Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore – Book review |Unexpected

Author : Matthew J. Sullivan

Publisher : Atria Paperback

Pub Date: June 2017

Source : Own copy

Get the book from Amazon.in.

You can find my review in Goodreads page as well.

Book Blurb

When a bookshop patron commits suicide, his favorite store clerk must unravel the puzzle he left behind. Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs—the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves. 33011222

But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?
As Lydia untangles the mystery of Joey’s suicide, she unearths a long buried memory from her own violent childhood. Details from that one bloody night begin to circle back. Her distant father returns to the fold, along with an obsessive local cop, and the Hammerman, a murderer who came into Lydia’s life long ago and, as she soon discovers, never completely left.

My thoughts

I have this thing for books that have a plot based on a bookstore or library and when I came across this book on Amazon, the blurb caught my eye and I decided to buy it. Its told in first person by Lydia Smith and begins when she discovers one of her store’s frequent and enigmatic customer – Joey who has killed himself inside the store! what follows is even more unexpected events in Lydia’s life as she is given his possessions – his books – as per his wish. She is confused because she isn’t that close with him and Joey had always been kind of a loner and a person of few words. Things get interesting when the books contain cryptic messages from Joey that somehow makes Lydia believe they were left for  a reason and she is equally  scared and intrigued because of her own personal trauma haunting her from the past.

The narrative was a bit dry and often I was losing interest but that could be just me, because I was reading this book in parts, for a really long time. But once Lydia’s past and Joey’s death started looking like they were connected, I was hooked, because I couldn’t for the life of me guess how this young man was even remotely linked to her past life.  The cryptic messages weren’t making any sense to me, but believe me when you finish the book everything falls into piece and you cant stop emoting for Joey 😦 I might have cried a little !!

Characterization

The book was full of bizarre characters from the bookstore (Joey including), Lydia’s boyfriend and how they all were not aware of Lydia’s haunting past because she , well, changes her last name and all that, but I kept wanting to read only about what the hell happened 20 years ago. How Lydia becomes estranged to her father  is told so very well , because for both of them to undergo such a horrific experience in their life and then move on leading a normal one would seem completely deceiving.

All along the book, if I could point out one character that was so beautifully portrayed, with all the gory and drab details – the single parent’s struggle in raising a daughter, protecting her and coping with the aftermath of a trauma – is Tomas, Lydia’s father.

The second half and especially the climax is emotionally toiling because of reunions and unraveled mysteries. And that’s definitely great because this book needs it!. It starts of dry, moves on in a mystery and ends in an emotional and a sensitive note.

“…..he’d spent his whole life trying in vain to find a place that, for him, was never allowed to exist.”

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery.

My rating 4 stars   Image result for 4 Star Emoticon Text black

a9d463700f136e8be53125e5f00b940528dde0-bktoschool74[3]

Advertisements

Without merit – Book Review |Complicated!

Author : Colleen Hoover

Publisher : Atria Paperback

Pub Date: October 2017

Source : Own copy

Get the book from Amazon.in.

You can find my review in Goodreads page as well.

Book Blurb

Not every mistake deserves a consequence. Sometimes the only thing it deserves is forgiveness. IMG_5433

The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

CoHo’s writing usually leaves you heart broken or shattered. This book didn’t leave me with anything of that sort. Let me explain why.

It’s like we don’t even have parents. We have a mother living in our basement and a father living in his own world.

Like the blurb says, the Voss family is anything but normal. A teenage daughter skips school for days, the only active parent never cares. She has this weird habit of collecting trophies and even the father buys one when she is upset, but never asks her about this strange addiction or why she is upset enough to buy old trophies.  All of a sudden a stranger kisses you in public and you respond in equal passion? Okay, lets just ignore this one, cos CoHo’s books usually have something of this sort, something strong and something passionate and something unexpected.

Characters

Merit Voss is nothing but judgmental.

