Top Ten Tuesday : 5-Star Reads from 2019

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😊.Β Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted byΒ Β The Broke and Bookish)Β 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 πŸ™‚

  1. 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 πŸ™‚ I discovered a new favorite heroine Delilah Bard from this series img_9452
  2. 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 img_9458-1
  3. 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 img_9436-1
  4. 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 img_7973
  5. 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 img_9492
  6. 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. cd8e91f6-7a45-4022-94a4-b2cc6fc1153f
  7. 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 img_8345
  8. 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! img_7574
  9. 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. 3595a4a9-268c-45a4-82b3-9ecc88db3fa9
  10. 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 πŸ™‚

 

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 πŸ™‚

Any of these in your lists?

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal – Thoughts

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 πŸ™‚

img_9479

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 Β 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰
  • 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 πŸ™‚
  • 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 πŸ™‚

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?

Top Ten Tuesday : Book Cover Freebie

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: Book Cover Freebie (choose what kind(s) of covers you want to talk about: prettiest, most unique, most misleading, weirdest, most memorable, creepiest, ugliest, etc.)

My life has gone a full circle when it comes to books and book covers and owning books. One of the other reasons why I like buying physical copies of books these days is so that I can caress and admire the beautiful covers that books come in these days! πŸ˜€ Sometimes, the same beautiful covers mislead me into buying them too though..ahem.

But this post may not be just about my top ten pretty book covers. Its going to be all about the top ten books that I own on my physical book shelf and what struck me about their covers. So here goes πŸ™‚

  1. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal – The book cover is so simplistic and the title so naughty
  2. The Night Country by Melissa Albert – The second book for The Hazel Wood and similar to Hazel Wood, the cover of this book seems almost like a mystery for the reader to solve, before the book even starts! That’s quite exciting, I thought..
  3. Fire and Blood by George R.R. Martin – Anything with Dragons on the cover, and you’ve almost sold it to me.. πŸ˜€ I still have to progress with reading this mammoth of a book. February goals maybe?
  4. Americanah by Chimamada Ngochi Adichie – A book that I most definitely did not buy because of its cover. Another treasure that I need to read..sigh..
  5. The Six of Crows Collector’s Editions by Leigh Bardugo – I know I have included both the books here, but I mean, just look at these beautiful hardcovers, with their gold and red embossed designs, giving away clues for each of the character’s strengths/ weapons of choice πŸ™‚
  6. The DeathNote 1 & 2 books by Takeshi Obata and Tsugumi Ohba – The first manga I read and own. This book tricked me right from the start when I tried opening it from the usual front to back and realised that was upside down, and that I had to read it back to front!!! Whoa!!
  7. Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims – This was a book I had picked up in UK, literally based on that cute, vibrant yellow, and funny cover. It almost sang to me saying, read me, I’ll make you laugh, and I did laugh a lot reading this one. It’s almost my own life πŸ˜€
  8. Sourcery by Terry Pratchett – Actually, you can consider any of the book covers from the Discworld series from this edition and the covers are kind of gross. I mean, just look at this! And these are supposed to be children’s fantasy aparently! However, the content is absolutely hilarious and very clean..at least so far πŸ˜€
  9. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – I own the entire collection up to Map of Days, but haven’t read them all. Have two more to go to finish all the ones so far. But the first book and all the other books, and their covers are absolutely eerie!
  10. Looking for Alaska by John Green (10th Anniversary Edition) – This was one of those shiny golden books that I was cheated into buying because of its cover. I had liked John Green’s Fault in our Stars, but didn’t enjoy Paper Towns and was equally disappointed with Looking for Alaska as well. The cover was shiny and beautiful, but the story was okay-is for me. Nothing very great πŸ™‚

 

So, there you go, those were mere thoughts on the covers of some of the books I own, that stood out to me in one way or the other πŸ™‚ Have you read any of these books? 

