Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reads and Recommends

I'm too sick with fever to actually write a post or a review, so I thought I'd just talk about the stuff I'm reading right now. And stuff I wish you people would read too. Ugh, my mouth feels like cotton balls.
GOTH (novel by Otsu-ichi)
This is the cover of the manga released by TokyoPop, featured rather than the original novel cover because this one is pretty! The story is rather creepy, though. Non-linear, well-written, with two strange characters you  can't help but love and shudder at.
Synopsis: A notebook that leads to murder – a refrigerator filled with hands… a pit of dead dogs… an accidental suicide… a boy buried alive – and where two teenagers linked by an obsession with murder and torture explore the recesses of humanity’s dark side.

ULTRAVIOLET by R. J. Anderson

This hasn't been released in the US yet. I read the UK version, and loved it. I picked it up because it also deals with synesthesia, the subject of my current novel Scatter. Wish the UK version has a better cover though.


Once upon a time there was a girl who was special. This is not her story. Unless you count the part where I killed her. Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison's condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can't explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori -- the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that's impossible. Right?

GRAVEMINDER by Melissa Marr

Detailed review coming, was a little disappointed with this one. Although I like how Marr went from fey to such a great concept. Just wish there was more to the story.

Three sips to mind the dead . . .

Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the attention her grandmother Maylene bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the small town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each one Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: She took three sips from a silver flask and spoke the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."

Now Maylene is dead, and Bek must go back to the place she left a decade earlier. She soon discovers that Claysville is not just the sleepy town she remembers, and that Maylene had good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in Claysville the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected; beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. If the dead are not properly cared for, they will come back to satiate themselves with food, drink, and stories from the land of the living. Only the Graveminder, by tradition a Barrow woman, and her Undertaker—in this case Byron Montgomery, with whom Bek shares a complicated past—can set things right once the dead begin to walk.

Although she is still grieving for Maylene, Rebekkah will soon find that she has more than a funeral to attend to in Claysville, and that what awaits her may be far worse: dark secrets, a centuries-old bargain, a romance that still haunts her, and a frightening new responsibility—to stop a monster and put the dead to rest where they belong.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Who am I? No, really!

One of my real life 3D friends asked, the other day, if I am the girl who is "Ani Raye" on this blog. More specifically, he said "Man, I don't recognize you on that thing!", to which I replied, sort of glumly, "Yeah, I guess not". Then I thought I'd write this post, you know, so people are a little more aware of who I am. I sound like a terrorist or something.
SO here are some random facts about me:

1) My name. 
It's Varsha Dinesh, no middle name because I'm Hindu. A little hard to remember, so I chose the pseudonym Ani Raye. It just happened, because Ani is a character of mine, she's sort of me anyway so I'm not pretending.

2) What I do. 
Yes, I crib about this one a lot. I'm an Electronics and Communication student at Kerala University- but of course, my passion for circuits die beyond how pretty they look with bulbs in between. I basically live to write, read and digitally master pictures.

3) Where I live. 
I live in Trivandrum, Kerala. This is the district that is at the tip of India, nearer to Sri Lanka. It's green. Very, very green. Our sobriquet is "God's own country". We have a ton of coconut trees, backwaters, lush forests, rain. Lots of rain. In fact, it's pouring buckets right now.

4) Stuff I like. 
Easy- books, books, books. And also digital art, photoshopping, music. I'm a violin player and a singer of carnatic classical music. Slightly obsessed with tattoos- but won't get one. Pierced ears, want to pierce them once more. Love long earrings, hate the glittery type. Don't eat much, but look at how much I weigh. Sheesh.
Love the rain.
Love my room- which is always cold.
Love the house and the beautiful, beautiful front garden. My father's a genius.
Love the way we always seem to be laughing inside the house. God, I love my parents.

