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

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

WWW Wednesday // 1st July 2020

Hey everyone!

It’s the start of a new month and we’re officially into the second half of 2020. Let’s hope that we don’t have any new surprises or disasters popping up. Hope y’all have a great July!

Okay onto book updates.

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 currently still reading 101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think by Brianna West. I’m reading it very slowly, about one essay a day speed so.. I’ll take a while to finish it.

The second book I’m reading is Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds which I’m listening to on audiobook.

What did you recently finish reading?

I finished 3 books in the last week.

#1

First one was Em and the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto. It was an eye-opening read for me. The book follows the life of a boy who’s mother battles with mental illness and we see all the facets that come with the illness.

It was a very raw and honest point of view with zero sugar-coating. I really liked it and definitely recommend it.

4/5 stars.

#2

The next book that I finished was Must Love Jogs by Xavier Neal. I got this book on the Kindle store someday last year when a bunch of romance books were free. I got about 9 of the books and only read 1 of them, so I picked up another in order to try new books.

This book was not great but not too bad as well. It was okay. Not very enjoyable and there are definitely better books out there.

2/5 stars.

#3

The last book I finished was Release by Patrick Ness. I’ve had this book for quite a while now and it also has a queer main character so I pushed myself to pick it up since it was Pride month.

I have mixed feelings about the book. One half was good and the other half was confusing and had no point to it. Here’s the review that I wrote on Instagram:

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Release by Patrick Ness // book review ~ I've had this book for quite a while now. Sukhaja @bookish.bulletin actually gave it to me when she was unhauling books from her shelf. To put it more accurately, I claimed the book first on our @bookishbengaluru group and hence I got it. ~ But I never got around to reading it until now. And the only reason I pushed myself to picking it up now was because Vaishnavi @vcreative_bookslove mentioned that it has a queer MC. And since it's Pride month, I decided to prioritize this book over others. It felt like a sign. ~ Release has two parallel stories going. One about a gay teenager Adam who is struggling in his strictly Christian, no-nonsense, house where queerness is NOT accepted. Another is about a ghost. ~ The storyline following Adam was good. I annotated and chuckled at Sukhaja's annotations that were in the book. It broke my heart in places and filled me with joy in others. That was good. ~ The other half of the book about the ghost? It made no sense to me. I did not understand the point of that whole plotline. The book could have been just about Adam. ~ And the "release" part at the end did not resonate with rest of the book at all. The meeting of the two storylines did not make sense or have much of a point. I was left confused. ~ So yeah, I rated the book 3 stars only for Adam's story. I saw many Goodreads reviews rating the book 5 stars even though they also mentioned that half the book did not make sense to them and… that doesn't make sense to me? Why rate the book 5 stars if you were confused for HALF the book? 🤷 ~ What are you currently reading? Have you read this book? . . . . . [tags] #bookstagram #bibliophile #booklove #bookstagramindia #bookreview #bookreviews #bookbooksbooks #bookblogger #booksofinstagram #readingfiction #readersofig #pridemonth #queerbooks #patrickness #release #bloggersofig #blogstagram #bloggersofinstagram #readingcommunity #booksandtea

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3/5 stars.

What do you think you’ll read next?

This month, I have at least a couple buddy reads. So hopefully I’ll pick up at least one of the books soon.

But, to be honest, I’ve had a hectic few days (if you follow me on Instagram, I posted all about it) and am not in the headspace to actually pick up new books. I’m not sure. Let’s see what I end up reading. No set picks, though.


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What did you finish reading recently? Have you read any of the books that I mentioned?

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?

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

WWW Wednesday // 24th June

Hey everyone!

I didn’t post an update last week because I wanted to post my Kdrama review then and didn’t have the energy to write another post. So that means I have a LOT to update on.

Let’s get to all the book updates.

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 currently reading two books.

One is Em & the Big Hoom by Jerry Pinto which I started a while back. While it’s interesting, it’s not addicting so I’m reading it slowly.

