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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The King: The Eternal Monarch was in to-wait and watch lists of many viewers right from the beginning of this year. Not only is the story intriguing—following treachery and love across parallel universes, it also stars two of the most popular actors: Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun.
I watched this drama as the episodes were released, with two new episodes every weekend. As each episode is ~72 minutes, a ton happened story-wise and I have proper notes for this review. Let’s get to it.
What’s the drama about?
The drama mainly follows two parallel worlds—one has the Republic of Korea like how it is currently in real life, and the other has Kingdom of Corea which is very different from current day Korea.
Lee Gon is the King of Corea. When he was a kid, his father was murdered by his (born out of wedlock) uncle out of jealousy. Lee Gon was almost killed as well but was saved by a masked person who left behind just an ID card of “Jung Tae-eul”.
The uncle’s main goal was to obtain the manpasikjeok (henceforth referred to as “the flute” in this review), which is a famed object that allows it’s owner to travel between worlds and time.
Due to some skirmish, the flute gets divided in half with the uncle escapes with one half and Lee Gon has the other. Decades later, Lee Gon travels to the parallel world searching for his saviour. He meets Jung Tae-eul and hence begins their love story.
Lee Gon also finds out that his traitor uncle is still alive and hiding in this parallel world. In order to get vengeance, the King begins hunting for him.
This series has fantasy, thriller, and also romance.
My opinions on the drama
As I said earlier, I watched this Kdrama as the episodes released. So I had ample time between episodes to properly think about them and analyze them. Which is probably a reason why I’m being so critical.
A friend of mine also watched it as episodes released and we discussed about every episode immediately after both of us were done. This is another reason why I thought so much about the story and nitpicked all of it.
The concept was really good.
It’s the reason why this drama was on my list. Especially because parallel worlds means that every character has their counterpart in the other world, living a completely different life.
I was super excited to see how they’d handle the intricacies of this concept, especially with a mystery/thriller story.
And I have to say, the basic plot and storyline was quite good. They did explore the vastly different lives of people and their counterparts. There were many switcheroo cases which were especially fun to watch.
The execution was not good.
It was fine in the beginning when things were relatively easy to keep track of. As a viewer, I was not confused very much and could not see any mistakes.
But as the drama went on, things got convoluted. Considering that this concept is quite tricky, especially when time travelling is involved, there should have been more thought put into the story.
My friend and I started getting confused with the intention of certain scenes as well as how they play into the bigger picture quite early. By the time we got to episode 10 (out of 16), I was clearly seeing plot holes. There were some facts and scenes that were logically questionable.
Episode 10, 11 and 12 were simply bad and I hated all of it. Everything was jumbled, nothing made sense, and there was no point to those episodes. There were also random romance scenes in the middle which completely shifted the ongoing vibes.
The direction was not good.
Direction and editing is super important for any TV show or movie. When dealing with confusing topics and timelines, it is important that the viewer is not confused. How shows usually handle this is by changing the colour tones just a little bit or by adding a border.
But there was no distinction between the worlds in this drama. Especially in the first couple episodes when distinction is needed in order to get used to it, there was none which confused me. Not even a mention saying which world we’re in.
I got used to it later but it still threw me off in the beginning.
The drama becomes worse as it goes on.
I really liked this drama in the beginning. The concept was cool, the characters were interesting, the editing was proper and all my attention was engaged.
But as the episodes went on… I started losing interest and became increasingly annoyed.
The romance sucked.
I HATED IT.
It was fine in the beginning before Lee Gon and Jung Tae-eul started to like each other. They had a spark. Their conversations were actually funny and entertaining. They bantered.
All that personality vanished when they caught feelings. They became two extra sappy characters who only made sad faces every time they met again. And they pine whenever they’re apart. All the actual banter and personality which I liked was removed.
And that’s why I hate the romance.
Plus, I didn’t actually like the two actors together. I couldn’t ship them. In my opinion, they were cast only because they’re both popular actors. I don’t think their chemistry was seriously considered.
It is clear through multiple romantic scenes that the goal was to show Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun together for some time instead of actually having a point to those scenes.
There would be times where the characters simply stared at each other with sad faces and longing. And these scenes actually were shown in the most random times.
For example, there would be something intense going on and that scene would get cut abruptly to show these two with a pointless supposed-to-be romantic segment.
Even when there were genuine scenes between the couple, the dialogues were SO BAD. I cringed at most of them. Where do they come up with this stuff? Some of the lines that were supposed to be critical made no sense. Maybe it makes sense in Korean but not English? I don’t know.
Some of the scenes honestly gave me secondhand embarrassment. I had to look away from the screen and wipe my face to deal with my frustration.
So yeah, the romance was a no-go for me.
Lee Gon’s character was made only to show Lee Min-ho off.
This is Lee Min-ho’s first drama since coming back from mandatory military service. Hence, this drama got a lot of attention.
But the character… oof. Lee Gon, or the King of Corea, is portrayed as a perfect person. Let me explain.
The King is:
a GENIUS because he is super into math and can solve equations really quick in his head. He can also draw conclusions for fantasy concepts like travelling between worlds through math and physics equations.
ALL-KNOWING. He is well-read, knows about every topic under the sun, draws conclusions quickly and before any other person, comes up with the best plans because he is the smartest ever, and is almost like God.
the MOST HANDSOME man to ever exist. Throughout the show, his good looks are given extra attention and brought to the forefront with and without subtlety. Multiple times, strangers will double-take and comment about his looks, even in the world where he is not the king. There were several scenes where he is lit with a glow behind him to emphasize his beautiful smile.
great in tense situations. He is at ease in control and NOTHING FAZES HIM. People around him cannot keep up with the speed of his brain.
