The Boyfriend Project || 10/10 recommend

the boyfriend project book cover

Title: The Boyfriend Project
Author: Farrah Rochon
Genre: Romance
Category: Adult
Series info: Book 1 of The Boyfriend Project series but can be read as standalone

Goodreads | Storygraph

This book came to my attention sometime last month when people were sharing books by Black authors a lot in order to elevate them, and I am so glad!

There was a tweet (don’t remember by who) which said something like “once you start reading diverse books, you cannot go back” and that is SO TRUE. I’ve read a lot of romance books in the past few years and ever since I started actively picking up more diverse reads, I cannot go back to the almost-BLAND books I used to read before. My standards are higher now.

I’ve DNFed multiple books simply because they’re sub-par to me now, whereas they would have been fine a couple years back.

This book is a prime example of why. It is SO GOOD and it will raise your standards for romance books.

The Plot

Samaiah Brooks is living the dream. She has a great job in STEM, and she works in one of the best offices ever. She lives in a high-rise condo close to work, which she always wanted. The only thing left is to have a good boyfriend.

When the guy she’s currently dating is exposed through twitter by another girl he took out on a date by cancelling on Samaiah, she’s done. Although her confrontation with him goes viral on twitter, she walked out with one boyfriend less and two new friends.

As she deals with the new changes in her life, and with going viral, she meets the new hire in her office who is simply a DREAM. Although she decided to work on herself for six months and forget about men, Daniel is simply unforgettable. The sparks between them are too obvious and compelling.

Should she take the chance or should she back off? Because he seems too good to be true.

My Review

This book is a GEM.

Although I added it to my TBR a while back, I was in the middle of multiple books and put this off until I really needed a pick-me-up. And boy, it worked like a charm when I needed it.

Romance books are my comfort books. When I’m anxious or sad, or simply disturbed, romance books usually bring me right back up. And this book shows exactly why I love the genre.

  • ALL THE CHARACTERS ARE AWESOME.

I’m being serious. The main characters were amazing of course (I’ll get to them in a minute), but all the supporting characters were wonderful as well. The author has written the characters so well. Even the characters you’re not supposed to like are on-point.

  • Samaiah Brooks is an idol.

And I don’t mean idol as in Kpop idol. She’s an actual inspiritation.

Samaiah was interested in STEM and computers right from a young age. Even though she was discouraged to go after the field since she is a Black woman (and apparently everyone expects Black women to not have brains??), she decided to prove everyone wrong.

She worked hard and worked her way up. And what an inspiration. She holds a really important position in Trendsetters, which is a very sought-after workplace, and makes sure that they know they’re lucky to have her.

Samaiah is strong, ambitious, and hella smart. She knows what she is doing and after being burned a couple times at work, she also takes no bullshit.

One thing I really appreciated was how she didn’t have insecurities about her body or looks. I’m so done with romance books having female leads whose only flaws are their body insecurities and the hot guy needs to be like “doesn’t she know how beautiful she is”.

It was absolutely wonderful to read the book with her as a lead. STEM majors are generally known to be more casual (which also describes me), but she breaks that stereotype to show that not everyone in STEM is the same.

  • Daniel Collins is also a really strong character.

Daniel is Black and Korean. He served 4 years in the Marines because he comes from a family of military history. Even when he left that behind, he continued to serve by being in the government because he sees it as his duty to serve the country.

He is in FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) which takes his around the country and into many different jobs where he has to help uncover and arrest the bad guys in the tech world. And that is what brings him to Trendsetters, where he is working undercover.

Daniel is also super smart, geeks over coding languages, and is really good at his job which he takes to heart.

It was really wonderful to read about his as well because he is a strong character on his own, and the book doesn’t only praise Samaiah.

  • The romance was TOO GOOD.

We have Samaiah and Daniel—two VERY strong characters. I could read a book on each of them without the romance. And that is why this book is SIMPLY AMAZING because it brings them together. And it does it well.

Samaiah and Daniel have sparks flying between them right from the start and the chemistry between them is so obvious. We can see it as readers without them even saying it. And that is when you know that the romance book is good.

  • The plot was really good as well.

When following Samaiah on her own with her career and personal life, it’s a normal book but with an amazing heroine. Switch to Daniel and we have an undercover agent who leads a double life to hunt bad guys by using computers.

So yeah, this book definitely has an adventure element to it. It’s like a cherry on top because the plot is already really good without it.

  • I loved all the technical talk.

The author is either in the field or has done quite some research because there are a few detailed technical talks during the book. Even I didn’t know some bits because there was detailed talk on security, which is not my area.

  • I want to work in Trendsetters.

I’m not sure why but the office where Samaiah works is really focused on multiple times. We get descriptions and commentary about how awesome the workplace is.

Now, having that focus and appreciation sometimes is okay but it was there multiple times. That made me think that the author wanted to show the kind of working environments that will make employees want to come to the office and work.

It was an unexpected addition, especially since we don’t see things like that in romance books. But it was a good addition.

Honestly, I’m super jealous of Samaiah even though Trendsetters is fictional. I want to work there! It sounds AWESOME.

  • Girl group ❤

Samaiah, London and Taylor find each other because of a cheating guy but once they ditch him, they really bonded with each other and kept up their friendship.

Having girl friends and a girl support group is super important for women and that was really brought to the forefront in this book. Samaiah might be on track in her career etc. but she also needs a group to talk to and chill with.

When she did get that with London and Taylor, she specifically thought about it and appreciated it. That was really nice to see.

  • The book was funny and entertaining as well.

Reading it was fun. I laughed and smiled and enjoyed it all.

Overall

If you’re a lover of romance or if you’re looking for a good romance book to read, PICK THIS UP. It will not disappoint you.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

5/5 stars

www wednesday @ the wordy habitat, all the bookish updates, currently reading, mini book reviews, books to read next.

WWW Wednesday // 8th July 2020

Hey everyone!

It felt like I posted reading updates just two days back but it’s been a whole week. Where is the time going?

Also, I have the same attitude when it comes to reading nowadays. I barely notice time and just.. don’t seem to read books as much? My pace is slowing down because I’m watching stuff on Netflix.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly blogging meme hosted by Taking On a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I’m still reading 101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think by Brianna West. I’m reading one chapter a day so… you’ll see this book in my updates for a long time haha. It’s still going good, though!

The next book I’m currently reading The Marriage Game by Sara Desai which is a book from my TBR that I’ve been meaning to get to. I’m really glad I finally picked it up because it is GOOD. All the desi chaos + rivals-to-lovers makes for a great book.

I’m also currently reading Seeing Like a Feminist by Nivedita Menon which I’m buddy reading with a friend. I specifically bought this book as a paperback so I could annotate a lot. And I am! There are so many annotations so far and it shows how well I’m processing everything in the book.

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished two books in the last week which is lesser than my recent average of 3 but I’m not sad about it. Better reads > many reads.

#1

The first book that I finished was The Boyfriend Project by Sarrah Rochon which I LOVED. It was a great book with really good characters. There were multiple factors about the book that appealed to me and I will be posting a review on this in a couple days. Keep an eye out for it!

5/5 stars.

#2

The next book that I finished was Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds which I “read” as an audiobook. It was good in the beginning but it’s a long book and I started to lose interest about 4/5ths into the book. I honestly pushed myself to finish it yesterday because there were other books that I wanted to get to.

2.5/5 stars.

