Six Crimson Cranes | ARC review

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim is one of my  anticipated release of the year and it did not disappoint. 

TW/CW: physical abuse, kidnapping

What can you expect :

  • A lush retelling of The Six Swans fairytale
  • East Asian rep on point 👌🏻
  • Shiori – the female protagonist who is spoilt, judgmental (basically a flawed princess) but has an amazing character arc
  • Forbidden magic
  • A kickass side character who has no filter 😂
  • Sibling bond that forms the basis of the story
  • Twists from the original fairytale that make the story so much more better
  • Monsters and snakes lurking around
  • And did I say, dragons? 

*not summarizing the plot here *  But check out the blurb on Goodreads

Incase you are not convinced yet, If you have already read Spin the Dawn duology (I haven’t) I’m told there are recurring characters from there in this book, so a lot of Easter eggs to look out for.. 

If you are looking for a change from reading about faes and or fantasy royal families based on the west, or want to read something oriental AND YA, this book is for you. 

Elizabeth Lim surely has a way with words and I’m pissed at myself for not yet picking up her debut duology. I’m really really looking forward to this sequel.  I want more of a certain Dragon in book two ! 

Slight spoiler : There’s a curse in the book and I was acting up like I was the one inflicted with it and didn’t utter a word for hours while finishing the book 😂 But truth be told, one part of the curse made no sense to me, as to whether the bowl on the head can allow others from seeing Shiori’s eyes, whether she can see them or not.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an eARC!! 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Do watch out for this amazing book that releases on July 8th 2021!!!

Ace of Spades | ARC review

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé was one helluva ride. 

An Anonymous texter known as Aces ruining the lives of two Black teens in an elite private academy that gives you ‘Gossip Girl- Pretty Little Liars- I know what you did last summer’ vibes but scarier. (I haven’t watched Get Out so these are the 3 comparisons I can make). That’s the one line plot summary I can think of but the book offers so much more!! One of the best books I read this year and to think it’s a debut, well done👏🏻👏🏻

Also +1 for the author to include trigger warnings at the beginning of the book. 

Even if you read the synopsis and go in with some knowledge of what the book is about, you will still not be prepared for it, I say!

Not sure how to be not-spoilery, but the horrifying things the main characters Chiamaka and Devon go through in the name of racism makes your blood boil and lose your faith in people. How hard is it to be just kind 😭

I hate that these systems, all this institutional shit, can  get to me. I hate how they have the power to kill my future, kill me. They treat my Black skin like a gun or grenade or a knife that is dangerous and lethal, when really, it’s them. The guys at the top powering everything.    

I liked the contrast between the two main characters and also the fact that they weren’t unnecessarily romantically involved just for the sake of the plot. Chiamaka is a complete badass and full of spirit, she knows what she wants and is willing to achieve it whatever it takes, even though she is rich she has to struggle her way through the top because of her skin color. Devon is an introvert with hardly any friends and a scholarship student who likes his invisibility. And when they are forced to join hands together to fight Aces, there evolves this beautiful friendship. The book also talks how being queer in a BIPOC community is like and the homophobia that exists. 

Totally recommended and I’m really looking forward to Faridah’s upcoming books. 

So so grateful to the publishers and Netgalley for the E-ARC. Also I’m very happy about the attention this book is getting and the way it’s getting special edition/ book of the month editions etc as compared to a white author’s book. I hope more BIPOC authors get this deserving treatment. 

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Yearbook | Arc review

Thank you to Netgalley and Usborne Publishing for providing me an eARC in return for an honest review. 

TW: Body shaming, bullying, suicidal thoughts, self harm, domestic abuse.