VERY ROMANTIC. When he likes Jung Tae-eul, he goes all out to spend time with her and protect her. She comes first to him and that is hella romantic.
CHARMING. He can charm anyone with his smiles and words.
A TRUE HERO.
The King’s only flaw is perhaps his inherent pride since he is King. He is used to ordering people and getting his way. But that is also portrayed as something to admire, so it is not really a flaw.
Lee Gon was like every woman’s dream guy.
I mean.. who can resist such a charming, smart, and capable leader? There has never been a King like Lee Gon and there will probably never be again. Just by looking at him, you can see that he is from an entirely different league.
Every time he does something, another character will react like “he’s so charming/smart/great/handsome/cool.” Ugh.
The King is simply unreal and that is why I could not stand him. Every time I saw his smug face and every scene where he is shown as a holier-than-thou person, I wanted to print out a photo of him and tear it up.
I won’t lie, I definitely appreciated Lee Min-ho’s good looks. He looked hot. But after a certain point, I need more of the personality than just looks.
Lee Min-ho is a good actor. My problem is the character itself. The character has zero flaws. The only thing that gives this character some depth is his tragic past. That is all. There is nothing beyond that.
It’s almost as if everything about this character was polished a little more because Lee Min-ho was cast for it. And I’m sure that the show’s creators/writers/producers banked on Lee Min-ho to bring in a ton of viewership. And hence, they showed him off with this perfect AF character.
Jung Tae-eul was good… but also not good.
She was more real, with a snarky personality and flaws. I actually quite liked her at times.
Jung Tae-eul is a cop, has smart instincts, and does not need to be saved from every single situation. She is not a damsel-in-distress. She is strong and tough.
Much of her personality vanishes when she is with the King. She turns into a pining, sad cry-baby. There were even some scenes where she was shown as a damsel-in-distress in order for the King to rescue her even though she didn’t need it.
Jung Tae-eul had some good scenes but they were nullified with some really bad scenes. I was annoyed when she’d be turned into the King’s love interest instead of her own person. What a shame.
The love triangle was not bad.
I usually hate love triangles but this one didn’t actually bother me. Probably because there wasn’t much outright tension between all three of them.
Kang Shin-jae, who is Jung Tae-eul’s long time friend and colleague, mostly pines after her in silence and doesn’t even try doing anything about it. I felt bad for him right from the beginning because obviously he won’t end up with her.
The reason I didn’t dislike this love triangle is because there weren’t drawn-out scenes showing the love triangle. Kang Shin-jae likes Jung Tae-eul but we don’t see the guys fighting over her or having much tension because of her.
Personally, I didn’t think Kang Shin-jae and Jung Tae-eul were right for each other anyway so I wasn’t invested in the possibility as well.
Kang Shin-jae had actual life issues.
He was the only one who had issues of his own which were different from the parallel world thing. Most of the time, he wasn’t even involved with Lee Gon and Jung Tae-eul. He had other problems to deal with.
Kang Shin-jae had a difficult relationship with his mom, had lingering feelings about his childhood and how his life changed etc.
Him being in love with Jung Tae-eul didn’t determine his role in the drama. I appreciated that.
My biggest disappointment: Koo Seo-ryung.
She was THE BEST female character of the show. I was in awe of her right from the start.
Koo Seo-ryung is the Prime Minister of Corea. She started at the bottom in her life and worked her way to becoming the PM. How cool is that? She has ambition, is ruthless, and is a role model.
The drama even highlighted issues of being a woman in politics. The men constantly undermine her even though she is smarter than them, and they say that she should resign and stay at home. But Seo-ryung pushes through and proves her abilities.
The writers were really onto something with this character. And they messed it up royally.
Koo Seo-ryung was portrayed as a villain because she is ambitious and goes after what she wants. She wanted to become the Queen because that is the highest position achievable and there is nothing wrong with that. A PM can only serve two terms but a Queen’s term never ends. And she vied for that.
But. There was negative light on her because of that and the King constantly undermined her.
Even when the situation was political and she deserved to know the information, the King simply told her to mind her own business. How rude. She would have been able to help him but he told her no simply because of personal reasons.
She asked for honesty because it’s her JOB and he gave her stupid horse-riding riddles.
Through it all, the King is the good guy and she is the witch. That is a strong no in my book and it affected my overall opinion of this drama.
There were some good comedy segments, but not enough to redeem the show.
Honestly, the segments I actually liked were ones with supporting characters and not the main characters.
Towards the end, there were barely any funny parts. The show seemed to consist of only:
scenes with the main plot and
By the end, the show was just a mess and I couldn’t wait to be done with it.
The villain was awesome.
The villain of this show is the King’s uncle. Lee Lim is a son born out of wedlock and hence could not inherit the crown even though he was older than Lee Gon’s father.
The royal family is in possession of the powerful flute but Lee Gon’s father was not interested in exploring it’s powers. Considering that a waste, Lee Lim leads his followers so he can steal the flute and have infinity and eternity in his hands.
The King is portrayed as the smartest person ever but in my opinion he is dumb compared to the villain. The villain is cunning, clever, patient, and ambitious*. Lee Lim is smarter than the stupid King who can only say cringe-worthy lines he thinks are romantic.
I was awed and super engaged every time the villain was on-screen. You could not make me pause watching. Keeping up with the villain’s plans was interesting as hell.
Lee Lim was another character that the writers messed up at the end. He had a few out-of-character scenes where his actions did not make sense with who he is. That’s all I will say because I want to avoid spoilers.
