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.

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The Circus – Arc review

Author : Olivia Levez

Publishers : Rock the Boat (an imprint of Oneworld Publications)

Pub date: 04 May 2017

Source : I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. (Thank you!)

Book blurb :

Why would a girl who has everything want to run away and never be found?
Willow has staged runaways ever since she was a little girl. She has everything a young person should want: a rich daddy, clothes, money, a pony and a place at a prestigious boarding school. In reality, she has everything except the thing she really wants: a father who cares enough to find her.

Aged sixteen, on the eve of her father’s wedding, she ruins the bride’s dress and escapes through a window, determined never to return. Her missing mother was a circus performer, and Willow wants to follow in her footsteps. But the performers she meets don’t want her. When her last bit of money is stolen by Suze, another runaway girl she thought she could trust, Willow becomes really homeless. Then Suze comes tumbling back into her life and a desperate Willow has to decide whether to trust her all over again . . .
So begins their frightening, exhilarating odyssey though hunger, performance, desperation and dreams. Will they both survive and will Willow make it to the circus of her imagining?

Olivia Levez takes you into the very heart of a girl who wants so hard to be lost, but saves herself through a powerful friendship and the awakening of a need for home.

My thoughts :

Running away is as easy as breathing for Willow. She has ran away from her rich dad several times during her 16 years of life. This time, though, she plans her escape (from what!?) and lists out rules that she needs to follow to make sure she doesn’t get caught again. She experiences life out of her luxurious home, begs, steals, auditions for the circus, gets betrayed and learns so much about herself during this escapade.

I may have a love/hate relationship towards this book because i didn’t like Willow that much. The book tells that she is from a very rich background, with her own ponies and boarding school and house keeper etc. Yet, she is unhappy and tries to run away at every chance. The reason why she is so much obsessed with running away is – her dad doesn’t love her, she wants to find her mother who is presumed to have worked in a Circus, and she hates that her dad is re-marrying the Handbag (All through the book, this character is referred to as Handbag, no reasons provided, although actual name is given). She sabotages the wedding dress – so much hatred – and runs off with her gap year money in search of a mother whose memory is only associated with her throwing off baby Willow in the air. Right!

Looked like Willow hated everyone – except Suze (a street performer, also a runaway) who she initially hates and then takes care of later in the book – even her house keeper. Why there is so much angst, I couldn’t comprehend. Rich, spoilt and naive. Willow recalls how her dad is never the one to find her and which is why she keeps running away – to be found. I liked the Circus part of the book, where she tries to learn new things and live her dream although short lived.

Some people would have liked the Suze-Willow part, but truthfully that just made me sad and think this is how much you suffer or experience when you run away from home. The world is not a happy place for runaways.. People betray you, cheat you, take advantage of you and leave you with broken heart and lessons for a lifetime. So yes, I recommend this to those that seek attention from parents, to those that are feeling unwanted, left out and want to leave everything behind in search of a place where they would belong.

My rating is 4/5 stars 🙂

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By your side – Book Review

I’ve loved all the books written by Kasie West and when i heard that her latest is out, i felt i MUST read it. Because she writes cute, feel-good contemporaries.

You can get this book from Amazon

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Book blurb: When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.
Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

My thoughts..

Who wouldn’t love to get locked in a library.. i wouldn’t mind but definitely not for three days *gulp*. And with a history of panic attacks, Autumn must survive the three days by engaging in not-so-welcome conversations with her unexpected companion Dax. I’m all for hate-to-love tropes and dived right into the story.

Let’s just say I wasn’t completely satisfied. There’s a dark,mysterious guy and the goody-goody girl but then there’s anxiety and mental health issues in as well. Some of the things were just not acceptable, how can friends be totally superficial, like they cant seem to notice Autumn has anxiety issues. Yes the bad boy (at least by reputation) and the girl romance was alluring, but that wasn’t the main part of this book. And add in the love triangle and jealous, over protective best-friend. Nope, i loved The Fill-in boyfriend and P.S. I like you and other contemporaries by Kasie and this wasn’t like that.

And I didn’t like the cover :/ Also the first thing that intrigued people before the book was published was “locked in a library”. Sadly, it could have been a supermarket or a laundromat for it didn’t make any difference. The bookish or literary love (Like ‘Words in Deep Blue’ by Cath Crowley, centered around a book store) that i was expecting wasn’t there, it was just a place where they found themselves locked in, together. The only thing that’s remotely bookish, is the copy of Hamlet that Dax carries around with him.

