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.


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

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 // 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.


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

the book snob tag - the wordy habitat

The Book Snob Tag

Book tags are honestly so much fun.

From matching types of coffees to books to using music to describe books, we’ve had many creative bookish tags. Today’s tag fits in with them perfectly.

I saw this tag at Reads and Thoughts and knew that I had to do it.

open book with tabs

1. ADAPTATION SNOB: DO YOU ALWAYS READ THE BOOK BEFORE YOU SEE THE MOVIE?

If I know that the book exists, yes! At least, I try.

I like reading books with all the details and imagining the world in my head. If I watch the movie first, the movie’s scenes and actors will leave an impression and affect how I experience the book.

2. FORMAT SNOB: YOU CAN ONLY CHOOSE 1 FORMAT IN WHICH TO READ BOOKS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. WHICH ONE DO YOU CHOOSE: PHYSICAL BOOKS, EBOOKS, OR AUDIOBOOKS?

Ebooks, definitely. I already prefer reading ebooks over paperbacks and hardbacks because they’re easier to carry around and there’s no worry about running out of books.

Reading big books as ebooks can also be less intimidating haha.

3. SHIP SNOB: WOULD YOU DATE OR MARRY A NON-READER?

Yes I would. As long as the person listens to me talk about books I don’t care whether they read or not haha.

4. GENRE SNOB: YOU HAVE TO DITCH ONE GENRE – NEVER TO BE READ AGAIN FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. WHICH ONE DO YOU DITCH?

General knowledge and facts books haha. I don’t see myself reading them ever.

5. UBER GENRE SNOB: YOU CAN ONLY CHOOSE TO READ FROM ONE GENRE FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. WHICH GENRE DO YOU CHOOSE?

Romance! For the past few years romance has been the one genre that I ALWAYS enjoy and turn to for comfort reads. Romance books contain more depth and plots lines than what the genre is marketed as. I will not be bored if I read only in this genre.

6. COMMUNITY SNOB: WHICH GENRE DO YOU THINK RECEIVES THE MOST SNOBBERY FROM THE BOOKISH COMMUNITY?

About a year ago I carefully unfollowed people who regularly tweet a lot about bookish drama. I just was not interested in it, and it was frankly exhausting to see.

Because of that I don’t really know which genre receives snob right now. I’d say Young Adult books because I’ve seen a few tweets on that, but I don’t really know.

7. SNOBBERY RECIPIENT: HAVE YOU EVER BEEN SNUBBED FOR SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE BEEN READING OR FOR READING IN GENERAL?

I have! I’ve received quite a bit of snobbery because I read romance. Because of that I’ve taken to telling people a book from another genre that I’ve read recently instead of what I’m actually reading.

The most recent scenario was when someone asked me what I’m reading. I replied that I’m reading a book called My So-Called Bollywood Life and they scoffed. So much snob in one scoff/laugh.

me standing with my kindle

If you’re interested in this tag, I tag you!

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Have you ever received snob for what you read? How did you react?

top ten tuesday header image

10 Authors Who Have a Fun Social Media Presence

It’s the age of the internet and that means fans can follow and interact (!!!) with celebrities. For readers, those celebrities are called authors.

There are many authors whom I follow as well. I follow partly for new book news but mostly to know the authors behind the scenes. Like what are they annoyed with today or memes that they find funny. Just fun things!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Authors Who Have a Fun Social Media Presence and this week’s topic is Authors Who Have a Fun Social Media Presence. Let’s get to it!

[1] Rick Riordan

I’ve been following him since the time I joined Twitter, and I totally enjoy his tweets. Especially recently, since he posts updates about a new PJ adaptation (FINGERS CROSSED WE GET ONE!).

[2] V. E. Schwab

She is an ABSOLUTE QUEEN and its fun to follow her both on Twitter and Instagram. Schwab is hilarious, especially with her tweets. Also, most of her tweets are SUPER RELATABLE.

[3] Kiera Cass

She is HILARIOUS. I love following her on both Twitter and Instagram. Her Instagram user name is so cool.

One of the recent highlights was when there was a line in P.S. I Still Love You (Sequel of To All The Boys) that was VERY SIMILAR to a very popular line from her book The One. Everyone started tweeted her about it and she had NO CLUE because she doesn’t watch movies. It was so funny.

[4] Hank Green

Hank Green’s tweets on Twitter are crack. me. up. He also tweets about relevant things that are happening in the world currently.

[5] James Breakwell

HIS ACCOUNT IS MY FAVOURITE.

His tweets are almost ALWAYS funny, and they’re all about his family. His young daughters are such ICONS and it’s so cool to see random life updates through his tweets.

I’ve shown his account to multiple IRL* friends actually.

*In Real Life

I mean.. seriously. I love the 5 year old. (He always refers to them by their ages)

[6] Penny Reid

Considering some of my favourite romance books are written by her, its obvious that she would be just as awesome as a person. Or as a Twitter account.

She also responds and interacts with her fans a TON.

[7] Tahereh Mafi

Her Instagram account is GORGEOUS. First of all, love her fashion and her style. It’s not my style, but I do admire her for having a very distinctive style. Another thing I love is getting glimpses of her CUTE daughter.

View this post on Instagram

never enough words to describe

A post shared by tahereh mafi (@tahereh) on

View this post on Instagram

imagine me hits shelves next month

A post shared by tahereh mafi (@tahereh) on

There are so many more pictures showing off her style that I want to show but then this post will just become an ode to her Instagram.

[8] Adam Silvera

I’ve been following his Twitter WAY before I even read his books. His personality is so cool and it shows through his tweets.

He also frequently gushes about other books and shares what he’s reading/loving.

[9] R. F. Kuang

She’s the author of The Poppy War, but it doesn’t seem like it in her Twitter feed because she talks about all life things more than book things.

One of her tweets became popular and found it’s way into my feed, which was how I started following her. It actually took me a few seconds to realize that she’s the author haha.

Sharing my FAVOURITE tweet thread by her lol.

I actually BURST OUT LAUGHING when I read the first tweet. And I was in public.

[10] Alexa Martin

I’ve spoken about her and her books several times in my posts, especially in the recommendation lists. So, of course, I had to find her online and follow her.


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Who are your favourite people to follow on social media? Tell me below!

reading challenges updates and goals @ the wordy habitat book blog

February Reading Challenges update + March Goals

Hey guys!