*do you see a pattern with the characters I liked or is it just me.
The supporting characters were awesome.
I wish the drama only included the supporting characters and did not show the main couple. They were much more interesting and entertaining.
Any time the supporting characters had a good scene, I gobbled it up with affection. Their scenes without the King and Tae-eul were even better.
Besides PM Koo Seo-ryung, my favourite character was the King’s right-hand man and (kind of) best friend Jo Yeong. I. LOVED. HIM. He is badass and pure and any time he showed emotion, I was gripped.
His counterpart in Korea, Jo Eun-sup, was hella entertaining as well.
Since we’re on the topic, I would like to show my appreciation for Woo Do-hwan. His acting is BRILLIANT. He played two very different characters and pulled it off so well. His acting was better and had more complexity than Lee Min-ho’s. Woo Do-hwan deserves recognition for his roles. I would like to see him as a lead in the future.
An underrated supporting character was Head Court Lady Noh. She raised the King and always had good intentions for him. She’s also a mother-hen and frets over King all the time.
There was one fact which was randomly thrown out in the middle only to never be brought up again. And that was really weird. Her character, especially with that twist, had so much potential and it was wasted.
Supporting characters were overshadowed a lot.
One of the reasons I like Kdramas is because they usually give attention to the plot and characters arcs of the supporting characters as well. It’s not only about the main characters.
But in this drama, everything was about the main characters. There were barely any scenes that really focused on the supporting characters alone. And this really disappointed me.
In the last episode there was ONE scene about a random character that we never got much of. It was very off because that character’s role in the plot was minimal at best. And they got focus in the epilogue when other supporting characters didn’t.
Supporting characters falling in love was better than the main couple.
I was so into the romance between Jo Yeong and Myeong Seung-ha in the Kingdom of Corea. And I was also into the romance between Jo Eun-sup and Myeong Na-ri.
Basically, the same two people but in both parallel worlds.
This pairing was so good and even though there wasn’t much attention given to their relationships, it was enough for me to love it.
There was too much confusion.
Confusion is warranted and usually expected when watching shows with mystery plot-lines. This drama definitely banks on viewers being confused and waiting to see how everything is resolved. We watch so our questions get answered.
But this drama caused too much confusion. My friend and I had tons of questions. If I look back on our texts from episode 8 or so, I can see us asking each other questions to see if we missed anything.
The worst part is that many questions went unanswered.
While there can be elements, especially in fantasies, that cannot be explained, this drama simply chose not to explain some things. The questions were raised and forgotten.
Before the finale aired, my friend actually went through all recaps to understand things better and even read theories. I did not spend that much time on it and I am glad. Because even those efforts did not lead to anything. Many viewers were confused.
There were a TON of plotholes.
I am generally a person who keeps up with the logic and analyzes things. I’ve noticed plot holes in other shows and dramas as well. Plot holes are never good to notice but they can open up conversations through which you may find out that you missed somethings.
This drama had the latter, where we figured out what happened through discussion. But it also had a lot of unresolved plot holes.
In fact, there were massive plot holes in this drama. So huge and obvious that you’d think the writers deliberately ignored them. Because they can’t be stupid enough to not notice them.
The concept of parallel worlds is tricky alone. The concept of time travelling is complex as well. When both are used together, there needs to be much more thought put into the story and plot-lines. The writers should spend time going over timelines and see that everything makes sense.
That was clearly not done for this drama. The plot hole in the last episode is so glaring and massive that I really wonder, how did they not think of it?
It’s almost as if viewers are expected to not analyze anything because we’ll get distracted by Lee Min-ho’s face.
If you don’t want spoilers, click here to skip to the “overall” concluding section.
I had a lot of questions and noticed many plot holes. But there are quite many and hence I will only talk about the bigger ones here.
If all parallel worlds were the same until one event which split them, then how is the flute in only one world? Won’t there be multiple flutes, one in every world.
Lee Gon went back in time to save his younger self twice. How is it that the second time he went back, only one older Lee Gon was there? What happened to the dressed-in-black Lee Gon from the main timeline? If you think about the logic for a minute, you’ll realize there are supposed to be 2 older Lee Gons in the past at the same time. Time travelling doesn’t work however you want it to. It’s tricky and messy.
The epilogue showed the couple going on dates by travelling to a point in the past. But Lee Gon is the king. He has to marry and have heirs at some point? How will that work?
Why do they always travel to the past when all eternity and infinity is at their hands?
A main point in the plot is that time stops longer the more times Lee Lim and Lee Gon travel between the worlds. But Lee Lim has been travelling for almost three decades. How is it that time started slowing down only when Lee Gon started travelling? Makes no sense. And when time did stop for longer periods, what Lee Lim and Lee Gon did was not shown. They could have actually done crucial things when everything is paused but they didn’t.
Due to the altered past events i.e. Lee Lim dying in 1994 itself, many things would have changed. It appears that the writers of this show did not consider butterfly effect at all. Several people in both worlds died at Lee Lim’s hands and since he was killed, they would be alive. The world would look very different. That was not shown or accounted for.
Also, according to the new past where Lee Lim is killed and young Lee Gon is saved by Yeong and doesn’t have the ID card, Lee Gon’s memories would be vastly different. Those memories were not shown. If a point in past is changed, everything from then changes. And yet this show had the past changing massively but the current day remaining same. Makes. No. Sense.
What was up with the stupid scene in the epilogue where the new PM’s kid comes up on stage and asks the King who he is? And that glow behind the King when he smiles? Ugh. Barf.