My rating would be 3/5. A 3 and not 2.5 because when Autumn was with Dax, I was able to relate to the Kasie West i had grown to enjoy..you know, the swoon-worthy scenes n all..

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My Swoon-worthy book List!!

Okay.. I soo wanted to join this Top Ten Tuesdays meme for a long time ..Plzz think it’s Tuesday. I didn’t check Nishita’s blog about this week’s topic yesterday 😦

Tuesday or not, I’m doing this… Its simple… I just have to list out my top favorite swoon-worthy books. Easy peasy for me… Hehehe.. I dwell on these type of books, you know 😉 (Oh, Plzz no Harlequin or ‘that’ type of romance… *gag*)

The following books are some of my favorites and are listed in no particular order..

1) Of course, its Elizabeth Bennet and Mr.Darcy, for me, when I think Romance Novels.. I think Pride and Prejudice is the very first “love” story that i read in my teens.. As a part of English Reading at school.. Kinda stuck to me ever since as my favorite novel.

2) The second book I read, would be Scarlet Pimpernel, again for English Reading… Written beautifully by Baroness Orczy, this book scores amazingly high on my love-o-meter.. Who cannot love Percy Blakeney? *swoon*

“He was but a man madly, blindly, passionately in love and as soon as her light footstep had died away within the house, he knelt down upon the terrace steps, and in the very madness of his love he kissed one by one the places where her small foot had trodden, and the stone balustrade, where her tiny hand had rested last.”

3) I grew up reading Princess Diaries during my teens, and the first thing i fell for was – the epistolary form of writing – which i love, by the way, and started reading similar type of books. The second obvious thing would be – Michael Moscovitz. I cannot forget the poem he writes for her – Tall Drink of Water or how he keeps the snowflake necklace even after Mia and Michael break up, or how Mia always, always smells his neck and swoons.*giggles*.. He will always be favorite book boyfriend.

4) Like i said before, i started loving epistolary novels a lot, and my next favorite after Princess Diaries series was, Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty . I actually read it when i heard “How Opal Mehta got Kissed…” book was copied from the JD series.. I love Marcus Flutie.. and his  “You. Yes. You” t-shirt!!. A perfect coming-of-age novel.

5) I’ve mentioned before, I never read serious, sad stuff.. If i hear/read reviews about a book having sad endings, thats it, I’ll give up reading that book. Forever. All because of “Love Story” by Erich Segal. There’s nothing new that i can say about that book, that hasn’t been already said/talked/swooned over with.

6) All of Rachel Hawthorne’s books. Especially I lurrrrve Parker from “Thrill Ride”.  Suite Dreams, Labor of Love, Snowed in are good too. You know these are definitely books you ought to read when your in your teens and early tweens. You would totally fall for it.

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7) I’m a die hard fan of Sophie Kinsella. And i will never make a book list without her name on it. Shopaholic Series – Luke Brandon and Becky, I’ve got your number – Poppy & Sam are awesome…

8) I kinda like books where the girl and the guy always fight (Like Lizzy & Darcy) and are married against their wishes to one another, and then start liking each other half way through the book, realizing how madly they are in love with each other. One such book is, “With this ring, I thee dread”.

9) Ok, so don’t kill me or mock at me… I do like Bella and Edward, like a lottt… Only the book, ok. Not the movie. It was the first paranormal fiction I ever read, and I fell for Edward very easily. Kinda explains why i love Stefan Salvatore, a little more than Damon. Stefan is way too much like the caring Edward. And I love it when a guy sings. Although you cannot hear, I love that Edward sings her to sleep. I re-read portions of the series way too many times.. Edward’s love is intense, and makes me jealous.

10) Anuja Chauhan’s Zoya Factor.. I read it just recently, and I was waiting to write a kutty review. I lovedddd the book. Being the girlfriend of a crazy Cricket-loving-Dhoni-worshipping guy, its only fair that i fall for this book. I mean, c’mon who doesn’t love a hot cricketer, especially in India? 😉 Obviously, this book would make you swoon. And with all the bickering between the lead pair, Anuja gives you the perfecttt ingredients for a funny, sweet and enjoyable love story.

Hehehe.. True!!

See these books (Except one or two) were read years back.. So they might be kind of old or dated. But these books were a part of me growing up, understanding love, and dreaming of sweet happy endings. Some books are sooo into your memory, that they influence your thoughts and actions a lot. These books are sort of like that to me.

P.S. If people (Super-awesome, fantastic ppl :D) somewhere are reading this post, do share your list of fav books too. Would love to know, and read them.