February was a shorter month, even though it was a day longer than usual. This basically means that I read one book less than I originally would.

Okay, I’m totally lying. I’m barely finding the time to read, y’all! I’m using the one missing day as an excuse.

While February was more hectic than usual, I still managed to stay a little consistent in my reading. This was only possible because I started listening to audiobooks during commute. Not always, but enough.

It resulted in me reading three extra books! It’s kind of a lifesaver haha.

Anyway, let’s get to the (disappointing) updates and (hopeful) goals.

GOODREADS READING CHALLENGE

When talking about February goals, I mentioned that if I don’t catch up to my goal in February I would reduce my goal. I was 4 books behind at the time.

Today, I’m giving myself a second chance to catch up to my original goal of 150 books. Why, you ask? Because I’ve been consistently 4 books behind all month.

I just need to fit in 4 reads somewhere so I can catch up. Hopefully, it’ll happen.

I’ve made a new goal now, though. If my pace falls behind by 8 books, I WILL reduce it. No second chances.

As of now, I’ve read 22/150 books, leaving me 3 books behind schedule. The only way I reduced one was by reading a very tiny book. Yes, I cheated, but I had no choice.

SOUTH-ASIAN READING CHALLENGE 2020

Last month, I planned to read two books. But I managed to only finish one of them.

Loveboat, Taipei is done. Stories We Never Tell is still sitting unread on my shelf and will probably be there for a while because I’m NOT finding the time to actually read.

I have no specific book in mind for March. If I can read Stories We Never Tell, it would be good. Actually, I stopped keeping track of this challenge completely. Don’t be surprised if it disappears next month haha.*

*sobs internally at my failure

#StartOnYourShelfathon

Does it count if the shelf is my To-Be-Read shelf? I assume not. *sigh*

The only books that qualifies for this challenge (that I read) are:

  • The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Axiom by Kristofor Hellmeister

March goals are low and now optimistic so I know I can hit them. My goal is to read at least ONE from my physical shelf.

2020 POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE

Someone from my book club who is also doing this challenge has finished 19 of the prompts (!!!!!) and here I am with barely any checked off. *cries internally again*

Prompts I completed in February:

  • A book that’s published in 2020: The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
  • A book you picked because the title caught your attention: The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • A book with at least a 4-star rating on Goodreads: The Third Best Thing by Maya Hughes
  • A book you meant to read in 2019: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • A book that passes the Bechdel test: What I Like About Me by Jenna Guillaume
  • A book by a WOC: Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali

I had meant to read Stories We Never Tell for the last prompt, but since I didn’t read it, I switched the book so I can check off the prompt. Fortunately, I managed to check off a few extra prompts using the books I read. Yay!

This brings my total to 11 prompts! Okay that’s way more than I expected haha. Fortunately my February reads fit in with random prompts.

I don’t have specific prompt goals for March, but I’d like to hit at least 3. Let’s see!

A RANDOM UPDATE

I’m not doing any challenge to get to my backlist books (like Beat the Backlist challenge which I had done a few years back). But since I do have an audiobook subscription now, I’m using it to check off old books from my TBR.

This is happening only because I found those books when browsing, and I fortunately don’t have to buy them individually. This is a good opportunity to finish them.

And that’s it for this month!

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

the sunday post header

The Sunday Post // all the updates!

Hey y’all!

It’s been so long since I’ve posted a life update! I think it’s been about three weeks since my last Sunday post but I didn’t even realize it. The days are going by very fast because all my days are FILLED.

To be honest, I don’t know what exactly to update on but I shall just mention whatever I can think of.

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

My classes started up again.

Yes, I’m still doing my internship. But college doesn’t revolve around us students with internships.

For the last semester, we have classes 3 days a week—Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Since I have internship Monday to Friday, I was (fortunately) given permission to skip classes for two days. Attendance on Saturdays is still required, though.

So from now on, I’m officially back on the six day week track.

Yesterday was my first day back in college and also for many of my friends. Most of us are doing internships so it was like a reunion after so long. It was so nice!

Everyone asked each other updates and caught up on lives. Since we’re a big group, we don’t text individually with everyone else. Most interactions and updates happen in groups so it was much needed.

We spent time like old times yesterday. My friend and I, who got into the same company, treated the rest of our friends in Taco Bell since we got our first stipend. And we played card games, which is a classic thing that we do.

So yeah, it was pretty fun.

Reading Update

I was off to a very good start at the beginning of this week. Especially since I got an audiobook subscription a while back.

But my reading just.. slowed down a lot. During the week I barely read. And Loveboat, Taipei which I was listening to as an audiobook was not very enjoyable. It put me off and I just stopped listening to it for a while.

In order to finish it, I picked it up as an ebook in the last few days and skimmed the rest of it. While the ending was good, I just did not have a good time reading it overall.

Other than that, I finished no other books. So yeah, I’m pretty sure I will be reducing my reading goal for the year.

Here’s the reading update on The Thing Around Your Neck:

TV Show & Movie update

I watched so many things recently!

Extraordinarily You

I watching this Kdrama a couple weeks back. Binged it during the weekend, actually. It was actually really nice. I liked the complexity of the concept and it’s very different than the stories I’ve seen around the same concept.

Sky Castle

Watched this Kdrama during the week a couple weeks back. It’s 20 episodes long and I was HOOKED the whole time. It’s a brilliant drama in the Dark Academia genre which talks about a ton of things. Complex characters, complex relationships and a very interesting story.

Miss Americana

Watched this on Netflix last weekend. I’ve been a real fan of Taylor Swift only in the last year or so, when she started speaking out on things and became more than a regular singer. This movie brought many things from her life to light. It was nice to watch and learn more about her as a person.

P.S. I Still Love You

This sequel to To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was nice but… I didn’t like it all that much. It wasn’t special. There were a ton of cool plotlines from the book that were scrapped. In fact, almost everything other than the love triangle was scrapped. It made the movie seem to have less substance.

I’m excited to watch the third movie, though. It’s less about new romances and more about life and choices. It should be quite nice.

Spinning Out

I watched this series throughout the past week. It’s actually quite small, with only 10 half-hour episodes.

But it packed SO MUCH in those 5 hours. The show is too good, and I have no idea why Netflix cancelled it WITHIN A MONTH of releasing it. That’s such a disappointment.