#3

I actually also started another book but I didn’t finish it because it was so bad. The book was The Dare by Elle Kennedy. I randomly picked it up because it was on the New Adult section in Goodreads. It sounded like an unlikely romance so I tried it.

And it was the same, recycled story that we’ve seen too many times where the fat girl thinks she’s ugly and a hot guy comes along and validates her. It’s so frustrating. I gave up on the book around half-way through. It reminds me of the old romance books that I used to like because I thought there was nothing better.

Not recommended.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’ve been waiting for Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall to release and it finally released yesterday. Hopefully, I can read it soon because there’s been a lot of talk around it.

I also hope to pick up Room by Emma Donoghue soon because I!! Need!! to read!! it!! soon!!!!


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What are you currently reading? What did you finish reading recently?

Running With Lions // ADORABLE AF <3

running with lions cover page

Title: Running With Lions
Author: Julian Winters
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads | Storygraph

I am here with a SUPER CUTE book recommendation today. Running with Lions came to my attention through @ZanyAnomaly on Instagram where he passionately recommended this on his stories.

And since it was Pride month and I was determined to highly prioritize queer books over others, I picked the book up. It did not disappoint me at all. In fact, it blew me away. I think I finished it in about one sitting, because it is THAT GOOD.

The Plot

The book mainly follows Sabastian during football training camp over the summer. So, yeah this is a fluffy summer romance but with queer characters who are absolute cinnamon rolls. Especially Sebastian.

Sebastian’s ex-best friend Emir also shows up for camp even though he doesn’t play football and this completely changes Sebastian’s expectations for the last summer camp of high school. It is the one time of the year where they let loose and just focus on football, but having Emir there changes everything.

But since he is (probably) going to be captain and the team is his responsibility, Sebastian sets out to make amends with Emir. Only, things go quite differently than he expected.

My Review

As a preface, let me say one thing. This is a rave review and I will gush about all of this book while trying to sound neutral. I don’t know why I’m trying but let’s see how I fail.

Onto the review.

  • SEBASTIAN IS PRECIOUS.

Listen!!!!!!!! Sebastian is an adorable, awkward fluffball who cares a TON about his friends and his team and is simply.. jfhguqdcb. I want to wrap him in a blanket and give him marshmallows.

Right from the start, we see how emotional and responsible he is. Sebastian can take responsibility to a fault, which is one of his weakness that we see throughout the book. He takes on a lot on himself and builds high expectations, which can really exhaust him.

To see him accept his faults and slowly let go of the high expectations that he puts on himself was a journey.

Sometimes it’s okay not to be the perfect best friends. Sometimes it’s okay for your friends to take care of you.

I also really liked his character as a whole. His determination to carry the whole team, his resolve to make amends and welcome Emir into the team, and mostly his friendship with everyone. It was so nice to see.

Which brings me to the next point..

  • The friendships in this book had my heart.

All of them. The friendships including Sebastian were definitely the highlight but I really liked seeing the supporting characters as well. Even if it was just in the background.

And since this is a camp book, centered on football training, we also see team dynamics and boys standing up for each other no matter what.

It was great. I loved it all.

  • The romance gave me ALL. THE. FEELS.

Since Emir and Sebastian are not friends at the beginning of the book, this can definitely be classified as a rivals-to-lovers story. And what a story it was.

I didn’t really ship the characters right from the start. This is not that kind of story. I liked Sebastian and Emir together the more they hung out and started like each other.

It’s an experience we go through with them. And it was HELLA CUTE. Oh man, the number of times I smiled like a loon while reading this book. It was a lot.

This book will definitely to a smile to your face.

  • It’s just a really good book.

It’s funny and happy. It doesn’t deal with major issues or really heavy topics and doesn’t have heartbreaks that will make you cry. It’s a lighthearted book following these soft boys who are queer and proud and have each other’s backs no matter what.

Overall

If you’re looking for a book to make you happy or even as a comfort read, definitely pick this one up. I can see myself rereading this when I need some cheering up.

It’s just a really nice book and I don’t know what else to say coherently other than READ IT.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

5/5 stars

40 quotes that will make you want to read Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

I’m not someone who picks up non-fiction often even though I want to. That changed with this book.

While this book was on my TBR for a long time, I didn’t pick it up until recently when it was highly recommended by multiple people online because of current scenarios. I’ll be honest, I only know things about what’s happening in US and UK because of what trends and from books.

That’s still a lot, but also not that much because I’ve been mostly reading romance, which don’t touch on current events or heavy topics often.

Not to mention, I know more about racism in USA than UK because UK racism doesn’t rise on social media often.

Hence, this book was my first introduction to racism in the UK. And it was my first book where the racism was broken down into different sections and explained just how they all come together to oppress people.

Until now, I’ve only read non-fiction books which were memoirs and autobiographies. So this was also my first non-fiction book about a specific topic which talks in-depth, places facts on the table, and provides explanations and arguments for everything. And I realized that I like this kind of non-fiction more.

I thought I’ll probably read it slowly but I flew through it. It was addicting. The rush of new information, in-depth analysis, history recounts etc. was very interesting.

This book also has REALLY GOOD LINES. I could not stop highlighting things. If I could, I’d probably tab whole sections in places. There were also times when I wanted to tab a few lines but I couldn’t decide which lines to highlight exactly. The section overall conveyed the meaning which can’t be properly captured in a few lines.

So yeah, this book was brilliant.

And since I highlighted so much, I wanted to share the quotes and let them convince you to pick up this book instead of just reviewing myself with my meager words compared to the book’s.


[…] how often history would have to repeat itself before we choose to tackle the underlying problems.


[…] until I went actively digging for black British histories, I didn’t know them.


While black British story is starved of oxygen, the US struggle against racism is globalised into the story of the struggle against racism that we should look to for inspiration – eclipsing the black British story so much that we convince ourselves that British has never had a problem with race.


[…] racism does not erupt from nothing, rather it is embedded in British society. It’s in the very core of how the state is set up. It’s not external. It’s in the system.


Structural racism is an impenetrably white workplace culture set by those people, where anyone who falls outside of the culture must conform or face failure.


Colour-blindness is a childish, stunted analysis of racism. It starts and ends at ‘discriminating against a person because of the colour of the skin is bad’, without any accounting for the ways in which structural power manifests in these exchanges.


When people of colour point this out, they’re accused of being racist against white people, and the accountability avoidance continues.


It’s a social construct that was created to continue racial dominance and injustice.


In order to dismantle unjust, racist structures, we must see race.


Blackness, however, is considered the ‘other’ and therefore to be suspected. Those who are coded as a threat in our collective representation of humanity are white.


How can I define white privilege? It’s so difficult to describe an absence. And white privilege is an absence of the negative consequences of racism.


[…] white privilege is the fact that it you’re white, your race will almost certainly positively impact your life’s trajectory in some way. And you probably won’t even notice it.


‘Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.


White privilege is never more pronounced than in our intimate relationships, our close friendships and our families.


[…] for white people who are in interracial relationships, or have mixed-race children, or who adopt transracially, the only way that it will work is if they’re actually committed to being anti-racist.


That’s nothing to suggest that a black child with a white parent, or who is adopted into a white family, won’t be on the receiving end of immeasurable love and support. But, having never experienced it, the parents might not be well equipped to deal with the racism their child receive.


There is a worry the ever-disappearing essence of Britishness is being slowly eroded by immigrants whose sole interest is not to flee from war or poverty, but to destroy the social fabric of the country.


