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 Stay at Home Book Tag

Book tags are fun and light and I could use some of that right now.

As someone from India, I can’t really say anything of substance about what is happening in the US right now. All I can do is support and raise voices of those who need to be heard online, which is what I focused on the last week. But I have to say, it kind of felt like the same conversations (with friends & family) and struggles of the minority as what we had witnessed last year in India with CAA/CAB. The only real difference was I knew people who could be directly impacted by the situation then.

After these last few days of looking at news, retweeting and sharing info, and having continuous discussions about it, I do not have the energy to write a proper blog post or review. A book tag is what I’d like to do now because it’s easy and fun.

I found this tag over at Reads and Thoughts and it is created by Princess of Paperback so do check out their versions as well!

To make things a little more fun, I’ll be trying to answer with books that I read during this time of staying at home.

*hope y’all are social distancing too!


LAYING IN BED- BOOK YOU COULD/HAVE READ IN A DAY

100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons

I read this book in a few hours. It was really nice to read and very easy to get into. All my thoughts about it are in my review.

book and tea

SNACKING- A GUILTY PLEASURE BOOK

Inappropriate by Vi Keeland

This book found its way to me through a romance book club because otherwise I wouldn’t have read it since I really dislike boss-employee relationships. I actually didn’t like this book as well, it was a meager 2/5 stars for me.

I didn’t feel like writing a whole review on it but I did write a mini-review.

NETFLIX- SERIES YOU WANT TO START

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmer

I’ve seen this book on Instagram a lot and want to get into the club haha. But to be honest, I want to start any Fantasy series that I missed while I’ve been on my romance streak.

the dark artifices trilogy books
The Dark Artifices trilogy is my #1 fantasy series!

DEEP CLEAN- BEEN ON YOUR TBR FOR AGES

Where do I even start? My Goodreads TBR has over 400 books and that doesn’t even include other random books that I’ve seen around and take up space in my head as “I have to try that one”.

Let me pick one up from the depths of my Goodreads TBR.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

This is now #1 on my Goodreads TBR. It was The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani but I read that recently. I’ve been intrigued with this book for so long and yet I haven’t picked it up yet. I also don’t want to remove it from my list.

ANIMAL CROSSING- A BOOK YOU RECENTLY BOUGHT BECAUSE OF HYPE

Beach Read by Emily Henry

I read this book a few days back due to the hype. It sounded like a good romance novel and I was surprised that many readers were praising it, even people who don’t read romance that often. I ended up not liking it, though. As I wrote in my mini-review, it felt like a retelling of many other romance stories that I’ve already read.

an open book

PRODUCTIVITY – BOOK YOU LEARNED FROM OR HAD AN IMPACT ON YOU

I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver

This book has been on my TBR from before it even released. Back then I kept track of new releases and marked anticipated books. But I actually read it only recently.

It is my first book with a non-binary main character and I learnt so much about how simple phrases that I use all the time like calling every “bro” etc. might makes someone who is non-binary feel. It showed me how I am not considerate. I may not know anyone who is non-binary but it could also be because they’re not out yet. It doesn’t mean I stay insensitive.

So yeah, it made an impact on me.

FACETIME – A BOOK YOU WERE GIFTED

Circe by Madeline Miller

My book club gifted me this book for my birthday way back in December but I got to it only during lockdown. I wrote a whole review talking about my thoughts on it but her’s a gist: I love it and I’m looking forward to reading A Song of Achilles.

circe by madeline miller

SELF CARE – WHAT IS ONE THING YOU HAVE DONE RECENTLY TO LOOK AFTER YOURSELF

Since I’m doing an internship and have college going on as well, I’m stuck to the laptop way too much. If you add blogging onto all that, I’m basically on the laptop all day long. My eyes are having a really hard time adjusting to this sudden increase in screen time.

It’s taken me a while to find something to do that keeps me occupied and awake but also doesn’t strain my eyes with screen time.

Now, I usually doodle in my bullet journal while listening to an audiobook when I want some rest for my eyes. This really helps as I can be occupied for a long time without screen time or a lot of strain on the eyes.

a bullet journal spread with lots of leaf doodles
here’s one of my doodle-heavy bullet journal spreads

BONUS – NAME A BOOK COMING OUT SOON

I am not keeping track with new releases at all. There was time when I had a list of books to look out for and get ASAP but I’m just not into that anymore. It takes quite some time and effort and my backlist books are too many to ignore.


I tag..

YOU! Only if you want to do it, of course. I’m sure all of us can use another fun way to talk about books haha.


Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest

What have you been reading while staying at home? How are you keeping your health up?

June 2020 Bullet Journal Setup

We’re almost halfway through the year, y’all!

And what a year it’s been.

The one thing I’m going into planning for June with is flexibility and the bare minimum. I kind of did this for May as well but now I’m sure of what spreads I really need and what I don’t need.