The Yearbook by Holly Bourne brings out the brutal side of secondary school bullying and how school isn’t a pleasant memory for everyone. The main protagonist Paige works for the yearbook and is the silent observer that notices everything that happens in school especially the bullying done by fellow class girls and notes them down in her journals for years. She doesn’t retaliate or step in for any of the victims out of fear of being the next target. Her home situation isn’t that great as well as she has to suffer in silence through her father’s domestic abuse, unable to get any help from her brother or aunt. Her only outlet for the rage she feels against all the injustice around her, is her journal and also annotating on her library books. In one of the library books, she notices a like-minded person’s scribbling on red ink and tries reaching out to the stranger. 

Can we read old books the whole way home and share the best bits we find in the margins while eating mint Aeros please?

Up until Paige meets red-ink the story was progressing at a very slow pace. 

There were a lot of trigger warnings that made me think school is definitely scary these days. But for all the anger that Paige has, the ending didn’t justify it. Like it feels powerless and not enough. 

Also the bullying is more focussed on the mean girls and not on the guys, and the way teachers chose to ignore it, showing all of them in a bad light was also slightly disappointing. 

I loved the friendship that evolves between red-ink and Paige and kept looking forward to their encounters.
Overall a 4 star read for me! 


If you have read this book, do share your thoughts on the same.

The Songbook of Benny Lament | Book review

This is my first Amy Harmon book and when I saw the e-book is available for free on Kindle Unlimited, I immediately downloaded it after reading some rave reviews on Instagram and Goodreads.

The Songbook of Benny Lament is written alternatively in first person POV as narrated by Benny Lament and his radio interview from the The Barry Gray Show. When I read the synopsis as well as the first few chapters, it sort of gave me a Daisy Jones & the Six vibe and since its one of my favourite books, I had huge expectations for this one.

This book has interracial romance, Italian mafia and the 1960’s music scene all etched in perfect detail and imagery but it lacked a little bit of angst, that punch I felt with Daisy Jones. The writing was amazing and the way the story is told through interview snippets and in-detailed POV made it interesting. Like a preview and the actual play.

Benny’s family are part of the Italian mafia and he shares some complicated relationship with his father and his mobster uncle. He wants nothing to do with them and makes his own life through music and becomes reasonably popular for all the songs he writes for famous musicians. When his estranged father takes him to watch Esther Mine singing in a nondescript club, Benny is hooked to her voice and couldn’t deny the hold it has on him. Benny and Esther join hands together to make music and turn up a revolution instead. Because Esther is a woman of colour and this is the 1960’s and added to the mixture are some secrets that threaten their lives.

What I loved

I loved the father-son relationship however rocky and complicated it might be. I also loved the entire process of making a song and how Benny flawlessly puts in words and together with Esther, he creates magic. A lil reminder of Daisy Jones again!

The World building – loved the near perfect depiction of the 1960’s world – with a side of mafia and racism portrayed to the T.

What failed me

The actual chemistry between Esther and Benny. I didn’t “feel” as much as I wanted to. The forbidden romance should have pulled all the strings but as much as the lyrics to the songs they write enamoured me, the chemistry wasn’t enough ?!

I was easily able to guess the suspense that was a part of the story, so that fell flat too.

The perfect way to describe how I felt about the book, using a quote from book itself..

All I know is that I fell in love very.. reluctantly.

Overall its a beautiful story that has to be read and also good enough for TV as well. Stories of interracial couple ought to be told, fictional or real.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It Only Happens in the Movies | Book Review

I’m back after half a century to post a review of Holly Bourne’s book that was gifted by a dear online friend of mine for Christmas.

I was looking for something that wasn’t sappy but still YA to read during February and this couldn’t have been a better a choice. This book, just like its title says so, points out the flaws in romance movies and how they sort of give an unrealistic idea of romance or love and end up hurting them because of the big expectations they tend to give.

TWDrug abuse, Divorce, self-harm.

