Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A New Chapter

After some much needed thinking about the blog, I've decided that my time with blogger has come to an end. I've been using it for many years now, but thought I needed a change.

Which is why I'm closing down this blog and I've jumped ship to Wordpress. My new blog, Booking Rehab - http://bookingrehab.wordpress.com/

I'm hoping to be more consistent with that one and hopefully have a lot more things there.

Thanks to everyone who read this blog and stayed with me!

Friday, August 02, 2013

Sorry for being MIA

Hey guys,

Sorry for being a bit MIA and only posting reviews here. I do have a bit of a vision on what to do with this blog; and hopefully, within the next few weeks there will be some changes. I just want to wait for Ramadan to end so I can then focus on this.

So more reviews, more features, maybe some interviews here and there just to add some variety. But there will be more.

Till then,


Thursday, July 04, 2013

Review: Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea

Girls of RiyadhGirls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Riyadh, for personal reasons, is a place that is near and dear to my heart and since I needed another book for my Muslim reading challenge, I thought I should give Girls of Riyadh a try.

Girls of Riyadh had a lot of hype and controversy when it first came out. Some people blasted it for exposing unIslamic stuff, while others praised it for being a modern Saudi novel that shows how Saudis are really like.

So when I opened up the book, I was expecting to either be shocked and intrigued by all of the stuff that's actually happening in Saudi, or angry that it was just a book that's meant appease the West as it bad mouths Muslims. Or, I'd be surprisingly pleased at the balanced look it gave to my Saudi.

Now that I'm done, I'm not shocked, I'm not intrigued, I'm not angry, and I'm not pleased. I don't really feel anything. I think one of the biggest reasons for this is due to the hype surrounding this novel. I had big expectations and none of them were fulfilled.

Girls of Riyadh is just Gossip Girls without the sex and alcohol. It's the lives of privileged Saudi women who try to find their place in the world. Only, it's not really that. It's actually a story of four women, one of them tries to complete her dreams, while the rest fall in love, get hurt, and become bitter about men and love.

As a Muslim, marriage is a big thing to us. Everyone, men and women, want to find that special someone so they can be married and fulfill the hadith (traditions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)) where he said that marriage is 'half of ones deen (religion).'

It's a pretty big deal, so I did enjoy reading about the girls obsessing over that. But then, it got to the point where their lives were dictated by the men that they love. And once it didn't work out, they'd be an emotional wreck until the next guy comes.

It got boring after awhile. Out of the four, only one doesn't fall in this trap and surprisingly enough is the only one who ends up happy in love and not scorned.

By itself, Girls of Riyadh isn't a bad novel. It flows well and it will keep you reading, but if you've read up on all of the controversy surrounding this book, you might end up disappointed when you find that this is just a regular run of the mill chick lit.

I dunno. I just expected more.

2 stars out of 5

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: Skunk Girl by Sheba Karim

Skunk GirlSkunk Girl by Sheba Karim
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I first heard about Skunk Girl after a friend of mine posted the cover on Facebook. I thought it was funny and wondered if Skunk Girl was about a girl who smells. It isn’t. Instead, this is a book about a hairy Pakistani Muslim.


There are not that many books about Muslims out there, so once I saw this at the library, I wasted no time in picking it up. Was it everything that I wanted and more? Sadly, no. But I think this is due to my expectations for this novel. I originally thought it would be about a hairy Muslim teenager coping with Islam in a non-Islamic society. Let me explain: from the synopsis, we can see that she has a huge crush on Asher. She wants him, but in Islam we don’t date. We get married. So the challenges of being like everyone else while still trying to keep your religion in tact is something a lot of us face, and so, I was hoping to see that here.

Instead, this is mostly a story about a teen girl who has strict parents who constantly compare her to her older sister. She has a crush on a new guy who might just like her too. And she has hair…growing…everywhere.

Except that it’s not. There’s no real plot in this novel, just a series of events that are joined together. There are many conflicts that are presented, which are interesting, but they’re never really resolved. And by the end the novel, you’re left wondering, ‘Is that it?”

