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 🙂
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!❤️
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 🙂
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 🙂
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 🙂
Questions to you guys
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?
What’s your recent favourite fairy tale retelling that you’ve read?
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 🙂
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 🙂
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 🙂
I am a sucker for dystopian fiction, so I knew I would enjoy this book when I did get to read it. Why I hadn’t read it until now, was because of the subject of the book. The fact that I listened to the audiobook version narrated by the lovely Elisabeth Moss, slightly softened the hard hitting nightmarish premise of the book for me.
Now that Testaments is out, and has shared the Booker Prize last year, and Hulu has made the book a well known story with its screen adaptation, I don’t think I need to talk about the premise of the book. But if you’re still in the dark about the dystopian world of Gilead, and you’re a woman, it is probably your worst nightmare come true. Imagine a world without choice to who you can love, and how you can love. Who you can touch and how you can touch. Where subjugation is on such an extreme level that no one knows what is the truth anymore. Where propaganda by the extremists are taken to such extent that the victims believe that they deserve all of this and that it is actually what is right and good for them. Worst of all, imagine, having everything taken away from you, after you’ve tasted freedom.
There are two kinds of freedom. Freedom to and freedom from – says aunt Lydia
But it is hard to see the benefits for the argument of freedom from, when you have experienced the freedom to.
Via multiple perspectives, Margaret Atwood makes their readers think, question themselves. Who should I feel sorry for? The Handmaids who are legally raped but are given all other benefits because they can bear children? The Commander’s wives, who have no right to their own husbands anymore, and have to watch them have sex with the Handmaids? The Commanders or the men, who are not allowed to even look at women and can be killed if they even think of concepts such as love or attraction?
You can’t die from lack of sex. But you can die from lack of love, muses Offred
The author makes you wonder, what would I do in a situation like this? Will I succumb to it or will I fight it? Will I be a Moira, an Offred or a Jeanine? Or an off glen? I don’t know. The instinct to survive under any condition is so high in humans, that it is possible to suffer under injustice and pretend that everything happened for the best, than to fight back and die.
Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance. You have to work at it – Offred
The worst part of the book wasn’t any of this though. It was the realization, that we could be on the brink of a world like that already. Or that, there are places even today, where such practices are normal and acceptable. We might already have a Gilead. What gave me shudders and nightmares days after finishing this book, was the fact that everything I love and cherish, can be taken away from me within moments, and there may be nothing I can do about it.
I actually loved the writing style and the atmosphere Margaret Atwood creates in this book. The world building is very realistic and believable. I was completely invested in Offred’s narration of her story. That ending research subject note brought a hint of positivity to Offred’s outcome. I will be reading the Testaments next, but wanted to write down my thoughts for Handmaid’s Tale, on a friend’s suggestion:)
All in all, highly recommend this for everyone to read. You can read it as a horror story, cautionary tale, or completely chose to disregard it. Still, its worth a read 🙂 A five star 🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating book for me this month!☺️
I skim read this book, once I was half way through and realised I wasnt invested in the story or any of the characters at all. For me, that’s as good as DNF-ing the book. This book was one of the South Asian Reading Challenge backlist BOTM for February and I really wanted to like this, but I guess not all books can be great all the time😊🤷♀️
I had multiple issues such as
1. Couldn’t relate the story to the Title of the book at all
2. All the conversation on equity and lingerie fashion were lost on me
3. I felt the writing too simplistic and the plot rushed. For example, a lot of the characters who are supposed to be close to the protagonist were completely forgotten in the majority of the book and some new characters replace them. I couldnt figure out how easily Ella could replace Mia
4. How is it that you work in an organisation and dont even realise till the end that your bosses are related? Rich and famous people’s lives are all over the internet all the time!
5. The romance was absolutely flat for me. I could not see the chemistry between the leading pair at all. In fact, even I felt, that for most of the time, our protagonists were just looking at each other’s physical attributes than anything deeper
6. I was angry with the protagonist and her friends for not standing up for each other.
So overall, I didnt like this book that much and won’t recommend it for romance, or fiesty leading female character or for strong friendships.
