Stay at Home Series – Episode 1: The Working Mom

I’m basically starting these series to bore you guys senseless or make you guys laugh out loud. Also, to practice writing and continue writing on my blog, considering, I’m not going to be traveling much or getting my reading done in the speed with which I usually do ๐Ÿ˜‰

These are stories from my own experiences of trying to deal with the lockdown – in India. Today, we’re entering the start of week 3 of being indoors. The lockdown started a week back, but we had traveled back from Delhi on 15th of March, so had self quarantined ourselves from 16th of the month itself. My daughter’s day care had shut down from 16th March too, and we started working from home as well. So, 2 weeks has made me an expert mad-woman. Hence, the rambling posts. Enjoy, or ignore, totally your call guys ๐Ÿ˜€

Episode 1: The working mom, who is now the stay at home mom

I’d always wondered how some of my friends could do it all. I’d envied women who happily stayed at home looking after their families and cooking up exotic dishes. I even more envied the women who worked, cooked, played with their children, looked after their parents and in laws, had successful hobbies and were happy doing all this. Because, I, couldn’t figure out how to do it all without losing my mind. That’s why, I never even attempted it.

On the first day of the first week, I tried not to panic. I woke up really late and then rushed my 4 year old to brush her teeth. We managed to finish breakfast and I had logged in ON TIME. Yay!! I had positioned myself on the dining table and I made my daughter watch a lot of ipad, while I took my morning calls.

Mommy, I don’t want to watch anymore“, she whined, an hour later.

WTF?!! I thought to myself. Out loud, I said, “but sweetheart, you can watch as much as you want today :)” I tried un muting my call to contribute something worthwhile on that irrelevant meeting in parallel.

An hour later, we were playing. My partner was in his own version of a lockdown, having stolen the kid’s table as a makeshift table in the guest room and locking the door in. Lots of privacy. Argh. While I get free access to no privacy and a big table. We should have bought that study table ages ago. Darn.

I had zero idea how to manage cleaning and cooking, in addition to focusing on work and listening to my daughter. I really missed child care. I will give the child care teachers extra love when all this is over, I thought to myself.

So the first day, I split all my time between trying to occupy my toddler and trying to get some work done. That’s how it went in fact, for the first three days. By Wednesday, we realized, we were walking in a house muddier than the streets outside. We had run out of clean bowls and spoons, my daughter had lost all interest in watching ipad, or any screen (Osho was right it seems. Too much of something does saturate one out of it. If only that worked with alcohol). My partner, being Mr. know it all and Mr Do it all, and Mr. take all the praise and compliments from the moms, decide to take charge of the situation and multitask, become an efficient home maker too. We should really give men a chance to prove themselves you know? We really discriminate a lot against them ๐Ÿ˜‰

Obviously, my luck ran out, when my partner realized I was taking undue advantage of his will to work and contribute and demanded equal rights.

So, as we enter week 3 of the lockdown, here is how I’m managing being a stay at home mom and a working mom. Also, a little advice, don’t follow the below, if you’re one of the superwomen I was talking about at the start. These steps will make you question your capability ๐Ÿ˜€

  • I work 5 hours a day – don’t tell anyone. After many interruptions by the child during important and useless calls, my manager agreed it would be better if I could hand over child-minding duties to my enthusiastic partner for a few hours, to work. The Swedes are right. You can actually get all or most of your work done in 5-6 hours in a day, huh! Also, Im trying not to think about the fact that others in my team are working a lot more and that I might be the first one to get fired when all this is over. Shiites!!
  • My daughter watches a lot of screen now. We have thrown away the ‘no screen time monitoring’ parenting ideologies to working peacefully. The child is happy, the boss is happy. Win-win?
  • My managers and clients have made peace with the fact that we will listen to Peppa Pig or nursery rhymes or get introduced to each other’s children during conference calls. its quite entertaining actually ๐Ÿ˜€
  • We cook one huge bowl of daal/lentil soup to last us the whole day. Its got carbs, proteins, minerals from the veggies. We don’t need variety now because I hate cooking, and I said so. Also, my daughter loves daal so that’s all that matters ๐Ÿ˜€
  • I have swapped running with yoga and jhaadu-pocha (Hindi for sweeping and mopping). Yes, I was a privileged Indian who had help for these chores, until two weeks back. I’m not complaining. In fact I have a new found respect for the people working for me ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m going to double their salaries, I’ve decided..