I’m nothing like my identical twin sister, who prefers cadaver hearts to fully functioning ones. I am nothing like my father, Barnaby, who has turned our entire lives upside down, simply out of spite for a canine. I am certainly nothing like my brother Utah who spends every waking moment living an externally precise, perfect, and punctual present to make up for all the internal imperfections that live in his past.

And then there’s a lot of slut shaming too.

Utah doesn’t like spontaneity, Utah does not expect the unexpected.

Well, he sure gave me an unexpected shock! And Luck fits like a charm to this already messed up family.

With all of its imperfectness, the family still continues to have dinner as though everything is normal and the father only tries to avoid any situation rather takes action on them. At least until 3/4th of the book.

Repetitive

Things that were repeated throughout the book – Merit and Honor are different persons and they have nothing in common. And four year old children are fairly liked across the board.

Redundant

There’s a lot that the author has tried to fit inside one book – depression, suicide, mental illness, homosexuality, Syrian refugee crisis (I’m not kidding!!). Like too many cooks spoiled the soup or something..  These are topics to be discussed but one issue at a time would have sufficed.

The Likeable part

There were some bits and pieces of Sagan that I liked and the way he ‘handles’ Merit.  The way he asks her not to pursue the relationship unless n until she learns to love herself.  That Merit kisses him even though she says she would slap him if he tries to kiss her  shows how much confused and deranged she is. And he is the only one to bring some sense into her. And weirdly, Luck sometimes gives a little perspective too. When all the secrets are out, and the family tries to work itself through it, you cannot stop thinking why didn’t they do it sooner.

This book could be another favorite for some, a little too much for some (like me!) but its worth a read!. Unless you read it, you cannot simply judge whether or not you like it.

The book was maddening and not my usual cup of CoHo!

I give 3 stars. ✪ ✪ ✪

a9d463700f136e8be53125e5f00b940528dde0-bktoschool74[3]

 

 

The Bear and The Nightingale – Book Review

Author : Katherine Arden

Publisher : Del Ray (Penguin Random House)

Pub Date: January 2017

Source : Own copy

Get the book from Amazon.in.

You can find my review in Goodreads page as well.

Book Blurb

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind–she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to 25493853her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed–this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales..

My Thoughts:

This was truly enchanting and beautiful. I loved the book and I’m glad to have read it at least a year after it was first published.

The book begins with Dunya, the nurse of Pyotr Vladimirovich and Marina’s kids, narrating a story about the Winter-King, Karachun also known as Frost or Morozko, the demon the winter. She tells them about his kindness and cruelty and the story of how he rewards a girl for her courage and punishes another for her greediness. That’s the first introduction we get to have of the mysterious, mythological Winter King.

The book is full of Russian and Slavic mythological creatures and this is the first time I’ve read about them. I googled most of them just to have an idea because when it comes to picturing the book’s characters, especially in fantasy, I find it hard. So Google to the rescue.

If the domovoi wasn’t real, then what about the others? The vodianoy in the river, the twig-man in the trees? The Rusalka, the polevik, the dvorovoi? Had she imagined them all?

I loved how spirited and determined Vasya was portrayed throughout the book. Never yielding, never the one to give up but at the same time kind enough to animals and household magical creatures and ofcourse, a strong protective feeling towards her family, even to the ones who hated her. As a matter of fact, so were her siblings, Alyoshka and Irina and the father Pyotr himself. I definitely hated the Priest – Konstantin and his religious fanaticism.

I loved how the story moved easily and beautifully. The writing was nearly perfect, that you can almost feel the chills of winter with Katherine’s visually descriptive prose. Also loved how the author , in a not-so-subtle way points out how fear is instilled into people’s mind through religion. All of the nightmares listed in the book sort of creeped me out and I had to close the book at night and continue by day 😀

… he makes men afraid. He eats their fear, gorges himself, and sleeps until he hungers again. Disorder he loves above all..

Now, coming to the little disappointments in the book. Nearly 3/4 of the book later, the title characters come in and I was wondering whether Vasya was the Nightingale , maybe it was a metaphor. *still wondering*.  And there were few gaps as well which might be filled in the coming books but still made me wish to know more of Marina’s mother or the Winter King  or Sasha.