At the core of the fear is the belief that anything that doesn’t represent white homogeneity exists only to erase it.


Another incarnation of the fear reveals a deep-seated discomfort with anti-racist talk and protest. Couched in the pernicious frame of ‘freedom of speech’, it materialises when a person with anti-racist values voices their disgust at something racist. They will then be told that their sheer objection to it actually inhibits freedom of speech.


It seems there is a belief among some white people that being accused of racism is far worse than actual racism.


I think that there is a fear among many white people that accepting Britain’s difficult history with race means somehow admitting defeat.


It’s about time that critiques of racism were subject to the same passionate free speech defence as racist statements themselves.


A character simply cannot be black without a pre-warning for an assumed white audience.


We are told that black actors and actresses cast as central characters in works of fiction are unrealistic. We are told that they are historically inaccurate, or that they are too far a stretch of the imagination.


White people are so used to seeing a reflection of themselves in all representations of humanity at all times, that they only notice it when it’s taken away from them.


There is an old saying about the straight man’s homophobia being rooted in a fear that gay men will treat him as he treats women. This is no different.


Regardless, that isn’t the kind of world anti-racists are envisioning when they agitate for justice. It has always been about the redistribution of power rather than the inverting of it.


This wasn’t the place [when discussing feminism] to be discussing racism, they insisted. There are other places you can go to for that. But that wasn’t a choice I could make. My blackness was as much a part of me as my womanhood, and I couldn’t separate them.


‘That work started when I realised that African American women . . . not recognised as having experienced discrimination that reflected both their race and their gender. The courts would say if you don’t experience racism in the same was as a [black] man does, or sexism in the same way as a white woman does, then you haven’t been discriminated against.


When black feminists started to push for an intersectional analysis in British feminism, the widespread response from feminists who were white was not one support. Instead, they began to make the case that the word ‘intersectional’ was utter jargon – too difficult for anyone without a degree to understand – and therefore useless.


The white feminist distaste for intersectionality quickly evolved into a hatred of the idea of white privilege – perhaps because to recognise structural racism would have to mean recognizing their own whiteness. They were backed up by their men.


The trouble is, it has become faddish among people who don’t read books or essays but merely tweets and Internet comments, and thus don’t know what they are talking about.


If feminism can understand the patriarchy, it’s important to question why so many feminists struggle to understand whiteness as political structure in the very same way.


Whiteness is a political position, and challenging it in feminist spaces is not a tit-for-tat disagreement because prejudice needs power to be effective.


The politics of whiteness transcends the colour of anyone’s skin. It is an occupying force in the mind. It is a political ideology that is concerned with maintaining power through domination and exclusion.


After a lifetime of embodying difference, I have no desire to be equal. I want to deconstruct the structural power of a system that marked me out as different.


The ‘angry black woman’ phrase says more about maleness and whiteness than it does about black women.


This information suggests that it’s not as simple or binary as choosing between race and class when thinking about structural inequalities.


I don’t think that any amount of class privilege, money or education can shield you from racism.


The book is told in 7 chapters, each talking about one face of racism. The author has researched what she wrote, thought over everything in detail, and added her own experiences to give examples of every situation being spoken about.

It is an incredible book, and I hope everyone picks it up. It has a lot to teach.

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Have you picked up this book yet? Will you read it soon? Do you have any non-fiction recommendations for me?

Felix Ever After || it’s a BEAUTY

Felix Ever After book cover

Title: Felix Ever After
Author: Kacen Callender
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ+
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

This book has been recommended a LOT on Twitter and Instagram, especially since it has both a Black and Transgender main character. And we’re in Pride month, so that’s an extra incentive to read it right now!

I was drawn to this book because of the cover. I won’t lie. It’s so beautiful?? This book wasn’t available on Kindle but it was available as an audiobook with my Storytel subscription. That allowed me to read this book and I’m so glad.

Content warnings: transphobia, queer phobia, bullying, racism, parental abuse and neglect, frequent drug and alcohol use, ableist language.

There’s also a lot of cursing, which I was actually taken aback by? I’m not used to this much cursing in a YA book.

THE PLOT

Felix Love is an art student who is hoping to get into Brown. It might be because he really wants to go there, but also because he wants to prove that he can even though he is part of multiple marginalized groups—Black, queer, and transgender.

When an anonymous transphobe hacks into his account and puts up a gallery of his old photos (from before he transitioned) along with his dead name, he is devastated.

He’s quite sure of who did it, though. Declan, the boy who hates him. Although his best friend Ezra doesn’t fully agree with the plan, he starts to catfish Declan but it unexpectedly leads to feelings.

The book is about Felix’s journey of self-growth, introspection, and falling in love for the first time.

MY REVIEW

This book is beautiful.

The story, the characters, the representation, the relationships… all of it grabbed my heart.

  • Once I started, I was hooked.

It was the fastest I finished an audiobook yet. I think I finished it in about two days. I took out time whenever I could and lost myself in the book.

The writing is great but since I listened to it, I have to say that the narration was also really good. And since the book is in first person POV, it was very easy to fall into it with the narration.

  • Felix ❤

What a great character. He is definitely not a perfect character. He is not a 100% smart or sure of himself. But those qualities are what made me like him.

Although Felix is trans, this book was not only about that. His identity and questioning was definitely a major part, but we also saw him struggle with his art, his relationship with his dad, and his friendships. I really liked that.

Felix does go through a journey in this book, one with lots of ups and downs. But he grows through it and finds himself. It was lovely how he used his art to express himself and his art helped him gain confidence.

“I’m not flaunting anything. I’m just existing. This is me. I can’t hide myself. I can’t disappear. And even if I could, I don’t fucking want to. I have the same right to be here. I have the same right to exist.”

He also finds love, and he was so cute when he was crushing. I could not stop smiling whenever he had feelings.

  • I learnt through this book.

Since I’m not trans, I can’t speak for the accuracy or relatability of the representation in this book.

But what I can say is that I learnt about trans lives and experiences. And I through Felix and his friends, I learnt a little bit about how to be supportive and accepting.

  • The relationships.

There were several kinds of relationships explored in this book.

There were so many kinds friendships shown—good and bad ones. If you know me, you’d know that complex relationships and relationship is one of my favourite things in a book, or anywhere else. This book had a lot of that.

Plus, Felix’s friend group was completely queer. That was awesome.

My favourite was definitely Felix’s friendship with Ezra. Their friendship have me joy.

We also see Felix’s relationship with his dad. That was quite insightful and also made me emotional.

  • It’s okay to question.

Through Felix, this book really drove the point home that it is okay to question.

There are a ton of identities and sexualities. If you feel unsure, there are several forums and discussion boards online. Usually, you can research and find a label that you feel is right for you. And even if you don’t want to go by labels, that’s okay too.

  • It’s set in Pride month!

And we’re currently in Pride month so.. GO PICK IT UP!

OVERALL

A damn good book that I highly recommend.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

5/5 stars


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Have you read this book yet? Do you have any other recommendations for Pride month?

Beach Read || I was disappointed

Title: Beach Read
Author: Emily Henry
Genre: Romance
Category: Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

This book is hyped. A ton of romance lovers as well as other readers praised this book and hence I had e x p e c t a t i o n s. I’ve read many romance books by this point and was interested to know why this book that sounded okay is considered to be so great.