Even though Nina is one I can easily relate to, I just couldn’t like her or care about her. Wait, wait. I’m not saying this because she wanted to do things that were considered unIslamic. That’s normal for a girl her age. And it’s not that she did unIslamic things either. What I had a problem with was Nina’s interaction with the ‘mean girl’ Serena. Nina hates her and doesn’t hide it at all. Why? Because of an incident when they were kids. This made me sympathize with Serena and made me want to slap Nina a few times.

They do come to a sort of understanding, but the interactions between the two were clearly in Serena’s favour. Was this supposed to happen though? I don’t think so. I think we’re meant to root for Nina, but when it came to these two I just couldn’t.

There are some good points though. Nina’s parents, while strict, are not bad people, nor are they depicted that way. And Nina’s best friends are developed nicely as well. And I did like that Nina discovered a sort of balance at the end and that she learned from her mistakes, I just wish the journey to this was done better. And that Islam and her culture had a bigger role, instead of just being a means to restrict Nina’s freedom.

3 stars out of 5

Review: Whispers in Autumn by Trisha Leigh

Whispers in Autumn (The Last Year, #1)Whispers in Autumn by Trisha Leigh
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Whispers in Autumn was a book I wanted to read ever since I heard about it. The synopsis sounds great, the book covers for this series is simply gorgeous, and the writing is top notch. And yet, Whispers in Autumn also took me two months to complete. I only had maybe 15 pages at one point, but I just didn’t want to read it.

Is it due to the writing? Absolutely not. I enjoyed Trisha Leigh’s writing and will probably read more books by her in the future. Was it the plot? Kind of, but not really. I did like how instead of a traditional dystopian world that we’ve all read and loved, maybe even hated, we had the added bonus of Aliens. You can never go wrong with aliens and I love reading them almost as much as I love reading about zombies. Was it the characters? Again, kind of, but not really. Althea is a pretty typical female lead and Lukas was pretty awesome. The side characters were great as well and did have some depth to them which I appreciated. Was it the romance? I’ve stopped caring about romance in YA, since I feel like it’s never done right and always feels unauthentic. Whispers of Autumn is no different.

So what was it? For me, the downfall of this book was the world that was created. I liked the idea of an alien race taking over. Everyone on the planet, or at least what’s left of it, is mind controlled. They’re always happy and don’t know anything. They don’t know what kissing is or what tears are. If anything happens, they just accept what the authorities say and continue on living their blissfully brain controlled lives. Althea is the only know who isn’t affected by this, which makes for a compelling story.

But here is my problem. Althea is stupid. She’s a nervous wreck. She fidgets, she not as talkative as the others, and she sticks out like a sore thumb. After so many years living under this dystopia, you’d think she’d learn to blend in, but that never happens. When everyone smiles, she frowns. She frowns! How is she able to get away with this knowing what we know about the aliens? Althea constantly mentions that if the aliens figured out that she’s not mind controlled, she would be killed.

I don’t know about you guys, but if I’m going to be killed due to my lack of brainwashing, I’d do my level best in trying to be like everyone else. I’d smile, smile, and smile. And Althea does try to do this. She does, I can’t dock her too many points in this department, but the amount of times she displays other emotions in public just doesn’t make sense.

Althea’s specialness, while interesting, was also another point of confusion for me. If this happens every season, how did the aliens not clue in on this until now?

The world is interesting, but if the aliens are so scary that they’ll kill you if you act out of the ordinary, how is it possible for them to completely overlook someone who looks as guilty as Althea? These are the same types of aliens who will kill you if you ask the wrong question or talk back to them. If they see you fidgeting all the time and sweating buckets when you’re near them, then how are you still alive? [And how are you able to travel to different cities without anyone noticing that this isn’t normal human behaviour? (hide spoiler)]

These questions were constantly in my head while reading this novel and it kind of took me out of the whole experience. I wanted to like Whispers of Autumn, but the world and the actions of Althea just doesn’t make sense or ring true.