It’s honestly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.

Random thoughts

I’ve been having small but really good conversations with people recently. Just talking about things and finding out various perspectives. It’s always interesting to see how different people view the same thing.

And I really like conversations where we talk about something in depth, ask each other questions on things and explain perspectives. It helps me understand other people better. I also sometimes learn new things.

So yeah. That’s been the random highlight of last week.


That’s about all I have to say. There have been a ton of small things happening but not interesting enough to share lol.

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How was your week? What did you read or watch?

My So-Called Bollywood Life || the book I needed

my so called bollywood life by nisha sharma book cover // book review by Sumedha @ the wordy habitat

Title: My So-Called Bollywood Life
Author: Nisha Sharma
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

I picked up this book as part of the South-Asian Reading Challenge, and I was NOT disappointed. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to read it in January but after Kafka On The Shore I needed something light and this was perfect.

THE PLOT

The book stars Vaneeta “Winnie” Mehta—a film enthusiast (particularly Bollywood films), type A Indian student, and dramatic enough to make Bollywood writers proud.

After Winnie is cheated on and dumped by Raj, whom she thought was “the one” because of an astrologer’s prophecy, she sets out to change her destiny in the stars.

Enter: Dev Khanna, a guy Winnie had a spark with in freshman year before starting to date Raj. A guy who, while not matching her true love prophecy, feels more right for her than Raj ever did.

My So-Called Bollywood Life is perfect for readers who like YA. But it’s even more perfect for Bollywood-lovers. Following Winnie’s complicated life about teenage love, future plans, and family dynamics with Indian traditions, this book will transport you into a fun world.

MY REVIEW

I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.

I cannot describe just how much I enjoyed this. It has all the Indian elements I ever wanted in a YA setting. As someone who loves YA and barely sees true Indian representation, this warmed my heart so much. I could cry.

All the things I loved:

(pretty much everything lol)

  • Winnie Mehta is awesome. I absolutely loved reading through her perspective. She’s energetic, exuberant, and is very passionate about films. I adored her. ❤
  • EVERYTHING INDIAN. Of course, I have to mention this. Even the few Hindi sentences (smoothly translated in English for everyone else) were a huge addition. I felt included. *cries* The traditions, beliefs, everything was amazing to read about. #relatable

“Kamina, kutta, sala,” she said sweetly when she answered (the phone).

  • Family presence. Winnie’s relationship with her family, especially her dad and grandmom, was so nice to see.
  • It wasn’t just romance. A lot of YA novels tend to sideline everything else in the favour of scenes that contribute to the romance. That didn’t happen here. We saw enough about Winnie’s culture, other relationships, and mostly importantly her drive towards film. She was determined to do anything to get into NYU. The struggle and stress was shown.
  • Winnie and Bridget. These two best friends were adorable to watch and I loved everything about their friendship.
  • The romance. I mean, come on. Of course I’m going to mention this. As the heart of the story, the romance did NOT disappoint. Honestly, it gave me quite a few feels.

“I’m done with romance.”

Nani snorted. “You’re Indian! We live for romance.”

A book is not just made of major plot points, but also the small settings. My So-Called Bollywood Life was chock full of small scenes/parts which make a difference to the reader. From Winnie dreaming about her favourite actor to people belittling Indian beliefs, there were tons of moments that added to the experience.

OVERALL

Thoroughly enjoyed the book, and totally recommend it to all YA lovers.

I did notice that it’s not specifically targeted for Indian readers, as in that the traditions are subtly explained and Hindi terms are translated. So if you want to have a fun and light YA read, you can pick this up without any worries.

I’m so glad I was introduced to this book through the challenge because I doubt I would have come across it otherwise.

I rate this book…

4.5/5 stars

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

WWW Wednesday // 05 Feb 2020

Hey everyone!

Ever since my internship started halfway through January, my reading has significantly gone down. Right now, I’m 4 books behind on my Goodreads reading challenge. This last week, I’ve been reading whenever I can to keep pace.

My goal is to catch up on the challenge in the next two weeks or so. Let’s hope I can do it lol. Otherwise, I might reduce my goal.

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 did you recently finish reading?

1. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

To be honest, I finished this on 26th which is not in the last 7 days. But I want to talk about it since I didn’t in any post.

I like the author’s style as in Norwegian Wood. The underlying intention of the plot was a good concept as well. But the world-building and the fully developed plot did not make sense. I was confused a lot. After I finished the book, it left no lasting impression on me.

It was honestly disappointing. I expected a lot out of it since it’s a very popular Murakami book that many love, but I didn’t like it. Only after posting my disappointment over it did I find that many others didn’t like it as well.

So yeah, it is a popular book that I didn’t like.

2. My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

Read this as part of the South-Asian Reading Challenge after Kafka on the Shore since I wanted an easy feel-good book. It was really nice! Loved all the Indian elements and Bollywood references. The romance was quite nice too. But mainly, I loved the characters.

I’ll post a review on it in a few days, so look out for that!

3. Well Met by Jen DeLuca

When this released, it became super popular amongst romance readers online. The hype made me wary because it can always lead me wrong in the romance genre. There are things that I specifically don’t like.

I finally decided to read it as I already had it on my Kindle. And it was nice!!!! The book was so nice.

Main points: set in a small town, includes a Renaissance Fair(!!) and the romance is hate-to-love. It was so nice to watch the two main characters grow closer through banter and conversations about Shakespeare.

The hype did not lead me wrong here.

4. #TheRealCinderella by Yesenia Vargas

Okay so I’ll be honest. This wasn’t even on my radar.

I got an audiobook subscription few days back, mainly to listen during commute. As I walk for most of my commute duration, I can’t read. Audiobooks never worked for me before but I really wanted to try them again since it’ll help with my commute.

I found this book while perusing the selection available on Storytel. Since it would be my first time listening to an audiobook while commuting, I thought I’d try an easy read to see if I can manage concentrating to the book while on my way.

#TheRealCinderella sounded very much like the movie A Cinderella Story starring Hillary Duff and Chad Michael Murray. I was curious whether the story was an almost literal copy, and it would be an easy read. That’s why I picked it up randomly.

Now that I’ve finished it, I can say that it was pretty much the same as the movie’s plot. Click here for my full review on the book.


What are you currently reading?