Okay that’s all I can remember as of now. If there are more, I will come back and add them here. If you have theories or answers for any of these, let me know in the comments. And if you have any questions, feel free to mention them below as well.
I had high hopes for this drama and was disappointed by the execution of it all. I regret wasting 19.2 hours watching it.
If you would like to simply look at Lee Min-ho, this drama is good for you because he looks handsome AF.
If you care about the plot and substance, I suggest skipping this because it will only confuse and irritate you.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.”
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’m reading MANY books currently. And that’s why I haven’t finished more.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Really enjoyed this and highly suggest it! It’s a beautiful book with great writing and great characters.
Now, romance books with boss-employee relationships is NOT my comfort zone. In fact, I kind of hate it. I just don’t see a way it would be acceptable, for me. It stands in the bottom of my preferences, only preferred over teacher-student relationships.
But I tried to give the trope a chance in April. Only because the romancetheque book club chose this trope for their April books of the month.
I actually liked the first book so I downloaded the extra reads as well and Tempt the Boss was one of them.
I HATED IT.
Usually I mark abandoned books in my DNF* shelf on Goodreads and not as “read”. But I marked this one as read just so I could write a rant review for it. My review, as I had written on Goodreads:
I’m sorry but putting a laxative into your boss’s drink is going TOO FAR. It’s not just a prank anymore. It’s not professional, especially when it’s your SECOND day at work. I stopped reading right after that. The prank and further (lack of) consequences were unbelievable.
*Did Not Finish
 Happily Ever All-Star by Sosie Star
I picked this up like all my random romance reads. From Goodreads recommendations or lists.
And it was okay in the beginning. It was not bad. But I just couldn’t like it past a certain point??
It was trying too hard to be humourous and the chemistry between the main characters was weird.
The book wasn’t for me.
 The Upside of Falling by Alex Light
This book is actually quite popular in the YA community! I’ve heard some praises for it. And since it is a fake dating trope story, I was looking forward to it.
But the beginning was so rushed. Everything happened in a short time. And there wasn’t a proper reasoning or story arc to START fake dating.
It was as if the author took parts of other fake dating YA books and mixed them all together here. It was weird and if the beginning of such an iconic trope can’t interest me, the rest of the book definitely won’t. Hence, I abandoned it.
 Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennet
This is another sort-of popular book in the YA community. Some of the people I follow on bookstagram really liked it. And it has an interesting synopsis so I picked it up.
I actually have nothing against this book. I just was not interested in it, personally. The story was fine, the characters were fine, and the writing was okay too. But my interest in the book was zero. And that’s why I abandoned it.
 Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher
I read and abandoned this book back in December 2019. I cannot remember why I didn’t like it.
Now that I look at it again, the premise sounds good enough. It has the fake-dating trope. I think I DNFed it because it was not delivering like I expected from the synopsis. Pretty sure it was boring and that’s why I gave it up.
Who really knows. Not me for sure.
 Until Fools Find Gold by Mary B. Moore
I have good patience with bad romances. Not sure if you know that but I do. Proof is the fact that I barely DNF books. I abandoned only 4 this year and I’ve read 57 books. So either I have patience or I just have really good luck at picking books. I’ll claim the former.
There was this point where I was picking random books set in the same world as Aurora Rose Reynold’s Until series. I have no clue why but some of them were free on Kindle so I tried them. And I read previews for some others, just to see if they were nice.
This was one of them and it was VERY annoying. The male lead was too much of an alpha-male. The female character was annoying as well. Overall, not a good read and I gave it up pretty quickly.
 Until Merri by Suzanne Halliday
Another one like the previous book I mentioned. I cannot remember why I did not like this one but I guess it annoyed me? In fact I’m pretty sure I only read the preview on Goodreads for this one and gave it up.
 Until Midnight by Gwendolyn Grace
By this point, you must have realized that these spin-off books by other authors just were NOT nice. I think I liked only one of them.
This book also does not exist in my memory. I don’t know why I DNFed it, but I did. That’s all.
 Do Not Disturb by Layla Frost
I marked this as DNF in SEPTEMBER 2019 so forgive me for my lack of memory. It seems that after a while I just push these books out of my brain.
This one is also HIGHLY rated in Goodreads and has many praising reviews. I cannot figure out why I abandoned it lol.
 Deep by Kylie Scott
Now, I actually do really like this series by Kylie Scott. The first book was really good and I liked the next two books as well.
Deep is book 4 in the series and when I realized I hadn’t read it, I picked it up. And.. it was bad. I remember exactly where I stopped reading this book and why.
This romance involves a surprise pregnancy. And when the pregnancy did get revealed, the scene was very cringey and unrealistic and confusing. It was done badly and I couldn’t figure out whether it was meant to be funny or heroic or .. ??? I don’t know!
It turned me off the book so I abandoned it. I was disappointed that the last book of the series was sour for me.
I’ve read many Colleen Hoover books and almost all are feeling-heavy romance books. The next Colleen Hoover book I was considering was Regretting You but after many negative reviews, I decided not to read it.
Verity showed up in my radar when I was looking for books to read for the 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge prompt “book with an upside down image in the cover”. Verity was listed in the book recommendations list for this prompt and I decided to try it.
I did not even read the synopsis so I expected a romance book. This book blew me away though.
Lowen’s mum just died after battling cancer for several months. Being a writer is hard but being a writer with an unpopular book out, no job and lots of bills? It’s a dead end.
When she’s just about being evicted from her place, she gets an offer to write for a popular series instead of the real author Verity. And it pays a lot.