No book is really worth reading at the age of ten, which is not equally, and often, far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond – C.S. Lewis
Although I’m not fifty yet, I’m learning to appreciate the wise words of C.S Lewis, now that I have discovered and loved the children’s fantasy books written by authors like Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett only in my late 30s!!
Would you believe that until I received this book last year as a surprise birthday present in my mailbox from a dear pen pal, I had neither heard of the author, nor the book?! Well, it’s true. But, I feel very lucky that I’m still a book virgin when it comes to so many amazing books and authors that my heart fills with excitement just thinking about all these unread books!! So a huge thank you to my friend, to start with! She had already introduced me to the Invisible Library series and now this 😊
What I really enjoyed about the book were the delightful characters, a completely unusual love story, absolutely obnoxious yet believable fantasy elements and of course, the moving castle!
I realised that one of my favourite themes in books I enjoy and love is humour. The whackier, quirkier and crazier it is, the better. Which is why I enjoyed The Hitchiker’s series and enjoying Terry Pratchett so much! Some of the dialogues and scenes in the story were downright funny! The scene with the enlarged suit was so funny that I spilt a little of the coffee I was having while reading it! No no, the book was safe. Only my top was soiled a little.. no need to panic 😝
I felt like this was just not a silly fantasy love story, but that there were elements of feminism, classism and exploitation that were subtly addressed in the book too. Although I related to Sophie the most, being the eldest in my family too, my favorite character was Calcifer the demon.
I also loved all the little nicknames that Howl comes up for Sophie’s nosy attitude throughout the book. They were so cute!
So now, next on the agenda is to watch the Anime adaptation of the book, so I can relish the magic a little longer😀😍
Questions to you guys:
What is a favorite childhood fantasy series or book of yours?
Have you recently discovered a book thay had been around since ages b it you only just found out about it and loved it?
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 topic😊. Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.
This week’s topic is: Love Freebie
I haven’t read a lot of romances in the last three years. A problem which I’m sure will be resolved this year, considering all the romances I’ve been reading and enjoying – either obvious romance books or romances in the bigger picture of a fantasy story book.
However, I don’t have enough moolah to talk bookish romance for this week’s tag. So instead, I’m going to tell you about the Top 10 reasons why I think it’s easier to fall in love with books than with a real being (unless they’re related to you or are your pet 🤪)
1. You don’t need to make an appointment for a date with your book. They’re always available.
2. Your book cannot cheat on you. They just don’t have the spine for that.. got the pun? Eh? Eh? Ok ok, don’t unfollow me please! 😳🤓
3. A book will never judge you. No matter how ugly or fat or awkward or strange you are. You know the book is going to be there on that shelf of yours for as long as you will have them.
4. A book will never say mean things to you. Yeah, sometimes you’ll get frustrated at the book, you’ll yell at them, slam them down, even DNF them! But the book worships you, their reader. It knows you’re their soulmate. It will never answer back. Unless AI becomes so advanced that they make talking books. Not the audible ones. Books with opinions. Hey, that’s a good idea for a story! I’ve copyrighted it now! Lol
5. A book looks good no matter where you have your date. A coffee shop, a drink at the pub, a night out with girlfriends, a double date at a book club, at the park, on the bus, even in the loo!
6. This one is for the married people who have really boring love lives. You can exchange books!! And not be shunned by society for it!! Since it’s hard to exchange partners .. ahem. No, I’ve never thought of exchanging my partner.. not once! 😉
7. You won’t be stuck with just one type of relationship when you’re in love with books. You want to run away with a bad boy, you’ll find a book for that! You want to have a quiet romantic evening with a stable kind of guy? There’s a book with that character! You’re not straight and don’t want to come out of the closet yet? Well, there are books which have exactly the kind of girl or guy you’re looking for😉❤️
8. Books are always there for you. Like that song from Friends?! There’s a book to get you through the best times of your life and the worst time of your life. There are books that can guide you and uplift you. And they never get tired of listening to you. Even if you water them down with your tears or stain them with your coffee or French fries oil. They’ll stick around. Always..