And with all that flair of failed parenting, not creating exotic dishes at home, and yelling at your child in the middle of a client meeting, we end the first episode of the episode of the Stay At Home series.

Tune in next week for another useless ramble in the series!!

Now to the actual fun part – Hearing about your experiences!!

I’d love to know if you absolutely hated this post, or enjoyed reading it?

How are all of you managing work and home expectations? Any disaster stories recently? ๐Ÿ˜€

Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal – Thoughts

It is a universally acknowledged fact that Jane Austen has changed the lives of many readers and authors and her book adaptations are almost always a treat! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Finally read this Pakistani adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic – Pride and Prejudice and quite enjoyed it!

Here is what I loved in this re-telling:

1. All the details about Pakistani culture, their way of living, the marriage ceremonies, the description of the clothes and oh gosh, to-die-for-mouthwatering dishes! That was also a major source of torment during this quarantine period, since I really wanted to go and order some seekh kababs or Haleem..sigh! I learned so much about their society and cultural values and realized that its similar to the Indian social values in so many aspects!

2. The fact that Jena and Alys are shown to be 30 year old, working and educated women, who are unmarried. Nice touch ๐Ÿ™‚

3. Some of the character names tickled my funny bone so much! Like Looclus, Hammy , Sammy and Gin and Rum..rofl ๐Ÿ˜€

4. My favorite part of the book was reading a fiction-book that could almost be used as an English Literature reference book! I loved Aly’s style of teaching (hence my take on Jane Austen’s P&P’s opening sentence as a homework from her class ;)). I wish I had an English teacher like her who made me question all the social nuances from the book. I also loved all the book pairings that she and Darsee talk about, and all the book recommendations! Love books with book pairing options and book recommendations ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Soniah Kamal for all that!

5. I enjoyed all the feminist arguments put forth by Alys regarding a woman’s choice on love, marriage, sex, having children and having a career.

Stuff that didn’t work for me as much:

1. Although I enjoyed the fact that this retelling was based in Pakistan, but I found the plot lacking in originality. The story was so similar to the original P&P (with the exception of the backstories of some supporting characters like Sherry Looclus and Nona), that I did skim read through some sections because I knew exactly what was going to happen, or what was happening. I had recently read another P&P adaptation written by another Muslim author – Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin, which I liked more, in terms of the plot originality with similar characters and settings from Jane Austen’s P&P

2. I couldn’t buy into Darsee and Aly’s romance. Darsee’s confession of love and his proposal seemed strangely abrupt to me ๐Ÿ™‚

What I’d like to know from other readers ๐Ÿ™‚

So, there you go..I had fun reading this re-telling. I did wonder though, if there are some Indian adaptations of the famous P&P in literature? I’ve only watched Bride and Prejudice. Any recommendations there? ๐Ÿ™‚

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara – Thoughts

Making the most of the global quarantine by trying to read as many books as possible ๐Ÿ™‚

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line is Deepa Anappara’s debut novel and one of the books long listed for the Women’s Prize 2020 category, and I can see why.

Trying to get my reading in, between a million activities with the kid ๐Ÿ™‚

Where do I start? Umm, lets see. Have you guys heard of or even better, watched the Oscar winning movie – Parasite? Did you love the movie? its subtle humour, but the core shattering message hidden underneath the story. Think of this book, its narration and its story, as one such masterpiece.

The story is simple, if you read the blurb at the end of the book. Children start going missing from the the settlement where our protagonist, Jai lives. Jai is a 9 or 10 year old boy who sets out to solve the case of of the missing children with two of his best friends from school – Pari and Faiz.