The other book is 101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think by Brianna West which I picked up after seeing it on some Instagram post. The title intrigued me so I got it and I’ve been reading a couple chapters every day. Every essay takes only a few minutes to read but has very valuable information. Several essays really made me think.


What did you recently finish reading?

Since my last update, I read the following books:

#1

The first book, which I was reading when the last update went up, is An American Marriage by Tayari Jones which I was “reading” as an audiobook. It was really good. I liked the raw emotions that were so evident through the story, and the author shows just how difficult that situation is. It’s no one’s fault but it’s messed up.

4/5 stars.

#2

The next book, which was also an audiobook for me, is Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. IT. WAS. SO GOOD. I absolutely loved it. All of it. You can bet that I completely flailed over it in my review.

5/5 stars.

#3

The next book was one that I picked up to cross of a 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge prompt. The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman is quite popular in bookstagram because it features a bookish lead who resembles most of us.

It might be just me but I’ve read tons of romance books where the lead is like this and I’m just bored of that narrative. My complete thoughts are on this Instagram post below:

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The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman was a popular book in the bookish community a while back. Specifically, mostly amongst readers who don't read a lot of romance books (or that's what I've noticed). It's especially liked amongst YA readers. ~ And while there is nothing wrong with that, particularly because this book can be read by younger readers as it doesn't have explicit scenes, that's probably why it was popular in the first place. ~ I've read a ton of romance books over the last few years and many of them were similar to this—bookish heroine, shy, introvert, happy to be alone/with books, hesitant to go out and make connections etc. falling in love with a wonderful guy. The only sort-of new thing in this book is that the guy is also awkward. ~ The female lead in this book is also VERY SIMILAR to Jane from Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid. ~ So what I'm trying to say is that while this book was nice on it's own, I've read way too many similar stories for it to stand out. And that is why I rate it only 2/5 stars. Yes the female lead also has anxiety but it's also not that different from a ton of other books. ~ This book is written for the exact reader stereotype (which is me me) but I've outgrown the phase of wanting to see myself in the main characters and hence this book was just meh for me. ~ What are you currently reading/what was your last read? How is/was it?

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2/5 stars.

#4

The Fix Up by Kendall Ryan was a random audiobook pick. I hadn’t tried to read an adult romance through audiobook yet so I gave this a go, especially since it’s short.

And it was SO FUNNY. I couldn’t help but snort or laugh out loud during the “sexy talk” or when the characters said explicit words. This is the first time I’m hearing them so it was very funny. I don’t think romance books as audiobooks are my thing because what I can skim over when reading as an ebook/physical copy is something I can’t properly skip in an audiobook. That makes me focus on everything and hence notice all the parts that I don’t like.

The book’s story was fine, though. The narration ruined it for me.

2.5/stars.

#5

That Kind of Guy by Talia Hibbert was the next book I picked up because it was recommended by someone on Instagram. I read that it has a male demisexual representation and that was all I needed.

While it has a romance which has quite an age-gap, which I generally don’t like, this book did it well. And I really liked it. I also loved the demisexual representation.

4/5 stars.

#6

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson was recommended by a ton of people because it’s an own voices, Black and queer book. I picked it up without reading what it’s about and was surprised that it’s a memoir since I expected it to be fiction. But I didn’t mind.

It was really good and I highly recommended.

4/5 stars.

#7

The next book I read is also a queer book. Running With Lions by Julian Winters was highly recommended by my friend Sai on Instagram so I picked it up. And IT WAS SO ADORABLE. The characters are precious. I want to hug them and shield them from everything. The book is too good.

5/5 stars.

#8

The last book (!!) that I read in the last two weeks was You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson which is an own voices, Black and queer book. I heard it on audiobook and LOVED it. It’s also quite short so I was able to finish it fast (on 2x speed).

I absolutely stan this book.

5/5 stars.


What are you planning on reading next?

Hopefully, Release by Patrick Ness which I’ve had for a LONG time. One of my book club friends was unhauling books and offered us books if we wanted them. I picked this one because the author has been on my to-read list for long. I recently found out that it is also queer and since I’m trying to pick up more queer books right now because it’s Pride month, I should pick it up now.