The book is the first in the Winter night series trilogy and I cant wait to dive into the second book ‘The Girl In the Tower’ which I will be getting in few weeks (Yayyy). I cant wait to read more about Morozko !

My rating 5 stars 🙂

a9d463700f136e8be53125e5f00b94052 8dde0-bktoschool74[3]

Debut authors I Read in 2017

Helloooo..

Just popping by, dusting up the blog and making promises to myself that I will frequent it more 😁

This post is actually based on this week’s top ten Tuesday.

I read merely 38 books last year and I’m not exactly proud of it. 😐 I used to read so much more. The first half of 2017, I made great progress and read books of new authors I’ve never tried before. I’m used to having a comfort zone with certain authors/genre but I’m slowly coming out of it. So below’s the list of the authors I’ve started reading in 2017 for the first time.

Tricia Levenseller

I read Tricia’s Daughter of the Pirate King in October 2017 and I really loved the book. I’m definitely positive about the sequel and cant wait to read it in 2018.

Julie Buxbaum

Tell Me Three Things was such a cutesy read and I loved the way it was written. Julie has become one of my default buy authors. Although I didn’t enjoy What to say next as much as the TMTT, I still love her writing.

Wendy Brant

I read Wendy Brant’s debut book Zenn Diagram through NetGalley. I loved the book overall, not sure why many people haven’t heard or read it but I’m looking forward to more books from her.

Jandy Nelson

I’ll give you the Sun is very much liked by every bookworm I know. Though I personally didn’t like the book very much, thanks to the flowery language used throughout the book, this was the first time I read her work and I think maybe I would give a second chance.

Emery Lord

When we Collided by Emery Lord was a hell of an emotional rollercoaster and I’m not sure if I’m ready for the author’s other books.

too-much.gif

Stacey Lee

There was something beautiful about The secret of a heart note that I cant help myself from liking it. Stacy Lee’s Magical realism was flawless and the concept of a aromateur was very good.

I still read few more debut authors but these are the ones that I’d like to list out for now. Happy reading 🙂

a9d463700f136e8be53125e5f00b94052 8dde0-bktoschool74[3]

Gwendy’s button Box – Book Review

Authors : Stephen King, Richard Chizmar

Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton

Pub Date: September 2017

Source : Own copy

Get the book from Amazon.in. (The hardcover is just Rs.339.)

Book Blurb

The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told… until now.There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: 34430839Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974 twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong (if time-rusted) iron bolts and zig-zag up the cliffside.

At the top of the stairs, Gwendy catches her breath and listens to the shouts of the kids on the playground. From a bit farther away comes the chink of an aluminum bat hitting a baseball as the Senior League kids practice for the Labor Day charity game.One day, a stranger calls to Gwendy: “Hey, girl. Come on over here for a bit. We ought to palaver, you and me.”

On a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat like for a suit, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat…

Journey back to Castle Rock again in this chilling new novella by Stephen King, bestselling author of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and Richard Chizmar, award-winning author of A Long December. This book will be a Cemetery Dance Publications exclusive with no other editions currently planned anywhere in the world!

My thoughts:

This is my first Stephen King book (ah you are shocked! I know right!!) I’m against scary books and from what I’ve heard King’s books are all acclaimed in the horror genre. But I decided to step out of my shell and give this one a try, most probably because it had a co-author and I was definitely sure that it would be less horrifying.

I was glad I did, because I definitely liked the book and read it in a single setting. Please be warned I do not have a Stephen King book to compare this one to, so I cannot assure whether this was better or could have been better. This book is more appealing to newbie King fans (like me).

The easy narration and the slow but steady pace gives nothing but cozy mystery vibes. Gwendy is a thoughtful and responsible kid who doesn’t want to make the bad choice that would end up in destruction. If I were given the choice, I probably would have ended up bombing the whole world. Gwendy’s life is altered because of the button box and yet she chooses wisely. The ending was unexpected but will have to do as it is a really short story.