The Protagonist, Audrey (named by her parents after Rom-com star Audrey Hepburn, ofcourse) has had a tough couple of months, what with her dad’s affair and her parents divorce, her dad’s remarriage and her own break-up and her mom gone completely ballistic over the fact that her dad is living his life with his new family. Her elder brother abandons her most of the time, leaving her to take care of her mother solely and she has had it with romance movies and boys. Enter Harry, a guy she meets at her new job in the local ‘posh’ theatre and he is all sorts of danger and cute and exactly what she doesn’t need at the moment.

When Audrey is required to pick a topic for research as part of her Media studies coursework, she chooses – “Why Love is never like the movies”. I really loved how she broke down the rom-com tropes available in all popular movies and analyses them. One of the reasons I liked the book was because it wasn’t just being critical and nit-picking on the popular rom-coms that we know but also talks about some great ones like Cinema Paradiso.

I did not like Harry. Or his friends so I have nothing much to say about them. But Audrey’s friends? There’s a lot of complicated relationships discussed in the book and one among them is her all-girls friends gang. They are good people. The ones that wait for their friend on the sidelines and let her have her crazy moments and be there for her. I loved that bunch and Leroy.

The book just like the movies, has its cheesy moments but it does break out of that cliché. It brings about some mature conversations about your first time, first love and is also slightly feminist. And that ending ? I stan.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I highly recommend this book, if you are in the mood for a complex and cynical read, that’s also YA.

Anxious People |Book Review

“We are just strangers passing each other, your anxieties briefly brushing against mine as the fibres of our coats touch momentarily on a crowded pavement somewhere. We never really know what we do to each other, with each other, for each other.” ⁣

I had the chance of listening to an Audiobook listening copy (ALC) of Anxious People by Fredrik Backman through Libro.fm

This book is probably the first Backman I managed to finish and even before reading his books I’ve shelved him in my favorite authors list.

Suicide , Anxiety, Depression

A bank robbery gone wrong, a hostage situation that shouldn’t have happened. That’s it – this forms the outline of this brilliant story that talks about how a bunch of strangers’ life gets interconnected with each other. The story line sounds simple, but its told in a kind-of-beating-around-the-bush, prolonging-the-ending kinda way. Which can be a little off-putting to some.

If you have seen any hostage movie, they generally have these emotional scenes about the captives and in some cases the people who held them hostages. (Stockholm syndrome, ofcourse!) So this book also follows the same but what makes it more beautiful is “a book is always better than a movie” and the writing that’s so satirical and whimsy and touching. It reads like a study on people, behavior of people who have some common ground experiencing the same thing but going through their own stuff, own back stories.

The book might trick you into thinking its lighthearted but some of the stories and anecdotes are so heavy but not kinda preachy. There are a lot of sensitive subjects discussed and some of them with a hint of humor. I don’t wanna give off spoilers but the way few characters life where interlinked without them being aware of it and the teeny tiny twists in the story will keep you engrossed. I also loved the emotional bonding between some of the characters specifically the father-son police duo Jim and Jack.

The book definitely made me laugh and dab my eyes at some places. So ofcourse I give it a solid 5 star!!

Regretting You – Book Review

Disclaimer : I’m a mad Colleen Hoover fan, so this review might be biased 😀

Regretting You is told in alternate perspective from a mother (Morgan) and daughter (Clara) duo who have a strained relationship which is further tested after a tragic loss in the family. Morgan marries her high school boyfriend Chris after getting pregnant with Clara, so all she wants for her daughter is to not make the same mistakes as her. With both of them left to manage their grief, certain devastating secrets are revealed and things get MESSY!!.⁣
I loved Morgan with all my heart, her story broke me and warmed me throughout the book. There is ofcourse romance, but I loved the relationship arc of the mother daughter duo. (WHO AM I KIDDING, I totally cried for an unrequited love story which I WIL NOT talk about). The book can turn out to be heavy, messy and deep but it overwhelmed me. Colleen Hoover’s writing always does. You get all the feels while reading it and gives you things to think about.. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣ ⁣⁣

I obviously rated it a 5 ⭐️. I have highlighted so many lines that (even though have nothing to resonate with me) pulled all the heartstrings. ⁣⁣
⁣and the reason I chose this quote, is precisely why I named my blog Little voids. ⁣

The House in the Cerulean Sea ~ Book Review

A female garden gnome with a beard 

A green blob who doesn’t have an identity but thinks he is a boy

A wyvern with hoarding affinities 

A feisty forest sprite and a boy who can turn himself into a dog (a were-dog?)

