By the Book – Book Review

Author : Julia Sonneborn

Publisher : Gallery Books

Pub Date: Feb 2018

Source : Own (Kindle copy)

Get the book from Amazon.in.

You can find my review in Goodreads page as well.

Book Blurb

An English professor struggling for tenure discovers that her ex-fiancé has just become the president of her college—and her new boss—in this whip-smart modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion. By-the-Book-by-Julia-Sonneborn.jpg
Anne Corey is about to get schooled.
An English professor in California, she’s determined to score a position on the coveted tenure track at her college. All she’s got to do is get a book deal, snag a promotion, and boom! She’s in. But then Adam Martinez—her first love and ex-fiancé—shows up as the college’s new president.
Anne should be able to keep herself distracted. After all, she’s got a book to write, an aging father to take care of, and a new romance developing with the college’s insanely hot writer-in-residence. But no matter where she turns, there’s Adam, as smart and sexy as ever. As the school year advances and her long-buried feelings begin to resurface, Anne begins to wonder whether she just might get a second chance at love.

Funny, smart, and full of heart, this modern ode to Jane Austen’s classic explores what happens when we run into the demons of our past…and when they turn out not to be so bad, after all.

My thoughts

By the Book is a loose retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. I’ve only half read the Classic, but I always love Austen’s writing and no matter what, I love fairytale retellings and Classic retellings. I was prepared for the book because you know how the story is going to unfold.

Anne Corey is an English Professor who is looking for a permanent job at Fairfax college which is only possible of she becomes a published author. Unexpectedly, her ex-fiancé re-enters her life in the form of her College’s new, suave, handsome President – Adam Martinez. And because she hates him at the moment and there really is room for another hot guy, there comes a Booker-Prize winning author Rick Chasen to the college as in-house writer. The book revolves around Anne and the struggles in getting her book published along with her encounters with Adam and Rick in the same campus.

What I did like about the book:

  • A book that talks a lot about Classic novels and their authors
  • Has description about a beautiful home library
  • Makes you swoon when you hear how Adam proposes Anne in the past by using a copy of “Persuasion” to hide the ring.
  • Makes you jealous of how awesome it is to have a friend like Larry, Anne’s gay best friend.
  • Has little email conversations here n there in the book (which I generally love!)

What I didn’t like:

  • There was very, very minimal romance (tension) between Adam and Anne.
  • Adam was, for most part of the book, like a character lurking in the shadows. There were very less interactions between him and Anne in the present.
  • The hostility between Adam and Rick made me think of Mr. Darcy and Wickham. And in the end, it did somewhat turn out like Pride and Prejudice. So, I’m kind of confused here.

The book could have been more better, with a little bit of originality.

I still give 3.5 stars

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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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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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October Unboxing – Books N Beyond Box

Ever since I discovered(?!) book boxes exist in India, I make it a point to get one each month. And Books n Beyond Box has been a favorite now, I do buy from the others but notice how I write a review only for this 😛 Coz its that gooood 😀

The October theme was “Femme Fatale Kicking Arse since Eons” (that’s a mouthful :P)

I have vouched for this box enough times already on Instagram and here, so its enough to say i loved this month’s box. So off to the box contents…

🌟The BOTM is Wonder Woman Warbringer, book 1 from the DC icons series. We do know WW is a kick ass character and there were THREE more items – a Funko, the Wonder Woman patch (instant love!) and a Original (!!!!!) DC comic – based on the character.
🌟And honouring someone from the classics , it was none other than Jane Austen – a bookish pendant that looks vintage-y and gives you all the Victorian vibes…
🌟A spells coaster honoring the greatest witch of her time , Hermione Granger.
🌟 Inej Ghafa Quote designed by my favourite @kitaabee.keera (Check her on Instagram!!)
🌟 A book badge inspired by Arya Stark !
🌟 A t-shirt Quoting from Sarah J Maas book , the queen of YA Fantasy.
🌟annnnnnd Wreck This Journal by author/illustrator Keri Smith – sure to put you off of social media for a while and give work to the right part of your brain
🌟 All in all put together by our Wonder Woman Papiya, the curator of Books n Beyond box.

