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)

 

 

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Song of the Current #1 – Book Review

Author : Sarah Tolcser

Publisher : Bloomsbury Children’s

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

Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. For generations, her family has been called by the river god, who has guided their wherries on countless voyages throughout the Riverlands. At seventeen, Caro has spent years listening to the water, ready to meet her fate. But the river god hasn’t spoken her name yet—and if he hasn’t by now, there’s a chance he never will.31450960

Caro decides to take her future into her own hands when her father is arrested for refusing to transport a mysterious crate. By agreeing to deliver it in exchange for his release, Caro finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies, with dangerous pirates after the cargo—an arrogant courier with a secret—and without the river god to help her. With so much at stake, Caro must choose between the life she always wanted and the one she never could have imagined for herself.

From debut author Sarah Tolcser comes an immersive and romantic fantasy set along the waterways of a magical world with a headstrong heroine determined to make her mark.

My thoughts

Ever since I read ‘Daughter of the Pirate King, I seemed to develop a love for pirates and sea monsters and mermaids. So I had high hopes when I started reading this book, which is first of the series that is to come. I received this book as part of a book box so I didn’t read the blurb beforehand.

The day your fate comes for you, you’ll know….

The book follows the story of Caroline Oresteia who is from the riverlands and isn’t favored by the river God yet and is forever waiting for a small sign from the God to captain her own wherry. The story is about the adventures of Caroline where she is supposed to take the journey of her life time for delivering something important which would otherwise negatively impact her father’s life.

Caro and Tarquin

The book gives the sort of feeling that Caro is spirited and strong and brave, which she is. And the male love interest of the book, Tarquin, is exactly the male version of damsel in distress and that sort of thing really annoyed me. I mean, he is a prince after all! There was zero chemistry between the two and the budding romance felt like too much effort. Also can I say one more time how I HATE that tomboyish girls when MADE to wear a skirt or dress look absolutely beautiful to the guys! A girl is beautiful in every way!!

World Building

Did y’all see the map at the beginning of the book? There isn’t a book map which was as difficult as this, atleast for me. The river and lands were hard to distinguish 😛 There was too much sailor and sea jargon which I knew nothing of, and which became the main reasons for me losing interest in the book. I mean c’mon how many times do I have to google the different terms used. It was difficult, period!

This is supposed to be a fantasy, so cue the dragons and shadowmen. It was a little hard to keep up with the other characters – Nereus, the wherry folk, Caro’s mother’s family and the supposedly villainous pirate gangs. A lot of sub-plots started and left in midway cause you need some to fill in the next books.

Like I said this book is supposed to be a series, and I’m not sure whether I will be getting the next one, That’s for the blurb to entice me into buying it.

If you love reading about female badass characters and their adventures, you will love this book.

I give See the source imagestars.

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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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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 🙂

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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.

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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!!).

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!..

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The Windfall – Book review

Author : Diksha Basu

Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing India

Pub Date: June 2017

Source : Review copy provided by the Publishers (Thank you!)

Get the book from Amazon.in

Book Blurb

For the past thirty years, Mr. and Mrs. Jha’s lives have been defined by cramped spaces, cut corners, gossipy neighbors, and the small dramas of stolen yoga pants and stale marriages. They thought they’d settled comfortably into their golden years, pleased with their son’s acceptance into an American business school. But then Mr. Jha comes into an enormous and unexpected sum of money, and moves his wife from their housing complex in East Delhi to the super-rich side of town, where he becomes eager to fit in as a man of status: skinny ties, hired guards, shoe-polishing machines, and all.
The move sets off a chain of events that rock their neighbors, their marriage, and their son, who is struggling to keep a lid on his romantic dilemmas and slipping grades, and brings unintended consequences, ultimately forcing the Jha family to reckon with what really matters

Mr.Jha experiences a lucky windfall when his website brings him a huge sum of money and with it a quick turnaround in his life. Living in the shadows of his Uncle’s house his early days of life are unsuccessful and he manages to buy a small apartment in East Delhi. Mrs.Jha manages the household with her husband’s salary and works for a nonprofit organization helping artisans. Their only son Rupak is sent to one of the rich kids schools in Delhi where he always feels like an outsider.

Now in his fifties, Mr.Jha has his lucky breakthrough and a chance to start over in life. He begins by moving over to a posh neighborhood in Gurgaon, lavishly spending on the house and sending his son to the United States to pursue his MBA.

Rupak is a confused youngster who is still coming to terms with the sudden change in lifestyle and his parents decision to move to Gurgaon. He flunks in studies and has an American girlfriend, who he pictures to have the typical American sitcom character’s life and never pays attention to her in real life.

Mrs.Jha is forever in the middle, not knowing how to embrace the rich life and worries about every unwanted expense her husband makes but always proud of his hard work.

The book follows the life of the Jhas and those around them and how East Delhi meets Gurgaon in a funny way.

Mr.Chopra, the show-off neighbor of the Jhas in Gurgaon, does everything to impress people of his wealth and to prove his status. He takes pride in introducing his 28-year old son who he still supports financially because he simply can.

After the move to Gurgaon, there is a constant battle for status between the Chopras and Jhas to show off and Mr.Jha feels that it is totally necessary to keep up with his neighbors.

The book was so much fun to read and you can easily relate to the characters because we meet these kinda people in real life. The struggle to fit in and keeping up is a contant battle in all our lives and this book was very realistic. Its amusing to read how the rich struggle to spend money, the emphasis here, is on the spend and not on the money 😀 They really can’t figure out how to spend everything they have 😛

The book did put into light in a rather subtle way certain things in our society like the life of a widow, the scrutiny she has to undergo for every penny she spends or even just living her life. Widow remarriage especially a suggestion for online dating sites/matrimony sites for divorced & widows was good. Also, thrown in as a matter of fact was, how Rupak knows all about his father’s work but nothing about his mother’s. The understated sad truth about the majority of married women who give up career to concentrate on family.

Overall, this book was fulfilling and not once I thought it was a typical made for Bollywood kinda script. It was funny and without exaggerations.

My rating is 5/5 stars.

P.S. Hi !!

P.P.S  Sorry for disappearing for a while

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