2.5 stars out of 5

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: Quiver by Holly Luhning

QuiverQuiver by Holly Luhning
My rating: 2 of 5 stars


“In sixteenth-century Hungary, Countess Elizabeth Báthory tortured and killed over six hundred servant girls in order to bathe in their blood; she believed this brutal ritual would preserve her youth and beauty. Danica, a young forensic psychologist, is drawn to Báthory’s legend. She has moved from Canada to England to work at Stowmoor, a Victorian insane asylum turned modern-day forensic hospital. One of her patients, the notorious Martin Foster, murdered a fourteen-year-old girl in homage to Báthory. He cultivates his criminal celebrity, and Danica struggles to maintain a professional demeanor with the charismatic Foster as she begins to suspect that his activities may be linked to a cabal that idolizes the countess.

Danica’s life in London becomes increasingly complicated when Maria, a glamorous friend from Danica’s past, arrives to do archival work in the city. She claims to have discovered Báthory’s long-lost diaries and she slowly reveals to Danica the horrific, yet fascinating passages. As Danica’s career and her relationship with her artist-boyfriend, Henry, falters, Maria lures her into a complex social sphere. Unsure of whom to trust as her professional and personal lives become dangerously entwined, Danica must decide what she is willing to risk to satisfy her attraction to Báthory’s ominous legend.”


I can understand why one might compare it to the Historian. Both deal with historical figures and the drama surrounding them and the present time. But where the Historian excelled, Quiver kind of falls flat.

Quiver follows Danica a forensic psychologist who has been given the go ahead to interview Foster. Foster is a man obsessed with Countess Elizabeth Báthory, aka The Blood Countess. She was one of the most prolific serial killers. Stories have been written about her. Myths have been made. Bits of Dracula have been inspired by her. So Foster decides to take his obsession with her to the next level. How you ask? By killing a virgin girl of course.

He's captured and Danica now has job to evaluation his mental state while trying not to get charmed by him. You see, Danica is also somewhat enamoured by Báthory as well. I mean, why would someone of that status go out of her way to kill what is rumoured to be over 9000! 600 girls?

Now I know what you're thinking.

Danica sits down with the famed school girl killer. Alone in a room she conducts her interview trying to get Foster to repent and come to terms with what he’s done. He says what she wants to hear, but starts to ask questions of his own. When she asks why he did it, he mentions ‘Have you ever been so in love with someone that you would do anything for them?” Taken back by his confession of love, she asks who he’s talking about. He starts talking about Báthory and Danica’s eyes start to change. Foster notices that she’s as much into Báthory as him, starts to use this to his advantage. The mind games begin and Danica starts to fall lower and lower into the hole Foster digs for her. She starts obsessing even more over Báthory and loses her boyfriend, her friends, and almost her jobs due to it. At the end, the dark world of the Countess comes to life with Danica, while Foster, who remains behind bars, smiles as he hears about the series of murders spreading throughout the city. The book ends.

So does this happen?


No. Nope. Nada.

Despite how the synopsis sounds, there is hardly any interaction between Danica and Foster. She meets him once and nothing happens. She meets him again, nothing. The third time was a meeting only in passing. And the fourth didn’t really do both parties any favours.

Due to the little screen time he’s provided, we don’t really see anything to be at awed at when Foster is mentioned. So is he charismatic? No, in fact I don’t think you can even call him charming. He does spend one part complaining about his ginger hair and freckles, so I guess that gives him some depth…My only feeling for Foster was that he's just some sick Báthory otaku who thought it would be fun to kill in her honour. Usually, when it comes to books like these, you'd expect more from a killer. But no. He just didn't do anything for me.

Thankfully, the book isn't really about Foster. It's about Danica....and…um…ah! It’s about meeting her friend Maria. You see, Maria is a master manipulator, narcissistic, and kind of a sociopath. Someone you are drawn to, but wary of at the same time. Danica, who is pretty weak willed, knows all this, but still allows Maria to play puppeteer over her life. Why would someone do this you ask? Well, it’s quite simple really. Maria loves the Blood Countess as much as Danica and to top that all off, she claims to have found the rumoured Báthory's diaries. Diaries that Danica has been wanting to read for years!

It's through this that we get to see some of the more interesting and cruel aspects of the novel. The diaries provide a look into Báthory's mind as she recounting her time as a serial killer. Danica, at first, doesn’t trust that these are authentic. But she still can’t stop herself from reading it.