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IMG_5171  I’m having so much fun with Wreck this Journal but you can hardly call it as ‘wrecking’ :P.

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Bookstagrammin’ ?

So are you a bookstagrammer**, if yes, I would love to Follow you.

**This is a rare case – If you wonder what is bookstagram, my dear reader, its nothing but Instagramming books and everything bookish. I’m thinking why it hasn’t been added to the Oxford Dictionary yet ?!

So yeah, if you are a famous bookstagrammer with several K followers or just a newbie, drop me your Insta user name in the comments and i’ll follow you back. 🙂

My user name is @sweety_1009.

#instagrammathula_vaadi_vazhuvom!!

(translated as “Come, lets live in the world of Instagram” , a line from a popular Tamil song :P)

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hashtag bibliophile 😛

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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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Who Me, Poor – Book review

Author : Gayatri Jayaraman

Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing India

Pub Date: July 2017

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

Get the book from Amazon.in

Book Blurb

The characteristics and reasons for urban poverty are manifold and seem to repeat across class structures: migration, culture shock, real estate costs and unrealistic expectations of city life, a lack of financial education, corporate cultures that perpetuate stereotypical workforces, a glamourised entrepreneurial culture that focuses on icons of spending instead of struggle, and economically and politically, the rise of the cashless credit economy and the demise of the thrift economy and its conservative icons.
Who me, Poor?: How India's youth are living in urban poverty to make it big
The book will use the case studies of young Indians, typically in their first or second jobs, migrants to major Indian metros, living in these conditions. The reasons for the poverty they experience are varied, and influenced by the industries they work for, their family backgrounds, other financial obligations, social stratas, and peer groups. There are so far, no studies available for this in India, and is a rising phenomenon in the US where it has been called ‘poverty with no name’. Gayatri’s short piece on the Urban Poor crossed 1.1 million views on Buzzfeed – the highest number for any Indian feature article to date

My Thoughts

Before heading to the review, I should point out that I’m not a big fan of Non-fiction and I have tried to give an honest review as much as possible.

The book is divided into four parts – Who are the Poor, Why do they spend, Brand I, Go for Broke. Each of these sections have several anecdotes and examples that are related to the titles. For example, the first section – ‘who me, poor’ has stories of people struggling to fit in, carve their niche, and in the process spend a lot of money to get attention and to build networks and survive. The story of the fashionista who skipped meals just because she needed money to live in the ‘happening’ place in the city and wear designer clothes shook me. The reason we spend is mostly attributed to the fact that a successful career depends on spending beyond our earnings. I’ve been working for the past 4 years, living away from home and I know what peer pressure, the easy money and the city life can turn you into.

The part about credit cards and EMI’s was like a wakeup call because I’m guilty of buying expensive stuff and paying excessive financial charges. And like me, there will be others, a huge mass of them. I felt like this book was meant for this crowd, (the ones who spend on something that to most parents would look unnecessary) to create an awareness, to make them understand that impressions can be made without the need for spending more than they can afford.

A must read, especially for youngsters who have just started out with their first jobs.

My rating is 3.5/5

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Windfall – Book Review

Author : Jennifer E Smith

Publisher : Pan Macmillan UK

Pub Date: 04 May 2017

Source : Own copy

Get the book from Amazon.in

Book Blurb :

Let luck find you.

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined…and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

My Thoughts

This book is about finding luck during the unlikeliest of times and how that turn of good fortune affects relationships.

Alice has always been in love with Teddy, but he remains oblivious  of this fact as she fears it will wreck their friendship. She mourns her parents death and has not mentally accepted Leo’s family as her own, especially Leo’s father, her uncle, who is also mourning his brother’s death. She is showered with enough love in her present living situation but she always feels like an outsider, an orphan. I did not like this side of her because she is wasting away her days (years!!) mourning for people who aren’t there and losing the ones who love her.

