All Through the Night (Istanbul Days, Istanbul Nights – A Book Review)

Istanbul Days, Istanbul Nights
Author: Leonard Durso
Published: 2017

Istanbul Days

My Rate: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

Set in Istanbul, Turkey. A dear friend and fellow professor of a local university passes away unexpectedly from a heart attack and in his honor the theatre department, dance department and many others from the performing arts department come together to put on the most diverse and beautiful version of Romeo and Juliet. What none of them expected were the sudden feelings that began to erupt as they each grew closer.

While some come forward about their feelings and embrace them, others dance around them cautiously. Relationships form, relationships fall apart. Love gained. Love lost. A true trivial pursuit in which not everyone can win.

“Culture is like an ocean liner streaming its way across the sea and once on it, we have little choice but to ride along with it to wherever it takes us.” –Leonard Durso

Istanbul Days

This book was given to me by Smith Publicity in which I promised a review and Ta Da! here we are. I want to say thank you for the book. I greatly appreciate it. With that, let’s do this!

This book starts out with a cast list much like you’d find at the beginning of any play, and I’ll list them below for you.

Hasan – died tragically

Katja – Hasan’s wife, now a widow

Bekir – head of the university

Michael – Chair of the Theatre Department, always bringing up his age, debating his feelings for Irem

Ozge – Mustafa’s with of 25 years

Murat – married with three children, wishes he and his wife had the relationship they used to

Philip – British, a people watcher, the one you go to for advice, ponders over a drink about the book he is writing

Meric – teacher, director, actor, stud, drinker, passionate about women—not necessarily in that order

Gamze – costume designer

Simon – Head of English program, ready to go home to return to his college in Michigan

Jennifer – young, seeking adventure, madly in love with Meric

Meral – English Prep instructor

Elif – English Prep instructor

Ismigul – English Prep Instructor

Fersat – studies film, in love with Elena

Elena – top dancer in Katja’s class, in love with Berat and enjoys telling him what to do

Irem – Michael’s assistant, in love with him, cooks for him, hesitant to tell him how she feels

Deniz – costume designer, enjoys The Rolling Stones, loves to paint

Dave – a visiting professor from the US, tries for female companionship but just can’t quite get there

Brenda – from Britain, divorced, seeking adventure and intimacy to forget about her ex-husband who didn’t please her in and out of the bedroom

Sonmez – Murat’s wife, pays more attention to the kids than him

Mert – Chairman of the Board of Trustees, owner of the university

Metlem – student of theatre department, actress

Onur – Murat’s best friend

Mark – Brenda’s ex-husband

Pelin – Brenda’s protégé, sings with a trio of musician’s, in love with her professor-Meric

Naim – a waiter

Mermati a waiter

Osman – barman at The Belfast

Irem’s mom – widow

Brenda’s mom – tells Brenda not to divorce Mark

And not only does showcasing the cast, much like a play, amplify the style it was written in but the chapters, which were each month of the academic year, were titled as scenes. I loved the set-up. Even the sudden jumping around from character to character was nifty. I enjoyed the movie He’s Just Not That Into You and I want to read the book. The way the movie interweaves its characters is very close to how this book does it. They’re all interconnected. I do wish there had been page breaks, though. There were a couple times that I had no idea I’d swapped to a different character. One minute I’m reading about Dave and then suddenly I’m reading about Michael and didn’t realize it.

There is something I have to pick on and that’s the lack of detail. Sure, I read everything that was happening, but it moved so fast and I had no sensory detail to cling to that allowed me to see what was happening. So it felt stiff.

I found the instant romance between characters to be intriguing. There was no build-up between the characters. Being in their heads, I got to see that spark of knowing they liked a person light up like a firework. They just went for it and it surprised me. I was just, “Whoa, this is happening, and right now”.

Istanbul days

Which leads me to this. This book wasn’t just about gaining love, but also losing it or never even going after it. I got to view the several aspects that surround this strong emotion. It was powerful and it rocked me because I struggle in that department. I’m a shy human and I’m really careful about who I let into my life.

And just think, all of this was happening while pulling together a play that is bi-lingual, sings, dances, and also ends as a fun, uplifting comedy of people coming together instead of two young kids killing themselves (the play is a rendition of Romeo and Juliet, remember?). Very intricate. I got to see the bit by bit as the performance was being put together by each individual. And honestly? It stressed me-and writing that has me laughing right now. Nonetheless, it was impressive to see such an intense show get put together among the stress of love lives.