Flashbacks happen. Present stuff happens. Criminal behaviour is shown.

And near the end Danica figures out everything, which is great! She solves the crime and stops something terrible from happening. Sadly, for those reading, we figure out who is the mastermind behind this fairly early on. So instead of being surprised at what Danica uncovers, you’re left wondering how Danica could be so stupid.

It was frustrating and just made Danica look naïve. Almost like a little kid stepping into the world of adults. The kid isn’t going to be smart, but you expect this. With Danica, you wonder how she went through life with this level of absentmindedness. I mean, she’s a forensic psychologist. How? How….

Quiver did pick up near the middle of the novel and I did enjoy reading it after that. The ending was a bit quick though and left me wanting more from this resolution. I almost feel like the novel could have been a bit longer, though not Historian long. Instead, Danica finds out the truth by accident, things happen fairly quickly after that and it just ends. This was the most disappointing part for two reasons:

1. Once Danica finds the truth, the consequences of this could have been explored and made the villain actually look more like a villain. [And once Danica knows the truth I was hoping to see some mind games between her and Maria. (hide spoiler)]

2. Because there was so much potential for Quiver to be a fantastic novel and once it starts to develop some life, it just ends.

Should you read this? If you like reading about Elizabeth Bathory then maybe you should pick it up. The diaries really are the best part of this novel. And if you want to check out a new Canadian author, who I suspect we’ll be hearing more from, then definitely give this one a look. But if you are looking for a thriller, a mystery, and a compelling lead character, then you might want to take a pass on this.

2 stars out of 5

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Review: The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee

The UnquietThe Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not really sure where to start with this review, other than saying I enjoyed my time reading The Unquiet. When the book first opens, we're introduced to Rinn. A girl with a troubled past who, along with her mother, is trying to make a fresh start after what happened 3 months ago.

What happens three months ago is revealed fairly quickly. In fact, I thought we'd find out near the end, but nope. Rinn's past and her mental condition is brought up before the real novel actual starts.

Real Novel you say?

Yes, the real novel. Despite Rinn's colourful history, which has all the makings of a book by itself, the Unquiet is at its heart a ghost story. A ghost story that will take it's time to develop. A ghost story that will have you wondering, "Isn't this suppose to be a ghost story?" And maybe asking yourself, "Where's the ghost?"

Trust me, this will happen. I myself was wondering when a ghost will appear. Now mind you, the ghost is mentioned quite a bit, but nothing really happens in the first part of the novel.

This may be a good or bad thing depending on your patience, but once I completed the novel I was fine with it. In fact, I actually prefer the book this way. I feel like if the 'ghost' portion of the novel came sooner, it might not have had the same sort of oomph as it did here.

The only downside is that I feel like Garsee was trying to make the reader doubt Rinn as a narrator for some scenes, only it never really worked. Even when we see Rinn off her pills, the sudden change in her behaviour did feel out of place. Not in the sense that it wouldn't happen, it would. I don't doubt that. But the quickness of it happening seemed a bit too fast for me.

Then again, I'm not too too familiar with the inner workings of this condition, so I can't really say if it was too fast or not in reality. But in book form, it felt that way.

However, that didn't really deter from the story or from Rinn.

Was I scared, no. But I did love every minute of this, especially the limited screen time to the romance portion of this novel.

Overall, I just couldn't stop myself from reading this.


+ The ghost isn't friendly
+ Rinn is a great lead character
+ Romance didn't play a bit part in this novel
+ The story surrounding Rinn's past was heartbreaking
+ The writing is flows well
+ I couldn't stop reading it. I even put another book on hold just to see how this one would end.


- The novel does take its time in getting to the ghost story
- We never doubt Rinn, despite her mental condition telling us to do that. I felt like we were suppose to feel this way at some points, but it didn't work.
- (view spoiler)[I understood why the children of Millie, Joey, Luke, and Monica were targeted by Annaliese, but why Meg and her parents? Or even Lacy? What was the point of hurting them when they had nothing to do with what happened? (hide spoiler)]
- Wanted a conclusion for some of the characters, but never got it.