Let’s get on to the June setup!

june cover page + monthly log + habit trackers

Unlike May where I made the pages look very full and crammed everything, I wanted a more organized and clean look for June. So I used one of the very cute Dream Notes sticky notes that I have to add some colour to the otherwise very minimal cover page.

I know that I will still have very less (and probably changing) plans to write down in advance. Hence, the monthly log stays small. Since I did have so much space in the page left, I put the habit trackers here.

I’ve followed the same habit tracker page setup for several months and it has been working well but I need a change now.

blog schedule + blog post ideas + expense tracker

The one spread that cannot change for me is the blog schedule because I work best is a simple list kind of setup. And that’s what you see here.

Last month I was jotting down blog post ideas in random places like my phone or within my daily logs in the bullet journal. To keep it organized, I gave half a page to note any ideas. Whether I will write these posts is not decided but I like to have my ideas written together in bunches.

Since we’re in lockdown, I have barely any expenses. In fact when I got my salary a couple days back I was caught off guard for a second. My reaction to the notification was: “who’s paying me so much? Is this a scam???” Only after a couple seconds did I realize the date and that it’s my stipend.

My sense of time is whack right now.

As my expenses are low, I used the March expenses space for March+April+May lol. But now I ran out of space there and that’s why I gave half a page for it here this month. Most likely only a few lines will be used but oh well.

If you want to see my spreads during the month, do follow my Instagram because I show my bullet journal there often. Below is one that I shared yesterday.

View this post on Instagram

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram #bookreview I added this book to my TBR after seeing @zanyanomaly praised it somewhere (IG? Twitter? idk) and it fit a Popsugar 2020 Reading Challenge prompt so I read it soon after. (Prompt—A book that won an award in 2019) The one thing that really kept me reading the book was the writing and the vibe. The story is great, the characters are awesome, and I loved the new culture rhat I was being introduced to. But the writing was so nice. As soon as I started reading it, I was transported to the story and into Darius's life. And that's one of the most important things about a book—how it grabs you and holds you in. That being said, reasons why you should read this book: ~ 🌟 Darius. I was really interested in reading about his life and I'm sure you would be as well. Also, his passion is tea (#relatable). ~ 🌟Iranian culture. Darius's family is from Iran and during this book they go on a trip to Iran and hence we are introduced to Persian culture and traditions. The food descriptions made my mouth water which was NOT good because we're in lockdown and I eat only rice items everyday!! 😦 ~ 🌟Family. If you're into complex family relationships, you will really like this book. I absolutely teared up about Darius and his dad, not gonna lie. And his relationship with his younger sister is the CUTEST. ~ 🌟Friendship. Hands down, one of the best friendships I've seen portrayed in YA books. ~ 🌟Mental health rep. This is the first book that I've ever read where the main character has depression genetically. Nothing happened to him to trigger it. It was interesting to see this being portrayed and how it is received by Darius's extended family in Iran. ~ 🌟And of course, the writing. #bookstagramindia #youngadultbooks #mentalhealth #booksbooksbooks #bookstoread #bookblogger #bibliophile #yabooks #diversereads #readersofinstagram #booksofinstagram #booksofig #bloggersofig #bookreviews #yabookreview #reasonswhy #bookstagramtogether #bookishbengaluru

A post shared by Sumedha (@thewordyhabitat) on


Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest


Are you using a planner or bullet journal now? Do you think it’s even required for you?

How to Judge a Book by its Cover // Analyzing Cover Trends in Different Genres

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

It’s advice everyone’s heard at some point. Covers, people seem to think, represent only the surface level appearance of a book, which is why it’s bad to judge books for their appearance instead of their substance. And while it’s true that the content of a book is the most important thing, readers should also remember that professionally designed book covers are expertly codified items of information, ripe for interpreting!

Indeed, if you approach book covers with a sharp eye, they can tell you a lot: the genre, the intended audience, what mood the story evokes, and even which plot elements were important enough to be selected for the cover art. (In fact, designers need to be careful not to spoil the book, as cover art can act as both content warning and spoiler).

This means a book cover, like the book itself, is subject to analysis. So put on your analytical hat and let’s see which clues you can look out for on covers, Sherlock-style. To do that, we’ll examine some recently published books from four distinct genres: YA, Romance, Thrillers, and Memoirs.

YA: Think Exclamation-Mark Energy!

Books in the frame: It Only Happens in Movies by Holly Bourne, The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper, All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

YA is a joyful place in the world of book design, even if the books deal with heavier topics. As you can tell from just three examples, this genre’s covers radiate energy and enthusiasm. They use bright colors, often going for one color that really makes the entire cover pop with activity, like Holly Bourne’s It Only Happens in the Movies.

Now let’s talk fonts: the typography on a book’s cover is one of the most crucial aspects of book design. It’s a choice that reflects the spirit of a book, and paying attention to it can help you identify genre and mood—here, all three covers have lettering done by hand, a choice common in YA as it gives the covers a youthful, doodly, informal look. As YA is so broad, these covers also indicate sub-genres: they all fall under YA Romance, but communicate this information in different ways.

