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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The Upside of Unrequited – Book Review

Author : Becky Albertalli

Publisher : Penguin Random House

Pub Date: 11 April 2017

Source : Own copy

Get the book from Amazon.in

Book Blurb

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

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

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

My Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Zenn Diagram – Book Review

Author: Wendy Brant

Publisher: Kids Can Press

Pub Date: 04 Apr 2017

Source : I received this eARC  from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Book Blurb

Eva Walker is a seventeen-year-old math genius. And if that doesn’t do wonders for her popularity, there’s another thing that makes it even worse: when she touches another person or anything that belongs to them — from clothes to textbooks to cell phones — she sees a vision of their emotions. She can read a person’s fears and anxieties, their secrets and loves … and what they have yet to learn about calculus.

This is helpful for her work as a math tutor, but it means she can never get close to people. Eva avoids touching anyone and everyone. People think it’s because she’s a clean freak — with the emphasis on freak — but it’s all she can do to protect herself from other people’s issues. Then one day a new student walks into Eva’s life. His jacket gives off so much emotional trauma that she falls to the floor. Eva is instantly drawn to Zenn, a handsome and soulful artist who also has a troubled home life, and her feelings only grow when she realizes that she can touch Zenn’s skin without having visions. But when she discovers the history that links them, the truth threatens to tear the two apart. Zenn Diagram, Wendy Brant’s sparkling debut novel, offers an irresistible combination of math and romance, with just a hint of the paranormal. Readers will swoon over Zenn and connect instantly with Eva, the most fully drawn prodigy in teen fiction today.

My thoughts:

Where can I start or how do I describe, this book was incredible. So intense!! And to think it’s the debut novel for Wendy Brant!

As you might have read from the blurb, Eva has this “power” that allows her to look into people’s emotions simply by touching them or their things.

I get these glimpses into people – the insecurities and struggles that make them who they are – but only a bit at a time..

She and her parents do not understand why and how she gets to see those visions – she calls them as fractals. After years of trying to understand its cause, she has given up therapy and decides that she will restrain herself from touching people and will invent the cure for it herself by getting into neuroscience research.

Thus continues her life, with only one best friend and cute quadruplet siblings and helps her parents with them. As she is extremely good in math, she volunteers to tutor the jocks in her school and saves them from failing the subject, thereby ensuring they can stay in their teams. When she has to tutor Zenn Bennett, she mistakenly touches his army jacket and gets a hell load of dark visions and is intrigued what sort of fractals they are.

They run into each other often and Eva finds herself attracted to him. Zenn is an incredible artist and Eva finds some of his work similar to the visions that she gets. So why is she getting fractals from his jacket and not from him. How is he able to put those fractals into art.  What is this connection that keeps pulling them towards each other and how the truth affects their lives is what follows later.

I loved the writing style and the idea of the fractals. Initially i was not able to connect with Eva because she comes out as a egotistical geek who thinks “C” grades are so much beneath her. But once the story gets moving, I could see how much her character evolves into a selfless person. Zenn… well he is tall, dark and handsome and is full of dark secrets that haunt him and responsibilities that overbear him. Another notable character is Eva’s mom. The fractals she gets from her mother was confusing but later we are told the reason for it and I get it. But that cannot justify her behavior in the latter part of the book.

Eva and Zenn’s chemistry …

This book is definitely a must read 🙂 Its easily a 5/5 for me.

Get this book from Amazon

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After all this time..

When someone asks you who’s your best friend, we immediately say a name. That’s during school. Same question when asked during college, we hesitate a little. Because we have the best friends from school and college now. It doesn’t get complicated, but the happy circle grows. 

Same question when asked now, when you are married/middle aged/old , brings about so many happy memories. You look back and remember all those precious moments.. every single time spent with friends or moments that strengthened that beautiful bond.

I’ve had my share of best friends coupled with lots n lots of drama too. Best friend from school considers me her no.1 enemy now. Other besties are busy with kids and the rare phone calls and chance meetings keep it alive. 

College.. My four years of engineering was made tolerable because of friends. Especially two of them. To this day, I thank the stars for those two in my life. Hailing from an all girls school, college was the second place which was co-Ed. First one was, of course Std XII tuition where I met B. 😝

These two friends have always been there for me no matter what, without *Conditions applied. I can go on and list the things they’ve done for me, but it will be endless. 

