Book review, Readathon

What if it’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Statistics

Format: eBook (Kindle)

Length: 448 pages

Genre: Young Adult, LGBTQ+, Romance, Contemporary

Publisher: HarperCollins

Date of Publication: 9th October, 2018

Rating: 4.5/5 stars


I love Becky Albertalli’s writing and have heard so much about Adam Silvera so I was really excited to read this for Pride readathon 2019. I had just finished reading Carry On by Rainbow Rowell and The Upside of Unrequitted by Becky Albertalli and this felt like natural progression.


The Blurb

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is? 

The Book

This was my last read for the Pride Readathon 2019 and what a brilliant way to end the readathon. Although the book began in a very ‘Young Adult’ manner with a meet-cute, it quickly made me sit up and take notice.

I was so happy to see that same-sex couples were so mainstream in the story setting. I was also glad that the author stayed true to reality and showed how something as simple as travelling with your partner could be an opportunity to garner hate from complete strangers. This is, unfortunately, a situation that happens more than is comfortable for my peace of mind.

I liked how the author kept things real even in small seemingly insignificant things like Arthur wanting to do touristy things in New York and wanting to experience everything that the city had to offer. He did not want to miss whatever opportunity that summer provided and I could not begrudge him for that. The Arthur-Ben equation was cute and I loved the do-overs. But I was pulling my hair at how complicated the exes were. I just wanted to push everyone together into a room, lock the door and say “no one gets out till you have figured things out” How ‘serial killer’ of me!

The Authors

Becky Albertalli is a former clinical psychologist who specialized in working with children and teens, Becky lives with her family in Atlanta. 

Adam Silvera is the New York Times bestselling author of More Happy Than Not, History Is All You Left Me, and They Both Die at the End. He worked in the publishing industry as a children’s bookseller, community manager at a content development company, and book reviewer of children’s and young adult novels. He was born and raised in New York. He lives in Los Angeles and is tall for no reason. 


TL;DR: A fun and quick read that touches upon a lot of important issues


Have you read anything written by two authors together?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

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Book review

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Statistics

Format: eBook (Kindle)

Length: 848 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Date of Publishing: 26th February, 2019

Rating: 3/5 stars


With all the hype surrounding the book even before the ARC was distributed, I knew that I absolutely had to read it as soon as the book was out. With its 848 pages, it was going to be one of the largest books that I would have read in recent times and I was excited to see how I would rise to the challenge.


The Blurb

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

The Book

The book contains every element that makes a fantasy fiction a hit among readers. It has magic and mages, queens and dragons, complicated family tree and rules of magic. I loved the fact that the main kingdom is a Queendom. As I am typing this, the in-built grammar check is pointing out that ‘Queendom’ is not a word. This makes it even more important that we make matriarchy as common a subject as patriarchy. The book is also filled with more homosexual relationships than heterosexual relationships. Although I am a big supporter of having LGBT representation in books, here it felt like the author is forcing the characters into it because that is what will get the book more popularity. It did not feel like the natural progression for some of the characters to me. However, I was really glad that same-gender marriages and couplings were such a norm in the book’s world that they could be as openly discussed in public as opposite gender couplings.

The book describes each event from various points of views. The description of the two kinds of dragons was breathtaking however I wish that certain aspects of the world were explained better. How did it come about that the eastern dragons who are regarded as Gods by the people have riders? Was there an event in history that made this a necessity? I also found quite a lot of unnecessary deaths at the beginning of the book. The deaths of Sulyard and Susa did not seem to play any part in the story development. In fact, had Susa been alive, it might have served as better motivation for Tane. Kit died too abruptly for the readers to even realise that he was dead. Although the book is peppered with deaths, none of them felt devastating for me since I had not formed a bond with any of the characters. Tane felt too wishy-washy, Sabran felt too mollycoddled in her environment, Ead felt too unrealistic and Roos felt explainably unlovable. I liked some of the minor characters like Meg and Loth. The flow of the conversation seemed jilted and forced.

For a book as long as this, I was finally beginning to be interested in the story only after about 70% of the book was completed. The complication with the Priory was predictable, as was the final battle. For all the build-up given regarding the Nameless One, he did not feature enough to be memorable. The end was abrupt and the author has left enough unsaid to validate a future second novel if she feels like it.