I’ll be looking forward to reading your TTT lists on covers as well! πŸ™‚

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by VE Schwab – Thoughts

“Anoshe – Until Another Day“…

 

Sigggghhhhhhhhhh! Another epic series, and another heart breaking farewell to some of my favourite characters from a book. This has been added to my all-time favorite series hall of fame shelf, along with the Harry Potter books and The Six of Crows books. I am literally feeling the same sense of loss that I felt when I had to say goodbye to Kaz, Inej, Mathias, Nina, Wylan, and Jesper, Harry, Ron, Hermoine, Luna, Neville, Prof Dumbledore, Prof Snape, and so many more, now that I have to say goodbye to Lila, Kell, Rhy, Alucard, and Holland.

img_9453

I had started this series last year, and what a journey it has been with these guys. This post is not going to be a review. This post is going to be a dump of my thoughts and will contain many spoilers and lots of swooning from my side. So, before you delve into my thoughts, that is if you have the time and patience to do so, let me just tell you – if you haven’t read the Shades of Magic trilogy, and you are a fan of YA fantasy with epic characters, then please read these books! They are just brilliant! And Delilah Bard!! Swooooon!! I have a girl crush on you πŸ˜€

******Major Spoilers Ahead – Read at your own risk!! ******

The last book of the series packs in so much adventure and so much heartbreak, that once I finished reading the book, I was giving it a standing ovation in my mind. The end of an epic adventure could not have been more epic than this. I could not find any faults with any of the books in this series. If I had to, I’d say, why couldn’t there be more books???!!! πŸ˜€

img_9451

The story continues from the grim ending of the Essen Tasch games. Kell has been captured by Holland, who has the evil black king Osaron controlling him. Rhy is dying, again! Lila is going to surprise all by revealing she is the third Antari by traveling to White London to save Kell, and Red London succumbs to the dark magic – leading to chaos, disease and destruction in the once beautiful London. While everyone is trying to salvage whatever they can in whatever way they are able to, the darkness is growing and amidst all this, there are political undercurrents going on as well, amongst the guests from Faro and Vesk, who are all trapped inside the Palace now.

The finale is much longer than the second book. While the first book was all about an adventure, and the second book about introducing Alucard Emery in the story and the scintillating magic games/tournament, the finale, was brutal. It was about friendship, love, loss, strength, lots of endings and a few new beginnings.

What makes me rave about this book and this overall series is not the fantasy part of the stories, the world building or the language, it is the memorable characters and the bond that they share. I have always loved Lila Bard in this series – she is my favourite character. But, in the third book, I also fell in love with Rhy. The one person who didn’t have any magic, in a world where magic is supposed to mean power. And the one person who was stronger for the lack of it. The amount of kindness and courage Rhy shoes in this story, is just commendable. We see the boy Prince rise up to be the King he is supposed to be.

I have to talk about Holland too. I wanted more for him. I know he was one of the villains in the series, but for me, Osaron was the villain. I just couldnt seem to loathe Holland, even though it was because of him that all shit goes down to begin with. But then, the author very cleverly asks us readers, via Kell – was it Kell who started all or was it Holland? And via Lila – hadn’t Lila killed countless men as well? Men, who would have family and friends too, to survive? So how was Lila better than Holland? My heart went out to Holland, as we read his back stories through little snippets. That man had gone through so much, and yet, he fought to right all the wrongs he made. I was heartbroken to see him go in the end. I didn’t want him to go.

I was heartbroken with the many deaths in this story too. There were just too many beloved characters, who finally got a stage to shine, have their backstory, only to be rudely taken away from us. I nearly cried at the deaths of Hastra, Lenos, and Queen Emira. Not so much King Maxim’s since his was a King’s sacrifice out of duty, but still..

I loved the way the author showed unlikely people team up and have each other’s back, overcoming their differences and distrust of each other, to save each other. I loved how Holland saves Lila, and the strong bond of friendship between Lila and Alucard. I loved how tempestuous Lila finds her anchor in Kell, and how tethered Kell, gets a chance to have his own adventure. I loved the relationship that Alucard and Rhy have, and above all, I loved the bond of brotherhood and the relationship between Kell and Rhy.

I liked the pacing of the story too. I know a lot of readers might find the pacing slow, or say, not a lot happened in the finale, and say that we keep reading about everyone’s feelings most of the times. But for me, that was the best part. I don’t like being overtaken by twists after twists. I like some action and I like to get to know my characters. I love books where I remember the characters more than I remember the story. Because, these characters become my invisible friends. Yes, I’m a little mad that way – a lot of Luna Lovegood in me, Id say πŸ˜€ The story is important too, and for me the pacing seemed believable.

