The Exact Opposite of Okay – Blog Tour|Book Review | Giveaway

Author: Laura Steven
Publishers: HarperTeen
Released on : June 11 2019
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Edelweiss E-ARC provided by Publishers

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Welcome to my stop (well, technically my post should have been up by 9th June, but but…*adulting sucks*) for the FFBC blog tour of The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven. Today I’m going to share how much I enjoyed reading this wonderful book and towards the end of the post you will find a link to the Rafflecopter giveaway (US only).

Synopsis

Bitingly funny and shockingly relevant, The Exact Opposite of Okay is a bold, brave, and necessary read for fans of Louise O’Neill and Jennifer Mathieu.Eighteen-year-old Izzy O’Neill knows exactly who she is—a loyal friend, an aspiring comedian, and a person who believes that milk shakes and Reese’s peanut butter cups are major food groups. But after she’s caught in a compromising position with the son of a politician, it seemslike everyone around her is eager to give her a new label: slut.Izzy is certain that the whole thing will blow over and she can get back to worrying about how she doesn’t reciprocate her best friend Danny’s feelings for her and wondering how she is evergoing to find a way out of their small town. Only it doesn’t.And while she’s used to laughing her way out of any situation, as she finds herself first the center of high school gossip and then in the middle of a national scandal, it’s hard even for her to find humor in the situation.Izzy may be determined not to let anyone else define who she is, but that proves easier said than done when it seems like everyone has something to say about her.

66A90218-C769-41B7-9C55-0090641CF710I was gifted a previous edition of this book by a lovely online friend and right from page one, the book had me hooked. Izzy O’Neill is unabashedly funny throughout the book even when handling not so funny situations.

Izzy O’Neil uses humor as a coping mechanism. She is an aspiring screenwriter, an orphan and is poor. What happens when a completely private part of her life becomes viral and how it turns her life upside down and she becomes the object of ridicule and slut shaming is the rest of the story.

“Oh, you know, I’m all right. It sucks a bit. But you know. Fine.” This is an understatement on a par with “the political landscape in the Middle East is a little tense”, but I’m not in the mood to go into specifics.

The relationship dynamics in this book was absolutely good! Be it the grandma-granddaughter love or the friendship between Ajita and Izzy , it felt so good to read about them. Every girl deserves an Ajita in their life! Not to mention the Drama teacher Mrs Crannon. She is one among the sweetest people in Izzy’s life and I loved how supportive she was. And kudos to the author for not completely bashing out on teachers and for showing the world that the good ones do co-exist.

The book deals with several important topics – blaming girls for everything and having double standards when it comes to slut-shaming and also a lesser talked about topic – revenge porn. (Though I felt that everything happening all of a sudden to Izzy felt a little unrealistic, let’s just forget all about it and look at the bigger picture here) The not-so subtle feministic approach towards the end deserves all the applause !

I did love Izzy but her actions confused me. For instance who doesn’t  password protect their phone, considering it has nude pictures of oneself in it? How can someone be so careless. I’m not judging her like the rest of the people in her town do, but i was genuinely concerned about this. And why didn’t she not make an effort at the very beginning to find the cause of all the miserable things happening in her life ? 🧐

The book reminded me of Awkward, 13 Reasons Why and Simon Vs the Homosapiens. In a good way 🙂

72659DB6-CD84-45D7-8428-DD0EFDD90791I rated the book a 4 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to the amazing people at The Fantastic Flying Book Club and the publishers for giving me this opportunity. Please take your time in going through the schedule for the entire tour and have a look at the blogs taking part in it here.

BOOK LINKS
Goodreads |Amazon | Bookdepository

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link (US ONLY)

About the Author

Laura Steven is an author, journalist and screenwriter from the northernmost town in England. The Exact Opposite of Okay, her YA debut, was published by Egmont in March 2018. The sequel, A Girl Called Shameless, will follow in 2019.As well as mentoring aspiring authors through schemes like Pitch Wars, Laura works for Mslexia, a non-profit organisation supporting women writers. She graduated with Distinction from her MA in Creative Writing in 2017, and her TV pilot Clickbait –a mockumentary about journalists at a viral news agency –was a finalist in British Comedy’s 2016 Sitcom Mission.Laura is represented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary and Media Inc

If you have read the book, do let me know your thoughts on this.. 