It Only Happens in the Movies clearly identifies romance as central to the story (notice the little heart inside the ‘O’ in ‘movies’), but the choice of popcorn suggests a humorous side. The Gravity of Us signals LGBT Romance with its beautiful illustration of two boys looking out toward the sky, whereas All the Bright Places chooses to remain more ambiguous, though the sticky notes nod toward a school setting. (If you take a look at Wilder Girls by Rory Power—The Wordy Habitat review here—you’ll see that this book defies YA’s preference for bright colors, choosing dark shadows to show it’s a mystery, but demonstrating it’s still within YA through the playful lettering.)

Romance: Titles Taking Center Stage

Books in the frame: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird, The Man who Didn't Call, If I Never Met You, The Course of Love

When an author is in the process of publishing their book, they are sometimes advised to revise their title to make sure it appeals to the right readers (famously the case with Toni Morrison’s Paradise). This is especially important in romance books, as the trend here is to feature the title as the central element of the cover. (Note that I’m talking about the rom-com type here—this doesn’t apply to more dramatic romance books, as those tend to feature photos of chiseled bodies.)

Here, delicate illustrations accompany the title lettering, standing in for an element of the plot, and the palette of the genre is generally limited to pinks, whites, blues, reds, purples, and various shades in between. There are exceptions, of course, but generally romance covers are chromatically muted—you aren’t likely to read any bright green or electric blue romances (unless they’re paranormal romances about zombies, radioactivity, or aliens)!

Thrillers/Crime: Bold in Every Way

Books in frame: The turn of the key, My sister the serial killer, The family upstairs, The Chain.

Thriller covers are notoriously loud. It’s understandable — they’re meant to thrill you, and designers are doing their best to help authors market their books, so a strong cover is a must. Thriller covers generally use sans serif fonts (in other words, straight and clean lines, no decorative flourishes or
squiggles). A no-BS genre demands a no-BS font!

Fonts aside, thrillers are unafraid to choose confident colors (looking at that neon green on My Sister the Serial Killer) and brave contrasts: in this small selection, we’ve got a combination of orange-white-black, neon green-black, blue-white-yellow, and black-white-red. These palettes are not fooling around. They demand your attention, and they demand it now.

A final note on thrillers: they’re more likely to feature photographs or illustrations as a larger element of their covers than, say, rom-com books, as they provide an intriguing way into the story. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell, for example, displays the front of a building with an eerily lit window to hook a potential reader’s curiosity.

Memoir: Keeping It Personal

Books in frame: The Prosecutor, Clothes... and other things that matter, Educated, The Diary of a Bookseller, Motherwell, The Consequences of Love, Everything I know about Love

Memoir is a deeply personal subgenre of nonfiction, and memoir covers vary widely. These are truly an accomplishment of multi-tasking, as designers need to carefully balance authority with openness. To do that, they often go down two avenues: one is the use of personal photographs, sometimes edited to achieve an ‘aged’ look for a nostalgic feel (as you can see above, four of these covers use photos).

The other is choosing to emphasize the deeply personal nature of telling a story about yourself, so some designers will use hand-drawn lettering to convey the playfulness, intimacy, or sincerity of a diary (see The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell, Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton, and The Prosecutor by Nazir Afzal respectively). Either way, the cover functions as a paratextual confirmation of the content’s veracity.


There are no hard-and-fast rules in book design—there are only patterns (see what I did there?), so exceptions are inevitable. Still, being aware of common tropes can really help you understand what a designer is trying to communicate.

Now that you’ve learned the basics, why not put your knowledge to the test by turning to your bookshelf or Reedsy’s book design gallery, and judging some more books by their covers? Look at examples from similar genres and see if you can detect the unspoken principles guiding the designers—this is especially entertaining when you know nothing about a book, as you can then test yourself by reading the synopsis at the back. Have fun!


This post was written for The Wordy Habitat by Desiree Villena.

Desiree Villena is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors and publishers with the world’s best editors, designers, and marketers. In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading contemporary fiction and writing short stories.


how to judge a book by its cover pinterest image
how to judge a book by its cover pinterest image
how to judge a book by its cover pinterest image
how to judge a book by its cover pinterest image

pin this post using one of these images!

how to judge a book by its cover pinterest image
how to judge a book by its cover pinterest image

Are there any other patterns or trends that you have noticed in book covers?

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

WWW Wednesday // 27th May 2020

It’s the end of May, y’all!

Time is flying by, especially now that I’m kind of used to staying at home and am adjusted to this routine. It’s been almost three months of staying at home.

How are y’all doing? I really want to know. This crazy situation started in March and it’s showing no signs of reducing. How are you doing physically, mentally, and emotionally?