Sigh, I’m going to miss this series. I know they said Anoshe to me, but I’ll probably go back and read them again, to find them πŸ™‚

img_9452
My beautiful collector’s edition of the series!!

Questions to you guys:

If you made it this far, and read through the spoilers and are ready to not kill me, then what were your thoughts on the Shades of Magic series?Β 

Who was your favorite character and favorite ship in this series?

 

Top Ten Tuesday : The Ten Recent Additions To My Bookshelf

This is my first TTT post!!

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😊.Β Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted byΒ Β The Broke and Bookish)Β is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s topic is:Β The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf

And here’s my listπŸ˜ŠπŸ“š. I haven’t included the kindle purchases and audible purchases in this list. My list literally includes the latest additions to my physical book shelf, some read and some yet to be read.

  • A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab – I bought this collector’s edition hardcover this month which is the finale of a most interesting series and currently reading this!

img_9429-1

  • The Secret Garden By Frances H Burnett – I bought this beautiful classic edition from an online Indian Indie supplier. Looking forward to reading this one!

img_9434-1

  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones – I received this book as a present from my pen friend! I’ll be reading this in Feb as part of my unread shelf project challenge 😊

img_9427-1

  • Dark Things by Sukanya Venkatraghavan – I had bought this book last year but it counts as an addition to my bookshelf since I don’t buy a lot of physical copies usually. I had really enjoyed reading this romance fantasy story by an Indian author.

img_9437-1

  • Sourcery by Terry Pratchett – The fifth of the discworld books that I recently borrowed from our library to try and catch up with my pen friend’s reading of the series so we can laugh along together!

img_9431-1

  • A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab – I have all the three books in the collector’s edition now. Had bought this one in December last year and absolutely loved the sequel.

img_9435-1

  • Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill – I had bought this book last year from a book exhibition that was hosted in our office campus. Interesting read and collection of poetry and short stories on feminism

img_9438-1

  • Stephen King On Writing – This was a book I had bought in November last year from a local bookstore to inspire me for NaNoWriMo. And I still haven’t started reading it πŸ™ˆ Ahem

img_9432-1

  • Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal – I had bought this book in the same book exhibition and will probably be reading this as part of the south Asian reading challenge this month since I’m not able to buy the new release BOTM choice 😏

img_9433-1

  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman – And the last but not the least, recent addition to my physical bookshelf, was this Neil Gaiman book which I bought from our local bookstore on sale. I’ve read it and was absolutely blown over by the story and the concept in the book. It was mind blowing stuff!! I’m finding it harder to get into the screen adaptation of the book though..

img_9436-1

 

So, those were my most recent physical additions to my book shelf. What were yours?

Have you read or plan to read any of these books?

When you hear the word ‘bookshelf’, do you automatically think physical bookshelf or can it be a collection of all formats of books that you recently acquired? πŸ˜ŠπŸ“š

My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma – Thoughts

“Picture the most romantic Bollywood song you can think of, and play that in the back of your mind, while reading this review and also while reading this book for the most impact πŸ˜‰ :D”

So, now that we have the background music set, lets start at the beginning. How I decided to read this book. That one is simple actually – this book was one of the January BOTM selections of the South Asian Reading challenge hosted by Fanna and Nandini. So thanks guys for letting me go back in time again!

img_9412

Now, to my thoughts about the book, this one is going to be a short review though πŸ™‚ The last few books I read this month seem to be following a certain trend I guess. Similar to The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, I found this book entertaining, but in a fluffy sort of way. Not one that will stay with me for a long time, but an entertaining read, nevertheless.

The plot is simple, with young teenage protagonists and our usual coming of age story – think of all the High School romantic stories with a feisty leading lady that you can think of πŸ™‚ It has romance, great friendships, a proper evil villain, some ups and downs, lots of drama, supportive parents and a very predictable ending.

I’m not a major Bollywood fan right now, nor a fan of concepts like destiny, or all the astrology stuff mentioned in this book, so I was a little underwhelmed by those bits in the story. However, all the information that the author puts in about film festivals, film appreciation, splicing a film, hosting flash film screenings, were simply amazing. I had not know about these things so that was clearly the winning part of the book for me.