Another thing that I expected was that this book would be light and easy read because of the title. Beach reads are supposed to be light, having vacation-vibes, and easy to breeze through.

BUT. As this book is widely liked, the negative or mixed reviews do stand out. I read a couple mixed reviews and they warned me to go into this book with a grain of salt.

THE PLOT

January Andrews is a romance writer but after the events of last year, she has lost faith in love and romance. She has lost faith in happily ever afters. How is she supposed to write another romance book if she doesn’t believe in the endings?

January’s mortal rival Augustus Everett is the exact opposite. His books deal with hard things and don’t promise happy endings. In fact, you can bet that there will never be happy endings in his book.

When January and Augustus become neighbours by chance years after they graduated from the same university, it’s destiny because they’re each in a writing slump. They make a deal to switch their genres and compete on who will get the first book deal.

But as always, things are not so straight forward in life.

MY REVIEW

I went into this book slightly cautious, knowing that it might not be as good for me as some readers say it is. And that is my only saving grace.

I just barely liked this book. Let me explain why in a list of likes vs dislikes (and maybe some neutrals).

  • Liked: the book is about writers.

This was my most liked part about the book, and it isn’t even that redeeming. There are many books featuring writers and readers that I have read in the past and this wasn’t different or unique enough for me to like it a lot.

But it was something I liked nonetheless. We see the writing processes of two very different writers.

  • Disliked: how ordinary the main character was.

January did not feel like a real person. She did not have as much complexity as a normal person would, or even like characters of other books.

All there was to January was her writing and her issue with her dad which is the main theme of this book. Her dad apparently had a mistress for years which her mom knew about but she didn’t. In this book, January struggles to reconcile the father she thought she knew to this whole new facet of him.

I did not see anything else about her*, except probably her loneliness in this book. The only complicated thing about her was her dad. That is so not how people really are.

*if you’ve read the book and you thought there was more to her character, please tell me in the comments what I missed! It seems unreal that only I feel this way while this book is so loved. Either I missed something or I missed this point in other book reviews.

  • Neutral: Augustus was better than Janurary.

He had way more depth and complexity to him. Through the book January starts to get to know him and realizes that there is much more to him that what she had thought.

Augustus was also cliched for a romance story. There have been way too many books with the female character who has maybe one issue in her life fall in love with a “bad boy” who has tons of baggage.

  • Liked: what romance means to readers.

Romance is a highly ridiculed genre and is dubbed as “the genre for women”. Admitting that I like romance is akin to knowing that I will be judged by people.

But there’s more to romance books than fluffy reads meant for women. It’s not that they don’t talk about other topics or include intelligent conversations. But that is the how the genre is perceived.

This book, through January, talks about why romance can be liked by many. Why it is not a stupid genre to like. Romance is not just a by-women-for-women genre.

I liked that bit of discussion.

  • Slightly liked: the romance.

Well, what can I say? There was chemistry between the characters, definitely. But I did not like this overall plot? It’s honestly not even bad. I just couldn’t like it. This point is mostly personal, I guess.

OVERALL

It was simply okay.

I didn’t dislike the book but I also didn’t like it. I’d say skip this one if you’ve read many romance books because you probably would have read versions of this story before.

But then again, it’s loved by many so you might like it? I don’t know. Proceed without expectations.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

2/5 stars


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Have you read Beach Read? How was it for you?

The Henna Wars || wholesome sapphic story

Title: The Henna Wars
Author: Adiba Jaigirdar
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

Happy Pride month y’all!! It’s fitting that this is my first review of the month.

This book came to my attention purely through Twitter. I saw the word henna, then I noticed the entire cover, and it was in my TBR. The reason I picked it up so quickly was because it was the May new release pick for the South Asian Reading Challenge.

Content warnings: public sexuality outing, racism, homophobia, bullying.

THE PLOT

The book follows Nishat, a lesbian Bengali teenage girl living in Ireland. When she comes out to her parents, they don’t say anything immediately. But they let her know that she can be anything—a doctor, an engineer, an artist, but she can’t be lesbian.

Struggling with the new situation at home where her only support is her sister, she just tries to get through her days. But her childhood crush transfers into her school and it’s harder to stay straight (pun intended).

But things take a different turn when her crush goes against Nishat with the same business idea—drawing henna designs.

We follow Nishat as she navigates through messy school days, tries to not like her crush, and also try to make her parents accept her for who she is.

MY REVIEW

I enjoyed this book so much! I think I read it in two sittings. It was too good to let go of. This review is definitely one where I try to sell the book to you.

Reasons why you should read this book:

  • The culture.

Through food, henna, and family, this book talks about all the Bengali things.

Nishat’s parents migrated to Ireland from Bangladesh so they could give their children better opportunities but the whole family is very fond of their culture. Their love for it clearly shows through the book and it was so nice to watch.

  • Sapphic representation.

A huge part of Nishat’s identity is her sexual orientation. When she comes out to her parents only to be received with stony silence and, later, flat out non-acceptance she is heartbroken.

Not only is Nishat lesbian but she also goes to a Catholic all-girls school and this adds another layer of hurdles. We see her trying to navigate all these situations in this book.

One thing I liked in this book was how the parents’ perspective was shown. Generally we only see and talk about the main character’s experiences and struggles but we usually don’t ever get to really understand the parents or where they’re coming from.

  • The love story.

Nishat and her crush Flávia’s story is friends-turned-competition-turned-lovers.

First of all, Nishat is SO CUTE. She’s absolutely adorable when she’s crushing. I have to say, the teenage feeling of having a crush was quite on-point here. The new-ness and excitement that comes with crushing on someone is a whole experience on it’s own.

  • Sibling relationship.

I don’t have any siblings but I’ve always wanted a sister because of my mum’s relationship with my aunt. Sisters who are close in age are usually very close and it’s a relationship to cherish.

Nishat and her sister Priti’s relationship was like that. They support each other through everything and are very close. They’re pretty much best friends.

  • Discussion on cultural appropriation.

I really like how the reason why cultural appropriation is bad is shown in this book through events and not just talk. I’ll admit, I was confused about the concept when I first heard of it as well. And I can see why people who take elements of other cultures and use it to make profit would think that they’re doing others a favour.

But through two small henna businesses run by high school students, Adiba Jaigirdar shows why cultural appropriation is hurtful and damaging.

When you “adopt” a part of another culture and make a business out of it, you take away the business from people of that culture. And more often than not people who appropriate culture get more business than the people representing that culture. And that is NOT. GOOD.

  • South Asian and Black representation.

I already spoke abo there’s South Asian rep through the main character and her family. There’s also Black representation through Flávia, Nishat’s crush. There is also some light on micro-agressions that Black people face through White family members.

  • The book as a whole.

While it talks about complex and heavy topics, it’s still a fun and bright young adult contemporary novel where two girls like each other. And it is so nice to read.

OVERALL

Go read it!!

I rate this book..

Rating: 4 out of 5.

4/5 stars

What books are you planning to read for Pride month? Is this book on your TBR?

The Joy Luck Club || explores mother-daughter relationships

Title: The Joy Luck Club
Author: Amy Tan
Genre: Fiction
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

The first time I ever heard of/saw this book was when I was going through book lists for a 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge prompt. The prompt was to read a book set in a country starting with “C” and this book fit because it’s set in China during some parts.

It was only after I read the book that I found it being mentioned everywhere. It is quite popular! Unknowingly, I had read a book which is revered as a classic.