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?
picture of book and tea

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading two books right now. The first one is The Color Purple by Alice Walker which I started over a week back. I’m about 35% through it. It’s a hard read and I’m not able to pick it up very easily. I’ve decided that I will read a part of it every few days. It’ll take a while to finish it but that’s okay.

The second one is Emma by Jane Austen which I’m only 6 chapters through. I should read a few more by this weekend because we have another discussion then.


WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

#1

The first book I finished in the last week was Pride by Ibi Zoboi which I had read as an audiobook. It was quite nice. I enjoyed the new setting for P&P and while it doesn’t exactly follow another version of the same plot, it was close enough. Some things felt rushed and off but overall I liked it.

3/5 stars.

book, tea, and flowers

#2

The other book that I finished was Beach Read by Emily Henry. It’s a popular book receiving a lot of talk recently and I wanted a romance to breeze through so I picked it up. While I don’t agree with the hype, it was quite nice. Some things about the story are things that have been done a lot in romance books and I wasn’t interested in another spin on them. It was okay but wouldn’t recommend it over several other great romance books.

3/5 stars.

#3

Another book that I finished is The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar which is this month’s new release pick for the South Asian Reading Challenge. I was supposed to finish it yesterday but wasn’t able to read all day due to work and college work. But I did get some time to read before work this morning and I finished it!

I really liked it and will probably write a review soon.

4/5 stars.

#4

Okay this book is not a “finished read” but I’m technically done with it so I’ll talk about it here.

I was really looking forward to The Betrothed by Kiera Cass because I enjoyed the first three books of The Selection. I started it on audiobook but it was not great. At about 45% in, I spoke about it on Instagram and my friend commented like “NO STOP READING IT DON’T READ IT”. I asked him why and read reviews on Goodreads, all of which said that it is super disappointing.

Because of them, I decided to read a spoiler-y review and that cemented the decision to abandon the book for me. It’s a stupid story and its a good thing my friend warned me about it.

Did Not Finish.


WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

No clue at all. Hopefully something nice though. At least 4 stars.

an open book with a lot of tabs

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest

What are you currently reading? Have you read any of the books that I mentioned?

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.)

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

WWW Wednesday // 20th May 2020

It’s been a slow week of reading.

Remember how I was reading 3-4 books a week for the last couple months? Well, it slowed down a little this week. Instead, the number went to another section.

You’ll see what I mean.

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 reading MANY books currently. And that’s why I haven’t finished more.

#1

I’m still listening to Pride by Ibi Zoboi on audiobook. I did make progress last week and am 65% into the book. Even though I didn’t get a chance to listen to it more than once, I couldn’t help but think about where I left off multiple times.

#2

I started reading The Color Purple by Alice Walker early last week. I didn’t read the blurb and jumped right in so I was surprised about the story. I didn’t know that it dealt with heavy topics and is not easy to read.

I only read it for about a day before I put a pause on it. I will get back to it slowly over time because it’s not a book I can read at once.

The book actually reminds me of The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison because of the themes and language.

#3

The last book that I’m currently reading is Emma by Jane Austen. I started it just last night actually and am less than a chapter in.

I joined a book club through twitter with a few others and we decided to read Emma so that’s why I picked it up. It has been on my TBR for a long time so its good that I finally have the motivation to read it.

What did you recently finish reading?

I managed to finish two books last week.

#1

The first was I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver which I finished last Wednesday.

I’m really glad that I finally read it. It gave me perspective on some things especially since it is my first book with a non-binary main character.

It was really nice. Definitely recommend it.

4/5 stars.

me standing with my kindle

#2

The second book that I managed to finish was Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. I finished it just last night.

It’s honestly a GREAT book. I like how the author told multiple perspectives of Indians who settle in other countries hoping to provide more for their children. But the best part was obviously ripping apart the stigma around sex and talking about it.

4/5 stars.


What do you think you’ll read next?

I don’t think I should plan my next reads because I’m currently reading three haha.

That being said, the books I really want to read next are Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar and Beach Read by Emily Henry.

Of course, there’s also The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins which just released. I’m not sure I’ll be reading it very soon though. I haven’t even gotten the book yet.


Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest


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

if we were having tea header image

if we were having tea… // 17th May 2020

It’s tea time!

I was confused on what to post today since I had multiple ideas. As I couldn’t make a decision, I put up polls on Twitter and Instagram. In both places, this post got the most votes so here we are.

I got myself a hot cup of tea as well to set the vibe for myself. You might as well get a cup of something too.

a steaming cup of tea gif

If we were having tea… I’d first comment on how time seems to fly by. A new week starts and by the time I keep up with work, college, and blogging, the week is almost over. If it’s like this with me being home, I wonder how I would have managed in normal life without the pandemic.

If we were having tea… I would say that deadlines are catching up to me. They’re creeping up out of nowhere leaving me flustered and overwhelmed. I can think of two major deadlines for college as of now which need to be worked on ASAP.