So she moves into Verity’s house where she’s barely functioning after a car accident, trying to understand the series and make an outline. But all is not what it seems in the huge house.
Verity and her husband’s twin daughters died one after the other, and soon after that Verity crashes into a tree? Either it’s just really bad luck or there’s something else going on. And Lowen is about to find out.
This book was SO ADDICTING, y’all.
I expect romances and touchy feely stories from Colleen Hoover so this blew me way. She should really write more books in this genre!
Let me describe my emotions as I read this book:
first confused, because the vibe was not like a romance book.
straight up SHOCKED.
a d d i c t e d.
reading as fast as I can because THIS. BOOK. OMG.
And that was until only about 50% through.
Let’s talk about my feelings in a list because I need structure to talk coherently.
the plot was so cool.
I loved how it began and introduced us to the characters. The charm to the characters immediately drew me in. The random setting in the beginning was actually a really good hook.
The story progressed so well. The way things were unveiled kept me hooked in every chapter.
The story follows Lowen in the current time but when she reads Verity’s autobiographical manuscript, we’re transported back to that timeline as well. And let me tell you, the manuscript chapters are the most adrenaline-inducing.
Colleen Hoover just managed to GRIP me.
They were complex and had layers which got peeled back slowly as the story goes on. It’s not a book where the characters are perfect, but they’re perfect for the story.
And they’re quite interesting, especially Verity.
mystery and thrill ON POINT.
Honestly, this is the best book by Colleen Hoover that I’ve read so far. Forget the romance books, I want more books like this from her.
My heart was stuck in my throat around the end. I could not lift my eyes from my Kindle and I was sitting in a tense position while reading it. For the last hour I was pretty much locked in place.
The experience was too good.
the ending and aftermath.
The ending was TOO DAMN GOOD. For TWO nights after I finished the book I was just thinking about it before sleep. As in, I was trying to sleep but took an hour extra to fall asleep because this book wouldn’t leave my head. The scenes, the dialogues, the characters, the ending kept playing on loop in my head.
It gave me a proper book hangover.
The book blew me away and you should DEFINITELY read it.
It’s not a long book either so it’s good as a thriller book to read in one or two days. And I guarantee that you will get hooked in as well. The characters, the plot, and the vibe from the writing all fit together so well to create a headspace when reading it.
I’m currently listening to Pride by Ibi Zoboi. This has been on my TBr for a while now but mostly as a “maybe” read. But I saw this while browsing through audiobooks about a month back and wanted to read it.
Fortunately it also works for multiple2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge prompts too. I’ll be checking off “a book with the same name/title as of a movie/TV show but is unrelated to it” with it.
It’s also narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo which I did not realize before. It’s a coincidence, which you’ll realize in the next section of this post.
I’m not reading anything else as of now.
What did you recently finish reading?
It was a good reading week and I have A LIST so settle down for this.
The first book that I read was With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo. And yes, this is the coincidence that I was talking about. Reading a book by her and listening to a book narrated by her in the same week without intention? Good coincidence.
I really liked With The Fire On High. It’s kind of a wholesome book. The main character Emoni was really nice to read about. Her growth throughout the book as she goes from a teenager to an adult while also being a mother was wonderful to see. I loved the story.
The next book that I read was What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter. I added this to my TBR before it released and was reminded of it through Tiffany’s recent review.
Although I didn’t have high hopes for it, especially after that review, I still wanted to read it. Halle is a book blogger and also a cupcake enthusiast. It was nice to read about the book blogger experiences, especially about all the Twitter drama which I actively avoid in real life.
Overall, not that impressed but it had some good parts. The family focus was lovely.
I finally finished The School For Good and Evil by Soman Chainani! The audiobook took me FOREVER i.e. a whole month. I’m sure even y’all got tired of me saying that I’m still reading it every week in these updates.
If only I had the opportunity to read this book back in middle grade. I would have loved it even more. It’s such a good book, with the different take on fairytales that we all wanted. Especially the ending.
4/5 stars. (Would have been 5/5 if I was in middle grade)
My last read of the week was The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. I found this book while going through the Goodreads list suggested for the 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge prompt “a book set in a country starting with C”.
It caught my eye in the list and the premise sounded interesting too. The book is about 4 sets of mothers and daughters. All the mothers are women who grew up in China and immigrated to America and formed a “Joy Luck Club”. All the daughters are Americans at heart.
The book shows the lives of both generations and the divide between them. How they almost talk different languages and barely know each other.
It was a wonderful read and I liked the stories. I did find it hard to read fast, though. It took me a whole week to read because I took breaks to read other books that caught my attention more.
What do you think you’ll read next?
There’s a subtle plan I’ve been following for the past few weeks. For every three books, I read:
one which is easy to read and will make me happy. (usually romance/YA contemporary)
one random book either from ones I already own or a new one.
I don’t choose the all the books in advance, but it’s how I’ve been keeping my reading consistent. Picking up books that I can read fast and will mostly like regularly helps in keeping book slumps away.
Sometimes I try to combine them too!
So for this coming week, I’d like to read Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. It’s been sitting on my bookshelf for a while now and I’d like to read it. It’s also praised a lot by some of my bookstagram friends, so I’m excited to see what it is about.
Another book I’d like to read is Truth or Beard by Penny Reid. Although I absolutely love the author’s works, I haven’t tried her Winston Brothers series yet. It is highly praised by many in the romance book world so I’m excited to finally pick it up!
If I read something other than these two, it’ll be a random choice according to mood.