The Author

Samantha Shannon lives in London. She studied English Language and Literature at St. Anne’s College, Oxford. Her work has been translated into twenty-six languages. The Bone Season, the first in a seven-book series, was a New York Times bestseller and the inaugural Today Book Club selection. Film and TV rights were acquired by the Imaginarium Studios.

Her work include:

  1. The Bone Season (2013)
  2. The Mime Order (2015)
  3. The Song Rising (2017)
  4. On the Merits of Unnaturalness (2015)
  5. The Pale Dreamer (2016)
  6. The Priory of the Orange Tree (2019)

TL;DR: A book that disappointed my high expectations with its predictable and forced plot line


What are some of the books that you had been waiting to be published?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram at @the_food_and_book_life

Book club, Book review

All About Love: New Visions by Bell Hooks

Statistics

Format: eBook (Kindle) all about love-min.jpg

Length: 240 pages

Genre: Self-help, Non-fiction

Publisher: HarperCollins

Date of Publication: 30th January, 2018

Rating: 2.5/5 stars


All About Love was the book of the month for September in the book club hosted by Rashi. We read woman-centric books and focus on non-fiction as much as fiction. In August we read THUG and in July, When I Hit You. As a person who needs an extra push towards the non-fiction genre, I was glad that I found it here.


The Blurb

“All About Love offers radical new ways to think about love by showing its interconnectedness in our private and public lives. In thirteen concise chapters, Hooks explains how our everyday notions of what it means to give and receive love often fail us, and how these ideals are established in early childhood. She offers a rethinking of self-love (without narcissism) that will bring peace and compassion to our personal and professional lives, and asserts the place of love to end struggles between individuals, in communities, and among societies. Moving from the cultural to the intimate, Hooks notes the ties between love and loss and challenges the prevailing notion that romantic love is the most important love of all.

Visionary and original, Hooks shows how love heals the wounds we bear as individuals and as a nation, for it is the cornerstone of compassion and forgiveness and holds the power to overcome shame.

The Book

I am not usually a fan of self-help books and non-fiction does not usually excite me. This book is a combination of both of those genres and reiterated to me why I prefer to stay away from them. The book is divided into thirteen chapters on different kinds of love and how they play a role in the growth of a person. While this concept seemed interesting to me, I was sorely disappointed in its execution. The author was repetitive and self-centered and I was tired of all the self-praise that I saw throughout the book. I do realise that the book is the manifestation of the author’s life experience but I would have loved to read more of the author’s loses and not just her triumphs. It would have definitely made the book more believable to me.

In the introduction, the author says “When a woman over 40 talks about love, the sexist thinking is that she is ‘desperate for a man'”. I see this in every walk of life. Any woman who does not have a man in her life after a particular age is dubbed ‘frustrated’ and her every action is linked to not being happily in love. When was it decided that a woman requires a man in her life for happiness? Not everyone’s goal in life is to snare a man. This kind of thinking needs to stop before the society can make any real progress.

Later, in the first chapter, the author says “learning faulty definitions of love when we are quite young makes it difficult to be loving when we are older”. This is one of the chapters that I liked in the book. It opens a lot of dialogues like the counter-productiveness of teaching children that a boy who pulls a girl’s hair or pushes her down in the playground is only doing it because he likes her. Both boys and girls must be taught the right way to express their feelings and to stop the destructive behaviour before it becomes the norm. I liked how the author explains that when we invest feelings and emotions in a person, we form a cathexis which makes us believe that we love them even when they hurt or neglect us. The thought of ‘I have invested so much time and energy into this relationship to just give up on it’ is one of the reasons that many people stay in an unsatisfying relationship. The quicker the people realise that time is wasted in such relationships the better.

My favourite thing in this chapter was when the author said, “care is a dimension of love but simply giving care does not mean we are loving”. Care is just one of the properties of love and not love itself. It is very important to realise this especially when faced with a narcissist who appears to be caring but in reality, is only manipulating the expression of love.