The trio from this book reminded me so much of the early years of Harry, Hermoine and Ron. Pari is so much like Hermoine, and Jai like Harry, while Faiz like Ron. Even though Jai, Pari and Faiz don’t have magical powers or go to a school of magic to fight the evil Voldemort, they believe in magic, in djinns and ghosts and fairies. They have a child’s spirit, a child’s kindness, a child’s fervour, a child’s imagination, and a child’s hope that makes it utterly adorable to read.

The story is narrated from Jai’s perspective mostly, but sometimes in between, the author tells us three stories about ghosts, and djinns who can save your life. Another life line probably for the reader. And then there are the chapters from the PoVs of the missing children, right before they go missing. The author’s narration style is so riveting and light hearted, that you don’t want to stop reading and have many laugh out loud moments as a reader, despite all the horrible things happening in the background.

Although the story is about trying to solve the case of the missing children from the basti, its not just that. Very subtly, through her seamless narrative style, Deepa Anappara brings into light issues on the huge class divide that we live in – where the very poor and the very rich are literally separated just by a wall, and yet, the distance between their lives are so wide figuratively. We get glimpses of sexism, about political agendas and how politicians use any scenario to create a divide between the Hindus and the Muslims. We get a look at the solidarity of the people living in the basti, when all their children go missing together, irrespective of religion. You and I know a lot of these issues already, being an informed Indian, but still, reading about them, makes you squirm. Especially when you are the ‘hi-fi’ person living in the isolation of your society.

And finally, I have to talk about the ending – it shattered me. I was not expecting it. Maybe you will expect it as a reader, but I wasn’t. I can’t talk much about it without giving away spoilers, but that ending was apt, if not ideal for me.

I would highly recommend this book, but however, do look out for trigger warnings on child abuse, child kidnappings, alcoholism, sexual abuse, when you read it.

Questions to you guys:

Have you read the book? I really want to discuss the ending..what did you think?

What is a book that is full of hope but tears your heart at the end, that you read and loved?

The Group by Lara Feigel (ARC) – Thoughts

Blogging is going to take a back seat now, considering I’m working from home, and have my 4 year old to look after – a situation that many working parents across the globe will be living in and working out to the best of their abilities. I just pray that the Universe sorts this out for us soon. Until then, stay safe ๐Ÿ™‚

This was a book that I was excited to read and was glad to be auto approved, since it catered to characters of my age. I don’t find many books where all or most of the protagonists are of the age group in late 30s or in their 40s, and this one was about female friendships in the current world.

The story revolves around the friendships of five women – Stella, Kay, Polly, Priss and Helena. They were a tight knit group in college and they remain friends into their 40s as well. The story is narrated by Stella, but there are PoVs for each character, but narrated in third person I think. All the women think the other has a perfect life or has it all, whereas, underneath, each woman is struggling in their own way.

The book touches upon some important subjects like gender equality, women having to manage career expectations with motherhood expectations, monogamy, sex, etc.

Unfortunately, I had to DNF this book after reaching half way through in the book. I tried my best to read further to see if my views on the story and writing changes, but that didn’t happen. I think my only issue with this was the writing style. The narration felt complex for me to follow and the lack of dialogues made it slightly boring for me, despite the interesting subject matter.

I’m sure this book will be enjoyed by many others and readers should give it a chance. However, it didn’t work for me ๐Ÿ™‚

****Thank you Netgalley for providing this ARC to read. All opinions are my own****

The Night Country (Hazel Wood #2) by Melissa Albert – Thoughts

I’ve not been very active on the blogging site this week, since I’m part on vacation and part on house arrest. So I’m spending time watching Netflix (just binge watched Locke and Key and loved it!!!) and trying to catch up with reading, along with socializing and spending time with the in laws ๐Ÿ™‚ So, anyway, here I am, with another ‘thoughts on the book I read‘ post ๐Ÿ™‚

Melissa Albert – one of my favorite discoveries in 2018, aptly writes in her acknowledgements – that second books are always hard to follow up to the novelty or excitement factor of the first book. And I kind of agreed with the author on this.