And there’s the devil’s spawn , Antichrist! 

Meet the 6 kids that steal your heart and light up the world in this beautiful book. Get ready to be sucked into their innocence and the fiercely protective Arthur ❤️

Shield your heart, Mr.Baker, because that is what they go for first!

You know who should read this book? JKR, no offence! Bcos this book is all about treating people, especially marginalized ones, equally and understanding that they belong to this world as much as anyone else. And for someone who hardly reads between the lines because of my privileged ass, Even I found so many parallels comparing to the real world and bawled my eyes out! 

if you want to read something deeply satisfying and at the same time educative, you must absolutely pick The House in the Cerulean Sea. It will forever be on my favourites shelf and for sure will be the book I read to my future kid.

Let me tell you this book has some of the best characters you will fall for and cherish. Chauncey melts my heart and I can’t even start about Theo, the wyvern. The amazing character arc of Linus Baker and this gem called Arthur Parnassus and the naughtiest kid Lucy. I’ve highlighted so much in my ebook that I’m badly aching for a physical copy , but damn you Quarantine! You just need to read to understand why!.

If its not already obvious, All the stars in the world !!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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𝐒𝐡𝐢𝐞𝐥𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭, 𝐌𝐫.𝐁𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐫, 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐠𝐨 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭! ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ A female garden gnome with a beard ⁣ A green blob who doesn’t have an identity but thinks he is a boy⁣ A wyvern with hoarding affinities ⁣ A forest sprite and a boy who can turn himself into a dog ⁣ And there’s the devil’s spawn , Antichrist! ⁣ ⁣ Meet the 6 kids that steal your heart and light up the world in this beautiful book. Get ready to be sucked into their innocence and the fiercely protective Arthur ❤️⁣ ⁣ You know who should read this book? JKR, no offence! Bcos this book is all about treating people, especially marginalized ones, equally and that they belong to this world as much as anyone else. And for someone who hardly reads between the lines because of my privileged ass, Even I found so many parallels comparing to the real world and bawled my eyes out! ⁣ If you want to read something 𝐃𝐄𝐄𝐏𝐋𝐘 𝐒𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐒𝐅𝐘𝐈𝐍𝐆 and at the same time educative, you must absolutely pick this book! It will forever be on my favorites shelf and for sure will be the book 𝐈 𝐑𝐄𝐀𝐃 𝐓𝐎 𝐌𝐘 𝐅𝐔𝐓𝐔𝐑𝐄 𝐊𝐈𝐃. ⁣ Cannot stop without tagging these people who shoved the book on my face @bookstersisters @d_three_broomsticks @_booksnmusic ❤️❤️❤️⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #cozyreading #readergram #becauseofreading #booksofinstagram #booktography #ireadYA #bookaesthetic #mybookfeatures #bibliophile #aquietstyle #booknerd #bookstagramindia #bookphotography #bookaddict #Bookstagram #bookishglee #bookishfeatures #bibliofeature #fortheloveofbooks #thehouseintheceruleansea #linusbaker #tjklune #bookishlyreviews #fantasticallydiversereads

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Daisy Jones & The Six

I CAN’T GET OVER THIS BOOK EVEN AFTER MONTHS!!!!

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This book is the best-est that I read last year and it obviously made it to my most favourite books list.

