A Very Large Expanse of Sea |Book Review

|Best Books of 2018| YA Fiction|

Author – Tahereh Mafi

Other books by author – Shatter me series, Furthermore Duology.

Publisher : HarperTeen

Get the book from Amazon.in

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi was a book gifted to me by a lovely friend (@natsinbookland )in Instagram.

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If there was one YA book I would recommend to anyone, this would be it! I loved this book, I loved it for it’s representation of post 9/11 America, I loved it for the way it depicted the glorious pre-Facebook days, I loved it for showing how devastatingly painful, the life of a Muslim American teen can be in those days.

This books is a must read, y’all!!!

#OwnVoices – Tahereh Mafi has written this book to share her own experiences of being stereotyped and her struggle with racism and her love for breakdancing. This book is brutally honest and makes you ashamed, angry and regret the things we knowingly or unknowingly do against a community.

“I was stuck in another small town, trapped in another universe populated by the kind of people who’d only ever seen faces like mine on their evening news, and I hated it.”

Shirin is the angry teen who is tired of moving around, transferring to multiple schools before completing high school and is forever pissed off about people asking her questions about her hijab. She puts on a tough exterior so that people will leave her alone and not make small talk or pass racist comments that they think would affect her. She doesn’t shy away from talking back and this applies to English teachers who think she is out of place in an Honors class. Shirin isn’t entirely perfect too, she is prejudiced against people just like they are against her. And thats what makes it more relatable.

When socially-awkard Ocean and Shirin are paired for Bio, there isn’t any sparks flying. There isn’t any Insta-love, exchanging of numbers and planning dates by the end of the week. This is early 2000, mobile phones and talk times are costly and people just don’t reveal everything on social media.

I loved how Ocean and Shirin start interacting, each knowing so very little about the other. Ocean is a sweet guy, who is ignorant of the hatred and whiplash Shirin gets around school and slowly learns about her world. I loved all the mixed emotions going on in their minds. So raw and heart-warming!

Just like Shirin and Ocean, I loved Shirin’s relationship with her brother Navid, #goals!!

This book isn’t mainly about the love between two young people, but about how people around perceive it and treat them based on it. If not for the story line, read this book for its characters, pick it up to see how they affect you , resonate with you long after you finish it.

The more I got to know people, the more I realized we were all just a bunch of frightened idiots walking around in the dark, bumping into each other and panicking for no reason at all.
So I started turning on a light.

All the stars for this book!! 5/5 rating.

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My February Wrap Up

My February was rather too busy with family and work and I was able to read only four books. Sigh!!

I hope to read 3 wonderful books last month but due to lack of time, I have moved them to my March TBR. Fingers crossed !!

  • Verity By Colleen Hoover – I was a good bean and even wrote a review for the book. Go check !!
  • Second book February also had a review post – Newcomer by Keigo Higashino.
  • Third one was an audiobook I started listening to during the family things that kept me away from social media. Its ‘Meet Me There’ (Ridgewater High #1) a YA book where two teens who hate each other meet accidentally in a dark Chemistry lab not knowing the other person’s identity and develop a secret friendship that turns into something more. Its cute, with a lottt of a eyeball moments and I rated its 3 star. No review yet!
  • And last but the best.. The winter of the Witch!! My most anticipated read of the year…Review to definitely follow.. The best-est writing and amazing end to a series.. I can’t even find the right words to describe this trilogy.

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And thats a wrap for February!. How many books did you read ?

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Once and for all – Book Review

I was in a terrible reading slump and decided to go for my favourite Ya author of all times – Sarah Dessen. I knew I would be out of the slump in no time but I also knew I would be crying heaps.

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Source: own Pic

Synopsis:

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

The book revolves around wedding planning and should have been happy, because weddings are! But then Sarah Dessen is known for her books on family dynamics and how each story is so much relatable. The mother of the protagonist is a wedding planner but her own marriage life ended tragically and she is cynical when it comes to happily ever afters. So is her parter at work, William !! You can’t expect Louna to be any different given her tragedy in life.

Ambrose is fun-loving, easy-going and everything that Louna isn’t and she finds him irritating at the beginning. There wasn’t any Insta-love, and their relationship progresses slowly and beautifully.

Louna’s tragic past struck close to home because of me losing a friend couple of months back – the desperation of not-knowing and the falling apart after knowing.

The book is written in alternate time formats – past and present, but the beauty of it is, there aren’t any chapter titles to let you know its from the past and they aren’t exactly alternating… And that caught my attention because I liked reading about the Louna from both times and I liked being surprised to find myself reading an extract from the past after reading two chapters from the present. One was cynical and the other was love-struck. And especially after the tragedy is revealed, it hurt so much read to about it, I was bawling my eyes out 😦

Beautifully written, satirical and yet touching at the same time!

My rating : 4 stars

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More about the book

Author: Sarah Dessen

Publishers: Viking Books for Young Readers

Published on: June 2017

Source: E-book purchased from Amazon.in

Pages: 363

Standalone|YA Contemporary|

 

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.