How beautiful is that cover!!! Maybe read it just for the cover..LOL ๐Ÿ˜€

When I read The Hazel Wood, I was in love with the book. I had not read something so spooky, so novel and so gothic ever! Maybe there are many books out there with similar themes, but I’m just saying that I hadn’t read any such book, until this one. I’m excluding Sherlock Holmes’ Hound of Baskervilles and many of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories and poems. I’m talking from new releases books perspective I guess.

I had fallen in love with the mystery of Alice’s story, and how she fit in Hinterland. All the darkness of the fairy tale. Of Althea. Of the tales. Of Ellery Finch and finally of her escape from The Hazel Wood and eventually the Hinterland.

There were a lot of questions I had from the first book, which I thought the author would answer in the second one. So although I didn’t get the answers to all of my previous questions, I did get some answers. Maybe some of them will be answered, like all the dark fairy tales in the next book – Tales from Hinterland.

In this story, we have re-visiting characters and we get to know one more story – a really important one. And oh my gosh, was it dark. I absolutely loved it when we reached that part of the book.

In terms of the characters introduced, while I had really liked Alice in the first book, I was a little frustrated with her -‘where do I belong’ dance, which is called out well by her friend Sophia in one of the scenes. In the first book, all she wanted to do was to find her mom Ella and keep her safe. But in the second, its like she is pushing Ella away from her life. Maybe its some kind of teenage angst or PTSD, but I was not able to digest the sudden change in affections or feelings.

I was glad with Ellery Finch’s scenes in the second book though. He doesn’t get enough credit in the first one but all that is nicely redeemed in the second book.

The romance felt absolutely flat for me though, in both books. So if youre looking for a dark gothic romance, I’m not sure this is the right pick.

But where the book was an absolute win for me, was with all the Hinterlanders – The story of Ilsa/Sophia and Death, The seven sisters/girls?, The trio, the story of the magician’s daughter…. I wanted to lose myself in their stories and I wanted more and more. That last scene was just epic – I don’t want to say more to avoid spoilers ๐Ÿ™‚

All in all, even though the sequel wasn’t a sure shot five star rating favorite like the first book (I gave it a 4 star rating, in case you’re curious ;)), I’d still recommend it to readers who enjoyed the first book, just so they can get their fill of the gore and the dark fairy tales again ๐Ÿ™‚

What I’d like to know from you guys

Have you read either of the books? What were your thoughts on The Night Country?

What is your favorite book in the fantasy/horror genre?

Women & The Weight Loss Tamasha by Rujuta Diwekar – Thoughts

I gave this book a 5-star for being a really entertaining, fact filled and motivating non-fiction read.

Women and weight loss have become like two sides of a coin. We just seem to always be stressing about it and almost never getting it right. I haven’t read Rujuta’s first popular book on this subject – Don’t lose your mind, lose our weight, but now that I’ve read this book, I’m surely going to read her first book too.

Here are the reasons I enjoyed this book and why I would recommend it:

1. I read the audible version, which is narrated by Rujuta herself, with a foreword by Kareena Kapoor Khan and Rujuta is an absolute delight to listen to. Her voice, her anecdotes, the way she speaks certain words in our Hinglish way, seems really endearing and doesn’t feel like a boring nutritionist giving you lecture. It feels like a friend giving you good advise. I liked her way of advising so much, that I look a page from her book and started advising my own mother and sister to pay more attention or at least equal attention to their health, as they give to other aspects of their lives! ๐Ÿ˜€

2. As an Indian woman, I found it hard to relate to or follow the advise provided in other diet or weight loss books. Since a lot of them are written by non Indian authors, and their diet recommendations specialize in local food available more readily abroad than in India. Actually, based on what Rujuta constantly stresses in her book, theyre not wrong either. It is all about eating local and what you’ve been eating most of your life growing up. So if you’re living and working in say UK or US, grab those salads, local fruits/berries, avocados. If you’re living in India, eat your chapati, chai, and vegetables cooked with spices.