What I did not agree with is the author’s claims that two parenting figures are necessary for the child to appeal to the second parent regarding any misunderstanding or miscommunication. But this goes against all the popular parenting theories which claim that the parents need to present a united front when making any decision for the child. If we are to use the author’s theory, how does one parent not undermine the other? I also did not like how the author gave an example of fixing the problem regarding a friend’s daughter’s allowance. It was an isolated and rare incident that not many others can emulate. Not every mother would allow a friend to determine things like giving an allowance to her child. This is another example of how the author used exemplary instances of her life to generalise rules for the readers.

I loved how the author pointed out that the power and privilage are accorded to men simply because they are males with a patriarchal culture. With the very essence of feminism being threatened every day, this is a very important statement that all of us would do well to remember. However, I certainly did not agree with the author when she claimed that women gossip more than men. Even with the reason that she gave, it does not give her the right to make such claims especially when surveys like the ones conducted by Telegraph and Daily Mail in the UK say the opposite.

The concept that most workers do not do the work that they love but we can all enhance our capacity to live purposely by learning how to experience satisfaction in whatever work we do was interesting. I will try to emulate it to my work but I think that it will be easier said than done in the present day work culture and the pressure that we are all under.

The Author

Bell Hooks (born Gloria Jean Watkins) is an African-American author, feminist, and social activist. Her writing has focused on the interconnectivity of race, class, and gender and their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and domination. She has published over thirty books and numerous scholarly and mainstream articles, appeared in several documentary films and participated in various public lectures. Primarily through a postmodern female perspective, she has addressed race, class, and gender in education, art, history, sexuality, mass media and feminism.


TL;DR: A thought provoking read which you will need to take your time with


What are some of your favourite non-fiction reads?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

Book review, Received for Review

The Pirate’s Stowaway Bride by Anne Stryker

Statistics

Format: eBook (Kindle) Pirates Stowaway bride-min.JPG

Length: 49 pages

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Fiction

Date of Publication: 1st July, 2018

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review


I was contacted by the author through my blog and asked if I wanted to review the book. I have stayed away from the romance genre after burning my hands (or my eyes and brain?) after a few abysmal reads but the blurb on this was interesting. I figured that it was a short book and took a risk and boy did it pay off! I don’t think I have liked a book in this genre as much as I liked The Pirate’s Stowaway Bride.


 The Blurb

Sit still. Be quiet. Obey.

Adora has lived her entire life under her mother’s strict rules, but when obedience means marrying a man twice her age, something deep within her snaps. Fleeing the night of her wedding, she boards what she assumes is a trade ship and hides among the cargo she hopes won’t be touched until she’s far away from the life she left behind.

She never anticipated being found.

Or finding Fenix.

Fenix believes in freedom, expression, and adventure. When a woman in a wedding gown is found in the belly of his ship with eyes like fire and the disposition of something almost broken, he wants nothing more than to release the flames and mend the cracks.

But with her past catching up to them, he may not have the chance.

The Book

The book begins with a runaway bride who hides away in what she thinks is a trader’s vessel. To her chagrin, she finds that she is surrounded by pirates and she seems to be the only female for miles. I connected with Adora with the way she was brought up, always behaving like a lady, always obeying, always having to prove her worth. My heart went out to her when she described talking herself into the marriage. But, as luck would have it, Adora not only finds female company on the ship, but she also discovers that not all pirates are savages. Some of them even have morals in-built in them.

Fenix is now my new book boyfriend, or he would have been had the story been more than its 49 pages. He is equal parts mischievous and stoic. He does his best to make Adora comfortable in the midst of his crude shipmates. He encourages her to discover herself and ‘let the fire burn’. Isn’t that what we all aim to do? Live life on our terms and be ourselves in all situations?

Although the story seemed too good to be true and lost half a star from me, I believe that the karma of Adora suffering all through her life with the shadow of her mother’s indiscretion and the lack of father’s love caught up with her and the Universe decided to reward her with a bit of luck. The action scenes were fascinating and the chemistry between the lady and the pirate was palpable. It was the perfect feel-good story and I would love to read more of the adventures of Adora, Fenix, and Seagull.