Along with the major deadlines in college and work, small deadlines like assignments and small goals are also adding to my stress. Every few days I find that there are multiple assignments left to do that are due within a day or so. Once they’re done, I take a break to focus on other things. Repeat.

It’s starting to become overwhelming, especially since our situation with finals is also up in the air. I’m worried that we’ll have to write finals without having written even one internal test. Those internals are the ones that help in the end because they give familiarity with the topics. I learn about what and how much to write through them. Without internals to guide me, I don’t know how I’ll do in finals.

According to our seniors, the last semester is the easiest and we’ll score the best. But with the current situation, who knows.

sigh gif

If we were having tea right now… it would probably be a video call and you’d hear loud music and noise coming from my side. It’s because the people in the house that my room’s window faces (in the apartment next to ours) play everything SUPER LOUD.

I am SO ANNOYED. We’ve tried calling out to them through our balcony and reaching out through other means but haven’t been able to successfully so far.

I think they have a home theatre system and they use it a lot. If we consider both the apartments, they’re the ONLY ONES who turn up the volume so much. They have to be deaf by now.

It’s the worst when I’m trying to get something done or when I’m in class/a work call. As I write this, I’m literally listening to lofi music through headphones in a high volume to drown them out. And I don’t turn the volume up this high usually but I have to because of them.

From spying through the window, I know that a couple live there. I assume they also work from home because every weekday during the afternoon they play LOUD MUSIC or watch television for an hour. Which I assume is their lunch break. It’s so loud that I know what they’re watching, what the characters are saying, everything.

As you can see, I have a lot of frustration built up.

These are also the people who had multiple friends over for a SLEEPOVER lasting THREE DAYS right after the lockdown was announced. And you bet they had a great time because we heard the party music.

frustration gif

If we were having tea… I’d talk about how I’m really enjoying lofi music right now. I play it in the background when blogging and working. It’s really nice.

I made a playlist of my favourite lofi mixes so check it out if you want to! The third and fourth videos are my favourite.

Recently, I also found a 24/7 lofi beats livestream titled Quarantine Vibe. It’s quite nice too but I find that its beats do not suit my timings, which is sad.

If we were having tea... continuing from the previous topic, I’d talk about the new Discord servers that I joined (after searching for days). I was looking for Discord servers where people listen to music together and maybe chat. In the last tea hangout post I had mentioned that I missed listening to chatter which is what led me to looking for these servers.

I found them only yesterday and I really like one called Medium Cafe because of 2 things:

  • there is music playing 24/7 through their custom for-the-channel bots. One of the bots plays really good lofi which takes the problem of finding mixes out of my hands.
  • there are multiple voice channels broken down as “cafe tables” and “cafe booths” to chat and listen to music together with other people.

So yeah, nice stuff.

aww yeah gif

If we were having tea… I would mention that my friends and I are almost done with Orphan Black. By that, I mean we have only a few episodes left. I am so glad to be finishing it because I’ve been curious about the ending for YEARS. Its been fun to watch with friends.

If we were having tea… you’d have another watching update from me. A few friends and I watched Anohana together. Anohana is a BEAUTIFUL and HEART-BREAKING ANIME that I first saw a couple years back. Since it is only 11 half-hour episodes, I had binged it in a day and sobbed my eyes out.

This time, I’m re-watching with friends and as it’s hard to coordinate times, we spread out watching the anime over two weekends. We watched the last 7 episodes yesterday though. AND IT’S STILL SO GOOD. Even though I knew what’s coming, it blew me away.

100/10 recommend.

If we were having tea… I’d talk about how I’m super inspired to blog even though I don’t have the time. I usually post thrice a week but for the last two weeks I posted four times. And blogging takes TIME, especially when you’re doing 500-1000 words a post.

And I have so many ideas. Lately I’ve been coming up with more chatty posts where I talk about my perspectives on things. And they are posts that will have 1k words* easily because I have so much to say. Although they might not be popular, they would open up discussions too.

My only problem is finding the time to write them all haha.

I’m happy that I’m not having a blogging slump, though! I usually get them when things are too hectic in real life.

*Oh hey look this post is already over 1k words. Thanks for sticking with me, y’all.

furiously typing gif

If we were having tea… I’d hit you with another watching update. Yes it’s a lot of watching but I have the time now! And I’m mostly watching in small doses.

I’m currently watching the Kdrama The King: The Eternal Monarch which stars Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun. Netflix is releasing two episodes every weekend. A friend of mine is also watching it as it releases which is great because I have someone to discuss with.

Being a fantasy show, it does have many aspects that start discussions. The plot, the science-fiction elements, and especially the plot holes. I will (hopefully find the time to) write a review* on it once the Kdrama is over. But one thing I can say is that I don’t like the romance. And the show isn’t directed/edited well. My friend and I have been confused at parts and totally dislike the romance.

*Although I forget things easily, I have the chats with my friend to look back on and remember by opinions. So this review will turn out good.