I also enjoyed all the characters in the book. The scenes between our heroine, Winnie and Deb, Winnie and Bridget, Winnie and her dad, Winnie and her grandmother – were my favourite parts of the book.

What this book also did was make me nostalgic and take me back in time to when I had been a major Shah Rukh Khan fan. I still am his fan, but I don’t like his movies anymore. I like him outside his movies better..lol πŸ˜€

So, keeping in with the theme of this book, here are a few Bollywood mentions that I thought of (there will be many overlaps with the book), and my tongue in cheek comments on them (with a few exceptions) πŸ˜€

  1. Kuck Kuch Hota Hai – Friendship goals
  2. Hum Apke Hain Koun – Wedding party goals
  3. Dil to Pagal Hai – Dancing goals
  4. Maine Pyar Kiya – “Ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahi bann sakte”/ “A boy and a girl can never be friends” (the movie and the dialogue that deprived Indians of potentially amazing friendships with the opposite gender..arghhh)
  5. Pink – Girl power!! – I actually like this one
  6. Mardaani – Girl, lets go kick some ass!! – Liked this one too
  7. Dhoom – WTF movies. Bollywood’s take on the WTF fast and furious franchise. Leave logic and gravity behind
  8. Kahaani – What an ending!! Did not see that coming! A must watch for all murder mystery fans! – I liked this one too πŸ™‚
  9. Jaane bhi do yaaron – A very old movie, but another epic one, if you want to watch a hilarious movie on social satire
  10. Sholay – #Respect. No words necessary

Questions to you guys:

There are many other movies that I could list, but I want to hear your movie lists now – no matter what kind of movies you love to watch – Hollywood, Bollywood, any other language, I want to know a movie that you found ridiculous and a movie that might be your forever favorite, in the comments!!

She forgot how to talk

woman sipping from cup
Photo by Wesley Carvalho on Pexels.com

She had never been much of a talker. But she couldn’t be a social recluse either, especially if she wanted that guy to acknowledge her presence. After being ignored a couple of times by the guy of her dreams, rather painfully, she realised, that wallflowers get noticed only in books and movies. Not in real life. She had to change. Not have a makeover, but she had to stop hiding. But how?

That had been in high school. Fast forward to her twenties, and she was the centre of attention of all parties. She won the class awards, and was so popular that there were guys clamouring for her attention and wanting to date her. She could literally take her pick. No, she hadn’t metamorphosed into a beautiful Butterly overnight, but she had figured out the art of making small talk. And looking interested. And listening. And touching. And laughing at the right places. And always being there, being present. It was hard work, but she made it look like it was second nature to her. She was a fake extrovert now. The social interactions tired her, but she loved the attention she got, and so she kept being fake and pretending to be everyone’e best friend, and the coolest girl to date.

But today, sitting with some of her husband’s friends, who had sort of become her friends too, watching the children trouble everyone else in the restaurant, she suddenly realised, she had forgotten how to talk! The realisation hit her hard. But the change hadn’t been as sudden as the realisation. She knew she was changing, and going back to being the social recluse that she was. She knew she could still be the social butterfly using her skills that she had painfully cultivated in her younger years, but now, she was truly exhausted. She had known since her daughter had been born, that she needed to stop channeling her finite energy in pleasing people and being fake, and try and focus on herself instead. She had forgotten how to please the one person who was important to her. In learning how to please others and learning how to talk, in all of those years, she had forgotten how to talk to herself, her soul.

Her husband had been the first one to notice. Their marriage had lost its spark, but they were together because of many other reasons. It was due to no fault of his, she had realised one day. He had married the popular, cheerful, talkative, life of the party. But since the last three years, she had become quieter, buried in her own world, in her books, in her writing. They would still have a few good conversations, but she had no interest in socialising anymore. She had a handful of friends now, and most people avoided talking to her in parties. She was happy to forget how to talk to others. It was such a peaceful thing, not having to talk just for the sake of talking.

She smiled, as she heard all the noise, all the chattering around her in that crowded restaurant on that sunny, winter, Sunday afternoon. She zoned out, making the sounds turn into a sort of white noise. She had a sip of her drink, and hummed along to the song, Wonderwall, that no one else had heard. She loved that she had forgotten to talk now.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi – Thoughts

Book two in the Orisha trilogy and the sequel for ‘Children of Blood and Bone’. I was expecting a lot from the second book since the first one had been a smashing debut that I had been completely pulled into. And like all things that I have great expectations with, this one left me disappointed. If you are new to this series then you can also check out my review for the first book, Children of Blood and Bone here.