THE PLOT

The book tells the stories of four pairs of mothers and daughters. The elder women lived a part of their life in China and migrated to America through different circumstances. Their daughters are born in America and grow up with very different values and ideals.

This book explores the differences in these women’s lives and the divide between them due to vastly different upbringings.

MY REVIEW

Let me preface by saying that this review consists of my opinions only and my reading experience might not be the same as many others.

The Joy Luck Club is a beautifully written book that explores Asian-American mother-daughter relationships where the mothers and the daughters barely know each other.

And it is possible for all of them to barely know each other because the parenting style of Asian moms is very different. The thing I found common is that mothers concentrate so much on giving to their daughters and raising them well that they miss out on talking about their own experiences.

The mothers are basically trying to pass on the learnt lessons without putting their daughters through knowing of those experiences that taught those lessons. Children shouldn’t have to go through the hardships of their own to learn the same things.

“Then you must teach my daughter this same lesson. How to lose your innocence but not your hope. How to laugh forever.”

But in fact, this is what causes the divide between the mothers and daughters. The American born and bred daughters do not understand why their Chinese mothers say things or demand that they do certain things.

“So this is what I will do. I will gather together my past and look. I will see a thing that has already happened. the pain that cut my spirit loose. I will hold that pain in my hand until it becomes hard and shiny, more clear. And then my fierceness can come back, my golden side, my black side. I will use this sharp pain to penetrate my daughter’s tough skin and cut her tiger spirit loose. She will fight me, because this is the nature of two tigers. But I will win and giver her my spirit, because this is the way a mother loves her daughter.”

The book shows us the experiences of these eight women in different stages of their lives. We read about the mothers’ lives back when they were in China and how they came to America. We also read through the daughters’ points of view where they are only exposed to American ideals.

Each of their lives are full of meaning, mistakes, overcomings and fights for freedom. It was very interesting to read about them not only because each experience was intriguing but especially to realise just how different their lives are.

I especially loved reading about the mothers’ lives. The way they show emotion, the way they react to things, and even simple opinions differ so much because of how their life was in China.

“Now you see,’ said the turtle, drifting back into the pond, ‘why it is useless to cry. Your tears do not wash away your sorrows. They feed someone else’s joy. And that is why you must learn to swallow your own tears.”

Although each chapter was interesting to read and was beautifully written, I was not able to enjoy the book as a whole. These very different stories are not part of a whole. They’re completely different narrations and lives that are interlocked by thin threads and these threads don’t have much substance to them.

The way these stories are connected is not important because the point of the book is the stories themselves, individually and as part of their respective mother-daughter duo.

And because of that, I cannot really review taking the entire book into picture. I liked the individual stories themselves but as a book, where they are all supposed to a part of something, it fell short.

At no time was so I interested in the book that I left everything else to continue reading it. Or I wasn’t entranced enough to get back to it really fast. In fact, the book took me quite a while to read.

“There’s no hope. There’s no reason to keep trying.
Because you must. This is not hope. Not reason. This is your fate. This is your life, what you must do.”

The best feature of the book is the writing. The writing is so beautiful that each sentence is infused with meaning and emotion. There is no sentence, no word, that is useless or out of space.

And there are so many lines that are teachings. There are several quotable sentences that I had a hard time picking what to show in this post.

“Wisdom is like a bottomless pond. You throw stones in and they sink into darkness and dissolve. Her eyes looking back do not reflect anything.
I think this to myself even though I love my daughter. She and I have shared the same body. There is a part of her mind that is a part of mine. But when she was born she sprang from me like a slippery fish, and has been swimming away ever since. All her life, I have watched her as though from another shore.”

OVERALL

It’s definitely a lovely book but I was not able to enjoy it as much as I’m sure a lot of other readers would.

If you’re interested in books that explore complicated relationships, have beautiful writing and also show a lot about cultures, you will probably like this one.

I rate this book..

3/5 stars

The School for Good and Evil || the best fairytale

Title: The School for Good and Evil
Author: Soman Chainani
Genre: Fantasy
Category: Middle Grade
Series info: Book 1 of The School for Good and Evil series

Goodreads

This book was #1 in my Goodreads TBR which means I added it back in 2013. I was actually in 9th grade then so I was very close to the target audience.

It’s a shame that it took me this long to actually read this book. If I had read it back then, I would have loved it so much more.

THE PLOT

The book follows Agatha and Sophie who are two girls in a village.

Sophie is ambitious and wants to go to The School for Good to become a princess and marry her prince. Agatha is the ugly girl of the village who lives in the graveyard.

Sophie is kind to Agatha as part of her good deeds and according to her, Agatha is perfect for The School for Evil. Agatha doesn’t care about that though, all she cares about is her friend Sophie.

So when they both are chosen and whisked away, Sophie is happy at first. Until she is dropped at The School for Evil and Agatha is dropped into The School for Good.

The book follows them trying to go back home or switch places into what they think is the right school for them.

MY REVIEW

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK.

It’s a shame that I didn’t get my hands on a copy of this back in school!

I got the chance to finally read this book as an audiobook as I have a Storytel subscription. And I’m so glad. The audiobook was really fun to listen to.

So let’s get to why exactly I liked this book:

  • The concept.

In the book, there are two schools—one for Good and one for Evil. Students who graduate from these school become heroes and villains in their own stories respectively.

The author brought in students who are children of well-known heroes and villains from fairtyles as well as other acquaintances. The students have to do well in their classes in order to get high marks and get their own stories.

The book was super fun to read because of the concept. I imagined it all while listening to the narration and it was great.

  • The moral.

Until Sophie and Agatha, all the characters were easily split into Good and Evil. There are easily distinguishable traits in students so there was never an issue.

It should have been the same for Sophie and Agatha but they’re put into the wrong schools which sets off the book’s main plot.

Sophie and Agatha showed how Good and Evil is not so clearly separate. A person can be both and just because you like pink, you’re not Good. You are divided based on morals and thoughts, not what you think you are.

This moral was subtly shown throughout the book. It definitely has something to teach to younger readers.

  • The characters.

Sophie and Agatha were so fun to follow! We read from both of their point of views so we have a complete view of their adventures.

They are also complex characters without a straight moral compass. This clear but also subtle way of showing what truly matters as a person was brilliant.

The other characters in the book were interesting enough but they were not as interesting as our main characters.

  • Friendship > love.

This book is more focused on friendship than love. The friendship in limelight is Sophia and Agatha’s but we also see other friendships in the book.

I loved the friendship focus. Sophia and Agatha have a complicated friendship which is tested during this book. It was interesting to see how they manage it all.

There is some focus on the love aspect but it’s mainly only to show how love is expected for Good students while Evil students are always alone as villains.

  • Good vs Evil

Through this book, the author questions some fundamental things about Good and Evil. Why does Good always win? Why does Good get love while Evil doesn’t? Why does Evil have to be ugly in appearance? Why can’t heroes be ugly and villains be beautiful?

The questions I really loved were: why do villains have all the character while heroes are bland with some morals? Why does Good have no sass and cleverness? Why do they depend on love and companionship while Evil can do everything alone?

These are all questions that kids usually think about and question as they read fairytales. I questioned these things myself.

It was wonderful to see how the author takes these questions and spins a whole storyline around it. Some things are questioned and taken apart while others are answered through the story.

  • The ending.

If this book was a true fairytale like the ones we all know of, it would end with the Good student finding love and winning over Evil. But this book turns things around.