Every book out there is mostly a piece of fiction, that’s common knowledge. But certain books strike so real that you can find it really hard to believe that the characters didn’t exist in real life. Probably why everyone feels that way about this book is its unique form of story telling – it’s completely written through interviews. So this post is not exactly a review, but an outlet for my gushing emotions whenever I think about this book.

When I finished listening to this book, it was freaking 2am. And I was crying !!! So much of Ugly crying. I mean, I never cared about Rock n Roll bands. Ever! And I was crying over a fictional band. From the 1970’s.

Fair warning, continue, if you have already read the book!

Spoiler Spoiler Alert GIF - Spoiler SpoilerAlert Alert GIFs

The first few chapters are told in parallel about Daisy growing up in L.A with absentee parents and brothers Billy and Graham Dunne forming their own musical band. The interview goes on about how The Six were formed and the band members start narrating the rest of the story – the drugs, the women, the heartbreak and everything in between. Billy Dunne comes off as this controlling lead singer who takes pride in the music he writes and never lets the band go from his track. As this book is in interview format you can see how the change in Billy’s behaviour affects his brother and his bandmates. The relationship between Camila and Billy – is like the Biblical Love.. you know like love is patient, love is kind stuff? Its all about faith and trusting the other. Initially I shipped Camila and Billy, I’ll be honest.

When Daisy joins The Six, I was eagerly waiting for her to meet Billy. Because the Daisy of the first few pages didn’t make an impression on me. I kinda hated her and I loved Billy. Controlling, edgy Billy. Not the carefree, spirited Daisy. I know I’m a weirdo. So I was waiting to see how these two would get along. When Daisy and Billy put their heads together and create a song for the first time, I swear the imagery in my mind was pure magic. There were fireworks in my sky, let me tell you 😊 And I’m the kind of person who hates the “other” man/woman in a relationship, but me shipping Daisy and Billy was even more shocking to my own self. But, speaking in Anne Shirley terms, they both are kindred spirits, okay? They are MEANT to be!!

The songs that Billy and Daisy write together – I WANT TO hear them!! I cannot stop waiting for the TV series and I’m dying to listen to the songs.

And oh my god, I can’t even talk about the show in 1979, Chicago Stadium!! I cried so much.. It felt so much real, like its happening to my friend, to me! Thats how a book should be, imo. Only THE BEST you know. And I don’t even wanna talk about the ending. Okay ? I hated Camila more towards the end. But towards the end, is when I truly loved Daisy.

I know this post has been only about Billy and Daisy but I couldn’t help myself. The next best characters in this book are Graham and Karen. I could totally write a separate post about them.

“I wish someone had told me that love isn’t torture. Because I thought love was this thing that was supposed to tear you in two and leave you heartbroken and make your heart race in the worst way. I thought love was bombs and tears and blood. I did not know that it was supposed to make you lighter, not heavier. I didn’t know it was supposed to take only the kind of work that makes you softer. I thought love was war. I didn’t know it was supposed to… I didn’t know it was supposed to be peace.”

It’s an all-star read for me and I’m very much looking forward to the TV series.
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The Hand on the Wall|ARC review|Blog Tour|Giveaway

Welcome to my stop in the blog tour of one of my most anticipated book releases of the year – The Hand On The Wall by Maureen Johnson. I have already reviewed books one and two here if you would like to check it out. I would like to thank The Fantastic Flying Book Club and HarperCollins for giving me an opportunity to read the conclusion to this wonderful series much before everyone 😀

About the Book

The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious #3)
by Maureen Johnson
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: January 21st 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Purchase from Amazon, B&N, Book Depository

Synopsis

Ellingham Academy must be cursed. Three people are now dead. One, a victim of either a prank gone wrong or a murder. Another, dead by misadventure. And now, an accident in Burlington has claimed another life. All three in the wrong place at the wrong time. All at the exact moment of Stevie’s greatest triumph.