It seems to that I’ve gone back to reading multiple books at a time haha. And it’s only because they’re all on different mediums.

1. The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Picked this one up in my last bookstore run. I was curious and honestly wanted a small book to read. This caught my eye since it’s short stories.

I’ve read only about two short stories so far, but it’s going good. I’m not a fan of short stories, generally. I want to try though. Let’s hope I enjoy it.

2. Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher

This was already on my Kindle and my Kindle was next to me on the couch during my weekend laziness. So I started reading this book.

Not going to lie, I don’t think I’ll like it..? The beginning was kinda weird and I don’t like the characters all that much. I’ll read a bit more and decide whether I want to DNF* it.

*Did Not Finish: book blogger speak for not liking the book enough to abandon it midway.

3. Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Quite a few people I follow have been RAVING about this book, especially Fanna. When I saw the title available on Storytel, I had to start it as my next audiobook.

I just started it this morning on my way to work so I’m not going to make any judgements just yet. Let’s see how it goes.


What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m a mood reader and I pick up books randomly, so I’m not sure. But there are books that I hope to read this month. It could be next week, or it may not be.

1. Stories We Never Tell by Savi Sharma

Picked this book up on my last bookstore run along with The Thing Around Your Neck. It caught my eye because the author is claimed to be India’s highest selling female author. I’ve never heard of her though, so I thought I’ll give her work a try.

The synopsis clues in that it’s a romance so it should be perfect for February’s South-Asian Reading Challenge prompt which is Mohabbat i.e. love. Keeping in theme with Valentine’s day and all.

2. The Worst Best Man by Mia Rosa

This book has been on my TBR for a while now, ever since I saw it on someone’s blog post. It released just yesterday and I’m super excited to read it.

I also found a romance book club on Instagram called Romancetheque Book Club. It is hosted by @thebibliotheque whom I’ve been following for a long time, and our reading tastes are quite similar. Joining the book club was a no-brainer.

The book pick for February is The Worst Best Man so it’s extra incentive for me to read this book soon.


And that’s it for my bookish updates!

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Tell me about your bookish updates! What are you currently reading? What did you read recently?

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2020 Reading Challenges and Readathons I’m participating in

2020 is right around the corner and I am excited.

The upcoming year is the start to a new decade and the start to tons of new life experiences and opportunities. Everyone is abuzz with hopes and huge bucket lists and ambitious plans.

Going into 2020, I’m obviously going to keep up with my reading and am planning on making my reading a little bit more fun. Over the past month, I’ve seen SO MANY announcements for 2020 year-long readathons and reading challenges. It’s overwhelming to decide from several amazing options, but I’ve managed to decide on a few of them.

Now, I generally don’t participate in year-long reading challenges because I tend to forget about them. But this time, there are groups for these ones and friends from my bookstagram club are joining in as well. Hopefully, this will help me not forget and actually finish these challenges.

an open book

Totally, I’m participating in 5(!!!!) reading challenges this year.

[1] Goodreads Reading Challenge

This is a staple for me every year. I’ve been participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge since 2015 and it’s a great way to track your reading.

How this works: it’s a very flexible challenge because the goal is set by you. The goal is the number of books you want to read next year, and using Goodreads* helps track your reading. All the math about whether you’re behind or ahead in your reading is done by Goodreads to help you keep track of your status.

My goal is 150 books, the same as 2019. Usually I stay ahead of my goal and manage to surpass it early enough but it wasn’t so this year. I barely managed to hit my goal. Because of that, I’m not increasing my goal next year. It would be nice to read more, but 150 is what I’m aiming for.

*by marking books as “read” along with the dates on the website

[2] A-Z Reading Challenge

This is another staple. I don’t consciously put effort for this every year. It’s more of an afterthought at the end of the year where I look back and see if I managed to get all the letters done. It’s just fun to look back and see how many you’ve managed to fill. This is also a very low effort challenge.

How it works: You read a book starting with every letter of the alphabet, with an exception for a few letters. See this post to know more.

me standing with my kindle

[3] South-Asian Reading Challenge 2020

Fanna @ fannatality came up with this brilliant reading challenge which aims to put more focus on South-Asian books and diversify our reading. More details about the challenge haven’t been released yet but I’m super excited to participate.

Click here to see the announcement post.

[4] #StartOnYourShelfathon

CW @ The Quiet Pond came up with this idea because she has a ton of backlist books on her physical which needed to be read last year. When she posted the idea on twitter and received a ton of positive response, she made up this AMAZING reading challenge.

To be honest, I don’t really need to be participating because my backlist books aren’t that many, but I want to just for the aesthetics and activities within this challenge. It’s very tempting.

The best part of this is that it doesn’t have prompts so I can mix it up with other reading challenges as well. Flexible challenges are my jam.

Click here to see my joining post and TBR!

me standing next to a stack of books of almost my height.

[5] 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge

I found this challenge purely by luck after it was shared in a book group that I’m in. The challenge has a total of 50 prompts (a lot, I know). I was very unsure of joining this one because of the amount of effort it will take to find books for the prompts, and the large number of prompts.

After deliberating for a whole day, I decided that I might as well give it a go. I haven’t participating in a reading challenge like this before and I really want to try. Plus, the prompts are so good and interesting! They will definitely push me out of my comfort zone and introduce some new books.

Click here to see the official post.


If I said that I’m not overwhelmed at all by the thought of taking on all of these challenges, it would be a lie. But since most of them are flexible and can be mixed with other challenges, it should be doable as long as I plan my reads right.

I’ve already started planning on how to tackle the Popsugar challenge with #StartOnYourShelfathon bu choosing books that I own which fits some Popsugar prompts. I think I can do this.

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Are you participating in any challenges for 2020? Reading or otherwise?

blogmas 2019 header image

All I Want For Christmas Book Tag

Hey everyone! We’re halfway through blogmas!

When I decided to do blogmas, I was very worried about whether I’ll be able to make it, but now that it’s half-way through and I’m still going somewhat strong, I have hope!

Since there is (clearly) a lack of Christmassy posts on my blog, I thought I’d add a little holiday cheer in by doing a Christmas book tag. I found this tag on Sophie’s Corner while blog-hopping a couple days back and thought it would be perfect to do.


[1] What fictional character do you want Santa to leave under your Christmas tree?

Jem Carstairs! I haven’t read The Infernal Devices in years but Jem will forever be one of my favourite fictional crushes because he’s a GEM*.