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Nocturna (A Forgery Of Magic#1) | Book Review

 

Nocturna (A Forgery of Magic, #1)Author: Maya Motayne
Genre : Young Adult Fantasy
Source: Audiobook available from Storytel.in
Audiobook Duration: 12 hours
Released on: 07-May-2019
Publishers: Balzer + Bray

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Let me warn you, its dark ! Dark Fantasy and a lot of magic – elemental and a special kinda one called propio – a magic that’s unique to each person and appears to them when they really need it.

Prince Alfehr is not ready to ascend the throne – the throne that was supposedly his brother Dez’s – and is hellbent in avenging his brother’s death and trying to bring him back, all at the same time. Finn Voy is a badass thief, and her propio is face-shifting that helps her survive and to escape her mentor-slash-evil-adopted-father.  Luka is Alfie’s cousin and his best friend, who is left with the loss of dealing with Dez and a runaway Alfie and is rightfully mad at him for leaving him.

When Alfie accidentally releases a dark magic into the world, he seeks the help of his best friend and Finn (who he meets when he is reckless and trying to get hold of forbidden magic books) Together they devise a plan – one that leaves Alfie with no other choice than to get help from the person who caused his brother’s death. Only Problem – the dark magic is growing and infecting his people and said murderer is in an isolated prison bound with magic. So the plot is all about how and if they survive this evil magic thing.

So the world … is amazingly built, intricate details are shared throughout the book. The history of the Kingdom of Castallan , their elemental magic and how they were enslaved by the Englass and fought their freedom strikes a similarity with real world. And there is also the story about how the Gods created Castallan and and about Sombra, the God of Darkness who is buried because of his threat of bringing about Nocturna to the world.

The main characters – all three of them were good and I loved Luka so much!! Finn was fantastic and broken and monstrous, while Alfie was hurting and scared and conflicted. The author has hinted a romance between them but nothing happens in this book so maybe the next one and I can’t wait !! But all together, this first instalment was almost perfect and fulfils all fantasy lovers expectations.

The relationship between this book and me could be described as a slow burn romance!! I initially found it really hard to get into the story because of the complex magic system, but the book wowed me over towards the end. I read other reviews when I was about to give up in the beginning and many found it similar to Shades of Magic series by VE Schwab. I’m yet to read it, so that didn’t put me off.

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A definite 4 stars from me!!.

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Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts on it, if you have.

Dear Mrs Bird |Book Review

|Books I read in 2018 but never wrote a review|

This book is written by debut author AJ Pearce and was published by Picador books in April 2018.

All Emmeline Lake wants to do during this wretched World War, is to contribute in some way to helping the people survive it. Men have left homes to fight in the War and the women of the household are miserable, anxious and afraid. Emmeline wants to be a war correspondent working for the Government and bringing people news of the War. She doesn’t get selected while her friend Bunty is working in the War Office. So she does her part by volunteering at the Fire station where Bunty’s boyfriend works and every time the phone rings informing about yet another Nazi bombing, she makes sure the fire fighters on their way to help the victims.

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When Emmeline applies for a job, which she considers will be a journalist for a famous newspaper, little does she know, she will be working for it’s sister concern Women’s Friend, a magazine that has a failing subscription rate. She is to work directly for Mrs Henrietta Bird, who replies to letters from readers (agony aunt) in her column Dear Mrs Bird. She is downright ‘Miranda Priestly of the 1940’s’ and everyone fears her. Ofcourse she has her own set of conditions and terms “actual” issues from readers as unpleasant and never replies back.

With her gnawing need to help people coping up with the war, Emmeline starts responding to these messages/letters under Henrietta’s name. She even sneaks one or two into the final copy for publishing them. Until she gets caught.

You can see what war does to the people who are left back, the women folk and children managing to survive amidst all the Nazi bombings. The toll it takes on their mental, physical and social lives. This is a really sweet book about the lives of people who suffered the aftermath of the War and dealing with loss of loved ones. It has the right amount of humour, the right amount of “unpleasantness” and appreciates women and men equally for their contribution towards Surviving the War.

Two most important aspects of the book I loved are – friendship and letter writing . I’ve always loved writing letters and though it seems to be forgotten these days, reading all the correspondence in this book was heartwarming.

If you love reading about books centred around World War II, then this is for you. If you loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society this is for you. A debut that is wonderfully written!

I rated it a 4 stars.

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The FlatShare |Book Review|A Contemporary Romance you need to read..

This is the kind of book that you would want to grab and read after seeing the synopsis.