3. This book doesn’t just talk about diet or weight loss. In this, she talks about a plethora of subjects that impacts a woman’s body, her weight and her well being in total, because as she rightly says, women are mysterious creatures and no two are the same. We can’t have a one diet fits all rule for us women. Women are strong and sensitive, creative and hard working. We need to eat a variety of food, based on the age we’re in life, based on our occupations, stress levels, hormonal levels, so many things!

In a nutshell, I felt like I was a better person after reading her book. I felt better about my eating habits and was motivated to include more fresh and home made local food in my diet. I was motivated to try out exercising daily. And since last week, I have been trying out her advise and although I haven’t lost weight, I have noticed a change in my moods and overall behavior and I’m loving it ๐Ÿ™‚

Note: Although the book is written and narrated mostly in English, I do feel that the target audience for this book would mostly be Indian women ๐Ÿ™‚

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – Thoughts

This is an illustrated novel that people should read. Just another of those books that simplifies something complex so that its easily digested by the common reader and doesn’t leave them feeling upset or with a stomach ache. But does leave them with slightly more information, understanding and knowledge about one misunderstood and highly judged country in the world – Iran.

Persepolis – the complete edition, is the author – Marjane Satrapi’s fictional account of her life and stay in Iran, based on actual facts and experiences. The book is split into two parts – Part 1 – A Childhood and Part 2 – The Return. She leaves Iran twice in her lifetime. Once, due to forced circumstances in an effort by her parents to give her a better life. And the second time, of her own volition.

Although people will think this book is about Iran, it isn’t really. It is a coming of age story about a little Iranian girl growing up in Iran, then about her short stay in Austria, coming back to Iran and then finally leaving for Paris. It is a story about the challenges an intelligent and outspoken girl and woman goes through in the world and in her lifetime.

So, here are the reasons I liked this book so much and recommend it to everyone to read ๐Ÿ™‚

1. Everyone knows just about the extreme Islamic rule of Iran. But do we know about Iran’s real history? About its King, its Prime Minister? How it came to be? No? Then a good book to start with for beginners

2. We think all Islamic states are all about subversion of its people, especially their women. They probably don’t have a life, we think. Actually, we’re wrong. The author herself states that Iranians led a sort of dual life and a lot of them fight to maintain their rights and freedom. Read the book to know more about what I’m talking about

3. The book touches upon the daily fight of a nation’s people against religious extremism and freedom of expression, while keeping their faith intact

4. This is a book for feminists, or one that touches upon gender inequality as well. Gender inequality and discrimination is global. If you have any doubts about it, read this book

5. It’s a coming of age story about a girl full of spirit and ideas. If you’ve ever felt beat down by others regarding your ideologies, read this book. It will give you a renewed sense of purpose to continue to speak up and speak out

All in all, Iโ€™m glad I read this book. I might check out itโ€™s screen adaptation too, if I get my hands on it๐Ÿ™‚

Have you guys read this book? What were your thoughts?

Whats your favourite illustrated book?

Top Ten Tuesdayโ€™s : Ten ways to battle FOMO as a reader

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and published every week on a Tuesday where readers can post about their top 10s for the week’s topic๐Ÿ˜Š. Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This weekโ€™s topic was to list down books with single word titles but I have just one or two such books. So instead, I decided to write about something that has been affecting me a lot lately and leading to stress and anxiety – FOMO – Fear of Missing Out.

So this is what happened this morning – I woke up and while having my glass of warm water, was mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, when I came across a post by an author whose books Iโ€™ve been enjoying recently. She was looking to have more people join her street team. Needless to say, my first reaction was to go and sign up quickly on that link. I mean, all my bookish friends were on her street team, so I should be in there too right?! But reality struck when I realised while filling in her form, that you needed to put in some effort and time to be a good street team member as well (DUH). Iโ€™ve already been a lousy street team member for another author, so how on earth would I make time to support this popular authorโ€™s expectations?!