If we were having tea… you’d hear about how I’m back to being (somewhat) active on Instagram. I wrote a whole post on my mixed feelings towards the app and the bookstagram scene a while back. In fact I was considering deleting the account recently. But that’s giving up, so I thought why not give it one more shot. This time just not at all looking at the numbers.

Let’s hope I can do it lol. If I can’t, I’ll probably go on hiatus over there.

thumbs up gif

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest


If we were having tea together right now, what would you tell me?

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

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

WWW Wednesday // 13th May 2020

Hey everyone!

Okay so I wasn’t actually going to update my reading this week. Mostly because I posted just yesterday and also my eyes are STRAINED this week. Like, my eyes are kinda red as I type this right now.

But I’m on the laptop anyway right now as I’m chatting with my friends on Discord. I was doing my assignment but since that’s done, I thought why not blog.

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 in the middle of Pride by Ibi Zoboi on audiobook. I made some progress but not much. Reading has been more my thing.

The ebook I’m currently reading is I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver. This book first caught my eye when I was going through 2019 releases back in end of December 2018. So it’s been over a year!

I’m really enjoying it so far. I think this is the first time I’m reading a book with a non-binary main character. It’s sad that it’s my first, but at least I’m getting to it.


What did you recently finish reading?

I read two books in the last week. It’s half as much as the week before, but oh well. Work has been hectic, and I blogged more and spent time blog hopping as well.

#1

The first book I picked up was Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram. I actually meant to pick up Truth or Beard by Penny Reid but I chose Darius the Great is Not Okay on Kindle by mistake. I didn’t realize the mistake until almost a whole chapter in so I just continued.

It was such a nice read! I loved Darius, first of all. The book also introduces us to Iran and their cultures which was super interesting. Darius’s relationship with his family was also interesting to read about. I always love family focus.

4/5 stars.

#2

The second book was what I initially meant to pick up. Truth or Beard by Penny Reid has been a book I’ve looked forward to for a long time. I remember loving the Knitting in the City series so I had similar expectations for this.

Unfortunately, the book disappointed me. It was nowhere near my expectations and I’m SO SAD.

It definitely had some good parts but it wasn’t much on the whole and there were multiple things that annoyed me. I tried to like it but I couldn’t. I feel sad. Not sure if I’ll continue with the series soon.

2.5/5 stars.


What do you think you’ll read next?

Honestly, no clue. I’m not going into the next week with any plan because I know I’ll have a lot of work to do for both college and internship. Let’s hope I have time to read in the first place.


Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest


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

top ten tuesday header image

The Last Ten Books I Abandoned // and why

Hey everyone!

I haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday post in a long time but today’s prompt is one that I’m excited about. I need this chance to talk about books that I abandoned and all my opinions on them.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl.

[1] Tempt the Boss by Natasha Madison

Now, romance books with boss-employee relationships is NOT my comfort zone. In fact, I kind of hate it. I just don’t see a way it would be acceptable, for me. It stands in the bottom of my preferences, only preferred over teacher-student relationships.

But I tried to give the trope a chance in April. Only because the romancetheque book club chose this trope for their April books of the month.

I actually liked the first book so I downloaded the extra reads as well and Tempt the Boss was one of them.

I HATED IT.

Usually I mark abandoned books in my DNF* shelf on Goodreads and not as “read”. But I marked this one as read just so I could write a rant review for it. My review, as I had written on Goodreads:

I’m sorry but putting a laxative into your boss’s drink is going TOO FAR. It’s not just a prank anymore. It’s not professional, especially when it’s your SECOND day at work. I stopped reading right after that. The prank and further (lack of) consequences were unbelievable.

*Did Not Finish

[2] Happily Ever All-Star by Sosie Star

I picked this up like all my random romance reads. From Goodreads recommendations or lists.

And it was okay in the beginning. It was not bad. But I just couldn’t like it past a certain point??

It was trying too hard to be humourous and the chemistry between the main characters was weird.

The book wasn’t for me.

[3] The Upside of Falling by Alex Light

This book is actually quite popular in the YA community! I’ve heard some praises for it. And since it is a fake dating trope story, I was looking forward to it.

But the beginning was so rushed. Everything happened in a short time. And there wasn’t a proper reasoning or story arc to START fake dating.

It was as if the author took parts of other fake dating YA books and mixed them all together here. It was weird and if the beginning of such an iconic trope can’t interest me, the rest of the book definitely won’t. Hence, I abandoned it.

[4] Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennet

This is another sort-of popular book in the YA community. Some of the people I follow on bookstagram really liked it. And it has an interesting synopsis so I picked it up.

I actually have nothing against this book. I just was not interested in it, personally. The story was fine, the characters were fine, and the writing was okay too. But my interest in the book was zero. And that’s why I abandoned it.

[5] Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher

I read and abandoned this book back in December 2019. I cannot remember why I didn’t like it.