My relationship with B happened and because those two friends were guys, we drifted apart. I’m still in touch with them, but things are not how it used to be. They maintain a safe distance and keep conversations limited because they wouldn’t want to come between B and me. 

So why this flashback.. Today these two idiots had gone back to college and posted pictures. Nothing special about it, you might say. The three of us, are fr different departments. While they had posted pictures of them with a gang in several odd spots of the campus, one picture in particular made me smile. 

They had taken a picture, just the two of them in front of my department. They wanted me to be a part of that moment, is what I kept thinking. And in such a discreet way of letting me know it.  

To others, it’s a normal picture. To me, it was everything! 

 

PC -click on picture for source.  

Unexpected company

While B is working nights, I’m all alone at home. I’ve got zero interest to eat, cook, watch TV, read or do anything. It’s like this guy has to be a part of everything I do 😕 I’m going mad, missing him.. 

So on perfect timing, he ordered a gift, a very early Valentine’s it is! After much thought and some budget discussions ( yes, we decide together what my gift will be 😝 ) my first DSLR has arrived. Actually I got it on Monday. But my lack of enthusiasm at everything, especially because he wasn’t there when I opened the Amazon box, made things even more depressing. 

But today I decided that I’ve had enough sulking for the week and decided to experiment with my camera. It’s an entry level Canon DSLR but still, I know nothing about their kind and getting slowly used to all the settings. I had to go learn what ISO meant, how to achieve shallow depth of field and all photography related things from Internet. The first picture I clicked was bad! And there I was thinking I would work magic.. At first glance it looked like my iPhone photos were much better. Then I tried changing few things like ISO and shutter speed and experimented around with a 50mm prime lens.

The entire week I was struggling to pass time and finally fall asleep in an empty house. Today I hardly noticed the clock and only when my stomach started rumbling, I realized I’ve been spending long time with the camera. I’ve learnt little about how changing the aperture, shutter speed could change the picture. Unexpected and a welcoming change!!! 

First picture clicked using 50mm

Absent minded 

I didn’t know it was Tuesday  yesterday. I didn’t know it until today and that’s why I had written a Wordless Wednesday post on a Tuesday. 😕 

Have you heard this lyrics from Minnale movie? 

Naatkal neeludhe, nee engo ponadhum… *

(* – days are longer since you’ve been gone)

I’m exactly in that state.. But my husband hasn’t gone anywhere, we’re in the same house, only not at the same time. While I’m in morning shift, he is doing night shift. He leaves by 4pm and I reach home by 6pm. 

After 4 years of long distance relationship, this past year was God given to me. We’ve never ever spent a single day apart.. And now it’s like hell. I talk to a sleepy B before leaving to office and he talks to a sleepy me when he returns back at 2am. I was desperately hoping it was Wednesday yesterday and thinking there was just two more days to go for the weekend. 

This has been a horrible week for me. I don’t  want to rant here, but off late I’m doing only that.. I feel weak, which is partly because I’m sick but also because I miss the male species of the house. 

Someone who is always talking nonsense, 

Who is always pulling me, nagging me to watch this n that on YouTube

who talks cricket walks cricket, lives cricket and makes my ears ache because of all those cricket trivia

who Doesn’t mind what I cook, whether I cook.. 

who is with me , no matter what

who doesn’t just cry for me but also cries along with me

You, yes, You … You are being terribly missed and I really really hope you get to join that stupid big ass company which hasn’t sent your joining letter yet and leave this bpo job and be with me, all the time.. 😭

One more time!

There’s this smart guy who is so full of himself and chooses to consider everyone beneath him. There’s this girl who thinks the world revolves around him. She shamelessly professes her love for him at every given opportunity and he rejects her each time. She writes him a love letter and the big smart ass that he is, circles all the grammatical errors and grades the letter a D and gives back to her. The girl never gives up and finally succeeds in marrying him.

All of you feminists out there would have boiled in rage in hearing this outline. But let me tell you, I love this cute little story. Hehehe.. 😁 it’s a cute Korean drama called Playful Kiss. It was quite famous back in college. Hostel nights were spent watching this short series. I love the girls cute dresses and hairstyle. It will look childish but still u can’t hate it. I even made B watch it once and he liked it, though he kept telling he wouldn’t watch it again 😜

The male protagonist is also a lead singer in a  band and sings absolutely beautiful. The original soundtrack of the series has a song – One more time- by him which I love to the core even though I hardly understand the meaning. 

Today, I watched a few episodes again and went back to those days in hostel and I realised I still like it 😍