Synopsis:43315814

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

When Tiffy is in urgent need of a place to stay, she doesn’t mind sharing it with a guy, who is only going to be there during the day. She thinks its a perfect arrangement. Leon’s girlfriend forbids him from seeing the girl who is going to live in his flat, his bed.. He doesn’t know what she is like and starts writing back when she leaves a random note to him. All of sudden there’s notes everywhere n anywhere and they continue to talk through notes, as friends, flatmates.

The Flatshare

Let me list the reasons why I loved the book..

  • I love Epistolary books and its no secret. That doesn’t mean only books written in letter format throughout. Be it any form of communication – Texts, Emails, journal entries etc. Writing notes to each other is the next best thing to have happened with an extra twist of not-seeing-each-other!! 
  • Tiffy was like this protagonist straight outta a Sophie Kinsella book. I felt like that because of the eccentric dressing sense and the occasional naivety.  And Leon is, well he is this absolute introvert and even chapters from his POV were full of pronoun-less sentences that were short and abrupt. Like even thinking aloud in his head is too much of a task for him 😛 But together they form an amazing pair and I loved both of them.

Sometimes find it hard to talk after a long night. Just opening my mouth to form comprehensible thoughts is like lifting a very heavy thing, or like one of those dreams when you need to run but your legs are moving through treacle?

  • Sheds light on important topics like – gaslighting and emotional Abuse. Many of the victims do not realise they are being emotionally abused until someone makes them realise it and Mo and Gerty – Tiffy’s best friends – are absolutely the best friends one could get. I mean Mo is the male best friend every girl needs!. He is without doubt my favourite character.
  • What a cool job Tiffy has!! I envy her so much for that. She is an editor for a publishing house that prints books mostly on DIY. She gets to read and craft for a living!!
  • Every other character in the book is so good – Mo, Gerty, Rachel, Richie.

TBH I loved the first 60 % of the book. It was fun to read. It got a bit dull later and had a predictable ending, which is fine because of the initial hook that the story pulls you with. Kudos to Beth O’Leary for a very satisfying debut!

The book releases on May 28th in the US!.

I gave it a 4 star rating because of the lack of surprise in the last few chapters.

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You can get the ebook from Amazon.in

Comics Will Break Your Heart |Book Review

This sweet book by Faith Erin Hicks was a delight to read. A slow, but enjoyable read.

Synopsis:

Miriam’s family should be rich. After all, her grandfather was the co-creator of smash-hit comics series The TomorrowMen. But he sold his rights to the series to his co-creator in the 1960s for practically nothing, and now that’s what Miriam has: practically nothing. And practically nothing to look forward to either-how can she afford college when her family can barely keep a roof above their heads? As if she didn’t have enough to worry about, Miriam’s life gets much more complicated when a cute boy shows up in town . . . and turns out to be the grandson of the man who defrauded Miriam’s grandfather, and heir to the TomorrowMen fortune.

In her endearing debut novel, cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks pens a sensitive and funny Romeo and Juliet tale about modern romance, geek royalty, and what it takes to heal the long-festering scars of the past (Spoiler Alert: love).

I loved the book because of the small town atmosphere and the people in it. I loved it because anyone from a small town, yearning to leave it someday would get it. I loved it because it had equal parts of “first world problems” of Weldon and small town girl Miriam. I loved how eccentric Miriam’s parents were.

There’s a slow-burn romance and few other sub-plots that formed the story. Like how comic book industry is slowly concentrating on movies and comic books/writers are not as popular as the movies in itself. The gentrification of your friendly neighbourhood, the struggle to get funding for college and a little bit of bullying.

Weldon and Miriam’s relationship evolves throughout the book and it was cute not totally insta love. Among all the characters I liked Weldon the most. He understands the part played by his family in the war over the TomorrowMen Comics and struggles to impress Miriam who is so much discontented with how things turned out for her family. Miriam just seemed a little pessimistic (even for me) but we need flawed characters not perfectionists!

The plot mentions rivalry between two families for generations and gives you “Romeo-Juliet” vibes at times but I expected more of the actual rivalry and the star-crossed lovers thing. It was weakly explored and that was a definite minus. And I wanted at least few comic panels (like in Save the Date by Morgan Matson) But overall the book was maple syrup sweet and heartwarming. You just have to keep in mind the book is targeted for YA Audience.

Comics will break your Heart

I rated a 4 out of 5 stars!