*haha see what I did there. I should shut up.

[2] What character do you want to kiss under the mistletoe?

Um. Do I have to think of a romantically single character for this? Imma just say Josh Im from Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating.

me sitting with my stacks of books haha.

[3] You write your Christmas list for Santa, what are the top 5 books on it?

  • A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai. I. WANT. THIS. It sounds tooooo good and I want it in my hands.
  • Six of Crows collectors edition!!!! It’s too pretty.
  • And of course, Crooked Kingdom collector’s edition too.
  • Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talie Hibbert.
  • Well Met by Jen DeLuca.

[4] It’s secret Santa at Hogwarts, what do you most want to receive?

A time turner, because I want to do SO MUCH everyday and I need more than 24 hours haha. I’ve noticed just how much I want to do everyday nowadays. Other than reading and blogging, I’ve started to game with my friends as well which takes up a quite some time. Then of course there’s studying and getting caught up on shows and movies. Oof.

[5] You get to spend the day with the characters and movie adaptation actors from one fandom, what do you pick.

The Mortal Instruments, always. It would be SO MUCH FUN to hang out with the varied characters from the fandom. Also, who would turn down the chance to meet Magnus Bane?

I’m also partial to the movie adaptation actors for TMI. I’m not happy with the TV show actors. I mean, come one! Lily Collins. Jamie Bower! Speaking of, I was so sad when I heard that Godfrey Gao passed away last month. He was a really great Magnus Bane in the movies.

an open book with tabs

[6] What fictional animal would you like to replace Rudolph and be able to meet on your roof?

I’m a simple person. I want to meet Church, the cat from The Mortal Instruments. He seemingly has a long lifespan and is the smartest cat ever. I really want to hang out with that cat.

[7] You invite 10 fictional characters to your New Year’s Eve party, who do you pick?

I’ll limit myself to only 1 of The Mortal Instruments (and related books) from this list because they’ll take up all 10 spots (and more!) haha. And I should talk about other characters as well.

I pick..

  • Kenji from Shatter Me by Tahereh mafi. He’s awesome.
  • Brynn from Fumbled by Alexa Martin. She’s a hoot.
  • Kal from Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, because I just like him.
  • Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. Obviously!!!!
  • Alex and Henry from Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.
  • Kell, Lila and Rhys from A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab.
  • Janie from Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid.

[8] What character would make a good Santa (doesn’t have to be appearance, personality counts too)?

I’m coming off as a total Magnus Bane fangirl but.. Magnus Bane. He is PERFECT to be Santa, though! He’ll give hilarous gifts, drown everything in glitter, and make sure you get what you want.

me standing with my kindle

And those were my answers!

If you’d like to do this tag, consider yourself tagged by me! Do link back so I can see your answers.


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What books would you like to be gifted this Christmas? Tell me in the comments!

Behind The Blogger Tag

Hey everyone!

It’s been a while since I did a tag, and I’m just in the mood for it now. I saw this tag over at The Book Corps* and instantly wanted to do it. I wasn’t explicitly tagged for it but hey, when has that ever stopped me?

This tag is all about blogging, and my life behind and/or alongside it. It’s super fun, so let’s get to it!

*I absolutely love Laura’s blog, and she does really nice tags so I highly suggest going over there. There’s a lot of great content to be seen.


The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Answer all the questions down below
  • Pingback to the creator: Ellyn @ Allonsythornraxx
  • Nominate 5+ bloggers you’d like to know more about to do this tag

girl working on a laptop
Photo by Mikayla Mallek on Unsplash

1. WHY DID YOU START BLOGGING AND WHY HAVE YOU KEPT BLOGGING?

I started blogging out of curiosity. I saw that there’s this thing called “share on your blog” on Goodreads (when I reviewed a book there) and was so intrigued. A google search on “what is a blog” lead me to WordPress, where I just made a blog without really thinking about it. In fact, I came up with my old blog name “light up the shining night stars” in a few seconds and just set up my blog.

As I spent more time figuring out about my blog, and finding others, I slowly learnt what blogging is. And that definition constantly expanded to include more content and niches.

I continue to blog because I’ve grown to love this hobby, and this community. Blogging is cathartic to me. Whenever I want to talk about something, no matter what about, I can blog about it without second-guessing because this is my space. It’s been almost 4 years since I started blogging, and I don’t see any sign of me wanting to quit. Sure, I took breaks, but I always come back.


2. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TYPE OF BLOG POST TO WRITE?

Listables! I absolutely love writing posts like “10 things..”/”7 reasons…”/”10 books I love”. They’re super fun, especially because

  1. I love lists.
  2. It’s a great way to format a post.
  3. You get talk about your favourites in one post!
  4. And they always work out well.

They’re also fun! Whenever I write discussion posts or tips/advice, I try to make them into a list. Fun fact: listables capture attention better because you’re letting people know what exactly they can find in the blog post. It’s not vague. Points also help summarize content well, which works better for readers of the post.


3. WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE FAVOURITE BLOG POSTS?

Top three in what way? Views? Likes? Comments? My favourites? What. How am I supposed to choose randomly? This is hard.

Top three blog posts in terms of views:

Haha I see a pattern.

Top three blog posts that I love:

Mug with Hustle written on it.
Photo by Garrhet Sampson on Unsplash

4. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS TO DO TO RELAX?

Honestly, I don’t have many things. Being productive gives me a lot of satisfaction, and I’m also a procrastinator. This means that I technically don’t look to “relax” much.

The few things I do to relax are:

  • Read. This is kinda obvious though. But I like reading romance books or YA contemporary, specifically. They always make me relax and feel good.
  • Listen to music and journal. I really like bullet journalling, and I sometimes journal in my notebook as well. Listening to chill music and doing it calms me.
  • Blog life updates. This is another thing that relaxes me. It’s fun to just keep typing as my thoughts flow. Sometimes the blog posts turn out good, sometimes they don’t. But the process is nice.

5. WHAT ARE THREE OF YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS?

  • Books! Obviously haha.
  • Cute socks. I just love them, and I love wearing them.
  • Winter wear. Jackets/Sweatshirts/Hoodies/Shrugs. I love wearing layers, and I wear one of these whenever it’s cold enough to.