This book has been on my TBR since it released. I used to read Abbie’s blog very often and I was very excited to read this book since she kept posting and talking about it. Back then she just had a blog and not a YouTube channel.
I finally got to it because of the 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge. This book also qualifies prompt “A book with a character with a vision impairment or enhancement (a nod to 20/20 vision).”
Tessa lost her sight in a car accident and the doctors said that she might regain her sight in 100 days. All Tessa has to do is hold on for a 100 days and try to live without sight. But that’s hard when her only outlet is writing poetry and she can’t blog poetry without sight.
Enter Weston. He is hired as a typist for Tessa, but he’s much more than that. Weston knows how Tessa feels because he lives with prosthetic legs after an accident. He vows to help Tessa understand that life is still beautiful.
“Visual beauty is only one form of beauty.”
I LOVED THIS BOOK.
I also read it in almost one sitting. Meaning, I started it in the morning before work and read it every single spare second I got.
The characters were great.
I absolutely loved reading about all the characters in this book. Tessa and Weston were good, but so were all the supporting characters. Tessa’s grandparents, Weston’s brothers and best friend—all of them captured a piece of my heart.
Struggles and character growth.
Although this book is mainly about Tessa, we also see Weston’s journey through flashbacks. It was incredibly humbling and inspiring to read the stories of both these characters. Especially Weston, who is an inspiration. I could totally picture real life Weston growing up to become a motivational speaker.
“Letting go feels like giving up. But if you don’t let go, you’ll drown. I know the feeling. And it sucks. But Life sucks sometimes. And yeah, it gets back up. But you don’t have to stay on your knees.”
Tessa + Weston
Through Weston helping Tessa through her current situation, they start to have feelings for each other. This romance is purely young love.
And I like that their relationship was simple. A lot of YA books try to bring in tons different things into the story for the relationship in order to make things interesting. Hence this simple relationship where two people start to like each other without a metaphorical obstacle course was refreshing.
“This stubborn, kind, impertinent, obnoxiously optimistic boy is doing something to me.
And it feels good.”
This book made me feel so much! I felt awed, inspired, sad (I did cry), happy, and content. Reading this book was like having an emotional journey.
It was amazing to read.
Bits of the author’s personality.
Since I followed Abbie for a while and know a little bit about her, I could see how she put herself into the book. The most obvious thing was her love for waffles which translated into the book as well.
“Well?’ he asks when I don’t open my eyes and silently savor the goodness. ‘What do you taste?’ I smile despite myself. ‘The most amazing waffles under the sun.”
I absolutely enjoyed reading this book. It’s the perfect YA contemporary to read in one sitting because it WILL absorb you.
Recommended to anyone looking for a book with depth but also warmth and sunshine.
This book has been on my TBR for a LONG time. I’ve seen it around in reviews and social media for a long time, but I somehow just didn’t want to pick it up?? No clue why. But that’s how my mood works.
My mood finally acquiesced last week and allowed me to pick it up. And I LOVE it.
Gavin Scott wins in the baseball field but he’s been losing at home. With his marriage in trouble, and the reveal of an embarrassing secret, he HAS to pull things together ASAP.
Looking at him drowning himself in alcohol and tears, Gavin’s teammates decide to help him out with some advice. And this advice comes in the form of romance book recommendations.
Gavin starts to read these romance books that are “cringey books just for women” with reluctance and doubt. But he quickly starts to realize just why women like it so much. They’re books by women, for women, depicting how women like to be treated.
Soon, Gavin turns to these books to help him win back his wife and save his marriage.
I LOVED THIS BOOK.
Let’s talk about this in a list because I need SOME structure to my review.
The concept itself.
Where men read romance books and realize that they’re not just trashy novels with cringey stories. This book shows men ACTUALLY READING these romance books, realizing why women love them, and learning from them.
It was great to read about. I now want to make my future partner read at least one romance book. They’re so much more than their image.
They’re so nice *cries*
They’re flawed, strong, and real. I love them.
Character growth is also really nice. I give it 12/10.
Considering that the characters are married, it is a second chance romance.
Gavin and Thea got married too soon because of an unplanned pregnancy. They were in love but they didn’t spend enough time dating and getting to know each other. It has affected their relationship in the long run.
This second chance romance was so sweet and nice. I loved reading about it.
All. The. Relationships.
The friendships and other familial relationships depicted here were so nice. I especially loved the sisterly relationship between Thea and Olivia. Sisters forever ❤
The overall plot.
It was very entertaining. I was totally engaged.
This book was supposed to be a quick read as a break before I do other things but I ended up reading all of it in one sitting. I did NOT realize the time!
Loved it. Totally recommend it.
If you’re looking for a romance book that’s doing things a little different than others, pick this one up! You will not regret it.
Finding time to read has been quite a chore since this year began which led me to actually decreasing my reading goal for the year. But since social distancing and lockdown* began, I’ve have more time to read. And of course I wasn’t going to waste it.
*click the link to find out how I’ve been doing recently!
The only book that I’m currently in the middle of is The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. It’s a middle grade fantasy book that I’ve been wanting to read for AGES. And when I say ages, I say it literally.
This book is NUMBER 1 on my Goodreads TBR* of 437 books. It’s one of the FIRST books I marked as want-to-read. And I’ve had my Goodreads account since January 2013. That was back when I was actually IN middle school.
During the lockdown I’m trying to get to books that have been sitting unread on my physical bookshelf for long or books that I’ve been meaning to read for a long time.
Since this book was available in Storytel (where I have a subscription) as an audiobook, I didn’t hesistate to pick it up.