Other than that, I’m unsure. I seem to be reading a TON lately, especially since I started audiobooks. Hopefully I don’t go into a slump haha.


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What have you finished reading recently? Have you read any of the books that I mentioned?

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?

reading challenges updates and goals @ the wordy habitat book blog

June Reading Challenges Update

We’re almost halfway through the year!

Considering that this is the first year that I’m properly attempting reading challenges, I’m doing pretty good. I’m actually really happy with my progress.

Let’s review!

Goodreads Reading Challenge

I started the year with a goal to read 150 books, same as 2019’s goal. But with a busy life and schedule, I wasn’t able to read at that pace and I reduced my goal to 100 books.

As of now, my progress is at 71/100 books!!

cheering gif

If I kept up with this pace, I’ll be on track to read about 125 books by the end of the year. I can try to hit 150 but that would take a lot of effort and would put too pressure on me. Especially since I don’t know how things will be when we gradually stop social distancing.

For now, I’m keeping it at 100. Once I hit that, I think I’ll raise it to 120 and so on (if possible) in small increments.

SOUTH-ASIAN READING CHALLENGE 2020

Primarily hosted by Fanna, this challenge encourages us to read more South Asian books.

I read 2 South-Asian books since my last update. They are Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal and The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar. I also just realized that I forgot to include one book under this category last month which is The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.

All of the three books were really good reads (rated them all 4 stars). I have posted reviews for The Henna Wars and The Joy Luck Club so you can check those out.

open book image

#StartOnYourShelfathon

I admit, this challenge has slightly slipped from my mind in the last month. There wasn’t much effort from my side to pick up books that I already own over newly introduced-to-me books.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal is the only book from my existing physical shelf that I picked up.

I did read a couple overdue ebooks which were The Color Purple by Alice Walker and I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver.

This month, being Pride Month and also one where I’m trying to pick up books that I normally wouldn’t go for, I’m not sure if I will be prioritizing this particular challenge. I will try though.

shrug gif

2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge

And finally, the one challenge that I am taking most seriously. It’s only because I’ve never attempted a year-long challenge based on prompts that I’m giving it extra attention with proper planning and tracking.

I barely do short-term (lasting a weekend/week/month) challenges with prompts so this is actually a big commitment for me.

And I am super happy to report that all that planning has worked out well. I’ve completed 31/50 prompts. Which means I ticked off 5 prompts in the last month.

me sitting next to my stacks of books

One thing I’m trying to do is not overlap prompts with the same books so dedicating 50 out of (around) 100 books this year to the challenge is a lot. But it has helped me get to some TBR books as well as broaden my reading categories.

The prompts that I finished are:

  • A book with a great first line: The Color Purple by Alice Walker.
  • A book by a trans/non-binary author: I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver.
  • A book with the same name/title of a movie/TV show but is unrelated to it: Pride by Ibi Zoboi.
  • A book by/about a woman in STEM: Truth or Beard by Penny Reid.
  • A book with a robot/cybord/AI character: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee.

I know that I still have 19 prompts left but they’re mostly ones that I’ve been putting off so.. it’s time to get to them.

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Did you set any goals for 2020, reading or otherwise? How’s your progress on them?

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

WWW Wednesday // 10th June 2020

I’m back with the reading updates!

Since lockdown began and I’ve been reading more, these weekly reading updates are really useful. They give me a chance to talk about multiple books that may not review and they also let y’all hear about many books within one post with short and concise opinions.

I didn’t do this last week because of Black Lives Matter movement and I didn’t want to take away any attention from it. There’s still a lot to be done. Here’s a link on what you can do to support (it is regularly updated).

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 currently listening to An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. It’s been on my TBR for a long time, ever since a book club member praised it during one of our meets. I finally picked it up now because I saw it available as an audiobook.

I’m about 35% through. It’s going good so far, I’m liking the complexities of the story and characters.


WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

I’m going to talk about all the books that I read since my last reading update.

#1

I’m part of a romance book club on Instagram and the book club pick for this month is Queen Move by Kennedy Ryan. I’ve read the author’s books before and I’ve liked and disliked multiple of them. So I had no expectations that I will like or dislike this book.

Sadly, I did not like it. While it has a really good main character, I simply did not like the convoluted story and the main characters acted based on body not mind. It was stupid considering they’re in their 30s and are supposed to be matured.

2/5 stars.

#2

The next book I read was The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee. This book has also been on my TBR for a long time (especially because it sounds cool af). I was able to bring it further up my TBR because it fits a 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge prompt.

This was available as an audiobook as well and I have to say, listening to the audiobook was really good. The narration just drew me into the world and got me addicted. This was the fastest (average-length) audiobook that I’ve listened to so far. I was not able to stay away.

4/5 stars.

#3

The third book was The Color Purple by Alice Walker. If you’ve been following my updates for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been reading this book for over a month. It’s a hard book to read.

But once I got through half the book, it suddenly became so easy to read and gripped me. It’s a damn good book and I don’t know how to talk about it properly. Definitely recommend it!

5/5 stars.

#4

The last book that I read was Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. I’ve seen this book around a lot and its been on my “maybe” TBR because all non-fictions are “maybe” to me. It’s not my genre.

I started reading it because of Black Lives Matter and I figured that it would educate me. It definitely did that, and it was so good.

This is the BEST NON-FICTION book I’ve read so far. I read it in just 5 days! That’s huge for me. It’s also my first non-fiction which is about recounting history and facts (with citations and references). I realized while reading this that it’s my favourite type of non-fiction (yet).

I wrote a brief review on my Instagram post (shown below) so you can just read that to know my opinions.

View this post on Instagram

A conversation can spur off into multiple conversations. The same way, a discussion on a topic can turn into multiple discussions. They could be of the same or different topics. ~ This book was like a starting point for me. Not only because it talks about racism and breaks it down into multiple categories, which together form the societal expectations, systemic racism, and subtle discrimination that is today. It also recounts history by talking about popular and unpopular movements and events, quoting citations and other published works that can be looked up. Every time the author says something, she breaks it down into why, how it manifests, includes her own experiences, and talks about the backlash received when that specific racist action is called out. ~ I am not used to reading non-fiction books that state facts and recount history. I'm barely used to non-fiction as it is and my last non-fiction reads were autobiographies. Hence when I first started this book, there was a small adjustment period. But it got over quickly and I realized that I LIKE this kind of non-fiction. Where facts are laid out with proof and citations. Where nothing is glossed over. ~ As I got through the book, I started highlighting more and more. At times I wanted to highlight the entire section and sometimes I was unsure of what exactly to highlight because the point is spread over three pages where each sentence adds value. ~ If I read more non-fiction (probably more accounts of history, discussions of topics etc.) this year, it will solely be because of this book. And I haven't even finished this one yet, but I will soon. ~ Do you read non-fiction regularly? ____________________________________ #bookreview #bookblogger #booksofinstagram #bloggersofig #blogstagram #readersofig #readersofinstagram #booktalk #booknook #bibliophile #bookcorner #nonfictionbooks #discussions #reading #booksbyblackauthors #booksaboutracism #booksbooksbooks #bookstagramindia #bookishbengaluru #readingcommunity

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5/5 stars.


WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m in the mood for the following:

  • YA light-hearted book (preferable queer because it’s Pride month, after all!)
  • A rom-com (maybe new adult?)

Since reading Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race I’m super intrigued to pick up more non-fiction.

I have my sights set on one book which I want as a paperback (and will buy from my local bookstore sometime soon). There are a few other books that I want to read as well, which I’m going to buy on Kindle.

I’m super excited to read non-fiction haha. Let’s hope this lasts!


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What are you currently reading? What did you finish recently? Any queer books or books by Black authors?

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?

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

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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.


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

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