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Verity by Colleen Hoover |Book Review

I’ve read like 4 or 5 books by Colleen Hoover and loved them all. She has this way with words that will tug you at all the right places and is most definitely my favourite author. With this book, she has unlocked one more achievement in writing – Creepy Suspense novels.

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My first reaction when I finished this book was – Holy Sh**$$%#T! Thats crazy!!.

The book is about a struggling, introvert writer Lowen Ashleigh who gets the opportunity to co-write the remaining series of an established, popular writer Verity Crawford who recently met with an accident. Lowen is approached by Verity’s publisher and her husband Jeremy Crawford with the offer and a non-disclosure agreement about not revealing Verity’s current state. Lowen is invited to the Crawfords house to take notes, gather plot details and single-handedly write the remaining books. Just before meeting with the publishers for the first time, Lowen meets Jeremy in an unexpected way that sparks something between them and is enough to kindle it during her stay in his home. Things take a darker turn as Lowen uncovers an unfinished autobiography of Verity in her study and things that were bound to stay hidden come into light.

I can’t explain how much creepy the writing was.. And it was a bad idea to read the book at night. My mind was like “Get OUT! Get OUT now!!. This book is twisted, revolting, fu*ks your mind, but keeps you engrossed.

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And I also must mention how cringe-y the sex scenes made me, like they were too much.. ugh.. And that CoHo herself teases about it through Lowen’s words. I can’t talk about the characters, because spoilers but like her other books, the characters are flawed.. I’m not sure how to put all the trigger warnings beforehand without giving away a major part of the plot, but consider yourself warned. And oh yeah! that ending!!! Again warning y’all.

The book was seriously so much different from what Colleen Hoover usually writes and I’m not even sure what would it make of me if I were to say I liked the book, one might think I’m a dark, twisted person too 😀

My rating 4/5 stars.

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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|

 

Ash Princess – Book Review

I recently read Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian and thought I would revive my blog by writing a review for the book.

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Source: Own Picture

Synopsis
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here
As you can see from synopsis, this book has more or less a Cinderella kind of plot where the kingdom’s fair and just ruler is overthrown by an ironist villain and the story is about avenging and rebelling against the villain. There are several books on similar story line in YA fantasy but I haven’t read that many of hem so I still found the book interesting and amazing.

What I liked 

  • Character arc – Theo

Theo’s character shows a fantastic transformation from the beginning of the book till its end. When punished brutally and ridiculed among a crowd, you cannot expect a young child to think of revenge. Theodosia suffers under the hands of the Kaiser and for every rebellion that breaks out, the Kaiser takes out his anger on her. When she is ready to give up all hope, the Kaiser makes her do something that inadvertantly sparks the rebel in her. Even then she doesn’t immediately become a rebel overnight. She plots, she manipulates, she acts and finally gets the revenge she wants.

  • Concept of magical stones

The Spirit gems, although not much explored in the book, made it sort of interesting and fascinating. The inner conflict that Theo has against using them, only makes you appreciate the fact she wants to be just and deserving in front of her Gods.

  •   The Two Kingdoms and their differences

The author has painted a vivid difference between Kalavoxian and Astrean kingdoms and their cultures. How Astrea came into being, how brutal Kalovaxians can be when it comes to wars and acquiring other kingdoms is all explained well in the book. The fact that the Kaiser does not allow Theo to grow up as Astrean, but he and his courtiers wear and follow Astrean customs and fashion, is just another way of showing his rank and power to her.

  • Other Important characters

Cress!! She definitely needs to be mentioned in the review. She grows in Kalovaxian ways and never realises that her people are to be blamed for the death of innocents because she feels that they deserve it for rebelling. She is sweet enough to her kingdom’s prisoner  but what happens in the book and her character transformation after that is absolutely good. I’m looking forward to reading about her in the sequel.

Artemisia is total badass and never cares for Theo’s feelings towards doing right. She feels Theo is not suffering enough like her people in the caves, rather she is living inside a castle and the luxuries it has to offer.

Other characters like Prinz Soren and Blaise didn’t really make an impression, although I did feel pity of Soren.

What I didn’t like

  • Definitely, the love triangle

The love triangle felt weak and forced, because of Theo’s feelings towards Soren and Blaise felt meh! I couldn’t really get into the love story and all along it felt like every other YA fantasy. Or more like a game of Kiss, Marry, Kill !!

  • Similarities with Sansa Stark

You cannot stop wondering about how similar are the character arcs of these two strong fictional females. Sansa was also ridiculed and abused in King’s Landing in Game of Thrones and Theo’s experiences are almost the same. Especially when the Kaiserin calls her little lamb!