6. WHAT ARE YOUR PROUDEST BLOGGING MOMENTS?

Coming up as the first link when Kdrama reviews are searched. This is why my Kdrama reviews are the most viewed—because a lot of views comes from search engines. If you search “doctor stranger review” or “w two world review”, my link comes first in the results! This what I’m most proud of. Even with business blogs and websites about Kdramas, my blog managed to show up first.

I hit 50,000 views! I’m at 52k right now. I’m so proud that my curiosity-filled random start grew into a proper blog which people want to visit.

I’m also proud of myself for maintaining a blog without succumbing to the “follow a niche” advice. Blogs receive more views and are more successful by sticking to a specific niche. But I’m not ready to stick to one. I want this space to show all of me, and I’m glad that I still keep it that way.

Work aesthetic
Image from Unsplash.

7. WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES OUTSIDE OF BLOGGING?

Read! It lead me to blogging haha. Reading is, and will always be, my #1 hobby.

Bullet Journalling. I’m a huge planner. Making to-do lists every day, or for every thing, and checking things off gives me a lot of satisfaction. It allows me to clearly see how productive I’ve been, which I like. Bullet journalling takes it to the next level with trackers, so many different spreads, and the flexibility to record everything in one place. I love it.

Bookstagram! While my bookstagram account isn’t big or super aesthetic, I really do like it. It’s fun to try out new ways of taking photos of books, try out themes, and make a feed. Interacting with other bookstagrammers is nice too. I love that we all love books so much.

Speaking of, y’all should really follow me on Instagram.* I don’t post very often, but I do have some good photos and thoughts on books.

*shameless self-plug lol.


9. WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE PET PEEVES?

Ohhh I have quite a few. Top three? Um.

  • People chewing without keeping their mouths closed. I HATE this. I even tell my mum to chew with her mouth closed. I do not want to see food being chewed, or hear the sounds. Besides, it’s actually not good to do it. More often than not, food will end up coming out by mistake. Especially if the person is also talking while chewing. That annoys me so much.
  • Spelling mistakes/typos/misplaced commas/extra spaces/etc. Everything to do with grammar and typing. For example, my friend and I were working on a report a few days back. He was typing and I was narrating most of the content. Every time there was an extra space, or a typo, I’d make him correct it first before continuing typing. I cannot concentrate if they’re there.
  • People not taking care of things they borrowed from me. No, I don’t care if it’s just a pen. You should take care of it. Not leave it on some random desk, or lose the pen cap. I want my things taken care of. I’m a little extra with my stationary items and books, more than other things.

10. WHAT’S SOMETHING YOUR FOLLOWERS DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I know some carnatic* music? I even went for carnatic singing classes, and quite a few of the songs are still in my head. Sometimes, I find myself humming them too. I actually don’t like carnatic music simply because my mum pushed me towards it so much. It’s nice, but if I was not forced towards it I might have liked/enjoyed it more. I stay away from it now though.

My voice isn’t too bad as well! I sound very bad when singing modern music but I’m not too bad at carnatic music. I come from a line of really good singers. My mum’s voice is beautiful, and my maternal granddad sang really well until right before he passed away at 97 years old. People used to come to visit him specifically to hear him sing, and he even taught free classes when I was a kid.

*copying the definition from the Internet, in case you don’t know what it is. Carnatic music or Karnāṭak music or Karnāṭaka Saṃgīta is a system of music commonly associated with the southern part of the Indian subcontinent, with its area roughly confined to five modern states of India: Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh,[w: Kerala|Kerala]], Telangana and Tamil Nadu.

Me! In a Brooklyn Nine Nine shirt and Ravenclaw beanie.
And there’s me! Helloo!

I TAG…

Fanna @ Fannatality, Charley @ The Miss Charley, Anukriti @ Kaleidoscopic Nerd, Rilu @ Chapter92, KayCee @ Wonderstruck, Kelly @ Dream in Lace, Rebecca @ Bookishly Rebecca, Leelyn @ Sometimes Leelyn Reads.

And of course, YOU if you’d like to do it! Do pingback to me so I can see your answers!


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Tell me your blogging story! How did you start? What makes you keep going?

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10 Changes In My Reading Life

My reading habits have changed a lot in the last few years.

I started really reading back in 6th grade, when a private library opened up nearby and my mum immediately got me registered for it. She used to be a HUGE reader when she was young, and has fond memories of reading books with her sister. Mum wanted me to have something for myself since I’m an only child and wasn’t very social. And I haven’t looked back since.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is “changes in my reading life” and I can’t wait to share my list with y’all. So let’s get to it!


I stopped going to the library

In all honesty, the library near me shut down. I started going to another one, and quickly made my way through the small selection they had at that branch. Currently, another private library exists about 3 kilometers from me, but I simply don’t have the time to make the trip back and forth. I used to frequent there for about a year before stopping because college left me with no time to visit.

Plus, being in India, I don’t find a lot of YA books in libraries. We have all the veteran authors but new books and YA is not as common. Which means that I’ll have to read as e-books anyway. It just seemed better for me to stop going to the library.

Now, I frequent a second hand bookstore where new books are immediately available, and where I can sell back books. It’s like a library, but without a time limit on the books, and has a much wider selection. Old books are discounted as well.

bookworm tangled gif

I’m way more picky

In the good ol’ days when I started reading, when I was going to the library, I would to go to a random section and pick out a book which “called to me”. I never saw the genre or the author. I would read the summary, but I often used to just go with my pick and try it out. This meant that I exposed myself to all genres and all kinds of books. Young Sumedha wasn’t picky and moody about her reads.

But now? I’ve become super picky. It’s, in part, because of the online book community. I’ve been exposed to things like “problematic”, “relevant issues”, “diversity” and other buzzwords. It’s not a bad influence—I’m glad to have learnt so much and to be more aware of what I read—but it also means that I’ve become so much more judgemental. Some books just seem too cliche, or not special enough, to read. And that’s so sad because every book deserves a chance.


I’m now a mood reader

Even before looking for new books to read, or looking at my TBR, I have a genre in mind. If I’m in the mood for romance, I just can NOT pick up anything else. Even a great fantasy book will not change my mind. I’ll see a great book, and add it to my ever-growing TBR for later because my current mood isn’t good for it. No matter the hype, the reviews, or recs from friends. I just can’t override my mood.

It’s honestly kind of annoying haha.