She knows who Truly Devious is. She’s solved it. The greatest case of the century.At least, she thinks she has. With this latest tragedy, it’s hard to concentrate on the past. Not only has someone died in town, but David disappeared of his own free will and is up to something. Stevie is sure that somehow—somehow—all these things connect. The three deaths in the present. The deaths in the past. The missing Alice Ellingham and the missing David Eastman. Somewhere in this place of riddles and puzzles there must be answers.

Then another accident occurs as a massive storm heads toward Vermont. This is too much for the parents and administrators. Ellingham Academy is evacuated. Obviously, it’s time for Stevie to do something stupid. It’s time to stay on the mountain and face the storm—and a murderer.In the tantalizing finale to the Truly Devious trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson expertly tangles her dual narrative threads and ignites an explosive end for all who’ve walked through Ellingham Academy.

My Thoughts

If you have read books 1 & 2, you would know they both end in a cliffhanger. The Hand on the Wall provides you all the answers you have been waiting for and it does so, with a lot of twists and page turning scenes. I’m at awe of Maureen Johnson’s writing because she maintains the same suspense throughout the three books and keeps us super engaged. I think before bingeing into this book, one should go back n just waltz through books 1 & 2 for hidden clues in there. I’m not saying you might find some, you may or may not. But definitely you wouldn’t expect the twist that comes at the beginning of book 3. BuWAHHAhaha, I’m evil!(Although in hindsight, maybe not, because this was released on an excerpt in Epic Reads site)

Okay as I cannot talk about the plot, let’s talk about the characters. I cannot believe I love the series so much but not the main character, Stevie Bell. Don’t come at me, ok, I just don’t find her character to be interesting. She’s socially awkward, yeah, but there is not much in her that I find intriguing enough, although definitely good anxiety rep.. On the other hand, I like David 😀 He is trouble personified and is hell bound on causing ermmm hell for his father. In this book though, he drives both Stevie and us insane. And there’s one more socially awkward person – Nate, who even though tends to avoid contact at all possible cost, surprises us now and then with quirky remarks and is the supportive best friend to Stevie. Other than these three, rest of the characters didn’t have much to offer. And oooh I forgot, I liked Leonard Holmes Nair too. (No spoiler intended :P)

Overall, the book was a satisfying 4.5 stars for me. I rated it as such because I never lost interest and the parallel timelines are nicely done.

Before I finish, there’s a US only give-away  that runs till 4th Feb 2020 and you can click on the link and participate to win a copy of the book. Go !!

Favorite Quotes

Nate being Nate –

Are you trying to make me have an emotion?

Also Nate –

“Fun fact,” Stevie said, trying to lighten the mood in the vast gloomy space. “this fireplace?, Henry the Eighth had one just like it, in Hampton Court. Albert Ellingham had an exact copy made.”

“Fun Fact,” Nate replied, “Henry the Eighth killed two of his wives. Who wants a murderer’s fireplace?”.

“I’m not sure, but thats the name of my new game show”.

Stevie’s inner turmoil at one point in the book –

Why were humans wired like this? Why were we built with a current that could short out our powers of reason and judgement at any time? Why were we filled with chemicals that made us stupid? How could you feel so excited and enraged and like you were being pierced with a thousand emotional needles in the brain all at the same time?

Dream Cast

So the below dream cast is totally in my opinion (and some friends’ too) and as such opinions might differ. And also let me point out, it was difficult to put a face to these characters because not many of them have character descriptions.

Practice note-7 2

I hope we can all agree on one Mr Edward King, if not all of them 😀

I hope you enjoy(ed) reading this series like I did. Do drop in your thoughts on the series. An don’t forget to check the rest of the tour here

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About the Author

Maureen Johnson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several YA novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Suite Scarlett, The Name of the Star, and Truly Devious. She has also done collaborative works, such as Let It Snow (with John Green and Lauren Myracle), and The Bane Chronicles (with Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan). Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and The Guardian, and she has also served as a scriptwriter for EA Games. She has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and lives in New York City.

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