This got me thinking about all the times I bought a book because a blogger I love recommended it, adding to my already over flowing unread shelf, all the times I thought of quitting my job so I could find more time to go on that solo trip to that certain place, or almost signing up for a half marathon knowing that I wasnโ€™t prepared enough just because all my running buddies were doing it. And, inadvertently falling into the pitfalls of stress and anxiety brought about by trying to do too much, unrealistically.

Thatโ€™s why, I decided to use todayโ€™s Top Ten Tuesday prompt, to write a message to myself on how to deal with FOMO. This is a generic list so you can use it for all kinds of FOMO triggers – book, travel, fashion, the perfect home, the perfect family, business – the list is endless ๐Ÿ˜

Top Ten ways to put FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) in its place ๐Ÿ˜‰

  1. The first one is obvious and the hardest or nearly impossible to follow – just donโ€™t log into social media! Better, disable all social media accounts!!
  2. Since I for one donโ€™t want to be absolutely anonymous and literally have all my friends in the virtual world, Iโ€™ll skip the first advice and move on to the others. Create checklists in advance and try to stick to it. Donโ€™t give it to temptation! Itโ€™s almost like being on a diet plan. You want to read what everyone else is reading and get enticed by all those new releases, but please go back to your checklist! You can have one cheat day in the diet, so maybe I can allow myself to replace one book from my checklist ๐Ÿ˜ฌ
  3. Iโ€™ve got to remind myself to set realistic expectations from myself and the time I have. No matter how much I want Hermoineโ€™s time turner, I canโ€™t get it. So Prachi, youโ€™ve got 24 hours and a major chunk of it is already blocked for work and family and sleep. So go figure out the rest and plan accordingly!!
  4. Make a priority list. I know you want to really read all the books RIGHT NOW, but ahem, you kind of need to prioritise office work that pays for all those books, exercise, and spending time with your daughter higher than reading all those books TODAY!
  5. An easier way of attaining point 1 advice is to distract yourself with real life activities so you donโ€™t have time to check social media and get FOMO!! Genius eh?!eh?! ๐Ÿ˜Ž
  6. Get your ideologies to battle FOMO for you. Do you really want your FOMO to feed over consumerism and over capitalism?! ๐Ÿค”
  7. Try brainwashing your brain. No, bad word, try talking to your brain to explain that itโ€™s OK to not have read all the books all your friends and their friends are reading this month. Itโ€™s OK. Let it go.. Woosa!! Inner peace โ˜ฎ๏ธ
  8. If youโ€™re still not able to control your impulses Prachi, check your budget. Finances are a finite resource after all.
  9. If youโ€™re doing this to be a part of a group or a community or look cool or be popular, it wonโ€™t work really. Instead, try talking to your friends – real or in the online world on a one to one basis. Instead of signing up for everything and not enjoying anything and burning out..๐Ÿ˜ฐ๐Ÿฅต
  10. Finally, I get it when budding entrepreneurs do this. You arenโ€™t one yet Prachi. But suppose you want to be one day, then choose your target audience and channel your FOMO impulses accordingly. May the force be with you. The truth is out there. (No idea why Iโ€™m quoting movies and my favorite shows lol)

I would love to hear your thoughts on battling anxiety caused by FOMO in the age social media as wellโœŒ๐Ÿฝ

Have you tried to sign up for an authorโ€™s street team before?