The Author

Anne Stryker is an animal lover, a romance writer and aook hugger. She is intent on creating HEA and inspirational stories, most focusing on fantastical romances of every degree.

Her work include:

  1. The Pirate’s Stowaway Bride (2018)
  2. The Moon Faerie’s Night Sky (2018)
  3. Hovering Above Chaos (2018)
  4. Escapism: A Novella Collection (2018)

TL;DR: A lovely short story that is fast paced and leaves you with a good feeling in your heart


Do you like the romance genre?

What is your favourite?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

Book review, Readathon, Wrap-up

Pride Readathon 2018 wrap-up

Statistics

Total number of books: 5.5 PhotoGrid_1531034901929-min.jpg

Start date: 1st June, 2018

End date: 31st June, 2018

Highest Rating: 5/5 stars

Lowest Rating: DNF

Best Book: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller


If you have been following my blog last month, you would have noticed that I took part in two readathons- The Pride Readathon hosted by Sai Ram and Dhruv Singhal and the Love is Love Readathon hosted by Books N Beyond. I wanted to do something special for the Pride Month in support of the LGBT community and being a bibliophile, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to popularize equal rights for them.

I had a wonderful time curating books for the readathon. I initially had 12 books on the list but I could only manage to complete five and a half because of other review deadlines. However, all the 5 reads were brilliant five star reads. I did not finish a book because it just did not do anything for me and I did not want to waste time with it.

Here is a wrap of the reads and the proposed reads for the Pride Readathon-

  1. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (5/5 stars) This book has been receiving a lot of eyeballs due to the recent movie adaptation and is considered to be one of the key books in recent LGBT literature so  I decided to start with this and boy, was I glad I did! The book deals with the coming of age of high school students, the discovery of their sexual identity, bullying, acceptance and the need to fit in. It was a very sweet story that was funny and had a lot of lovable characters. It had great family values as  well. I cannot wait to watch the movie.
  2. Less by Andrew Sean Greer– (5/5 stars) This was a story of a gay author, Arthur who discovers that he is nearing his fiftieth birthday with nothing to show for it. He sets out on a tour around the world in order to find new material for his book. It was a very ‘grown-up’ book with complex characters and discussion of serious issues regarding the way that the LGBT community has been perceived from the 70s to the present day. I was saddened to learn that on top of everything else that an author has to deal with, a gay author also has to deal with how his book will make the world percieve the gay community.
  3. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller– (5/5 stars) This was my favourite book of the readathon and one of my favourite books overall. I love historic fiction and a descriptive story and this book gave me both of those things. It is a story of Patroclus and Achilles where we seen them grow up from innocent children to capable young adults. The protagonist is the underdog Patroclus and not the GodChild Achilles. I loved how even though the boy is not considered worthy of being friends with the Prince, Achilles should him nothing but equality.
  4. Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli– (5/5 stars) This was the second book in the Creekwood series after Simon. It concentrates on Leah, a lonely bisexual drummer who hasn’t come out to anyone other than her mother. She is tormented by longing and is confused by the attention that she receives from her supposed straight friend. The book deals with how straight people take it for granted to be handsy with gay people and don’t consider how it might come off as. It also deals with the feeling of being alone in a crowd and the loneliness that comes even when surrounded by a group of loving friends. This book spoke to me on levels that Simon did not reach.
  5. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang–  (5/5 stars)This was my first graphic novel. I have never read much of comic books even as a kid and was apprehensive about how much I would really like this book. But I discovered that I loved the colorful images and the beautiful illustrations. The book tells a story of a Prince who likes to cross-dress. While cross-dressing is not purely inclusive in the LGBTQ+ genre, I considered the book since cross-dressing is identified as a type of transgender behaviour but does not necessarily indicate transgender identity.
  6. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth- I had very high expectations for this book. It is the story of Cameron, a young teen who is just realising her sexuality and is (mis)educated about it by her Aunt in the hopes of bringing her close to God. I however found the writing too monotonous. I did read 50% of the book but could not bring myself to finish it. It is one of the few books that have gone into the DNF category for me.

