to it. I expected a lot more unfortunately.

Now the book was sad, this is very true, but I didn't cry or do anything even remotely close to that. I loved Mia's family; her tough mum, her hilarious dad and her cute brother. I loved the whole family except from Mia. I felt sympathy for her, definitely, but she just felt a bit flat to me, especially in comparison to the rest of her family. She appeared quite dull and the whole serious musician act felt a bit cliché. I found her very one-dimensional and was wishing someone else from her family would survive. I was not too fussed whether Mia would choose to live or die.

The writing was good, but at some points in the book the syntax was a bit muddled and I found myself having to re-read sentences. Furthermore there were so many characters' names and I was often asking myself who they were. Also there was an appearance from a random famous character in the book. I did not see why this person came as they had little connection to the people in Mia's life. It was a bit bizarre to say the least, especially as I was dipping in and out of the story, my mind day dreaming about something else. It did not really hold my attention, particularly for such a short book and I did have re-read certain passages. You know when you read the words, but don't actually take any of them in, yeah that was me.

I loved Adam, Mia's boyfriend and Kim her best-friend. I also thought her grandparents were really sweet and I felt a lot of sympathy for them.

There were flashbacks integrated throughout the story. They definitely furthered the plot and it was sad to see such a happy family destroyed. However the flashbacks were not amazing and I found it tricky to absorb myself in them sometimes. Perhaps it's because I've just read the Summer series by Jenny Han which are filled with excellent immersive flashbacks. I'm not sure, but I was too often wishing the flashbacks would end and soon!

However the last few chapters of the book were markedly different. I found them absorbing and the book was difficult to put down. I did like the book, but I did not love it. Protagonists have to be interesting to me otherwise I'm less likely to enjoy the book.

THE VERDICT
3 stars - This was a pretty good read and the ending was enough to make me read the next in the series; Where She Went.


We'll Always Have Summer (Summer Novels)
We'll Always Have Summer (Summer Novels)
by Han Jenn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful finish to the Summer series, 28 July 2011
*Spoiler Free*

Wow wow wow wow wow!!! This was amazing. Oh man the ending, it was beautiful but so sad! This was sort of a bittersweet book for me, because whoever Belly picked would mean someone would be heart-broken. I think I knew deep down who she would choose but Jenny Han had me guessing 'til the very last chapter.

Like its predecessor, this book kept me up until the wee hours of the night *cough* 4am *cough*. It was just spectacular. Belly had certainly grown up and unlike previously she was not annoying or frustrating, her decisions were a lot more measured and mature. It was nice to see her grow as a person. This time the book had Conrad's perspective in addition to Belly's and it was amazing to see his feelings. I always found him so mysterious and quite cold to be frank, but in this book we learn why he says certain things and acts a certain way, especially around Belly. This last book made me really feel as if I had grown up with the characters, as you can really see them mature. And the actual storyline was, at its core, who Belly truly loved more; Jeremiah or Conrad. But, it was so much more complicated than that, with so many more feelings and emotions and it just felt so real. It was amazing.

I also really loved Belly and Taylor's friendship. And Steven, Belly's brother was so cute and despite Belly's belief that he always preferred Jeremiah and Conrad, he was her brother at the end of the day. You could tell he really loved her. And this is what these books are about, love. Every kind of it.

THE VERDICT
5 stars - A beautiful finish to the Summer series.


It's Not Summer Without You: 2
It's Not Summer Without You: 2
by Jenny Han
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy good, 26 July 2011
*Spoiler Free*

I loved this book. So so SO much! Wow, it was heart-breaking, romantic, funny, sad and everything in between. Jenny Han has certainly done it again.

The actual story of these books is so simple, yet in its simplicity lies its realness, its similarities to real life, to real emotions we all have. These books are basically about life. And that's why I love them.

The story takes place a while after the first book. However instead of dumping a load of information onto the reader in the beginning chapters, Jenny Han weaves the past in throughout the book, just as smoothly and beautifully as before.

I have to admit Belly annoyed me much more in this book. She was infuriating. But in a good way. Too often in books, I couldn't care less about the characters, I just passively read. However Jenny Han's writing makes you love and care for her characters, so when they're selfish or rude or spiteful you're like noooooo or whyyyy did you have to go and do that?! Haha I hope you get what I mean. This was also the case with Conrad, I really wanted to hate him, but just like Belly, you couldn't. It was impossible. One character I adored was Jeremiah. He was, throughout the whole book, unfailingly perfect (in my opinion). Furthermore, certain chapters were from his perspective which made me love him even more. It was also refreshing to have a different point of view besides Belly's and it really added something special to this book. Despite my love for Jeremiah I still have no clue who I think Belly should end up with. She has an undeniable connection with Conrad and you can't help rooting for them too. Arghh it's so confusing!