Now that I look at it again, the premise sounds good enough. It has the fake-dating trope. I think I DNFed it because it was not delivering like I expected from the synopsis. Pretty sure it was boring and that’s why I gave it up.

Who really knows. Not me for sure.

[6] Until Fools Find Gold by Mary B. Moore

I have good patience with bad romances. Not sure if you know that but I do. Proof is the fact that I barely DNF books. I abandoned only 4 this year and I’ve read 57 books. So either I have patience or I just have really good luck at picking books. I’ll claim the former.

There was this point where I was picking random books set in the same world as Aurora Rose Reynold’s Until series. I have no clue why but some of them were free on Kindle so I tried them. And I read previews for some others, just to see if they were nice.

This was one of them and it was VERY annoying. The male lead was too much of an alpha-male. The female character was annoying as well. Overall, not a good read and I gave it up pretty quickly.

[7] Until Merri by Suzanne Halliday

Another one like the previous book I mentioned. I cannot remember why I did not like this one but I guess it annoyed me? In fact I’m pretty sure I only read the preview on Goodreads for this one and gave it up.

*shrugs*

[8] Until Midnight by Gwendolyn Grace

By this point, you must have realized that these spin-off books by other authors just were NOT nice. I think I liked only one of them.

This book also does not exist in my memory. I don’t know why I DNFed it, but I did. That’s all.

[9] Do Not Disturb by Layla Frost

I marked this as DNF in SEPTEMBER 2019 so forgive me for my lack of memory. It seems that after a while I just push these books out of my brain.

This one is also HIGHLY rated in Goodreads and has many praising reviews. I cannot figure out why I abandoned it lol.

[10] Deep by Kylie Scott

Now, I actually do really like this series by Kylie Scott. The first book was really good and I liked the next two books as well.

Deep is book 4 in the series and when I realized I hadn’t read it, I picked it up. And.. it was bad. I remember exactly where I stopped reading this book and why.

This romance involves a surprise pregnancy. And when the pregnancy did get revealed, the scene was very cringey and unrealistic and confusing. It was done badly and I couldn’t figure out whether it was meant to be funny or heroic or .. ??? I don’t know!

It turned me off the book so I abandoned it. I was disappointed that the last book of the series was sour for me.

me reading a book

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest


Have you read any of these books? What causes you to abandon books usually?

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

reading challenges updates and goals @ the wordy habitat book blog

May 2020 // Reading Challenges Update

Hey everyone!*

My initial plan was to update y’all on my progress with the reading challenges every month. And I kept it up for two months before forgetting about it.

To be honest, I thought I had missed posting an update only for one month but turns out I missed it for two months. It makes sense, though, since March and April were a haze together and were like one single month.

Anyway, I’m back with some solid updates now!

*side note: I accidentally turned off my keyboard while thinking about how to start this post. I was holding down the right Shift key (ready for capitalization) while thinking and apparently held it for 8 seconds which disabled my keyboard. Thankfully my trackpad still worked and using that and voice search on google, I figured out how to enable it again. But yeah, such are the adventures of my life 🙂

GOODREADS READING CHALLENGE

This time at home has been really good for my reading. The reduction of travel time meant that I could read more. And my reading status shows that.

I’ve finished reading 57/100 books!

And all of these are good reads, not just ones that I pick up as fluff to make myself happy.

Although I am 23 books ahead of schedule (according to Goodreads), I’m still striving to hit 150 books which was my original goal. I had reduced it after realizing that with work and college and blogging I would never hit that goal.

I’m still not on track to hit that goal but I will try my best.

SOUTH-ASIAN READING CHALLENGE 2020

This is a challenge hosted by my friend Fanna and I was super excited to participate. But like many things, it went away to a distant island in my brain in March. I did not read the chosen books for March and April.

But, the ultimate goal is to read as many South-Asian books as possible and I think I’ve done well enough for that? Basically I’m reading books for other reasons and they fortunately fit into this challenge. Hey, I’m trying my best.

But I am planning on reading the book picked by the hosts for May which is Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar. There has been so much praise for it and it sounds super cool. I’ve already read the backlist pick Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali so I won’t be reading that again.

#StartOnYourShelfathon

The purpose of this challenge is to prioritize reading books that we already own before picking up/buying new ones. Considering my physical shelf doesn’t have that many unread books anyway, it was never high priority. I pick them up when I feel like it.

My ebook shelf is not too bad either.

In the past two months, books I read that fit this challenge are:

The first 4 are physical books and last two are ebooks. Not bad progress, I think. Especially since 4 were paperbacks.

2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge

This is the one challenge that I’ve been ON TOP of. I even made a list where I matched whatever prompts I could to books already in my TBR or ones that caught my eye.

But yes, it has also got me to try new books. Ones that I wouldn’t look at otherwise. And I welcome it in doses.

My reading plan is mixing comfortable books (that I know I’ll like or am excited to read) with books out of my comfort zone. This way I don’t bring on a book slump by clubbing all the out-of-comfort reads together.