4 stars out of 5

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Review: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hmmm. I'm hopelessly trying to figure out how I feel about this book and what I should rate it. There were things I liked, but things that just fell flat. I did want to love love LOVE this novel though. After reading the synopsis, seeing the cover, and reading the first chapter I was pretty much sold on loving this like there was no tomorrow.

But now that I'm done, I'm not really sure how I feel.

The Good:

The writing was top notch here. The dialogue flowed nicely and I never got bored reading this novel, even when the characters did stupid things.

I also liked the story with Sky. Not the romance one, but the other one which I can't talk about because it's a spoiler. I thought the plot for this was done nicely and liked how everything came together at the end. And boy did it ever come together. Was it melodramatic and a bit over the top? Yea, it was. But I loved it.

I know this may not seem like a lot, but trust me it’s more than enough for me to enjoy this novel.

The Okay:

I liked Six, from what we saw of her (which isn't much) I thought she was pretty awesome. There were times when I felt like her dialogue and character meshed with Breckin, the Mormon gay bestest friend of Sky who is a Mormon and isn't afraid of saying Mormon a lot, because Mormons like to do that. Mormon.

This did bother me a bit, because I still don’t understand why Six had to leave and be away for the majority of the novel, only to have a replacement come in who isn't as awesome as her. Brekin is pretty much a carbon copy of Six, but Mormon. Plus, the moment Holder comes into the picture, we hardly see Brekin too. So I mean, how Six can you get with that?

Speaking of which, I did like a lot of the side characters, along with Six, and wish we got to see more of them. Sadly, they too also got the shaft.

The Bad:

I've mentioned this before, but I've never been in a relationship. This may be the reason why I'm always so skeptical on the romance portions of novels, because they never do anything to me.

Couples hook up, get angry, don't talk, make up, and the novel ends and I'm left wondering, "Why didn't you just get over yourself and talk to each other when you wanted to? Maybe if you did that, you wouldn't have wasted so much time feeling sorry for yourself." I just don't understand. Maybe when I get into a relationship, I'll be able to understand where these characters are coming from, but till then, it's just not doing anything for me.

Knowing that, it didn't surprise me that the romance here didn't work. Not because of the misunderstandings between Sky and Holder, but because Holder just seems.....what's a good word to describe him. Sky used intense, so I'll go with that.

The first time they meet, Holder glares at her, chases her down, blocks her from going into her car, and then punches his car. You find out why later, but if I was in Sky's position I'd say to myself, "Pdbkwm, do you really want to lust after a guy as unhinged as Holder? Sure he may look good, but he also gets angry and punches things for no reason." I'd then reply with, "You know what, I agree. Let's just ignore the intense fellow and be on our merry way Tralalalalala."

And that would be it. Instead, Sky let's him in and we see more of his...intense behaviour. Does he get better? Sure in the boyfriend department. As the story progresses, the only bad thing about him his inability to stop saying, "Baby" this and "Babe" that. But my first, second, third, fourth, and fifth impression of him weren't good enough for me to like or root for this relationship.

I mean, if we're meant to like him, no, live or love him by the end of the novel, why did he need to be so...intense for a good portion of it?

Readers, is this type of behaviour hot? Please help me understand, so I can understand this relationship.

I know I talked about Holder a lot, but can I also mention that this relationship between him and Sky seemed purely physical. Where is the love? It's gone. It's been replaced with lust, lust, and more lust. So when they were going through Sky's better plot in the story, I didn't really understand why he needed to be there so much. Plus, their love was just a mask of their unhealthy co-dependency towards each other.

I'm sounding really heartless here, so I'll stop here. But yea, the romance portion of the novel, which was a good portion of it, didn't do anything for me.


I loved one of the plots, hated the romance, and couldn’t stand Holder. I guess that makes this a solid 3ish…I guess. I’ll probably pick up another book by Colleen Hoover in the future though. The writing was really good, so I do want to see more from her.

3ish stars out of 5

Friday, May 03, 2013

Review: Entangled by Cat Clarke

EntangledEntangled by Cat Clarke
My rating: 2.75 of 5 stars

I read Entangled right after I read Dare Me. I wanted something light to read, after reading about such horrible characters. It was a good book, but I wanted a thriller with characters I could relate to.