Overall, this book wasn’t half bad. I can’t give it my full love because I couldn’t see it. I forgot what these character looked like and I couldn’t get emotionally attached to them because everything was on the surface. Still, a decent piece on love and turmoil it riles up.

Quotables:

“She can do nothing. Only lie there. And wait for the end of the world.” (Katja, p. 28)

“Another day. Another Adventure.” (Dave, p. 36)

“Leave me to my new adventures and continue playing the misunderstood poet writing your sad, forlorn verses of lost love. She thinks he is only good at love on the page but could never quite make it work in bed. Words, she thinks. Love is just words for him and she craves action.” (Brenda, p. 59)

“You are a star to me.” (Irem to Michael, p. 69)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Hey Soul Sister by Train.

Advertisements

Oh, Death… (Endless Knight – A Book Review)

Endless Knight
Author: Kresley Cole
Publsihed: 2013

Endless Knight

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Shocking Secrets. Unexpected Allies. Gut-Wrenching Treachery.

The Flash has obliterated the world, turning it into  an apocalyptic wasteland, and Evie Greene is no longer the fragile, helpless girl. A deadly game that only one can win has already began between the tarot cards. Oh yes, they’re real. Evie, The Empress, has fully embraced her poisonous abilities, though she hasn’t embraced the part she’s meant to play in this battle to the death. Death keeps calling out to her, growing closer and his craving to end her is also growing.

With her friends and the help of other Arcana cards, she stands a chance at ending this dangerous game and surviving the dangerous threats that lurk in the shadows. Jackson is still reeling from Evie revealing her abilities to him and when dark secrets are revealed, shattering her heart, can Evie truly stay out of the deadly game?

Endless Knight

Following Poison Princess (you can read the review here), this book was just as hot and addictive, seducing me all naughty-like. Tsk tsk! I was a little concerned that this wasn’t going to measure up to all of the intense action and emotions, but let me tell you, there wasn’t a beat skipped. From beginning to end I was rattled. So many new elements were added, expanding the worldview that Kresley created with this series, adding more to the journey that Evie and her group are on: to stop the game and end Death—the deadliest of the Arcana. It really added to the development of the characters as well. Evie was faced with more than her strange abilities and the voices in her head. She’s now faced with her own emotions of how she feels about herself and how she feels about others, whether she can truly trust the people she allows into her heart.

The Major Arcana introduced in this book are The Hierophant, The Devil, The Tower, The World, Strength and Death, pulling Evie and her group onto the battlefield. Then there’s the spinning complexity that is Evie Greene and Jackson Devaeux. Their (extremely intense) feelings for one-another comes to a head and if you’ve read Poison Princess then you already have a pretty good idea of just how these two are with each other-fighting, bickering, immense build of sexual tension that neither really want to admit to. Sparks were flying between them in Poison Princess. Those sparks turned into a full-blown fire here in Endless Knight.

And then, add a side of Death and you get a really messed up triangle. And you just can’t look away. Well, I couldn’t. (And if I’m being honest, I’m a total shipper of Evie with Jackson. Oh yes, very much so.) More so, major secrets were dropped and my jaw dropped along with them. I won’t tell you about them because that’d just be rude, but they completely change Evie’s life.

And then there were cannibals. Yep, people eaters, and that was actually pretty creepy. Kresley’s attention to detail actually gave me chills from time to time. You’ll get twisted and sharply because of how in-depth it gets. I still know the parts I held my breath at.

Endless Knight

I still find the pacing of this story to be really nice. It moves fast, but is completely steady. Not a single bit felt out of place over the span of several months for these characters. The transitioning is so smooth and that’s not something I usually point out, but it was so splendid that I had to. The mentions of time passing was subtle. And I loved the well placed surprises even though they broke my heart. I didn’t except what I discovered. This is coming from a chick who strongly dislikes surprises, but holy crap.

Do I recommend this book? I ordered the third book before I finished this one, so yes! I do. There was nothing that through me off the path. If anything I’m more sucked in than before. It’s been some time since I’ve been this attached to a series.

 

Quotables:

“Death comes for us all…” (Mathew, p.20)

“Sooo….anybody else have a sense of impending doom?” (Finn, 56)

“Hotel California, Evie. You can check out, but you can never leave.” (Lark to Evie, p. 189)

“I desired you before, but I never loved you until this life.” (Aric to Evie, p. 306)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Bad at Love by Halsey.

 

You can also find me:

Twitter: @CheshireKat_92

Goodreads: Kat J.

