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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#JanuaryWrapUp |Books I read in January

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My January was good in terms of reading. I started 10 books but was able to finish 7 of them. And that’s a huge thing for me. But it also means less screen time and infrequent posts in Bookstagram.

I covered various items in my checklist from books gifted to books in TBR for a long time.

  •  A review copy – The Passenger   3.5 stars
  •  A carry forward from 2018 – My Plain Jane – 3 stars
  •  An audiobook – Damsel – 2 stars
  •  #theunreadshelfproject2019 – an unread book – All your perfects – 5 stars
  •  A book that was gifted – A very Large Expanse of Sea – 5 stars
  •  Anticipated new release 2019 – The Vanishing Stairs – 4 stars
  •  Non-fiction audiobook – We Should All be Feminists – 4 stars

What books did you read in January? How was your reading last month?

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The Color of Bee Larkham’s Murder – Book Review

Some books make you want to jump in and write a review so that the whole world knows about it. One such book that I read recently is.. Sarah J Harris’s The Color of Bee Larkham’s murder.

You can find the synopsis of the book from GoodReads

When I first came across the title of the book last year during its cover reveal, I was much intrigued. When I heard of synesthesia, it perked my interest.

The book is about 13-year old Jasper Wishart, who has this condition called Synesthesia because of which he not only hears sound but also sees the color of them. For example, his father’s voice is muddy ochre, the days of the week have specific colors and even knocking doors, whispers , sighs have colors. Jasper cannot also recognize faces, because of which he remembers people through their voices. Or the color of them.

 

My life is a thrilling kaleidoscope of colors only I can see..

Since Jasper can see colors, he loves painting the colors  – the everyday sounds – around him. Having lost his mother who is the only person who understands and shares his ability to see colors, he copes with his life watching people through binoculars from his window. When he notices parakeets, his favorite colorful birds, on his neighbor’s tree, he befriends Bee Larkham, the estranged daughter of his neighbor, just so he could spend time watching the birds from her bedroom window.

An unusual, unhealthy relationship forms between the two of them and when Bee goes missing, Jasper is the only one who knows what happened to her but he can’t really tell. Or can he?

This book is brilliantly written and told in alternate time periods – before Bee went missing and the present – from Jasper’s point of view. You can see the amazing efforts of Sarah J Harris when she talks through Jasper explaining colors and the difficulty of trying to make others understand the colors. The young child misses his mother terribly and this just breaks your heart when you read it. The book also brings to light an important topic – but no spoilers !!

Trying to find his mother in Bee, he falls in a rabbit hole of emotions and is caught between love and hate.

Must read this book, I cant recommend it enough!!

My rating : 5 STARS !!!!

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also find this review on Goodreads page

About the book:

Author: Sarah J Harris

Publishers : HarperCollins

Published on: April 2018

Source: Own copy

You can buy the book from here:  Amazon.in

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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