So I opened Entangled and my first though was. "I love this cover." It's quite gorgeous, eh? Cat Clarke tends to have really great covers, so whoever does them. Thank you. Not only from me, but my eyes as well.

The book starts off with Grace in a room. She doesn't know how she got there, she doesn't know what happened. But the only thing she can do is write and remember things she doesn't want to remember.

Sounds intriguing.

And it was, until you figure out why Grace is in the room. This will happen fairly quickly; however, there is another plot in here that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Sal, Grace's friend, and Nat, Grace's boyfriend, have been acting strange. And once you see them acting strange, you figure out the reason why as well.

I wanted to like this book a lot more, but each mystery wasn't subtle. It was drilled into your head to the point that once the reveal actually happened in the book, you don't really care.

In terms of characters. I have to say, I found the characters in Dare Me, despite their horrible ways, to be less horrible than the people in this book. Grace is whiny, Sal, while sympathetic at first, is stupid, and Nat is a jerk.

Since we see more of Grace, I didn't like her the most. I've mentioned this before, but I don't like it when characters bad mouth their parents. In my culture, if you act the way Grace did then you get shipped out to Africa and play around with the lions and hyenas. Once you do that, you come back and you behave yourself. I'm kidding about playing with the lions...there isn't any where I'm from. Just hyenas and some other animals.

[I'm kidding about playing with the lions...there isn't any where I'm from. Just hyenas and some other animals. (hide spoiler)]
 I wanted to like her, but she's a horrible friend and only thinks about herself. I do like how Clarke showed how bad Grace's self esteem issues really were, but it still wasn't enough for me to care or even like her. Her reason for cutting wasn't really established for me to understand why she did it.

Entangled, while it may have a beautiful cover, isn't what I expected, and I don't mean this in a good way. The only saving grace (haha) was the writing. So I'll read Torn for that reason...and the fact that it has a beautiful cover. It's gorgeous. I think I like it even better than this one.

2.75 out of 5

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Review: Dare Me by Megan Abbott

Dare MeDare Me by Megan Abbott
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This is a book about bad people doing bad things. If you're hoping to see mean girls, this book is for you. If you're hoping to see said mean girls get their just desserts, then you're not going to find it here.

Dare Me starts off on a fairly good start. The cheerleading coach has to leave and the school is bringing in a new one. The old coach pretty much let the girls do what they want. And when I mean girls, I mean the captain. Beth. The Queen Bee of this novel and the group of teens.

But all that changes when the new coach arrives. She quickly dethrones Beth and becomes the leader of the pack. This might make for a interesting read, but to top it off it seems like the new Coach use to be the Queen Bee back in her hey day and seems to relish in being one again.

The girls are taken by Coach, including our narrator Addy. This makes Beth angry and she decides to seek revenge.

At this point, I was with the novel. Coach seems to have never grown up and while she is unhappy in her marriage, she seems to open up and love being the leader of teenagers. However, since she hasn't grown up herself, we see scenes with her bringing the cheerleaders to her house and letting them drink and smoke. Her husband seems concerned about this at first, but doesn't do anything.

Which makes me wonder where the parents are in this novel. Even though Coach is an adult, she doesn't behave like one and even calls Addy her best friend in this novel. Her relationship with Addy, and the girls in general, isn't healthy and her behaviour makes me wonder why the other teachers haven't done anything. Why her husband hasn't done anything. I mean, this is an adult who would rather spend her time with teenagers, instead of picking up her kid at daycare.

The parallel between her and Beth is fascinating though. It makes you wonder if Beth will grow up to be like Coach in the future.

That quickly changes though, when Beth decides to go into cray cray mode in order to take down Coach and bring Addy back to her side.

Dare Me isn't for the faint of heart. The behaviour of the teens and adults in this book is shocking and troubling. Everyone gets away with their bad behaviour, except one and even then said person was pretty much the only good one there.

Will you relate to any of the characters? I hope not. I sure didn't, but that didn't stop me from continuing to read this novel till the bitter end.

3.5 stars out of 5