You’ve Been Beeped, It’s the Apocalypse (Poison Princess – A Book Review)

Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles #1)
Author: Kresley Cole
Published: 2012

Poison Princess

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

She could save the world-or destroy it. 

Evangeline “Evie” Greene has the perfect life, with a best friend and the perfect boyfriend she’s ready to go all the way with. It starts crumbling when she begins to have horrifying visions, and hear scary things call out to her. Evie is desperate to figure out these visions to find out what is real and what isn’t. All she knows is that it has something to do with tarot cards…the Arcana.

Turns out, the tarot cards don’t just tell your fortune. They’re real people and threatening her, wanting to kill her. That’s according to her grandmother who tried to kidnap her when she was younger, though.

Now, after the world has been decimated, Evie has to turn to the last person that she wants to in order to survive, Jackson Deveaux. From the bayou and with a wicked attitude and irresistible grin, this Cajun will do whatever it takes to help Evie, as long as she tells him what she’s hiding in return. But, can she trust him enough to tell him what is really happening to her? That her grandmother wasn’t crazy, and the tarot cards are calling out to her in her head and seeking her out to kill her?

poisonous

This book. THIS BOOK!

I’ve been told by several people that I need to read Kresley Cole and they were right. I picked up this book at my bookstore, my curiosity certainly piqued at the idea of tarot cards being brought to life as actual people. Such originality. I find the use of tarot cards to be fascinating. I use them myself from time to time so to see them as real people with unnatural abilities gives me the shivers. Good shivers, of course.

Poison Princess

I loved how fast-paced this book moved. The pace also felt slow with how much detail there was. A perfect mix, like swirling chocolate and vanilla ice cream together. The amount of detail from the tidbits in Evie’s life and how she’s trying to hold on to it by the very threads that threaten to snap because of her visions and then zooming out to the gain a perspective on what was happening across the world with various dangers that could end her and Jackson was phenomenal. There wasn’t a single moment I wasn’t engulfed in this book. I could not put it down.

The over-dramatic dialogue between Jackson and Evie was superb. I normally don’t go for a book that over reaches in  how people interact, but with this being and apocalyptic world and these being two, hormonal teens, it worked SO well. Not going to lie, I ate it up shamelessly. The chemistry between the two of them was intoxicating, turning my stomach to knots. It’s danger boy meets sassy girl and both of them are unrelenting. As if the apocalypse didn’t have enough problems with cannibals and slavers, eh? Then there’s the Arcana, the tarot deck that are real people, and to be honest, this book only hits the cusp of that whole ordeal. And it’s just enough to keep me hanging on curiously because only knowing that they’re all fighting to be the last man standing isn’t enough. There’s got to be more to it.

I can’t wait to read more. I have already ordered the next book in this series because I’ve become quite infatuated with this series. Give me more!

 

Quotables:

“If Brandon was a good boy but not yet a great guy, Jackson was a bad boy—and already a bad guy.” (Evie, p. 82)

“Evie, people with no hope for the future can be very dangerous.” (Evie’s mother to Evie, p. 149)

“The last two monarch butterflies are thousands of miles apart and flying away from each other. A boy is skateboarding across old Lake Michigan…” (Mathew to Evie, p. 280)

“For as long as you’ve been looking down your nose at me, I’ve been craving you, an envie like I’ve never known.” (Jackson to Evie, p. 341)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Teenage Wasteland by The Who.

Dead Hot & Turning to Dust? (Accidentally Dead, Again – A Book Review)

Accidentally Dead, Again
Author: Dakota Cassidy
Published: 2012

Accidentally Dead, Again

My Rating: Full boltFull bolt

 

Nina gets more than she bargains for when Sam is dropped on the doorstep of the Out in the Open Paranormal Support (OOPS) office unable to remember very much about how he was turned into a vampire. Enter Phoebe Reynolds, a young woman who claims to be Nina’s sister. She’s turned into a vampire in the midst of a fight between her and her new sister. Trying to process, or rather, not process it, Nina and her friends have to figure out how to help the two newest vampires after discovering that vampires are being experimented on and then turning to dust. They’ll all have to get to the bottom of it before both Sam and Phoebe disappear.

 

Every once in a while I’ll jump into the middle of a series. It mostly happens when I find the book in the wild—on a bargain shelf or dollar rack. That’s how it happened here.  I have started in the middle of a lot of series and loved them! And for being only $1.00 this book was fun.