And I’m LOVING it. It’s such a cool book and definitely would have been a favourite for middle school me.
*To Be Read list/stack
What did you recently finish reading?
I’ve read a LOT of books recently, especially since my last WWW Wednesday post. But in order to keep this post shorter, I’ll talk about the books that I’ve read in the last 7 days.
Side note: if you’d like to understand my rating scale, click here.
My last book was one that I finished just last night called Just One Year by Penelope Ward. I meant to read just a bit of it as a break after ending work and before getting to do chores and stuff. But the next time I looked up from the book was when I FINISHED it.
I had read the book without noticing the time. In fact, I had a very late dinner because of it. I LOVED the book. It engaged me on every single page. Sure, it did have a few cliche romance book elements but the good parts outweighed the bad. Any book that engages me so much is a winner.
The second last book I read was Inappropriate by Vi Keeland. I picked up this book solely because it’s part of the books picked for this month for romancetheque book club. This month’s theme was CEO/boss relationships which is out of my comfort zone and what I usually like. But I thought I’d give the books a chance, and I read all of them.
I’m glad that books on this concept are not as bad as the ones I had read years back, when I first tried reading about CEO/boss relationships. This has definitely opened up my reading horizons a little bit.
Speaking of the book itself, Inappropriate was very hard to judge and rate. It had some cliche and unrealistic elements that I did not like. But on the other hand, it was probably the best handled CEO romance book I’ve ever read. It wasn’t even actually “inappropriate”, so the title is kind of a clickbait.
I appreciated most of the plot, but I did not like a few key comments on mental illnesses which stuck in my head and made me rethink giving it a better rating. So, yeah. That part won. I gave the book 2.5/5 stars even though I did kind of enjoy it. There might be a detailed review on this soon.
The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams is a book that I’ve been eyeing for a LONG time. I finally gave in and read the book, and now regret waiting this long to read it.
This book has been the highlight of my week. No kidding. It was so damn good.
Highlights of the book:
Character growth. This really needed emphasis.
Second chance romance in the BEST way.
The characters were all awesome.
And of course, I loved the concept of the book. I’ll most likely continue the series.
I was looking for a read that wouldn’t take too much of my attention or brain power. At these times, I usually reread books. Until Lilly by Aurora Rose Reynolds is a book that I have a love-hate relationship with as I mentioned in my reviewand an extra in-depth discussion on it.
It caught my eye in my Kindle list and I just started reading it. At this point, I can’t see through the bad parts of this book to notice the good. So yeah. That was a disappointing reread but sufficed my mood at the time.
Old rating: 3/5 stars. This reread was 2/5 stars.
Imagine Me by Tahereh Mafi was NOT what I expected. I really liked Defy Me so my expectations were about the same for this book.
But that was not the result. Although I didn’t hate this book, I also didn’t really like it. The book was rushed, there chaos all around, sometimes I was simply reading because I wanted to finish it. It was all over the place and not satisfying as an ending.
Also, I HATED the epilogue. It was confusing, not satisfying, abrupt, and just.. did not leave me happy. The characters were even not acting like themselves in the epilogue!
I’d have preferred if the series ended with book 3 even if it meant that we didn’t get books 4 and 5 which I liked.
2.5/5 stars simply because I liked a few parts.
What do you think you’ll read next?
Definitely Circe by Madeline Miller. By book club chose it as the book of the month through votes. Coincidentally, they gifted me the paperback copy of this book for my birthday as well. Super glad that I’ll be finally reading it.
Other than that, who even knows. I’m a huge mood reader.
And that’s it for my updates this week! I’ll see y’all soon with some new updates and opinions.
This book was a total impulse buy. I was going around the bookstore looking for books that I haven’t seen before and was open-minded to read something new.
This book boasts that the author is “India’s “highest selling female author” and that hooked me in. That tagline was the reason for my purchase, and I really hoped that it would be good.
Content warning for the book: Drug and alcohol abuse, over-dosage.
The book follows two characters Jhanvi and Ashray through a difficult time in their lives which were turning points for them.
Jhanvi is a social media influencer who dropped out of college to pursue her Instagram career. She works hard at her job, which bleeds itself into her life. Her life is a series of mistakes and coping from them due to the limelight.
Ashray’s life seems to be only looking up, with a new job and prospects of a lovely new girlfriend. He has everything he can dream of. Sure, he can be naive about love, but as long as he can make him mother happy, he’s content.
The book shows Jhanvi and Ashray both going through difficult times in their lives which barely intersect.
I started this book with a lot of hopes. I hadn’t read an Indian book in a while and was looking forward to it.
But I quickly disliked it. Until 60% of the book, I really disliked the book. Everything seemed predictable, the female lead was annoying, and I did not understand where the story was going. I decided to fully read it only because I bought a paperback copy.
But after 60% of the book, it did a 180 degree turn. I FINALLY understood what the author tried to do, and where the story was going. I finally understood the purpose of this book. And I LIKED IT. I really liked it.
So that’s the one thing this book has going for it: it will surprise you. I was not expecting the turn in the story but I wholeheartedly welcomed it.
It’s going to be really hard to not spoil the surprise in my review, so please bear with me being vague.
Jhanvi was the source of my annoyance.
I’ve read a fair share of books involving celebrities and popular people. At this point, their stories are quite predictable. The fame gets to them, people don’t stick around them, they lash out, and things go wrong with drugs and alcohol.
Usually, the stories show them being saved by love. And that’s what I was expecting here. But the book surprised me.
Jhanvi’s journey and growth was the best part of this book.