Here is also a list of the books that were on my TBR list for the Pride Readathon but did not get read due to time constraints-

  1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
  2. Maurice by E. M. Foster
  3. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
  4. They Both Die in the End by Adam Silvera
  5. History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
  6. The Upside of Unrequitted by Becky Albertalli

Although I only read a handful of books for the readathon, I now have a mighty TBR to tackle. I was glad that all of the books that I read were wonderful and I look forward to reading the others on the list.


What did you do for the Pride Month?

Did you read anything that was LGBT related?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

Book review, Readathon

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Statistics

Format: eBook (Kindle)

IMG_20180610_110751-01-01-min

Length: 352 pages

Genre: Historic Fiction, LGBTQ+

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

First publication: 20th September, 2011

Rating: 5/5 stars


Last month BooksNBeyond had a #slaythetbr readathon that I participated in. Since June is Pride Month, the theme of their readathon is #loveislove. The Song of Achilles was the first book that I picked for their prompt “A book sent in a books n beyond box”. It is also the third book for the #pridereadathon organised by Sai Ram and Dhruv Singhal, the 1st being Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda and next Less. Historic Fiction is my favourite genre and I absolutely loved this book right from the first chapter.


The Blurb

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.

The Book

The Song of Achilles begins with the protagonist Patroclus, a young prince struggling with meeting the high and unrealistic expectations set for him by his father, King Menoitius. When he accidentally kills his bully and fails to lie his way out of it, he is exiled by his father. Fortunately for him, he is fostered by King Peleus of Phthia where he meets his beloved Achilles. The boys grow up in Phthia and in Mount Pelion under the guidance of Phoinix the councelor and Chiron the Centuar. How the love blossoms and how grownup responsibilities destroy everything that the boys hold dear is what makes up the story.

I love a book that is written from the point of view of the underdog. Patroclus, the unassuming sidekick to Achilles’ godlike divinity is given a voice of his own. His struggles are struggles that all of us face- to learn, to grow, to have his own identity. However, he understands that Achilles is destined for greatness and does not stand in his way nor demand anything in return for his undying devotion to his cause. The innocence of the love that grown between Patroclus and Achilles was beautiful to watch. Thetis’ treatment of Achilles and later of Pyrrhus was sad to observe. It seemed that all she cared about was their fame which would indirectly reflect on her. Her disapproval of Patroclus is something that we seen even in parents. However, she redeemed herself in my eyes in the last few pages.

I loved Achilles throughout the book. He was aware of his greatness but treated everyone with fairness, was not conceited nor was he entitled. However, he broke my heart with his treatment of the Greeks at the end of the book and I blamed him entirely for what happened to Partoclus. The interaction of the Kings and Princes reminded me of Game of Thrones but was more believable. Odysseus was one of my favourite characters and I wish he had more roles to play. I was picturing the movie Troy with Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom and Eric Bana for the period costumes and landscapes.

I was glad for the Character Glossary at the end of the book. We have all heard of these Greek Gods, Goddesses and Heroes but the story that we know slightly differs from the author’s. This is explained at the end of the book and gave me closure. I was glad that the author stuck to the real story. That is, after all what historic fiction is all about. I was impressed with the handling of the LGBT theme in that era. It is very sad to see that what was considered normal in the 1st Century AD is considered by many as abnormal in the 21st. The book is fast-paced and difficult to put down and the story will stay with me for a long time.

The Author

Madeline Miller was born in Boston and grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. For the last ten years she has been teaching and tutoring Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students. She has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA, where she teaches and writes. The Song of Achilles is her first novel.


TL;DR: A beautifully presented story of characters that we are all familiar with, shown in a new light.


Do you love historic fiction?

What is your favourite?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

Book review, Received for Review

Between the Grooves by Steve Dickinson

Statistics

Format: eBook (Kindle)

IMG_20180606_192806_HHT-01-min.jpeg

Length: 161 pages

Genre: Dystopian, Sci-fi, Gore

Publisher: Olympia Publishers

Rating: 4/5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review


I have had a very pleasant experience reviewing books for Olympia Publishers. I have already reviewed Great Grandma Joins the Circus, Police Officer Penny and Living on the Edge for them so when I was offered more choices, I picked Between the Grooves, Bill the Jungle Octopus and Operation Pied Piper from the list. I was sent the physical copies of the latter two books and the ebook for Between the Grooves.