9. Well, love has to be a little shallow too sometimes. And some books are Just. So. Pretty!!!! Ugh, I could stare at those beautiful covers for ages!! And the smell of a new book!! To die for!
10. And for the last number, since I cant say finally or lastly, as I’m sure there are a million more reasons why falling in love with books is easier and better than anything else, books are a very good way to protect yourself, especially if you’re a woman or a girl. I know for one that no one dares to mess or approach me when I’m with a book lol
I hope you enjoyed my silly take on this week’s Top Ten – the book love freebie! I would love to hear about your reasons to fall in love with a book as well!! Or your TTT for the week as well! Have a lovely week darling readers!!!❤️💓🥰
Thank you Sahi @ My World of Books for tagging me on this fun bookish academy awards feature! If you want to check out her nominations, head over here.
You might find a lot of repetitions from my last post on my favorite books, because, of course my favorite reads from last year will win some awards..lol. All of my nominations are from books read from Jan 2019 to Jan 2020 🙂
Hmm..it was a close call between Kaz Brekker and Prince Rhy. But all things said and all circumstances considered, Kaz Brekker takes the award for just being it all! Applause!!!
Best Actress: “Best Female Protagonist”
Copyright of Fan Art @Deviantart.com
The award for this one was an absolute no-brainer, since I have been drooling over and whining over Delilah Bard from the Shades of Magic Trilogy, from the time I met/read her:)
Best Cinematography: “Best Plot Twist”
Since I don’t want to repeat some of my choices and give one book/series all the awards, I’m going to give this award to the plot twist towards the end in Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I had suspected something, but when everything unfolds, I had not seen that coming 🙂
Best Costume Design: “Best Book Cover”
Oh, the Peculiars win this, hands down. I own so many beautiful books, but the covers for these books are simply of another world. Here is the picture of the first book in the series – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Best Supporting Actress and Actor: “Best Male and Female Sidekicks/Supporting characters”
Of course, it has to be the six from Six of Crows – I mean, who else can I choose? Kaz, Inej, Mathias, Nina, Jesper, Wylan…how much I miss them! Sigh. I also liked the ensemble from Little Women – all the sisters were such well written characters:)
Best On-Screen Kiss: “Best Couple/Romance”
Although there are quite a few I couples who I loved in so many books that I read last year, but I think I’ll give this award to Aristotle and Dante. They were adorable, and had my heart while I was trying to discover the secrets of the universe with them 🙂
Best Original Screenplay: “Most Unique Plot/World”
I read the first book of the Invisible Library series last year, and again sad to say that I haven’t moved on to the next books yet. But I had never read about a world where libraries are the power keepers/portals into different worlds, and where librarians can have super powers and can travel between worlds and where dragons are human beings!!
Best Adapted Screenplay: “Best Book-to-Movie Adaptation” OR “A book that should be adapted into a film”
I will be watching Little Women this weekend, so I think I’ll nominate Little Women for this, since I’m sure I will love the movie as much as I enjoyed re-reading the book last year 🙂
Best Animated Feature: “A book that would work well in an animated format” OR “Best Graphic Novel” OR “Best Children’s Book”
Oh, again, Death Note was the only illustrated book/manga that I read last year and loved. So the award goes to…..Death Note!!
Best Director: “A writer you discovered for the first time”
I discovered two new authors for the first time last year – Leigh Bardugo and Victoria Schwab and have fallen in love with both of their works. So I have to nominate both of them for this award 🙂
Best Short Film: “Best Novella” or “Short Book”
Animal Farm by George Orwell. Absolutely brilliant and ingenious and valid even in the present day.
Best Picture: “Best Stand-Alone”
Less by Andrew Sean Greer, for its exceptionally comical take on book awards and the journey of one gay writer towards finding love amidst a series of hilarious mix ups.
Best Documentary: “Best Historical Fiction” OR “Best Non-Fiction”
I’m not a fan of religion. And yet, when read Devdutt Pattnaik’s Faith, last year, I thought it was a well written and well analyzed break down of a lot of mythologies and customs, and their origins, or the reasoning behind them, from the Hindu religion. Not that I agree with a lot of them, but a good read, nevertheless.