I really like how the ending was different and showed the true meaning of a happy ending.

I won’t say anymore because spoilers.

OVERALL

If you are looking for a middle grade book to read or recommend, pick this! Especially if you’re recommending to middle grade or younger students.

I rate this book..

4/5 stars

(would have been 5/5 if I was in the target audience because I’d have enjoyed it more.)

With The Fire On High // a lovely read

Title: With The Fire On High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

I’ve looked forward to this book ever since I heard about it. The Poet X was SO GOOD and cemented the author as one of the really good ones for me. And I expected quite a bit from it because it has gotten a lot of praise among my reader friends.

THE PLOT

Emoni Santiago is in her final year of high school but her future looks shaky. She is a mother to a toddler, lives with her grandma, and is barely making ends money-wise.

The only place she can let go of worries is in the kitchen where her hands move with almost a brain of their own. The kitchen is where the magic happens. Cooking has been her passion since she was a kid.

Senior year comes with new changes in the form of a new cooking class (with an optional trip abroad!) and also a cute new boy. Emoni has to handle all the pressures while also raising her kid.

MY REVIEW

This book did NOT disappoint me. I had expectations from this book and it met all of them, and some more.

  • The story was wonderful to read.

It’s not a specific plot. The book follows Emoni through her senior year of high school and we also see flashbacks. Almost half the chapters were flashbacks where Emoni talks about important moments in her life that make the person she is.

While it didn’t have a specific plot line, the book was very enjoyable. I read the book in about two sittings. It’s easy to read fast and get immersed into.

  • Emoni was really nice.

The book follows Emoni navigating her complicated life. On one hand, she is a teenager with dreams of getting into culinary school. On the other hand, she is a mother and almost an adult, and she has to work to support her child with her abuela’s help.

“I’ve had a lot of things to feel ashamed about and I’ve learned most of them are other people’s problems, not mine.”

It was really interesting to read about her life especially because Acevedo seamlessly brought together all the different aspects and problems life.

  • All. The. Food.

Emoni is super gifted in the kitchen and her hands just pick up ingredients in the process. She even makes combinations that most people wouldn’t think of.

All the food descriptions made my mouth water. I can only imagine Emoni’s dishes in real life.

“My Aunt Sara says it’s in our blood, an innate need to tell a story through food. ‘Buela says it’s definitely a blessing, magic.”

  • The writing was really good.

Acevedo is a very good writer and her lyrical writing was present in this book as well. Some of the lines and paragraphs gripped me with feelings. The writing easily pulled me into the book’s world.

“I feel like I’m being pulled in a hundred different directions and my feet are stuck in cement.”

  • Artful showing of complicated relationships.

We see so many relationships in this book. Emoni’s relationship with her daughter, with her abuela, with her best friend and so many more.

My favourite relationship was between Emoni and her Cooking class teacher. They are two very different people who learn from each other through a love for cooking. It’s a unique and lovely representation of how teachers can influence your life.

Another relationship that I found interesting was between Emoni and her daughter’s father who is also a teenager. They fooled around as typical teenagers which ended with her pregnant. It was interesting to see how they navigate waters as parents and also teenagers.

  • The love aspect of the book had something to teach.

The book is not about Emoni falling in love and finding the perfect guy for her. That is not the book’s purpose which I really appreciated. There is so much more to show through Emoni and the author took the chance to do that instead of focusing on a romantic relationship.

That being said, there was a romance part in the plot.

Malachi is a transfer student who likes Emoni and tries to befriend her. But she is definitely extra cautious and has a jaded view of boys which means Malachi had to try harder to even befriend her.

It was interesting to see how Emoni reacted to being pursued, especially after her one and only previous relationship which her daughter was born out of.

“That’s what I learned, about him and most guys: who they are when they’re giving you flowers and trying to get in your pants is not who they REALLY are when it’s no longer spring and they’ve found a new jawn to hang out with. And I know the past isn’t a mirror image of the future, but it’s a reflection of what can be; and when your first love breaks your heart, the shards of that can still draw blood for a long, long time.”

  • What I liked the most about this book:

My favourite aspect of the book was that Emoni was not restricted to one part of her life. Her story was not just about being a teenage mother or about love or just about following her dreams.

Young adult contemporary books mostly focus on one thing in the book but it’s not reality because life is made up of many paths. I really liked that this book showed all the sides of Emoni and spent time on every aspect of her life.

“Everything changes. I’ll learn to be fine.”

OVERALL

Really enjoyed this and highly suggest it! It’s a beautiful book with great writing and great characters.

I rate this book..

4/5 stars

Verity || twisted, creepy, addicting

Title: Verity
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: Thriller
Category: Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

I’ve read many Colleen Hoover books and almost all are feeling-heavy romance books. The next Colleen Hoover book I was considering was Regretting You but after many negative reviews, I decided not to read it.

Verity showed up in my radar when I was looking for books to read for the 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge prompt “book with an upside down image in the cover”. Verity was listed in the book recommendations list for this prompt and I decided to try it.

I did not even read the synopsis so I expected a romance book. This book blew me away though.

THE PLOT

Lowen’s mum just died after battling cancer for several months. Being a writer is hard but being a writer with an unpopular book out, no job and lots of bills? It’s a dead end.

When she’s just about being evicted from her place, she gets an offer to write for a popular series instead of the real author Verity. And it pays a lot.

So she moves into Verity’s house where she’s barely functioning after a car accident, trying to understand the series and make an outline. But all is not what it seems in the huge house.

Verity and her husband’s twin daughters died one after the other, and soon after that Verity crashes into a tree? Either it’s just really bad luck or there’s something else going on. And Lowen is about to find out.

MY REVIEW

This book was SO ADDICTING, y’all.

I expect romances and touchy feely stories from Colleen Hoover so this blew me way. She should really write more books in this genre!

Let me describe my emotions as I read this book:

  • first confused, because the vibe was not like a romance book.
  • intrigue.
  • more intrigue.
  • straight up SHOCKED.
  • a d d i c t e d.
  • reading as fast as I can because THIS. BOOK. OMG.
  • more shock.
  • also disbelief?!

And that was until only about 50% through.

Let’s talk about my feelings in a list because I need structure to talk coherently.

  • the plot was so cool.

I loved how it began and introduced us to the characters. The charm to the characters immediately drew me in. The random setting in the beginning was actually a really good hook.

The story progressed so well. The way things were unveiled kept me hooked in every chapter.

  • the writing.

The story follows Lowen in the current time but when she reads Verity’s autobiographical manuscript, we’re transported back to that timeline as well. And let me tell you, the manuscript chapters are the most adrenaline-inducing.

Colleen Hoover just managed to GRIP me.

  • the characters.

They were complex and had layers which got peeled back slowly as the story goes on. It’s not a book where the characters are perfect, but they’re perfect for the story.

And they’re quite interesting, especially Verity.

  • mystery and thrill ON POINT.

Honestly, this is the best book by Colleen Hoover that I’ve read so far. Forget the romance books, I want more books like this from her.

My heart was stuck in my throat around the end. I could not lift my eyes from my Kindle and I was sitting in a tense position while reading it. For the last hour I was pretty much locked in place.

The experience was too good.

  • the ending and aftermath.

The ending was TOO DAMN GOOD. For TWO nights after I finished the book I was just thinking about it before sleep. As in, I was trying to sleep but took an hour extra to fall asleep because this book wouldn’t leave my head. The scenes, the dialogues, the characters, the ending kept playing on loop in my head.