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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 🙂

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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!!).

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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!..

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Candles burning Trust

I’ve shopped online like for the last 6+years?! and never ever felt cheated or disappointed with recent disasters. If you don’t know I’m always active on Instagram and any bookish merch launches in India, I always make a point to give it a try.

India doesn’t have bookish candle shops , the only source for them is via book boxes or Etsy shops. While Book boxes outsource them from global shops, buying directly from the Etsy or individual’s shop online does burn a huge hole in your pockets, because of the enormous shipping.

So when this particular candle shop opened up on Instagram, people went gaga over it and the labels were all so cool and tins looked pretty much like the ones we drool over on Instagram. I joined the part a lil bit late, after seeing other Indian bookstagrammer’s reactions and reviews. Call me skeptical :/

So i ordered just one.. one candle from this “shop”. I think I placed the order towards the end of May?! There was frequent story updates that the postal service is down, the individual was sick, was busy etc etc all reasons pointing towards delay of sending the package.

But at the same time, the ‘reps’ posted pictures of new labels, new products from the shop which only made me more angry. After several followups and apologies, i finally got it sometime in July. I liked how the candle looked but never tried burning it 😛

I resolved not to buy anymore but when do I ever learn my lessons. I ordered two ‘limited edition’ candles this time and its been more than a month and a half, and i’m still waiting for them to show up.

This time the story goes like.. It was already shipped but to my old address and when i checked at the old place, the security swears that I did not receive any mail. I wasn’t even notified when the order was shipped. No tracking ids.

If you want to thrive in your business, make your customers happy. I hate giving bad reviews, but in this case, I heard similar complaints from other Indian bookstagrammers and I just can’t keep quiet.

I heard that the candle store is now launching their own subscription box. Nope, not ordering , not even giving a try.

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The Upside of Unrequited – Book Review

Author : Becky Albertalli

Publisher : Penguin Random House

Pub Date: 11 April 2017

Source : Own copy

Get the book from Amazon.in

Book Blurb

Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love-she's lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always inThe Upside of Unrequitedsecret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can't stomach the idea of rejection. So she's careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie's orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly's cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly's totally not dying of loneliness-except for the part where she is.
Luckily, Cassie's new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny, flirtatious, and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she'll get her first kiss and she'll get her twin back.

There's only one problem: Molly's coworker, Reid. He's an awkward Tolkien superfan, and there's absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

My Thoughts

This is Becky Albertalli's second book and I've never read Simon Vs the Homosapiens. But I heard about this book through Instagram and decided to buy a copy and got the imported one from Amazon, only to know that it got published in India weeks later at a much lesser price 😐

So when i started reading the book, the first thought that came to my mind was, am I too old for this one. Because the main protagonist was behaving like a 14-year old, very self conscious, with huge amounts of insecurity..  I always read YA books and i love the fact that i'm able to relate to a lot of them. But this book had me questioning my love towards YA. Especially because of the 4+ ratings other readers are giving it.

Molly has had 20 plus crushes and the plot says she knows a lot about unrequited love. Does she? She hasn't ever really tried.. she has never made a step towards her crush. There's not enough said about how she was pining for a particular crush.  And the book is all about getting her a boyfriend. Go figure!

“I guess it’s just this feeling that my body is secretly all wrong. Which means any guy who assumes I’m normal is going to flip his shit if we get to the point of nakedness. Whoa. Nope. Not what I signed up for.”

I think the book was just trying too much?! There were so many diverse characters, like so many (Molly's moms, a pan-sexual Korean American girlfriend, Jews, gay best friends you name it..) i think it was all just for reaching said groups. One dying character would have completed the list i guess…

i'm not trying to be cynical,  I really wanted to like the book.Maybe it would have appealed to 12-19 year olds, i mean actual teens instead of me, a tween.

The only part of the book i actually liked was the twins' relationship. That was real.. the feeling of hurt and being invisible to your own sibling after he/she becomes involved in a relationship and to top it all you learn about said relationship through social media!. That was… sad.. and it was what kept me hooked to the book. Like i wanted to know how do they rectify their situation.. But I don't mean that i liked Cassie. She was mean to her sister, a little bossy at times.

Characterization – ummmm i need to think hard for this one. I think i liked Nadine, Molly's mom. I did  not like Molly or Will. I loved the geeky Middle Earth loving Reid.

The writing was funny here and there. Not so great if i'd rather sum it up.

The entire book was about finding a boyfriend, to finally feel 'belonging' and be experienced enough to talk about kisses n sex. Grow a spine and stop whining  was what I kept telling Molly throughout the book.

Jenny Han's To all the boys I loved before was good, if we are to talk about unrequited crushes.

A huge disappointment, this one. 2.5/5 stars.

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My Not-so Perfect life – Book review

I’m a big fan of Sophie Kinsella and I’ve read ALL of her books! I love her writing style because its easy, fluff, fun and lighthearted.