5) People in my life.
 Dad, Mom, brother- the pillars I lean on. My two best friends: Shruthi Shyam and Joohi Sakker, who also double as my worst critics and muses. Grandparents- three of them. Wonderful, wonderful memories of the fourth who left us last year. College friends- too many to name, all loved equally.

6) Pet Peeves.
Praise- I get embarrassed. Terribly. And blush...a lot.
Long-haired guys. No matter what you people say- I can't stand them! Unless they're about as good looking with it as maybe Orlando Bloom in Lord of the Rings.
Bollywood songs. Most of the time, they annoy me. I prefer Malayalam music.
Bollywood films. Ditto as above. If you want to watch Indian movies, I suggest you go for either Tamil or Malayalam. Bollywood was good before, now it has no substance, only flashy Shielas and flamboyancy.
Hypocrites. Take them away, take them away!
Shallow people. There's no fun in speaking only about boys and clothes, all the time. My best friends and I can talk for hours without mentioning either.

More to come!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Clockwork Prince- Cover...and an Excerpt!

Oh my God. This is a cover to die for.
I, as most people know, am the most incredible cynic when it comes to covers, mostly because I'm an artist myself. I find something they could have done better with every cover, but this is like....good, good God this is such a gorgeous cover.
Of course the guy on the cover has to be Jem (Who else has silver hair and that staff?) and I'm just so happy this might be a Jem book- not that I don't like Will, I am Team Will- but I love Jem too. Everything about this cover does such justice to the exoticity that Cassandra Clare brought to the character of Jem...he's so amazing in the first place, and the cover is gorgeous to the highest degree of praise. Now if the book would just release!!!

Okay, these is just the most interesting snippet from the book that Cassandra Clare gave out:

Will's voice dropped. “Everyone makes mistakes, Jem.”
“Yes,” said Jem. “You just make more of them than most people.”
“I —”
“You hurt everyone,” said Jem. “Everyone whose life you touch.”
“Not you,” Will whispered. “I hurt everyone but you. I never meant to hurt you.”
Jem put his hands up, pressing his palms against his eyes. “Will —”
“You can’t never forgive me,” Will said in disbelief, hearing the panic tinging his own voice. “I’d be —”
“Alone?” Jem lowered his hand, but he was smiling now, crookedly. “And whose fault is that?” 

OMG! What is this about? These guys fight?

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Yeah, the title is sort of large. Never mind. Okay, so I'm finally settling on writing just one novel and not like 30000 at the same time, and asking myself the question: Is this Dystopia? Is this, as a friend asked, surrealism? Maybe both.
I think I had too much Katniss Everdeen, way too much Stephenie Meyer and a rather unhealthy dose of Stephen King. Throw it together (in a big bowl) and you get Scatter. Not that I'm comparing myself to any of these imaginary or real people- the story is just crazy. I made a picture for it, which doesn't describe a thing about the book of course, and which is not a cover image- just a promo pic. SO, you know, I can smirk at my own eccentricities. If we're all lucky, I'll actually finish this one. :)
SO details about this book
1) It's a bit- a tiny, teeny bit- like Hunger Games, but it's not truly dystopia
2) It has two people's Point of View- POV- and basically has only two characters
3) I don't know how to bring in more characters. :0

SO what do you guys do? You guys comment. Please. Please, do comment :) Oh!! New followers...thanks people! You guys are awesome. 
(thank you nightfate stock and aurora_dreams stock on DA. I haven't put this up on DA yet because my browser sucks, but will get around to it VERY SOON!)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion


  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Atria (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, noidentity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.
After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and stragely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.
Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between.