My favourite genre has changed

For the longest time, my favourite genre was fantasy. Right from 7th grade when I found vampires and books with non-humans and magic, up to my 2nd year of college when I loved A Court of Mist and Fury. Fantasy was my go-to. I’d be so on top of the fantasy books, even with new releases! I knew every fantasy book, and had read most of them.

But, over the last couple years, it has slowly changed. It happened in phases. I had a couple phases where I just wanted to read stand-alone romance books, and they lasted a few months each. By mid 2018, I was all-in on romance. Honestly, I didn’t want to admit that my favourite genre changed because fantasy will always be a soft spot for me. But, I finally admitted it to myself late last year.

My favourite genre is currently romance, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.


My picks are easily influenced by the internet

The hype causes me to pick up books, and also make sure I never pick up some books. The online book community is filled with people who read and have their own opinions. I have come to read a lot of reviews, and look for multiple views when I come across a book.

I can’t pick up a book just by the name or summary anymore, unless it’s romance. Romance books don’t get a lot of hype anyway, and every romance book could be a gem.* But for any other genre? Especially any series? The hype influences my reading a lot.

As with anything else, this point has pros and cons. I’ve picked up some great books, and I’ve sadly neglected other books in favour of popular ones.

*I’ve found SO MANY GREAT ROMANCE BOOKS through Goodreads lists and random searches. The romance genre has the most underrated books.

shrug gif

I have a TBR

Until 2016, when I started blogging and following the online book community, I didn’t have a TBR. If, by chance, I find a really good book which I’d like to save for later, I would screenshot it’s cover or name. In fact, I had an album for those screenshots. But that album was always small. I never truly had a TBR list.

But now? I have a legit TBR list on Goodreads which has hundreds of books in it. I have several saved posts on Instagram, with books that I’d like to read. And I’ll be honest, I’m never good at following my TBR. I rarely open it. Being a mood reader, my picks are very random and usually don’t follow TBRs.


I always read reviews before picking up a book

Earlier, when I found books either in the library or on the internet, I’d pick it up based on what I was seeing right then. If it was a review, I’d make my choice on the book based on that review alone. If I saw the book in the bookstore, and I had a good feeling, I’d simply buy it.

My process is very different now. No matter how I’m introduced to a book, I always look for a few reviews before picking it up. For this, I go on Goodreads. And I make sure to read at least one negative review. I don’t like going in with very high expectations, and it’s always good to make sure that the book doesn’t have concepts that I hate. For example, I hate boss-employee romances and love triangles. In fact, negative reviews are my go-to before I pick up hyped books. It’s just like that.

picture with a lot of books surrounding my feet

I’m way more critical

Before I completed a year of blogging, and became fully immersed in the book community, my reading very different. I’d read to escape my world, to find something new, and to live a different life. I’d read for an adventure or a happy ending. And I would simply enjoy a book or not enjoy it. I was critical, but it was based on my values and completely my own opinions.

Now, my critique has changed with influences from other readers. I think about whether a book has diverse characters, whether there are problematic elements, and whether there’s appropriate representation. I’ve started considering at things that other reviewers consider.

I literally dissect books now. Character development, pacing, dialogue, and even inclusion of certain themes. I never thought of them particularly before, but now I do.

Being completely honest, I HATE it. I can’t make myself stop. A lot of my favourites from before are not good enough anymore, because of these new criticisms. It’s ruined those books for me, which I was so fond of for various reasons.


I sometimes feel ashamed of my reads

I try to make myself stop, but I just can’t. There are tons of strong opinions in this community, and we’re using the internet. It’s easy for people to point fingers and give their opinions against you/yours here. I’ve seen such strong opinions against my favourite authors/books. While I don’t care about what books other people like, I am afraid of being called out for what I like.

For example, Sarah J Maas. She was to be my favourite author for a while. I LOVED Throne of Glass and A Court of Mist and Fury*. I mentioned her and her books everywhere. I wasn’t shy with my love for her books.

But, there was just so much talk against SJ Maas and her books. It got me discouraged. I was challenged multiple times. Readers and reviewers pointed out why her books were “the worst” and why no one should like them. It didn’t matter that I liked the book just because I liked the world or the plot. It was clear that me saying I liked her books, without making sure that the person I’m talking to likes them as well, would put me in a bad spot.

SJ Maas stopped being my favourite author eventually because I didn’t like her latest books, but the effect stayed.

Now, it’s the same with romance books which have “problematic elements”. I recognize them, and I don’t condone them. But I liked the book! It made me feel nice! It’s happy ending left me happy! I JUST WANT TO PRAISE IT. Without worrying about people saying I liked or ignored the problematic issues.

*I didn’t like A Court of Thorns and Roses.


I’m always thinking about reviewing

Until a couple years back, I’d simply read a book. There was no annotating involved, or a pause in reading to contemplate something. I would simply read a book, and decide whether I want to review it after I finishing it. Because of this, I wouldn’t have lines to quote in reviews, or specific points to talk about, but it was okay! I was cool with it.

Now, after seeing how others review and the different kinds of reviews, my own style has adapted. I now annotate books freely. Many of my books have tabs and comments written next to paragraphs. And when I’m reading, I think about how I’m going to mention things in my review. For example, let’s say that a book becomes slow at around 50%. I make a note of it so I can mention it in my review. Sometimes, I even write sentences for my review in a notes app or as annotation right then.

I don’t just read anymore. My reading involves reviewing as I go.


And those were my 10 changes! When I started this post, I was unsure of whether there would be 10 points for me to write. Surprisingly, points just kept coming to me as I wrote. There were a lot of changes haha.

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Has your reading changed since you began? Have you been heavily influenced by the online book community as well?

Aurora Rising || kinda disappointing??

aurora rising book cover

Title: Aurora Rising
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Genre: Science Fiction
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Book 1 of Aurora Cycle series

Goodreads

I’ve heard SO MUCH about this book, almost all of them good. The hype went up to a point that I thought this book was the epitome of everything good. I heard that it portrays friendships well. It’s main theme is that a group of mismatched kids are stuck together to go on missions, and they’re required to be heroes. They’re the unlikeliest of heroes.

With all of that, you can assume right that I expected a LOT. And I’m sad to say, that my expectations weren’t met.