It gave me a proper book hangover.

OVERALL

The book blew me away and you should DEFINITELY read it.

It’s not a long book either so it’s good as a thriller book to read in one or two days. And I guarantee that you will get hooked in as well. The characters, the plot, and the vibe from the writing all fit together so well to create a headspace when reading it.

I rate this book..

5/5 stars

Circe || WOW!

Title: Circe
Author: Madeline Miller
Genre: Mythology, Fantasy
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

This book has always been in my mind as a “future maybe read”. It wasn’t on my TBR explicitly until my book club gifted me this book for my birthday last year.

Coincidentally, my book club also picked this book as our Book of the Month for April. Hence all of us who haven’t read it yet got to read it together. This motivated me to finally read Circe.

It also checks off a prompt for the 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge: “A bildungsroman”.

THE PLOT

Born as the daughter of the Titan Helios and Titan Perse, Circe has always been looked down upon because of her shrill human-sounding voice and “ugly” features. And she has always lived under everyone else, hoping for some permanent companionship.

It all changes when she discovers witchcraft. After casting a vengeful spell while in love, she is cast away by her father to live in exile. Although she can’t leave, anyone is allowed to visit.

And so we read Circe’s story from start to finish. Her struggles, determination, love, and triumphs.

MY REVIEW

I know that this book is really popular and loved by many. But I never really read it’s synopsis or considered it much. Hence, I didn’t expect anything when going into it, and was pleasantly surprised.

This book enraptured me. Reading it was such a good experience. And I’ll tell you why.

  • The character Circe.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of Circe before. In all my Greek mythology knowledge, she was not there. And hence, reading this book was like reading from a different point of view.

Usually all we read about are famed characters who have accomplished a lot. Who are legends. We don’t read about the lesser known, less ambitious characters. And Circe was one of them.

She is an underdog who is not the most beautiful, not the smartest, nor the most ambitious. And her journey was very interesting.

I couldn’t like her in the beginning and didn’t understand why we had a book on a uninteresting character. But boy was I shown otherwise.

“The thought was this: that all my life had been murk and depths, but I was not a part of that dark water. I was a creature within it.”

  • The world was really nice to read about.

I’m super glad I read the Percy Jackson books as a kid because reading Circe was like going back to a familiar world. I caught many references early and knew a little extra than what was explained in the book. That made a good experience.

Even for readers who are not familiar with this world, it would be very interesting. Miller has done a great job at writing this book.

  • The story was so interesting.

Even though Circe did not lead a very eventful life, it did not bore me. It took me a while to settle into the pace of the book but once I did, I was not bored.

And once when eventful things DID happen, I was glued to the book. The time and number of pages did not matter as long as I kept reading.

Stories about one’s life (like a biography) is not something I usually like in books but this puts everything I’ve read like it before to shame.

  • The difference between mortals and Gods/Titans.

It was super interesting to see the differences in lives through Circe. She is not a usual God who enjoys torturing humans but she is also not someone with a mortal life. In many different scenarios the difference was shown really well.

I was so into it.

“This was how mortals found fame, I thought. Through practice and diligence, tending their skills like gardens until they glowed beneath the sun. But gods are born of ichor and nectar, their excellences already bursting from their fingertips. So they find their fame by proving what they can mar: destroying cities, starting wars, breeding plagues and monsters.

  • The writing was brilliant.

HATS. OFF. To Madeline Miller for her writing. The way she writes is almost lyrical but story-wise. Her pacing is a work of art. She has done so well writing this book. I love it.

  • The different elements in the story.

The book is not just about one thing. As it is about Circe’s life and life is always made up of many different things, it was interesting how they were brought together and shown in this story.

Everything from loneliness, isolation, love, motherhood, how a woman’s life is something only in relation to a man, and so much more was incorporated in the book. And they were shown really well.

OVERALL

I’m totally blown away by it. And I definitely recommend it to fantasy and mythology lovers.

Someone told me that The Song of Achilles is even better so I added that to my TBR immediately. Looking forward to read that.

I rate this book..

4/5 stars


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Have you read Madeline Miller’s books? Do you like mythology as well?

100 Days of Sunlight || the feels <3

Title: 100 Days of Sunlight
Author: Abbie Simmons
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

This book has been on my TBR since it released. I used to read Abbie’s blog very often and I was very excited to read this book since she kept posting and talking about it. Back then she just had a blog and not a YouTube channel.

I finally got to it because of the 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge. This book also qualifies prompt “A book with a character with a vision impairment or enhancement (a nod to 20/20 vision).”

THE PLOT

Tessa lost her sight in a car accident and the doctors said that she might regain her sight in 100 days. All Tessa has to do is hold on for a 100 days and try to live without sight. But that’s hard when her only outlet is writing poetry and she can’t blog poetry without sight.

Enter Weston. He is hired as a typist for Tessa, but he’s much more than that. Weston knows how Tessa feels because he lives with prosthetic legs after an accident. He vows to help Tessa understand that life is still beautiful.

“Visual beauty is only one form of beauty.”

MY REVIEW

I LOVED THIS BOOK.

I also read it in almost one sitting. Meaning, I started it in the morning before work and read it every single spare second I got.

  • The characters were great.

I absolutely loved reading about all the characters in this book. Tessa and Weston were good, but so were all the supporting characters. Tessa’s grandparents, Weston’s brothers and best friend—all of them captured a piece of my heart.

  • Struggles and character growth.

Although this book is mainly about Tessa, we also see Weston’s journey through flashbacks. It was incredibly humbling and inspiring to read the stories of both these characters. Especially Weston, who is an inspiration. I could totally picture real life Weston growing up to become a motivational speaker.

“Letting go feels like giving up. But if you don’t let go, you’ll drown. I know the feeling. And it sucks. But Life sucks sometimes. And yeah, it gets back up. But you don’t have to stay on your knees.”

  • Tessa + Weston

Through Weston helping Tessa through her current situation, they start to have feelings for each other. This romance is purely young love.

And I like that their relationship was simple. A lot of YA books try to bring in tons different things into the story for the relationship in order to make things interesting. Hence this simple relationship where two people start to like each other without a metaphorical obstacle course was refreshing.

“This stubborn, kind, impertinent, obnoxiously optimistic boy is doing something to me.

And it feels good.”

  • THE FEELS.

This book made me feel so much! I felt awed, inspired, sad (I did cry), happy, and content. Reading this book was like having an emotional journey.

It was amazing to read.

  • Bits of the author’s personality.

Since I followed Abbie for a while and know a little bit about her, I could see how she put herself into the book. The most obvious thing was her love for waffles which translated into the book as well.

“Well?’ he asks when I don’t open my eyes and silently savor the goodness. ‘What do you taste?’
I smile despite myself. ‘The most amazing waffles under the sun.”

OVERALL

I absolutely enjoyed reading this book. It’s the perfect YA contemporary to read in one sitting because it WILL absorb you.

Recommended to anyone looking for a book with depth but also warmth and sunshine.

I rate it..

4.5/5 stars


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What book did you finish last? How was it?

The Bromance Book Club || I LOVE this.

Title: The Bromance Book Club
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Genre: Romance
Category: Adult
Series info: Book 1 of Bromance Book Club series, but can be read as standalone.