Coming to Teddy, when you’re a teen and all of a sudden you win millions in a lottery, you are bound to go overboard. That’s what Teddy does when his luck soars on his birthday, when his birthday gift from Alice makes him a millionaire. But his shopping spree and unwanted vacations annoy Alice as she expects him to spend it in a good way, like charity. *eyeroll*

I agree to a certain extent with Alice, but Teddy isn’t a 30-year old, he’s just had a twist in fortune and is allowed to go gaga over his riches. At least for some time. I couldn’t understand why Alice was such a goody-goody.

Some YA books, portray teens in a very intolerant way, and some like this one show characters like Alice as mature beyond their age. I liked Leo’s parents, they were sensible and knew their way around kids, especially the not-handling-Leo-like-a-glass-doll because he’s gay  was super cool.

The book was a tad disappointing with the main characters, and I felt that like this isn’t Jen E Smith’s BEST!.

My rating is 3/5.

Tell Me Three Things – Book Review

Author : Julie Buxbaum

Publisher : Delacorte Press

Pub Date: 05 April 2016

Source : Own copy

Get the book from Amazon.in

Book Blurb :

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Tell Me Three ThingsJust when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

My Thoughts

I love a good contemporary and this book just made it to my favorite list of contemporaries. A dead parent, a gay character, a love triangle – everything i usually get bore of in YA books. But this book was neatly written, nothing too much of all these things, just a little dash of them.

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I loved the writing, the way Jessie n SN email/IM each other. The identity was really very obvious and that would have turned me off too usually but not this book.  What can i say, i'm seriously bitten by this one ❤

The one most important thing I loved was… how beautifully they portrayed the loss of a loved one, how each one was dealing with the grief. Not just concentrating on Jessie, but her step mom, her step brother Theo, here dad and finally Ethan (I love that name!!) And how they are trying to mend relationships with one another.

Fav quote:

There's nothing lonelier than a hand on a glass.. Maybe because it's so rarely reciprocated.

Tell me three things:

1)I love this book

2)I'm definitely reading all Julie Buxbaum books

3)My rating is 5/5 😀

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The One – Book review

Author : John Marrs

Publisher : Random House UK

Pub Date: 25 May 2017

Source : Own copy

Get your copy from Amazon.in

Book Blurb

How far would you go to find THE ONE?
One simple mouth swab is all it takes. A quick DNA test to find your perfect partner – the one you’re genetically made for.The One
A decade after scientists discover everyone has a gene they share with just one other person, millions have taken the test, desperate to find true love. Now, five more people meet their Match. But even soul mates have secrets. And some are more shocking – and deadlier – than others…
A psychological thriller with a difference, this is a truly unique novel which is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

My Thoughts

I will try hard not to include spoilers in my review.

I really liked this book and to my surprise I was not able to guess many things like i usually do while reading a thriller. Actually there’s a killer in this book, but it is revealed in the beginning so that’s not what I meant about guessing. The story actually follows five different people who in some way or the other have registered with the ‘Match Your DNA’ service that promises to find the person’s soulmate by genetic match.

So there are these 5 different narrations all of them told in third person and almost all the chapter gives you a surprise or shock. And in no way I could outguess them. I did , a very few but those were really obvious ones. Just when you think that like you are able to follow the story and predict how its gonna end, there will come another twist 😛

Out of all the five, I liked the serial killer’s story. I was able to guess that one’s ending 😀

There were some typos here and there but the writing was good. I’m not much into descriptive explanations and this book was crisp and didn’t go much into the details unnecessarily. I don’t want to reveal much about the characters but you will enjoy reading about them.

I highly recommend this book if you are looking for one with so many twists and turns.

My rating 5 stars 🙂

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