Now I have to warn readers that it’s nearly impossible to talk about this book without giving away any spoilers and I do need to talk about my feelings for the second book. So if you haven’t read the book yet, please don’t read any further. My spoiler-free two pence thought on this is, that it didn’t match my expectations and there were a lot of frustrating moments and things happening with the characters in the book, many questions unanswered and new things added in. The pacing was super fast and the action scenes were brilliant. But those were the two things I liked. So come back to thus post once you’ve read the book, so we can discuss more 😊

*****SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!******

Things I liked about book 2 of the Odisha trilogy:

  • Just look at that cover!! Zelie looks absolutely smashing!! She reminds me of the younger Rihanna in that picture πŸ˜‰πŸ₯°
  • The pacing of the story.. my gosh there were so many twists and turns that you will not have a single second to be bored
  • The world building and the action scenes – I could literally picture all the war scenes that are in this book. I think there were some talks about adapting this trilogy onto screen, so I can totally see the appeal. Quite similar to The Hunger Games Book 2 and Book 3, I’d say
  • The fact that Inan is alive and we get mama Agba back!! Woo hoo!
  • I was still in awe of the political aspects and perspectives in this book and series overall. We can draw so many parallels to ruling and war or peace from this book to o ur own world where each kind of ruler has his or her own conviction about how to rule and being peace in a realm/country. It’s a really hard job I must say..

Now, for the part I want to write about and vent- the things that left me frustrated and angry:

  • The one thing I really wanted to cry about was what the author makes Amari do. I was team Amari in book 1. I absolutely loved her arc in the first book – the one person who doesn’t have magic, is not popular but still fights her way and knows what is right and, is kind. In this book, the author literally broke my heart in the end with what she makes Amari do. There is no coming back from that. There is no justifying genocide, ever. Even if you miraculously revive everyone, genocide is absolutely unforgivable in my world. People can’t just get away with , “I had no choice”, or “That was a mistake and I’ll sacrifice my life for that”, and be forgiven after mass genocide, especially one that you’ve done willingly and knowingly. There is always a choice. We don’t forgive the Queen Nehanda for doing the same, then how can we forgive Amari? I was completely shattered for her after that scene. I wanted her to be greater than Danearys from the HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones, but I don’t know what the author has in mind for her. I just can’t see myself going back to team Amari after this and will have to wait till the last book to see how the author salvages Amari
  • Inan- my man, how long will it take for you to get your shit together? Wasn’t the whole of the first book and being responsible for the death of your girlfriend’s father enough to make you see sense? Either hate the majis and be a strong king or fight for them and be a strong king. All the chapters with Inan were so frustrating and boring! I had hoped a better redemption arc for Inan in the second book, where he would have better conviction in his thoughts and decisions, but what comes, comes in too late.
  • What the hell is that romance angle for Zelie and Roen??? I do not ship that pair. I mean I get that Roen has all the bad guy with a good heart characteristic that makes for a typical romantic pairing but Zelie still clearly is conflicted about her feelings for Inan and I couldn’t buy into Roen’s feelings for Zelie at all. There was a subtle hint that Roen was involved in some kind of double cross but had a last minute change of heart, so maybe they won’t end up together after all? We’ll see in the finale I guess
  • Why is Tzain in this book at all? Just to be Amari’s love interest? He had such a great role in the first book. I would’ve preferred if he had disappeared completely and gone on a separate quest than be present uselessly in this book
  • I was heartbroken to see Zelie and Amari’s friendship break so easily in this book. After all that they went through together, I was expecting to see a stronger bond between the two girls and was very upset to see them fight and say such hurtful things to each other. There can be kindness in grief and loss too and I refuse to accept that their trials took them apart. Trials are a test of a strong friendship. Yes, they don’t kill each other but they still have the thought and are willing to sacrifice each other for ‘the greater good’. I didn’t get that either.
  • There were too many unanswered questions for me regarding the powers of the centres in this book. Maybe the final book will have some answers
  • Why the abrupt cliffhanger?!!! Argghhh! I’m reading another trilogy by VE Scwab in parallel, and Id say authors could follow her lead when it comes to the ending of a book with sequels intended. Or even the way Leigh Bardugo ends her books, which are parts of series. You can always finish one story and have an opening to the next one, without a crazy cliffhanger.