Book Blurb

Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.
Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.
But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?
Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.
Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

My thoughts:

I was expecting something like Can you keep a secret and Shopaholic where the female protagonist is clumsy, dumb and prone to making silly mistakes (I like both those books, still). But this book was different and should receive credit for the fact that Kate Brenner is bright and ambitious. I’ll let you know why :

  • You can totally relate to her, she is just like us, a small town girl who comes to the city chasing her dreams , trying to fit in, trying to live the ‘perfect’ city life. I’ve been there and I know how it is to survive in a city.
  • When Kate (or Cat, as she calls herself in the city) posts Instagram pictures of food she doesn’t eat or places she hasn’t visited but still want to project a perfect life to her best friends and family, I wasn’t the least bit bored or found it ridiculous. Because, we’ve all been there. We know how social media pressure works out for us and the need to compete, show off and fit in become the primary goals.
  • Cat doesn’t let her Dad (single parent) know how much she is struggling for a breakthrough in her career and paints a false picture to him that she is the most irreplaceable person in her company. Because her father, one of the most sweetest person in this book, is worried about the big bad city and just cannot understand what’s wrong with staying with him
  • Demeter, the boss from hell -insensitive and a nightmare to her employees. She has the perfecttt life that Cat dreams of – the dream job, handsome husband, big house, fancy car and cute kids and designer clothes. Her characterization throughout the book is brilliant. From being portrayed as the most horrible boss or later in the book as a person with “hung ups and problems and flaws like the rest of us”, she is brilliant.
  • I did for a moment think that after Alex, the partner’s son who is also ‘brilliant, smart, full of wit and charm’ asks Cat on an impromptu discussion, it was going to be something similar to ‘Can you keep a Secret’. But no, God, no, this book is ruled only by women and there’s no big part for Alex. That’s when i started liking it even more. Because how many books have we seen this storyline where the office girl marries off the boss and that’s it her career is thrown down the path with happily ever after. This book is about how Katie gets her perfect, not so perfect life on her own.
  • The sweet revenge that Katie gets to have on Demeter is just so much fun. How we wish we can do that to our bosses.!!! 😉

I can go on and on about this book, but 2 simple words – Perfectly done!

My review will be 5/5. Even if i’m not a Kinsella fan, i would have gone with 4.5/5. The extra 0.5 is for me being her ardent fan and that she never disappoints. (Except the last shopaholic book, i like all of her works :D)

You can get the book from Amazon.in. The review is in there as well as Goodreads 🙂

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Every time you see someone’s bright-and-shiny, remember: They have their own crappy truths too. Of course they do. And every time you see your own crappy truth and feel despair and think, ‘Is this my life?’, remember: It’s not. Everyone’s got a bright-and-shiny, even if it’s hard to find sometimes.

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I’ll give you the Sun – Book Review

This book is by Jandy Nelson who has also written ‘The Sky Is Everywhere’.
It is that kind of a book, the one where you are not sure whether you like it or not. I mean at some places, I did want to close it and read something else. At some places, it just blew my mind away.

Book Blurb

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

The sibling rivalry was perfectly portrayed and  the way the twins can feel each other is just amazing. The story is narrated from Jude and Noah’s point of view alternatively but during different ages. Noah’s narration is from the past before something terrible happened and Jude’s from after.  The grief is treated differently by both of them and drives them apart, not to mention the total character change, like they got swapped. The first half will really get on your nerves because its all just a tangle and you don’t know where anything is headed. But do not miss the second half.. Because its then that the story unravels and touches you deeply. The inner turmoil that the twins are going through makes much sense and to overcome all that grief and confusion, the missing parts need to be connected. I do not wish to disclose much. Also this is the first novel I’ve read where one of the protagonist is not straight.

I love how the title came into the picture. Its this cute game the twins play when they are kids. They fight for natural elements like Sun, Moon, flowers etc. So when Noah has something that Jude wants, she agrees to give him the Sun 🙂

Somethings I didn’t like or couldn’t relate where – Jude’s relationships with two guys -before and after. But both are older than her but she behaves as though the first one took advantage of her. That was just meh.

The other thing was Noah’s narration which looked like he was high. But he isn’t. Okay, it might have been the artistic way of telling things but I just didn’t like it or rather i didn’t grasp it. I understand he has this flair for art and the burning passion to draw something immediately but somethings were just incomprehensible to me.

I liked that Noah and Jude found the person the next-door parrot was incessantly asking for. 🙂 🙂

My rating is 4/5.

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You can get the book from Amazon.in

ACOWAR !!

All Rhysand fans out there would have known that ACOWAR book cover has been revealed.

Now waiting for the book to be released!!! *Squeal* May 2nd is so far away..

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Very very curious to know what happens in book 3 of ‘A court of Thorns and Roses’ (ACOTAR) by Sarah J Mass. Thought it looked like a retelling of Beauty and Beast in book#1, the second book ‘A court of Mist and Fury’ (ACOMAF) just blew my mind *Cant get enough of Rhysand*

The April book box theme of “Books n Beyond” is related to Rhys they said, and off i went and pre-booked.. Book yours now.. 😀

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