Disclaimer : Iโ€™m no expert on mental health. This is just a light hearted personal post on my opinions. Please treat this as a story rather than actual professional advice ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ™

Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon – Thoughts

A desi/Indian re-telling of one of my favorite fairy tales- Beauty and the Beast, by a soon turning out to be a go-to author for romances with Indian protagonists – Sandhya Menon. It was all that I had expected and more ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve only read one other book by Sandhya – When Dimple met Rishi, but now Im thinking I should quickly read all her other books too!โค๏ธ

What I liked the most about both the books I’ve read by her, is her apt representation of the Indian Young Adult. Although, Im not a young adult anymore, there are many cultural references and themes that I’m sure every Indian girl can relate to, from her stories. The romances in her stories are real, the kind you can relate to, not far fetched or impossible sounding. Even if its a fairy tale retelling with Princesses and Dukes, I could still believe that this story could be anyone’s love story really.

She does her protagonists well – both the books I read had elder/older siblings as the protagonists and oh my gosh, could I relate to that ‘I need to be the perfect daughter for my parents, or I need to stand up for their values syndrome’, that she writes about in both her books! We’re all about being perpetually torn between keeping up with the times and trying to salvage our culture and show our love and respect towards our parents by almost letting them dictate our lives ๐Ÿ™‚

But even more than the protagonists, I like the supporting cast in her books. The parents are like my parents, strict but loving at the same time. The siblings are like mine – wild and lovable. The friends are like the people I know, unsure, but having each other’s backs and being extremely funny. In this book, I loved Rahul’s character, he cracked me up! I liked the way Jaya doesn’t shun or judge the school Diva Catarina or Daphne for their choices. That takes a lot of character.

This is going to be a series of romances from the St Rosetta Academy and I’m curious to see which story is going to be next. I liked how this time the author played out a mixed race romance featuring an Indian and a Britisher ๐Ÿ™‚

So all in all, keeping in tune with her usual light hearted writing style with great characters and story setting, I enjoyed reading this YA romance ๐Ÿ™‚

Questions to you guys

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?

Whatโ€™s your recent favourite fairy tale retelling that youโ€™ve read?

The Black Hawks (Articles of Faith #1) by David Wragg – Thoughts

I gave this debut a 3.5 stars, for its debut effort and entertainment factor.

This story has a new narration angle, where our protagonist Chel is not hero-like, and is thrown into extremely violent circumstances unexpectedly, where he has to protect his life and the life of one of the crown Princes – Prince Tarfel. They make a very uncharasteric pair. The Prince is annoying and whiny most of the time, so much so, that I almost laughed at his scenes. And Chel, has no skills as a body guard, but somehow manages based on luck alone.

In come the gang of mercernaries, called the Black Hawks – Rennic, Loveless, Lemon, Foss, Spider and Whisper. Now, the book gets interesting, and all the scenes which involved this bunch of people, were absolutely entertaining and sometimes downright funny, if you can ignore all the different ways of cussing ๐Ÿ™‚

We get a glimpse of each Black Hawk member’s characteristic in the first book, but what I missed was getting some more back story on each of the characters and how they came together. Maybe that will come in the second of third books, I hope it does. There was no romance in the book too, something that I missed a little:) I did care about the Black Hawk members, who doesn’t care about a bunch of misfits who have no moral compass, other than looking out for each other’s backs? But I did miss having more dialogue from the band. There were a few poignant dialogues between some of the characters, but most of their banter revolved around cussing at each other in funny ways, or fighting.

Hmm, and that brings me to the next bit – the amount of action in this book, goodness. Ok, so if you thrive on action, are an action movie buff – then this is the perfect book for you. But for someone like me, I like a good healthy mix of action, dialogue, world building and character building – even in a Robin Hood or gang of misfit mercenaries out on an impossible mission kind of book – Six of Crows anyone? I will always cite Six of Crows as a heist and mission impossible done with misfits with action and soul – as the perfect balance of entertainment. The actions scenes were well written, but there was JUST TOO MUCH of it. I got tired in the middle.

However, all that was made up for in the unexpected twist in the end! I had not guessed that at all. So full marks on surprising me at the end. But, there is a cliffhanger. If you don’t like books ending with major cliffhangers, hmm, maybe wait till the next book is out ๐Ÿ™‚

All in all, a good debut effort, but I felt some soul lacking. I hope that will be made up for in the next installments ๐Ÿ™‚