This is basically a supernatural soap opera. The drama is like a prairie fire from the very start and it blazed hotter and hotter until the very end with romance that was red hot and fast paced with no holding back. Every once in a while you just need those steamy, muscle tensing parts. No shame from me, bookworms. It was pretty yummy.

The language was fun and extremely laid back. If you’re not into a lot of cursing from your characters then steer clear, but I didn’t have any issues with that. There was an abundance of puns, cliches, and sarcasm. All it of was both great and not so great. I can’t handle so many cliches, even if they are well placed. I feel like their something to use only in dabbles, not five a page. The punniness and sarcasm kept me hanging on. Sarcasm is my first language, English came second. Ask my mother. So while there was one thing that itched me, the overall language was fun and consistent.

Now, while this book was whipping me back and forth with the plot twists, the story didn’t get me entirely engulfed. Each over dramatic twist felt forced, like they were pulled out of nowhere. That made it difficult to get attached to the characters and the story, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have any favorites. I actually loved Nina. She’s a bipolar firecracker with no tolerance for stupidity. Reminds me of myself a little.

Angry

More so, there was so much that didn’t need to be dragged out as much as it was. While I understood the main points getting drawn out, the repetition of small bits like vampire sleep, was something that grated me. It was pointed out too much. However, I loved seeing everything about being vampires as brand new through Sam and Phoebe’s eyes and how they were struggling with the adjustment, showing that not everyone can just skip to bloodsucking like it’s pie.

This isn’t one I think I’ll tackle again. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. I enjoy paranormal novels to no end, but I feel like there just wasn’t enough to keep me captivated.  However, if you love the quick and steamy and nonstop drama, definitely pick up this book along with the rest of the series.

 

Quotables:

“What the fuck is next with you two? Invisibility? I don’t get it. You can jam your ass in a wall, dude. She can teleport and see her reflection. Swear to Christ, if you two can eat, even one bite, I’ll stake you myself.” (Nina, p. 92)

“We’re vampires, Sam. Sweet baby J, vampires really exist. They really drink blood. They really live forever. They have friends that are werewolves and demons.” (Phoebe to Sam, p. 177)

“Girls, I’m going to say this once. Keep it clean. And if you want to pummel each other like nothing more than common thugs—I will hit you with my shoe. Hard. Often. With so much glee.” (Wanda to Nina and Phoebe, p. 268)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? All I Have by Jennifer Lopez.

For the Fairies! (A Midsummer Night’s Dream – A Book-Play Review)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Author: William Shakespeare
Published: 1600

Midsummer Night's

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Let’s start with a love square. That’s right, not a triangle, a square. Lysander and Hermia are very much in love, but Hermia is arranged to marry Demetrius by her father. Helena, her best friend is in love with Demetrius, but he only has moon eyes for Hermia.

So what are two forbidden lovers to do? They run away into the forest together, determined to be together.

In the forest, a fairy king and queen are at odds so the king gets his right hand fairy, Puck, to play a trick on her. Then to go a step further, he implores Puck to help Helena after she is found saddened because Demetrius refuses to love her back. In this Comedy, fairy magic wreaks hilarious havoc.

Midsummer Night's

We all know William Shakespeare. You start to read his works in high school, usually, and I don’t know about anybody else, but I read and studied Romeo and Juliet. A Midsummer Night’s Dream came later when I started forcing myself to read more on the great playwright and poet. He’s pivotal, one of the first stepping stones, for any book lover, English major, and author.

The comedy tickled me. Rereading it this time, I was still enveloped in the hilarity that fairies and magic can often make situations worse rather than better. Laughing out loud as Bottom who talks like an ass and then is turned into an ass while on the job in the bookstore turned a few heads. This is ultimately my favorite play. I’m not one for mushy romance. I seek realism no matter the genre when it comes to such this strong emotion. The play is in the percentile that makes me truly believe in it.

 

I love this play. It’s lighthearted, magical, and fun. It toys with the free will of love, making me a completely hopeless romantic. Very different from his tragedies. Definitely find time to read this if you haven’t done so yet. There’s a reason that William Shakespeare is more than just one of the most studied writers in British Literature. His approach to themes, emotions, and his style in writing are fundamental not only to learn from, but to understand people from; that we are capable of such strong emotions.

Then again, maybe this is just me. I do worship his plays. Sonnets? Well, I love poetry, but I’m terrible at writing sonnets. Tried to write one about Neverland once, (yep, I’ve always wanted to be a lost boy) and I don’t think it went well. I’m pretty sure that my British Lit. class knew it too. It’s a good thing I never got that assignment back.