She’s not a perfect character with a pretty story. Her story is one of mistakes and faults. Jhanvi is a flawed person with insecurities who tries to make the best of her life.
I felt like I was in constant competition with a world of woman. It drove me to pursue perfection even more relentlessly, in a bid to show them that they were not in my league.
I really like her journey, especially in the second half of the book. The way Jhanvi reacted to things and her actions then defined her character. It’s the best character growth in a woman.
Ashray’s journey was… okay.
I was quite meh about Ashray right from the start. I didn’t dislike him but I didn’t like him either. The point in his story was not clear.
He’s a kind man who thinks the world of his mother (who adopted him from an orphanage) and his only goal is to make his mother happy. Ashray is also not one of the normal men who grow up with toxic masculinity. His mum brought him up right.
So Ashray was quite perfect in my eyes. I didn’t understand his story. It took until the climax of the book for me to get it, but it was too late to become invested in him.
Friendship is one of the main themes in this book.
Most of the books I read somehow revolve around finding love, whether they’re a romance book or not. This was one of the few books where friendship mattered more than love. I really liked that.
T H E R A P Y .
This is an Indian book, and knowing the Indian society, I was NOT expecting this book to openly talk about therapy. That was quite surprising and I was very impressed with the way the author showed it.
The book’s messages was nice.
Jhanvi and Ashray’s stories are quite different.
Jhanvi’s showed that it’s never too late to turn your life around. That was a very uplifting message.
Ashray’s story showed that even if you do everything right, life can still throw you down. All you can do is get back up and make something out of those troubles.
No one ever fully recovers. Recovery is a process, ongoing and always changing.
The writing was really annoying at times.
I’ve noticed how many Indian authors write super deep quote and words in order to bring depth to their story and characters. It’s not required, and sometimes it feels out of place.
For example, in this book most of Jhanvi’s chapters start with some super deep reflection on an abstract concept.
Destruction. The kind that only you can prevent or the type only your behaviour can provoke. A downward spiral, an annihilation you could have prevented if you had decided to. If you chose to take a second to breathe, to think, but you didn’t; you thought you couldn’t, and now, in the aftermath, all that is left is wreckage.
This is fine normally but this musing right before the main character wakes up on the bathroom floor seems out of place.
The book doesn’t seem cohesive until the end.
The message was confusing. The story was confusing and annoying. And I could not like the book. Even the synopsis of the book is very vague compared to what the story actually is.
The overall message could have been made a little clearer. I would have liked the book better if I had known that it was not going to be another version of “love saves everyone.”
I was disappointed that the book was good but the message was so unclear that I spent half the book annoyed.
The book was okay.
It could have been done better, though. Even having a proper synopsis at the back would make SO MUCH DIFFERENCE.
The title of the book makes some sense, but not total sense. By the time I realized why the title was chosen, I didn’t really care. I just wanted to finish the book.
Do I recommend it? Not sure. It was good at the end but I can’t ignore the fact that most of the book had me annoyed.
Pick it up if you’re ready to be confused for half the book.
I’m very into dystopia. While there are few books that I’ve really liked, I’m always looking for books in the genre that sound interesting.
Axiom was one of those. When the author reached out to me for a review in return for an advanced reader’s copy, I immediately agreed. And I looked forward to reading it as well.
Axiom is peaceful. There is no violence and there are no variables. Even death is not a concept here.
People are known as “Figures” and have their own Roles in Axiom. Each Figure’s Role is important to the working of Axiom.
The reason this is seamlessly achieved is because only one person has control of Axiom—the Lord Protector. Only he has control and every Figure exists to serve him. In return for loyalty and obedience, he keeps Axiom peaceful and healthy.
But what happens when some Figures start having emotions? When they break out of Roles to search for purpose in their existence? And is Axiom really so perfect?
This book explores a future possibility where, to eradicate violence, emotions are removed and one person reigns with all control.
Tackling this review in the form of lists, because lists rock.
What I liked:
The first half of the book had me hooked. Through perspectives of characters in very different positions of the world, we get to see the various sides of Axiom.
I was completely engaged when reading about the setting, and how things work in this fictional place. The technology described was very interesting as well.
Addition of and debate on concepts like God and morals.
The way God was brought into the story and portrayed was quite clever. In the book, God is known as “Theo”. To me, that was weird in the beginning but it does make sense. No matter the name, it’s the belief that counts.
We see characters who are devout believers as well as characters who don’t even consider of such an existence. Interaction of the two was intriguing, and very similar to the current world’s stance. No matter the time, this debate will probably continue.
I can’t say why without spoiling it but I appreciated how the book ended. It made me think for a few minutes, and I liked that.
What I did not like:
The plot didn’t seem cohesive all the time.
In fact, different characters could have been in entirely different worlds. There was very little connectivity between the different areas of the book, which was jarring during the perspective shifts.
This was the thing that got on my nerves the most. Characters would make entire revelations about themselves and/or the world around them based on very little.
In reality, the process of one’s growth is very long. But in this book it took place in the span of a night. Out of nowhere, revelations and identity changes were made. I found it hard to accept, because it happened so suddenly and is done at once.
I lost interest at around 50%
Until then, I was swept up in understanding the world and finding out how it worked. When the focus of the writing shifted to the characters, I wasn’t interested in the book as much.
It’s probably because of the way the characters’ journey was shown, especially a few key places about character growth. The world was great but the characters just did not interest me.
I found the book pretty okay. I didn’t enjoy the book a lot, but it wasn’t bad as well.
Recommended if you like great world-building, dystopian books.
Not recommended if characters and character growth is very important to you.