Goodreads

This book has been on my TBR for a LONG time. I’ve seen it around in reviews and social media for a long time, but I somehow just didn’t want to pick it up?? No clue why. But that’s how my mood works.

My mood finally acquiesced last week and allowed me to pick it up. And I LOVE it.

The Plot

Gavin Scott wins in the baseball field but he’s been losing at home. With his marriage in trouble, and the reveal of an embarrassing secret, he HAS to pull things together ASAP.

Looking at him drowning himself in alcohol and tears, Gavin’s teammates decide to help him out with some advice. And this advice comes in the form of romance book recommendations.

Gavin starts to read these romance books that are “cringey books just for women” with reluctance and doubt. But he quickly starts to realize just why women like it so much. They’re books by women, for women, depicting how women like to be treated.

Soon, Gavin turns to these books to help him win back his wife and save his marriage.

I LOVED THIS BOOK.

Let’s talk about this in a list because I need SOME structure to my review.

  • The concept itself.

Where men read romance books and realize that they’re not just trashy novels with cringey stories. This book shows men ACTUALLY READING these romance books, realizing why women love them, and learning from them.

It was great to read about. I now want to make my future partner read at least one romance book. They’re so much more than their image.

  • The characters.

They’re so nice *cries*

They’re flawed, strong, and real. I love them.

Character growth is also really nice. I give it 12/10.

  • The romance.

Considering that the characters are married, it is a second chance romance.

Gavin and Thea got married too soon because of an unplanned pregnancy. They were in love but they didn’t spend enough time dating and getting to know each other. It has affected their relationship in the long run.

This second chance romance was so sweet and nice. I loved reading about it.

  • All. The. Relationships.

The friendships and other familial relationships depicted here were so nice. I especially loved the sisterly relationship between Thea and Olivia. Sisters forever ❤

  • The overall plot.

It was very entertaining. I was totally engaged.

This book was supposed to be a quick read as a break before I do other things but I ended up reading all of it in one sitting. I did NOT realize the time!

Overall

Loved it. Totally recommend it.

If you’re looking for a romance book that’s doing things a little different than others, pick this one up! You will not regret it.

I rate this book..

5/5 stars


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What’s the last book that you REALLY enjoyed?

Stories We Never Tell || confusing and surprising

stories we never tell book cover // book review by the wordy habitat

Title: Stories We Never Tell
Author: Savi Sharma
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Category: Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

This book was a total impulse buy. I was going around the bookstore looking for books that I haven’t seen before and was open-minded to read something new.

This book boasts that the author is “India’s “highest selling female author” and that hooked me in. That tagline was the reason for my purchase, and I really hoped that it would be good.

Content warning for the book: Drug and alcohol abuse, over-dosage.

THE PLOT

The book follows two characters Jhanvi and Ashray through a difficult time in their lives which were turning points for them.

Jhanvi is a social media influencer who dropped out of college to pursue her Instagram career. She works hard at her job, which bleeds itself into her life. Her life is a series of mistakes and coping from them due to the limelight.

Ashray’s life seems to be only looking up, with a new job and prospects of a lovely new girlfriend. He has everything he can dream of. Sure, he can be naive about love, but as long as he can make him mother happy, he’s content.

The book shows Jhanvi and Ashray both going through difficult times in their lives which barely intersect.

MY REVIEW

I started this book with a lot of hopes. I hadn’t read an Indian book in a while and was looking forward to it.

But I quickly disliked it. Until 60% of the book, I really disliked the book. Everything seemed predictable, the female lead was annoying, and I did not understand where the story was going. I decided to fully read it only because I bought a paperback copy.

But after 60% of the book, it did a 180 degree turn. I FINALLY understood what the author tried to do, and where the story was going. I finally understood the purpose of this book. And I LIKED IT. I really liked it.

So that’s the one thing this book has going for it: it will surprise you. I was not expecting the turn in the story but I wholeheartedly welcomed it.

It’s going to be really hard to not spoil the surprise in my review, so please bear with me being vague.

  • Jhanvi was the source of my annoyance.

I’ve read a fair share of books involving celebrities and popular people. At this point, their stories are quite predictable. The fame gets to them, people don’t stick around them, they lash out, and things go wrong with drugs and alcohol.

Usually, the stories show them being saved by love. And that’s what I was expecting here. But the book surprised me.

  • Jhanvi’s journey and growth was the best part of this book.

She’s not a perfect character with a pretty story. Her story is one of mistakes and faults. Jhanvi is a flawed person with insecurities who tries to make the best of her life.

I felt like I was in constant competition with a world of woman. It drove me to pursue perfection even more relentlessly, in a bid to show them that they were not in my league.

I really like her journey, especially in the second half of the book. The way Jhanvi reacted to things and her actions then defined her character. It’s the best character growth in a woman.

  • Ashray’s journey was… okay.

I was quite meh about Ashray right from the start. I didn’t dislike him but I didn’t like him either. The point in his story was not clear.

He’s a kind man who thinks the world of his mother (who adopted him from an orphanage) and his only goal is to make his mother happy. Ashray is also not one of the normal men who grow up with toxic masculinity. His mum brought him up right.

So Ashray was quite perfect in my eyes. I didn’t understand his story. It took until the climax of the book for me to get it, but it was too late to become invested in him.

  • Friendship is one of the main themes in this book.

Most of the books I read somehow revolve around finding love, whether they’re a romance book or not. This was one of the few books where friendship mattered more than love. I really liked that.

  • T H E R A P Y .

This is an Indian book, and knowing the Indian society, I was NOT expecting this book to openly talk about therapy. That was quite surprising and I was very impressed with the way the author showed it.

  • The book’s messages was nice.

Jhanvi and Ashray’s stories are quite different.

Jhanvi’s showed that it’s never too late to turn your life around. That was a very uplifting message.

Ashray’s story showed that even if you do everything right, life can still throw you down. All you can do is get back up and make something out of those troubles.

No one ever fully recovers. Recovery is a process, ongoing and always changing.

  • The writing was really annoying at times.

I’ve noticed how many Indian authors write super deep quote and words in order to bring depth to their story and characters. It’s not required, and sometimes it feels out of place.

For example, in this book most of Jhanvi’s chapters start with some super deep reflection on an abstract concept.

Destruction. The kind that only you can prevent or the type only your behaviour can provoke. A downward spiral, an annihilation you could have prevented if you had decided to. If you chose to take a second to breathe, to think, but you didn’t; you thought you couldn’t, and now, in the aftermath, all that is left is wreckage.

This is fine normally but this musing right before the main character wakes up on the bathroom floor seems out of place.

  • The book doesn’t seem cohesive until the end.

The message was confusing. The story was confusing and annoying. And I could not like the book. Even the synopsis of the book is very vague compared to what the story actually is.

The overall message could have been made a little clearer. I would have liked the book better if I had known that it was not going to be another version of “love saves everyone.”

I was disappointed that the book was good but the message was so unclear that I spent half the book annoyed.

OVERALL

The book was okay.

It could have been done better, though. Even having a proper synopsis at the back would make SO MUCH DIFFERENCE.

The title of the book makes some sense, but not total sense. By the time I realized why the title was chosen, I didn’t really care. I just wanted to finish the book.

Do I recommend it? Not sure. It was good at the end but I can’t ignore the fact that most of the book had me annoyed.

Pick it up if you’re ready to be confused for half the book.

I rate this book..

2.5/5 stars


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Have you ever been sorely disappointed by a book? What was it?