And I’ve definitely made progress on it! I shared how I plan my reads on my latest WWW Wednesday post so you can see that for details.*

I’ve finished 26 out of 50 prompts!

GIF od Michelle Tanner from Full House doing a happy dance

When I last updated, I had finished just 11 prompts so this is REALLY good progress! I’m going to smash this challenge.

I don’t think I’ll share all the prompts that I finished here since this post will become REALLY long. But I’m considering making an entirely separate post with them and mini reviews on each book.

Not sure if I should do this now or only after I (hopefully) finish all. Let me know what you think I should do in the comments.

*P. S. I also post mini reviews and frequent reading updates every week through WWW Wednesday posts so do check them out for all the opinions.

And that’s it for my updates! I think I’ve done pretty well so far.

Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest

Are you participating in any challenges? What’s your status?

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

WWW Wednesday // 5th May 2020

I have had a GOOD reading week y’all, and I can’t wait to talk about it.

WWW Wednesdays were posts that I used to do occasionally when I read enough book in a week to talk about. But since I started social distancing, it’s been working out so well.

It’s a good thing y’all get my opinions through these posts because I can not review all the books I read in detail. I read more than I can review haha.

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?
bright picture of an open book

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently listening to Pride by Ibi Zoboi. This has been on my TBr for a while now but mostly as a “maybe” read. But I saw this while browsing through audiobooks about a month back and wanted to read it.

Fortunately it also works for multiple 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge prompts too. I’ll be checking off “a book with the same name/title as of a movie/TV show but is unrelated to it” with it.

It’s also narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo which I did not realize before. It’s a coincidence, which you’ll realize in the next section of this post.

I’m not reading anything else as of now.


What did you recently finish reading?

It was a good reading week and I have A LIST so settle down for this.

#1

The first book that I read was With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo. And yes, this is the coincidence that I was talking about. Reading a book by her and listening to a book narrated by her in the same week without intention? Good coincidence.

I really liked With The Fire On High. It’s kind of a wholesome book. The main character Emoni was really nice to read about. Her growth throughout the book as she goes from a teenager to an adult while also being a mother was wonderful to see. I loved the story.

4/5 stars.

#2

The next book that I read was What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter. I added this to my TBR before it released and was reminded of it through Tiffany’s recent review.

Although I didn’t have high hopes for it, especially after that review, I still wanted to read it. Halle is a book blogger and also a cupcake enthusiast. It was nice to read about the book blogger experiences, especially about all the Twitter drama which I actively avoid in real life.

Overall, not that impressed but it had some good parts. The family focus was lovely.

3/5 stars.

me with a high stack of books.

#3

I finally finished The School For Good and Evil by Soman Chainani! The audiobook took me FOREVER i.e. a whole month. I’m sure even y’all got tired of me saying that I’m still reading it every week in these updates.

If only I had the opportunity to read this book back in middle grade. I would have loved it even more. It’s such a good book, with the different take on fairytales that we all wanted. Especially the ending.

4/5 stars. (Would have been 5/5 if I was in middle grade)

#4

My last read of the week was The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. I found this book while going through the Goodreads list suggested for the 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge prompt “a book set in a country starting with C”.

It caught my eye in the list and the premise sounded interesting too. The book is about 4 sets of mothers and daughters. All the mothers are women who grew up in China and immigrated to America and formed a “Joy Luck Club”. All the daughters are Americans at heart.

The book shows the lives of both generations and the divide between them. How they almost talk different languages and barely know each other.

It was a wonderful read and I liked the stories. I did find it hard to read fast, though. It took me a whole week to read because I took breaks to read other books that caught my attention more.

3/5 stars.


What do you think you’ll read next?

picture of a cafe I visited. there's also my Kindle on the table.
this is an old picture, don’t worry lol.

There’s a subtle plan I’ve been following for the past few weeks. For every three books, I read:

  • one which is easy to read and will make me happy. (usually romance/YA contemporary)
  • one for a reading challenge. (and I try to make it work for multiple challenges)
  • one random book either from ones I already own or a new one.

I don’t choose the all the books in advance, but it’s how I’ve been keeping my reading consistent. Picking up books that I can read fast and will mostly like regularly helps in keeping book slumps away.

Sometimes I try to combine them too!

So for this coming week, I’d like to read Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for a while now and I’d like to read it. It’s also praised a lot by some of my bookstagram friends, so I’m excited to see what it is about.

It will be for my #StartOnYourShelfathon challenge.

Another book I’d like to read is Truth or Beard by Penny Reid. Although I absolutely love the author’s works, I haven’t tried her Winston Brothers series yet. It is highly praised by many in the romance book world so I’m excited to finally pick it up!

If I read something other than these two, it’ll be a random choice according to mood.


Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest


What are you currently reading? What did you finish reading recently? I’d love to know!