My rating would be 4 stars.

a9d463700f136e8be53125e5f00b940528dde0-bktoschool74

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daughter of the Pirate King – book review

Author : Tricia Levenseller

Publisher : Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers

Pub Date: February 2017

Source : Own copy

Get the book from Amazon.in

Book Blurb

If you want something done right . . .28116719

When the ruthless pirate king learns of a legendary treasure map hidden on an enemy ship, his daughter, Alosa, knows there’s only one pirate for the job—herself. Leaving behind her beloved ship and crew, Alosa deliberately facilitates her own kidnapping to ensure her passage on the ship, confident in her ability to overcome any obstacle. After all, who’s going to suspect a seventeen-year-old girl locked in a cell? Then she meets the (surprisingly perceptive and unfairly attractive) first mate, Riden, who is charged with finding out all her secrets. Now it’s down to a battle of wits and will . . . . Can Alosa find the map and escape before Riden figures out her plan?

Oh I loved this book and finished it in a SINGLE day!!! Yep, I’m excited about that because its been such a long time that I finished a book on the same day.

This is the first pirate based book I’ve read and it being about a female pirate is even more amazing. Alosa is such a kickass character and even though the book is a dead giveaway that its gonna be about a female protagonist, it was much more amazeballs to read it. I loved the magical elements that were infused in it (I’m not giving them away) and how they stuck well with the story and its sequel which is gonna be released next year (long wait!!).

Image result for gif free female pirate

Two things that kept gnawing at me – one was the age of the characters. How can 17 year old pirates be this sassy and strong and confident. When I was 17, I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with my life. The other thing is – Alosa’s manipulation technique. That was kinda against the whole feministic thing that was going on, you know, showing her as all powerful, unrelenting and then bammm!!  she manipulates using sex.

But seriously, I love this book and give 4.5 stars !

If you haven’t read this book, please drop everything and just go read it!..

a9d463700f136e8be53125e5f00b940528dde0-bktoschool74

When Dimple Met Rishi – Book review

Author : Sandhya Menon

Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton, an imprint of Hachette

Pub Date: May 2017

Source : Part of August book box

Get the book from Amazon.in

Book Blurb

Meet Dimple.

Her main aim in life is to escape her traditional parents, get to university and begin her plan for tech world domination. 28458598

Meet Rishi.

He’s rich, good-looking and a hopeless romantic. His parents think Dimple is the perfect match for him, but she’s got other plans…

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works even harder to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

As joyfully refreshing as Rainbow Rowell, Jenny Han and Nicola Yoon, When Dimple Met Rishi is a frothy, funny contemporary romance told from the dual perspectives of two Indian American protagonists. While Dimple is fighting her family traditions, Rishi couldn’t be happier to follow in the footsteps of his parents – could sparks fly between this odd couple, or is this matchmaking attempt doomed to fail?

My Thoughts:

One line review – Cute YA contemporary romance that is sure to keep you busy for the day.

Let me just say I had too many eye-rolls at the beginning of the book where I felt few Indian traditions were overdone. I thought I was not going to like it, and I started judging too much. But after a few pages in, the book was mushy and cute and I started liking it.

I still cant accept the fact that 18 year olds are asked to choose life partners. Yeah, in some village in India, you can believe it is still happening. But not in the US of A. That one gave me a hard time believing it. And that too Rishi was the one who was kinda interested in that approach was even more unbelievable. Trust me, guys that young, do not have marriage in their mind.

But I was glad that the story was not completely about how Rishi is throwing himself at Dimple’s feet and instead about how she falls for him. I loved how Dimple was portrayed as bold and passionate. And how she urges Rishi to give in to his passion. And yes, parents decide your career path in India (mostly!) and Rishi’s life was a perfect example of how some parents steer you towards their unfinished dreams.

Apart from certain clichés, the book is certainly likeable. My rating 3 stars 🙂

a9d463700f136e8be53125e5f00b940528dde0-bktoschool74