I will admit to reading this book only because of the cover, and because vamp-queen Stephanie Meyer endorsed it. She calls the protagonist the "most original romantic lead" and yeah, I guess a zombie ought to be, because no one has ever thought of making one a romantic lead, have they? Zombies get incredibly bad rap. Don't get me wrong: I'm exactly like every other girl of my age. I have a huge issue with zombies, and I mostly prefer not ever seeing or reading books where the Dead are lurching around.
But Warm Bodies surprised me on so many levels.First of all, it was funny. Funny and zombies? Not a usual combination. Second, I actually liked the zombie dude. R is fun. He likes escalators and Frank Sinatra, and he has a thing for vinyl records. CDs and i-Pods? Not so much. He's this romantic, suit-wearing, conscious-plagued zombie who's living in a derelict airport.His descriptions of life and after-life is both sad and funny at the same time, and the social life of the dead is something that hasn't been thought of by any other writers of the genre. I was actually laughing, reading how the creepy skeleton guys married him off to another member of the glorious dead after the both of them enjoyed a bit of romance going to and fro across conveyor belts or something.
In Warm Bodies, Isaac Marion has created a beautiful yet horrifying world. I guess the world is not really beautiful, it's his writing that is. There is something deeply sensitive about R and Julie, even the other main character Perry. Hopelessness, hope and a belief that love may yet mean something: that's what I find in R. Julie as the female lead is nicely fleshed out, her quirkiness and eccentricities adding to the fun of it all. Marion uses these really terrific gems of sentences occasionally, combining humour and craziness. Like this one: 
"In the sunny fields of my imagination, we are not a teenager and a walking corpse driving in a rainstorm. We are Frank (Sinatra) and Ava cruising tree-lined country lines while a scratchy vinyl orchestra swoons our soundtrack" 
This is nowhere near the best lines Marion has on offer. Some of these sentences are amazing for me as a writer. It's the kinda sentences I write down because they are a pleasure to look at. 
There's the fact that R meets Julie because he eats her boyfriend's brain (yes, this part is gross but come ON, people. Give the book a chance), and this is what brings in Perry to the story and here I was a little confused. Paranormal or science fiction? I guess maybe a mash-up of both. It doesn't matter. This book is the classic case of a writer pulling off an extraordinary story with a pen that's worthier and mightier and whatever other way a pen can be better than a sword. I loved R and Julie. You will too.
I know it's about zombies and you people may be making faces. But please. Give the book a chance. It might actually pay up.
The author has a blog at
It's fun. Although I've never commented. Weird of me, yeah.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Back. With something Like a Blast.

I am BACK! Hi, faithful followers....sorry for that unexplained weeks long hiatus...
I had my university exams, which equates with THE WORST DAYS OF MY LIFE. Honestly. I couldn't do a single thing I like doing, and all my days were occupied with cramming, cramming and more cramming. I crashed and burned through most of the exams but I guess I'll pass for everything. Except maybe Electrical Engineering, in which I messed up, like big time.
SO quick updates on my life:
1) I GOT A LAPTOP!!! Woo hoo!! It was a birthday gift from my grandma and my parents...a gorgeous silver Toshiba I stare at all the time. It's awesome. No more fighting with my brother over who gets the computer.
2) Painted the house. Blue and green for the bedrooms, very very bright. Had a lot of fun and ruined about four of my good dresses.
3) Exams. Hate them, but love crashing through them with friends. My friends rule the universe.
4) Read a lot of books on my phone during the exams. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion and Before I Go To Sleep by S. J Watson tops this list.
5) Plots, plots PLOTS! I have a ten thousand of them in my head, on notepaper, and on my laptop. What do I get around to writing? I have NO IDEA!
 (I am gushing like this because I'm so happy my exams are done)
6) New obsessions.
Obsession 1: Hoodies.
Obsession 2: my laptop
Obsession 3: tiny earrings. (I do have pierced ears)
Obsession 4: monster bikes.
Obsession 5: eyebrow piercings. Not on me, on other people.
7) Artwork! Yup, I have a request from a book publisher, a new non-paranormal young adult book which needs a nice cover. Working on that.

So what have you all been upto??


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Images used in this blog are either digital art created by the author or free photographs. Reviews and views expressed on this site are strictly personal. Text by Varsha Dinesh is copyrighted under Creative Commons.