Whew, feels good to write that all down. I just needed to get my thoughts out and I completely understand if you don’t agree with my thoughts or have different opinions😊 In fact, I’d love to discuss more and broaden my perspective😊 I will be reading the final book anyway, and what I really want is Inan to grow up, Inan and Zelie being together, Amari finding another love interest who is more worthy for her, a democracy with chosen leaders- maybe Tzain could be the democratic prime minister since he has no interest to rule, and some way to control magic. Nice clean happy ending lol..

Sunshine Blogger Award! :)

Last working day of the week today, here in India!! I hope you all are excited about Friday too πŸ™‚

I was tagged for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Nikita at Prose & Pancakes. Thank you Nikita for nominating me for this award! Do check out her blogs where she talks about books, screen adaptations and many more interesting tags πŸ™‚

sunshine-3

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The sunshine blogger award is given to bloggers who are creative, positive and inspiring. Once nominated, the blogger is required to write a post in which they:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated them and link back to their blog
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated them
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 other questions to answer
  • Notify your nominees and display the sunshine blogger award in your post

So, here are Nikita’s questions for me, and my answers πŸ™‚

  1. Do you watch books-to-movie adaptations? Which ones are your favorite? Yes, absolutely!! In fact, I try to follow the rule of reading the book before watching the movie, but there have been many times where I’ve not been able to catch up my reading before watching. Some of my favorite adaptations are: Harry Potter movies, Lord of the Rings series, Narnia movies, Ready Player One, Pride and Prejudice (the one with Kiera Knightley), to name a few πŸ™‚
  2. Can you name an underrated book you read and loved? Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett (not sure if that was under rated many years back but I haven’t heard a lot of people read it or talk about it lately) πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ˜Š
  3. Do you read or write fan-fiction? Guilty of not reading or writing any fan fiction
  4. How did you fall in love with reading? When did it happen? Well, I’m not sure I can pin point to the exact age when I fell in love with reading, since I can remember loving to read from my earliest childhood memories. My father encouraged me to read since he was an avid reader himself, and he would get me books from the meagre library, or I would always buy a book from those stalls-on-wheels on the train station before every vacation – comics like Tinkle, Archies and children’s versions of classics like Heidi, Jungle book, 20,00 leagues under the ocean, David Copperfield were the first books that I remember reading and loving. I then graduated to the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Famous Five, Mallory Towers, Secret Seven series, since these were the books available in our local library..aah, such fond memories of day dreaming πŸ˜€
  5. Do you have hobbies other than reading books and blogging about them? If yes, what are they? Ok, I’m not sure if any of these can be called hobbies, but I do have other interests that I am deeply invested in, such as – Running, Traveling, Writing (about other things, other than books), writing letters to pen friends, and dancing πŸ™‚ I’ve started trekking last year so lets see if I’m able to continue with that as well..
  6. Which book is closest to your heart? Hahahaha, trick question? I cant answer that one, since there are just too many. There has been a book that has talked to my heart literally through every year, age and phase of my life I think πŸ™‚
  7. What would be the title of the book based on your life? Hmm, I haven’t given this a thought but it might be something along the name of my blog – ‘The secret life of Starry Eyed’ or ‘Dream On’ maybe? LOL πŸ˜€
  8. What’s one movie you want to be novelized? Oh, good question! I don’t think anyone would have ever considered the opposite! All the great movies are based on books or comics, for me. But I would love to read more about dream stealing based on Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’ – that movie was just epic and had blown my mind away!
  9. You can only read graphic novels or fan-fiction. Which one would you choose? Graphic novels. Although I don’t read a lot of graphic novels even now, I haven’t read ANY fan-fiction. And the one graphic novel I read (two books from the series that is)- DeathNote, I quite loved. So, graphic novels πŸ™‚
  10. Book blogging or book tube – which one do you like more? Book blogging at present πŸ™‚
  11. What’s one thing book blogging has taught you? Read and write for yourself. Else you’ll lose the joy of reading and writing, and get caught up in the ratings game. You will find friends eventually, so don’t stress over it πŸ™‚