You’re a lamb in the lion’s den, child. You’re surviving. Isn’t that enough?”

Sansa too later becomes focussed on revenge and avenging her dead siblings and parents. Theo wants revenge for all the people who died at the Kaiser’s hands and especially the death of Theyn who slit her mother’s throat. I just want my characters to be different and stay with me without reminding of another literary character.

But overall, the book is written really good. Though its starts off slow, the latter parts regain pace and leaves you wanted for more towards the end. I can’t wait for Lady Smoke, the sequel that comes out in 2019!. I’m looking forward to read more about the Spirit Gems, the fate of Cress and Blaise, more Astrean and Kalovaxian history and of course, the Dragnonsbane!!

I would recommend this book to you if you love YA fantasy and books like Throne of Glass, Red Queen etc.

My rating 4 stars.

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More about the book

Author : Laura Sebastian

Publishers: PanMacmillan

Published on : April 2018

Source: own copy, purchased from Amazon.in

First book in trilogy.

You can get the book from Amazon.in

If you have read this book, let me know how did you like it?

If you know more books of similar plot line, I’m happy to discuss 🙂

                                            Find me on Goodreads!! & Instagram

Love & Other Train wrecks – Book Review

Author : Leah Konen

Publisher : Katherine Tegen Books

Pub Date: 02 Jan 2018

Source : E-book, Own copy

Get the book from Amazon.in.

You can find my review in Goodreads page as well.

Book Blurb

A twenty-four-hour romance about two teens who meet—and perhaps change their minds about love—on a train ride to Upstate New York in the middle of a snowstorm

One train ride. Two strangers.34848190

Noah is a hopeless romantic. He’s heading back home for one last chance with his first love, whom he broke up with when he went off to college.

Ammy doesn’t believe in true love—her parents being prime examples. She’s escaping from a mom who can’t take care of her to a dad who may not even want her. That is, until one winter night when Noah and Ammy find themselves in the same Amtrak car heading to Upstate New York.

After a train-wreck first encounter between the two of them, the Amtrak train suddenly breaks down due to a snowstorm. Desperate to make it to their destinations, Noah and Ammy have no other option but to travel together. What starts off as a minor detour turns into the whirlwind journey of a lifetime, and over the course of the night they fall in love. But come morning their adventure takes an unexpected turn for the worst. Can one night can really change how they feel about love…and the course of their lives forever?

My thoughts

After reading a disastrous Fantasy, I was in for something light and cute and boy oh boy! This was everything I wanted, to fish me out of a slump.

Noah & Ammy

The train isn’t as romantic as I thought it would be..

Both Noah & Ammy are travelling via the Amtrak to the same destination (which they don’t know first) and do not get along from the very beginning when Ammy mocks him for reading the Hunger Games (hello, what?!).

Ammy comes off a rude person, harboring a lot of family issues and guilty of betraying her mother when she needed her the most, but she does have her reasons. Noah, too is guilty of breaking up with his girlfriend, who honestly isn’t all likeable and comes off as bossy, but he is blind with love. And guilt. A lot of it! When they are stranded on the train at the middle of nowhere, Noah and Ammy decide to walk to the nearest bus station and continue with their journey as both of them have to be at someplace that day. Begins a series of misadventures but eventful ones that lead them both to spend an awful lot of time together , that’s told in a series of time frames (which I really liked!)

Noah is this huge hearted, romantic and is very likeable. And I don’t understand how he can be that dense about his girlfriend and still wants to get back with her. I loved him throughout the book. On the other hand, Ammy isn’t likeable, and I didn’t like it how she turned mean again towards the end, like for the most stupidest reason. And she is a wannabe feminist! The one who cannot differentiate between actual male domination and sweet humanly gestures.

The book also talks about painful divorces and mental illness which I felt was not overdone. Ammy’s friendship with the step-sister and her weird sense of gratitude towards it, well that was a tad overdone.

The book is cheesy, cute and is apt for a quick read. I loved the writing. I loved cheesy lines like this one..

You are like a book I want to read forever…

And the hitchhiking through the snow (bcos I love snow!)..

Everything looks magical in the snow, like something straight out of a fantasy novel…

car, road, road trip

I give 4 stars simply because I love some good, light hearted reads such as this one..

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Snow image courtesy : Pexels (free Photo)

 

 

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

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