The book doesn't just deal with love but also with death, and how everyone reacts differently. I definitely had a lump in my throat when reading some of the sadder chapters. But at the same time I was laughing as well. This book has everything, seriously. One character who I thought was great was Belly's mum. In the first book she was the less cool mum and I thought Belly was just plain awful to her. It was also the case in this book too, admittedly, but her mum finally gets the credit she deserves. She was not perfect by any means, but whose mum is? She was pretty awesome in my opinion.

The next and final book in the series is on standby, and I cannot wait to devour it.

THE VERDICT
5 stars - Erm... WOW


The Summer I Turned Pretty: 1
The Summer I Turned Pretty: 1
by Jenny Han
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, summer in a book, 25 July 2011
*Spoiler Free*

Stop reading my review and go get this book. Like immediately. This was an amazing, beautiful, heart-wrenching read. I started at midnight and read 'til like 4 am. It was addictive. I'm not too sure how to describe Jenny Han's writing. It was subtle. It sort of creeps up on you and then blows you away or wacks you in the face - whichever you prefer. It is painfully good. It's so good, it hurts. The book was like a vortex, it sucked me in and it was hard to escape from its salty, sea breezy gasp. It made me feel like summer, it made me want to go swimming, it made me want to catch a plane from dreary England and go to Cousins Beach (the setting of the book). It was that good.

By the way although it is supposed to be summer here in England, it is cloudier than it's sunny. I have like turned on the heating, is how cold it is here right now, so this book, making me feel like summer and sunshine was no mean feat. That's how amazing this book is and Jenny Han:D

As you can imagine the descriptions and the writing of this book were really special. The writing was nothing like that of authors such as Lauren Oliver's, yet it had that same awe-inducing effect on me. It just really fitted with this book. It worked, that's for sure.

I really loved the protagonist, Belly. I completely felt her pain, her heartache, her frustrations alongside with her. All her emotions were easy to relate to, I think any teenage girl could find a bit of themselves in Belly. However, she had her flaws and in certain parts of the book I was annoyed at her decisions. For example with her mum, she was so unkind to her yet so loving to her mum's friend Susannah. Some of her decisions concerning Cam, a boy she meets that summer, were also not the best. Yet all the things she did felt real, she was human and that meant making a few mistakes along the way. This book was definitely about growing up and you could clearly see Belly maturing through the book. There were also flashbacks that Jenny Han wove in seamlessly, providing a background to the character's lives and also adding to the book in the present day. They were a fantastic addition and I really enjoyed learning more about their lives. As for Jeremiah and Conrad, well I loved them both. Although I had to admit I wasn't too keen on Conrad at first. He just seemed like a bit of a jerk to me, whereas Jeremiah was always so sweet. However, as the book progresses you just start to like them more and more. They just seemed so believable as characters and you can see why Belly loves them both.

THE VERDICT
5 stars - Boy oh boy this was one spectacular read, I'm moving on to the next in the series with a big ol' smile on my face:D


Shift (Shade Trilogy)
Shift (Shade Trilogy)
by Jeri Smith-Ready
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 25 July 2011
This review is from: Shift (Shade Trilogy) (Paperback)
*Spoiler Free*

So Jeri Smith-Ready has somehow outdone herself because this book was amazing. I was up, I was down, all over the place with this book. It was simply brilliant.

Without giving anything away the story went in the direction I wanted it to. That's not to say it was predictable at all, because it wasn't, it's just nice when a book fulfills your expectations and Shift certainly did. We discover a lot more about what caused everyone to start suddenly seeing ghosts and oh boy the big revelation during the book. It was crazy good. It just worked. It was shocking but also it was also like how could you not see this coming Fran?!

As for Zachary... I loved him, I hated him, I loved him again. This book was an emotional roller coaster (the good kind that you want to go on again). I'm still unsure about who I prefer between Logan and Zachary. I think I know who it will be, but I'm still on the fence to be honest. It's difficult, Jeri Smith-Ready is great with her characters, you can't help but love all of them! There were also some really touching moments with Logan and some extremely er romantic ones with Zachary to say the least!

I cannot wait for the last book, Shine, I just have no clue where this series is going which I love! Also there is a sort of cliff hanger at the end of the book but it's not the exasperating kind. It makes you think about what will happen next but not annoyingly so.

THE VERDICT
5 stars - I devoured this book, Jeri Smith-Ready is at the top of my author list.


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