SYNOPSIS

Right before his graduation from Aurora Academy, where he’d be able to pick amongst the students for his cadet, Tyler Jones goes out alone into the void to calm his nerves. While there, he finds a lost spaceship from 200 years back and manages to rescue the only surviving passenger, Aurora O’Malley, who is deep asleep in her cryogenic pod.

Tyler is more concerned about the graduation ceremony, though. He gets back to find out that it’s all over and his cadet is made up of students who haven’t been picked by anyone else.

This group will have to get their stuff together and work together, though, because it looks like things with Aurora are much more complicated than they can predict. And they might just have to become heroes because there’s no one else to take over.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

MY REVIEW

I’ll say what you’re thinking. That sounds like an AWESOME concept. A bunch of misfits stuck together who have to save people and become heroes? Whaat.

In reality, though, it wasn’t that glamourous. In fact, I found the camaraderie between the squad members quite forced. That’s supposed to be the best part of the book—watching them interact and become friends. It was okay in some areas, but at times it was just very forced.

For example, they’d be in the middle of a very serious situation and they need to be using their brains to get our ASAP. Instead, they’d volley insults and crack random jokes. It was weird. And highly unrealistic.

CAT B: THIS IS TOTALLY BLOODY SIDEWAYS….
SCARLETT J: I’M AFRAIN I MUST CONCUR WITH MY PUNCHY BUT LEARNED COLLEAGUE.
CAT B: THANKS, ROOMIE.
SCARLETT J: ALL GOOD, GIRL. YOU’VE STILL GOT MY EYELINER BTW.

see what I mean?? They were knee deep in figurative shit and.. they were talking random stuff.

The characters were great, individually. I wasn’t interested in all of them, though. Probably because there was more spotlight on a few of the characters, which meant that we only really got to know them. The others were faded away in the background.

As for the plot, it was actually pretty good. I liked the plot. It was interesting, and perfect for a young adult sci-fi novel. Just the right amount of adventure and cluelessness.

The plot’s awesomeness was brought down a notch by the dialogues though. There was way too much talking and random conversations like what I quoted above. It killed the vibe multiple times and I was FRUSTRATED. So yeah, the writing could have definitely been better.

I loved the world-building. Or in this case, universe-building. I loved the tit-bits we got about all the different races, and how the current political situation is. That was fun to read about. I would have preferred more info, though.

OVERALL

Not very impressed. It was all “meh” towards the end, and I couldn’t wait to finish the book and move on. I am excited for the next book, though. Simply for the one couple I ship.

I rate this book…

3/5 stars

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WWW Wednesday // 2 October 2019

Happy October y’all!

New month, new fall/autumn vibes for most people around the globe while I’ll be having rainy (and gloomy) vibes, and new experiences to have.

I’ve been eyeing WWW Wednesday blogging meme for a while now, but since I usually update my reading on my Sunday Post, I don’t do it. This week, though, I didn’t update on Sunday because I had too many life things to talk about. And hence, I got the perfect time to do this post!

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?

There’s only one book in my currently reading pile, surprisingly, because life has been getting in the way with a LOT of events and deadlines. I’m barely keeping up at this point.

That Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson is a book that I picked up in a book fair back in February. Many books from that haul are sitting unread on my shelf and I decided that I’m finishing them by the end of the year. And so, I started with this one.

That Girl From Nowhere is a mystery novel, so I’m quite excited to read it because I haven’t read mystery in SO LONG.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

‘Where are you coming from with that accent of yours?’ he asks.
‘Nowhere,’ I reply. ‘I’m from nowhere.’
‘Everyone’s from somewhere,’ he says.
‘Not me,’ I reply silently.

Clemency Smittson was adopted as a baby and the only connection she has to her birth mother is a cardboard box hand-decorated with butterflies. Now an adult, Clem decides to make a drastic life change and move to Brighton, where she was born. Clem has no idea that while there she’ll meet someone who knows all about her butterfly box and what happened to her birth parents.

As the tangled truths about her adoption and childhood start to unravel, a series of shocking events cause Clem to reassess whether the price of having contact with her birth family could be too high to pay…

An emotional story about love, identity and the meaning of family, That Girl From Nowehere is the new novel from the bestselling author of The Ice Cream GirlsThe Woman He Loved Before and My Best Friend’s Girl.


What did you recently finish reading?

Last week saw me finish 3 books.

Hyde & Seek by Layla Frost. I was in the mood for mindless romance so I just picked this one up. It wasn’t great, and I got really annoyed by the male lead multiple times. It was also pretty cliche. The one thing I liked was the friendship squad. They were all really close and supportive and I liked the interactions between them all.

Muffin Top by Avery Flynn. This trilogy by the author focuses on female leads who are not considered conventionally attractive. Muffin Top features a female lead, Lucy, who is “fat” and could care less about it. The male lead, Frankie, goes along with Lucy to her high school reunion as her fake date. Sparks fly as these two truly get to know each other.

I was quite underwhelmed by Muffin Top. I was totally on board with the fat-shaming focus and how it’s hard for curvy women to be considered attractive. I was mostly on-board with the romance. But there was just some aspect missing. I wasn’t in love with the plot or characters, and once I finished the book, I could care less about it.

Educated by Tara Westover. This was the one book from last week which was GOOD. I’ve been reading this book from July, but I was crawling through it because the pace was very slow until 3/4ths of the book. Last week, I was determined to finish it and hence I quickly finished the book. And it made so much of an impact on me.

Educated was a heard read for me. It became harder every time i remembered that it’s a memoir, and everything here is TRUE. And then I would admire the author because she has been through SO MUCH—physically, mentally, and emotionally—and she has managed to find her true self even though there was so much holding her back.

The one thing I can say with certainty is: this book is worth it. This book is worth powering through the slow parts and sticking through the hard parts, even when they were too gruesome and detailed. Knowing Tara Westover’s journey is worth it.


What do you think you will read next?

Probably Rebel by Marie Lu, which released yesterday. I’ve been WAITING for this book, and I have already reread the first three books in preparation to directly dive into Rebel.

After that, I might read Five Dark Fates by Kandare Blake. This is also a new release, and it’s the fourth book in the Three Dark Crowns series. I can’t wait to finish this series lol. Ever since they extended it from two books to four, and the author is hastily dragging on the story, I’m not very interested in it. I just want to know the ending at this point.


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Tell me updates about your reading! What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish? And do leave a link to your WWW post if you’ve posted one 🙂