Best Original Soundtrack: “Best Audio book” or “Best Book in Verse”
Becoming Michelle Obama, narrated by the most inspiring Michelle Obama. I absolutely loved this audiobook. I do want to mention the runner up in the category – Mythos narrated by Stephen Fry, because Stephen Fry makes everything absolutely entertaining and hilarious!
Best Foreign Film: “Best diverse author” OR “Best book with Diverse Representation”
City of Brass by S.A Chrakroborty. I’m sad that I haven’t read the next book in the series yet, but the settings and the characters in this YA fantasy series was very different from the usual characters I read about in fantasy series. Character names and the settings seemed to be somewhere in the middle east in this fantasy novel, with Arabic mythical creatures like Djinns, Ifrits, Marids, etc taking on roles that we typically have vampires, werewolves and witches take, in fantasy novels. Another close win in this category was Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, although I didn’t enjoy the recently released sequel as much.
And, that’s a wrap!! Time to get some coffee now..:D I hope you enjoyed reading my nominations. I’d love to hear your nominations in the comments, or if you want to tag yourself and write this post, please do and send me a link! 🙂
What a delightful beginning to the reading month of February – the month known for romance and love 😉 ❤
I’ve become a cynic when it comes to romance novels or movies in general, and usually avoid picking up an out and out romance since the last few years. But I’m glad I read this one on the glowing recommendation of reader friends, whose recommendations I’ve come to trust and bank on lately.
I used to read a lot of historic romances, mainly because they’re less steamy. I have been big fan of Julian Quinn’s Bridgerton series as well. This book, in the beginning, seemed to be going along the same lines. We know them all, feisty heroine with a mind of her own, brooding hero who looks tough on the outside but has a kind heart and who falls head over heels in love with our feisty heroine. Predictable.
But all the predictability ended at about 50% into the book, when the twists come in and a larger cause is brought into the picture. Anyone watched or read North & South? This felt similar. The protagonists are not just busy attending parties and being around each other all the time. They both have causes that theyre fighting for, that they believe in. In this case, its the setting of the beginning of the women’s suffragist movement in UK.
Even I was appalled to read about the lack of freedom women had then. I know of the movement and the years of hard work these women did, in order to bring us women where we are today. The basic right to property, the right to vote – they all seem so normal to us today. But it wasn’t normal at all in the 1800s. We have come such a long way, and I loved to see our four heroines work towards their cause in the story.
I think this is going to be a series of 4 books, since we’re introduced to 4 women in this book. And I’m really looking forward to reading the next one, which will feature the leader of their group – Lucie 🙂
A great way to start my February reads 🙂
Questions for you guys 🙂
Have you guys read this book yet? What were your thoughts?
Do you think romance novels give us a distorted picture of expectations in terms of reality?
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 topic😊. Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.
This week’s topic is: Books On My TBR I Predict Will Be 5-Star Reads
However, I’m terrible at selecting or sticking to my TBR and I usually just plan a month in advance. I’m also terrible at predicting what will be a 5-star read for me and I like to be surprised usually. So, instead of my predictions, and because I didn’t do a similar post for last year’s top reads, I’m going to put down my Top 10 5-star rated reads from last year’s books. Hope you enjoy this twist 🙂
The Shades of Magic Trilogy by Victoria Schwab: Yes, I’m cheating here and adding all three books here because all three of the books were my 5-star reads last year 🙂 I discovered a new favorite heroine Delilah Bard from this series
Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo: Another series, a duology this time, that stole my heart with its amazing ensemble of characters
American Gods by Neil Gaiman: While the screen adaptation just wasn’t interesting enough, the book was amazing in its concept. Something I had never read before in the fantasy/sci-fi genre
Animal Farm by George Orwell: I am a fan of George Orwell’s works. The year before, I had read and fallen in love with 1984. Last year, I was amazed at the parallels I could draw with the political situation now, and this satirical, visionary depiction of the Animal Farm
The Shooting Star by Shivya Nath: It’s hard to find a non fiction to be a favorite. And a travel book at that. But I’m a big fan of Shivya Nath and her blogs. Her book was equally amazing and left me with a desire to pack my bags right away and leave home
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss: This is a book that I had never heard of. And I picked it up on recommendation of fellow readers. A book that is all about love and ageing and finding your purpose. Its about writers and readers. Its about hope and loss. It was heartbreaking and yet fulfilling to read at the same time.
Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett: I’ve read three books from the Discworld series so far, but this one has been my favorite of the three read, because of its amazing feminist characters Granny Weatherwax and Eskarina – the first Hermoine I guess..heheh
Less by Andrew Greer: Everyone was as surprised as the author, when this book won the Man Booker Prize last year. It had none of the makings of one of those books – which are usually complicated to read and dark and very hard to follow. Andrew Greer’s story about a gay writer finding himself and love amidst hilarious mix-ups was an absolute treat to read!
Becoming by Michelle Obama: Need I say anything about this one? Being a big fan of Michelle Obama and Barack Obama, I listened to the audible first and bought the hardcover so adorn my book shelf with this inspiring auto biography.
Death Note by Takeshi Obata and Tsunami Ohba: My first Manga and again, I was utterly blown over by the first two books I read. The concept, the illustrations and the characters and simply ingenious! I still have to finish the series, and finish it I will 🙂
So, what did you guys think of my 5-star reads from last year? There were many more, but I stuck to my top ten for this list 🙂
This was my last read of Jan 2020, and I’m glad I ended my reading month with this delightful and relevant book. Also, this would be my second book as part of the South Asian Reading Challenge pick this year, which I replaced for Scavenge the Stars, since I wasn’t able to get my hands on the new release 🙂
Now, I know there will be a lot of people who will either read the book because of its title, or avoid buying/reading the book because of its title. Well, let me tell you readers, this is neither a fifty shades of grey kind of book, nor a book that just has a clickbait title or one that will make you squirm with discomfort if you’re a prude like me.
The author has very cleverly written about the making of the ‘fictional’ book from her story, and added that in title of the real book that we read. But the story is not actually about erotic stories for Punjabi widows. It is about women across the world, married women, single women, women facing the constant domination of a patriarchal society, women who have been taught to subdue their most basic desires through years of social conditioning – either on the basis of morals or on the basis of religion. It is the story of women who are forced into marriages, women who are told that marital rape is OK, because you’re just fulfilling your duty, women who have undergone years of torture but who judge other women if they try to carve their own paths, because they’ve been taught that being abused socially, emotionally or physically, is completely acceptable. This is the story of these women and how they fight their subjugation through the power of these erotic stories.
I loved how these lovely Punjabi women get together and talk about their wildest fantasies. Oh yes, some of those stories did make me blush, since, I’m one of those women who had been raised to think of sex and pleasure as sinful practises or thoughts. My fantasies literally would end at the kiss. Even that was blasphemous, if I shared that thought with another adult. I wish I had read this book when I was younger 🙂
I also adored the friendships and woman-power that builds up in the book. We see so many different characters and almost everyone gets their redemption. I really enjoyed how the author wrapped up all the different stories, with such clarity of thought.
All in all, a lovely book. One you should pick up if:
You want to read about diverse characters, or if you’re Indian and want to read about your own community/country
You like stories featuring strong female characters and female friendships
You like reading a bit of erotic stories 😉
You like reading about feminist issues and different ways of tackling those issues by means of a fictional book
You like reading about unusual friendships – such as between a younger person and an older person
Avoid this book if:
Steamy stories make you deeply uncomfortable. Those stories are just 5% of the whole book, but still, if you can’t digest them, don’t read it 🙂
Death of a child is a trigger or a difficult subject to read about. That part was actually harder for me to read without crying, than the rest of the book
Subjects of child marriage and rape act as triggers
Questions to you guys 🙂
Have you read this book? Did you love it, or weren’t that impressed by it?
Is there a book you read, which was out of your comfort zone, but once you read it, you were glad you did?