My Nominations πŸ™‚

pe blog

jehad’s journey

America’s Sweethearts

Mona Gupta

Flavia The Blibiophile

Book Lovers

Insight into books

Confessions of a YA Reader

Meena’s Blog

Sukh Says That

Enigma Debunked

And here are my questions πŸ™‚

  1. What inspired you to start blogging?
  2. If you had an evening of nothing to do, what would be your ideal way to spend it?
  3. What is the last book you read and enjoyed?
  4. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Blogging sites, Goodreads, or none of these?
  5. What is a genre or category of book that you never usually read, or that is outside your comfort zone?
  6. Would you rather be up to date with current affairs via news, or current/new releases of books? πŸ˜‰
  7. What is the last place you travelled to, that had a life changing impact?
  8. Have you ever bought a book just based on its cover or description? If yes, which one?
  9. Is there any book you wish you had never read? Why?
  10. Tell me about one of your fondest childhood memories πŸ™‚
  11. What TV series are you watching now and enjoying?

 

So, there it is! I hope to read answers from all the lovely bloggers I’ve nominated and I hope you enjoyed reading my answers and getting to know me a little better πŸ™‚

 

 

 

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman – Thoughts

She thought of books as medication and sanctuary and the source of all good things.

I think if I had a fantasy alternate life, I’d be living Nina Hill’s life. I literally felt like I was reading about a version of me living in a parallel universe! I think every reader who loves books to the point of obsession will be able to relate to Nina Hill in the same way πŸ™‚

img_9389

This book was my Goodreads book club Book of the Month selection for January, and although I won’t rate it highly, it is definitely one of those feel good books that you’ll be glad you read. Reading this book was like going on a coffee date with your best friend. You can spend hours, laughing, nodding in harmony and not do anything worthwhile or learn anything new, other than feel great afterwards. That’s a good thing for readers like us. Sometimes we’re off to fight wars in fantasy worlds, sometimes we’re cunning thieves, sometimes we’re learning about the struggles of racism or casteism or classism, sometimes we’re dreading that dystopian world, sometimes we’re a superhero or a superhero detective, but sometimes, we’re just us. And this book is that – it’s just about us readers πŸ™‚

There isn’t much of a plot, but there are real characters that you want to be friends with, there’s a guy who you secretly wish was your boyfriend or partner πŸ˜€ and then there’s Nina’s job and her home. I want all of that to be honest. I want to work in a bookstore. I want to be a regular at a coffee shop. I want friends who get me and are witty and sarcastic and quote from books and are always recommending books or shows based on books – in the physical life, people I can have a book club with and face to face discussions with and go to the pub with. I want a home or a reading room with walls stacked with books and that reading chair, overlooking a beautiful garden or the ocean. I want coffee and hot chocolate and alcohol (replace wine with whiskey/gin maybe). I want a dog, because I’m not a cat person, but then I’d have to be careful of my books or train my dog so that he doesn’t chew off my books..ahem. I want a lot of quite and solitude. I want Thursdays marked as ‘nothing’ so that I can read all evening and go to bed. Sigghhhhh!!! I’m literally day dreaming right now, thinking about Nina Hill’s life. I want my partner to say stuff like πŸ˜€ πŸ˜‰

Let’s go home and be alone together.

Nina acquires a couple of things in the story and her life changes quite a bit, but its still similar in lots of ways. I deal with a lot of anxiety and stress too and I could totally relate to the way Nina dealt with her anxieties – by avoiding people/situations that would make her anxious. I do that a lot too. But sometimes you just have to do certain things and get anxious. Those times, I just breathe, try to talk to myself, or listen to music or the best option – read. Sometimes I drink to avoid feeling anxious and be socially awkward. In that way, I could relate to what her dad was like. I loved her nanny Lou’s advice:

The first thing you should always do is nothing..

All the supporting characters are so amazing too. I just adored Nina’s boss- Liz, another book nerd/book lover. I wish I had a boss like her πŸ™‚

img_9388

All in all, its a Bridget Jones kind of book – great friends, lots of humor, easy writing, easy reading. A perfect book for a date with a book kind of day, or for reading on a beach. I didn’t rate it high, but I enjoyed it neverthelessΒ  and would recommend it to all book lovers out there πŸ™‚