Anyway, enough rambling about the legendary man. Read this, not because you’re forced to, but do it because it’s beautiful and the language will make you swoon and most importantly, do it for the fairies!

 

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Whatever You Imagine by Wendy Moten)

Even in Graphic Novels They Sparkle (Twilight the Graphic Novel: Vol. 1 – A Book Review)

Twilight: The Graphic Novel Vol. 1

Author: Young Kim

Published: 2010

Twilight

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltHalf bolt

 

“It’s twilight…”

Coming to life in a unique way is Stephanie Meyer’s novel, Twilight. The graphic novel, beautifully illustrated by the way, has a whole new POV of how the characters act to how they look. In Volume I, discover how Bella meets Edward and discovers what he is as she falls in love with him and possibly discover a whole new way to imagine the world of vampires.

 

Now, I’m not going to do comparisons here. If a comparison is what you seek then I suggest picking up the Twilight saga guide which will give you the in-depth look and comparison of the series.

Twilight

 

When I read Volume 1 I was really drawn to the artwork. It’s certainly different from the novels and the movie saga. Forks, Washington is still dismal and rainy with that mist that makes it magical, but the characters are very different. They aren’t anything like what I imagined them. There’s a perfection to every little bit, down to the very facial expression of each character. The Sepia coloring was rich and gorgeous. All of it is one-of-a-kind.

Twilight graphic novel

Something that steered me away from this book though, was that only the good lines we all know and love from the saga are featured in the book. From there I had to gauge from the actions of the characters what was happening. For major fans, that’s not an issue, but I like to have more. I’m a greedy reader. I wanted more to keep me engaged.

While I found bits that I enjoyed and bits that I didn’t, the book isn’t half bad. It really sits in the middle with me and maybe if I get bored I may pick it up and give it a reread.

 

Quotables:

“First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was part of him—and I didn’t know how potent that part might be—that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.” (Bella)

“As I looked into his eyes, I abruptly grasped that this was every bit as now to him as it was to me.” (Bella)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? When It Rains by Paramore.

Party Goes Murder (The Cabin – A Book Review)

The Cabin
Author: Natasha Preston
Published: 2016

Cabin - pintrest

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

They think they’re invincible…

Mackenzie joins her friends on a weekend escape to a cabin in the middle of nowhere so that they can have fun before everyone heads off to university in the fall. Sparks fly and alcohol is flowing and in the morning two people are dead with the only possible suspects being the ones in the house.

Mackenzie, determined to get herself and her friends off the list of suspects, investigates, going to great lengths, but what she discovers shocks her to the core. Everybody she thought she knew is hiding secrets and she isn’t so sure that her friends are really innocent anymore. Could the people that she trusts so wholeheartedly be capable of such a heinous act? Everybody tosses blame, increasing suspicions and fears. And when the killer is revealed, Mackenzie fears that the worst has yet to come.

 

When I read the back cover of the book I was intrigued. This is about a killer tracking a group of kids and knocking them off one by one. But it’s not. I was thrown back by this. I felt like the description was completely different from what the book was truly about. I didn’t expect a murder mystery. I was intrigued though. Like peeling back petals of a flower, you slowly discover that none of these characters, even Mackenzie, are who they seem.

What is happening

 

The repetition really got under my skin. I was losing it. There were certain points that Mackenzie kept repeating throughout the whole book. As the reader, I didn’t need her to tell about the things her dead friends would never get to do again. I understood that the first time she thought about it. I understood that when their bodies were discovered. I also couldn’t stand how she kept saying that she couldn’t be falling for Blake, the brother of one of her dead friends. Instead of thinking it all the time, I would’ve liked to see her deflect these feelings more if it bothered her so much. I just felt like she was whining too  much.

Would I read this book again? Probably not. I was thrown off balance too much with it. Between Mackenzie and Blake’s back and forth Will I? or Wont’t? I was dizzying. All of the characters had such short fuses and their emotions ran so red hot that I couldn’t take it seriously. The idea of this story is so good. It truly is, but I feel like it needed more work to get me invested.

 

Quotables:

“His gaze was intense like he saw everything. I didn’t want him to see anything about me.” (Mackenzie about Blake, p. 5)

“The secrets you hide from yourself are always the most dangerous.” (Blake to Mackenzie, p. 21)

“My stomach turned over in fear. The killer could want more blood.” (Mackenzie, p. 194)