The Author

A twist of fate landed Steve Dickinson in a retraining college. When the course was complete, among the certificates came the ability to touchitype. Not known for many skills, he was determined to keep this one. Soon bored of copying the written word, he closed his eyes and let his imagination roam.

Seventeen years later, he is an addicted writer.

The Blurb

Seemingly, Michael Lincoln is the last sane man in a world that’s gone mad overnight.
On his quest for survival against a population of crazies, Michael Lincoln is tormented by a recurring dream that insists he travels in a southerly direction. Sanity, in the form of an alcoholic, a super model, and an exhibitionist, join Michael along the hazardous journey.”

The Book

The book begins with Michael finding that the world is nearly deserted and those who remain seem to have been rendered insane. They commit horrifying acts of violence and seem to crave sexual gratification in the most bizarre ways. I was warned by the publishing house that the book contains graphic content and boy, was the content graphic! I was horrified and wanted to skip certain scenes but like Michael, I could not tear myself away from it.

The story moves on with Michael meeting other sane people and they team up to survive in a world of ‘crazies’. The foul mouthed tomboy Abbey, the helpful drunk Harry, the beautiful model Natasha and the exhibitionist Ava are helped in their quest to find a safe haven by Michael’s recurring dreams telling them to travel due South and then West. They are constantly under threat from the mysterious crossbow wielding ape-men.

The book is written from the points of view of each character. We are left wondering what caused the craziness to appear and how it progressed until the very end. We are also not given the exact dates of the events until the end. The last 20% of the book is where all the secrets are revealed. I felt that the story moved a bit too fast here and I had to re-read a couple of pages to understand what was going on. Even after all the effort I was still left with a couple of questions but isn’t that what all of sci-fi stories do? They make your imagination soar and leave you feeling like there is more to the story than what you just read. It was fast paced and kept my interest till the very last page and would certainly benefit from a sequel.


TL;DR: A fast paced, action packed story that keeps you on your toes till the very end.


Are you one of the people who like gore?

What would you recommend in that genre?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

Book review

The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Statistics

Format: eBook (Kindle) BeautyPlus_20180519130720580_save-min.jpg

Length: 348 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Random House Children’s Publication

Rating: 5/5 stars


This book has been on my TBR since a long time. I finally decided to give it read as a part of the readathon by BooksNBeyond. More on the readathon coming up in later posts.

The book has won several awards like California Book Award for Young Adult (Gold) (2016)Michael L. Printz Award Nominee (2017)John Steptoe New Talent Author Award (2017)Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Young Adult Fiction (2016)


The Author

Nicola Yoon writes in the Yong Adult genre. She grew up in Jamaica and Brooklyn and currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

Her work include:

  1. Everything, Everything (2015)
  2. The Sun is Also A Star (2016)

The Blurb

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

The Book

The Sun is Also A Star is a story set in a single day in the lives of two 17 year olds- Daniel and Natasha, but what a day it turns out to be! It shows how destiny can change the course of your entire life just in the matter of one day. All the events leading up to a particular moment can align themselves to make (or break) your day. It is divided into chapters that tell the story from the points of view of each character. It also has pages dedicated to various side characters and brief histories of each of them.

Daniel is a Korean-American, more American than Korean much to the chagrin of his immigrant parents. They moved to America, The Land of Opportunities in order to give their sons a future that they could only dream of. However, their idea of The American Dream is very different from their sons’. This leads to numerous altercations between the parents and the sons. A similar story occurs with Natasha and her Jamaican parents. Their history is complicated by the fact that her father is a dreamer who feels slighted by destiny. He is frustrated and blames his family for his failure which does not do any favours to their psyche.

Destiny is something that people either believe in or they don’t. Daniel is a boy with a heart of a poet and earnestness coming out of him in oodles. Natasha is a girl with a scientific mind who sees the world in black and white. Terms like love and fate are explained in terms of chemicals in the brain and multiverses of infinite possibilities for her. However, on that fateful day, the Universe decides to play matchmaker and puts them into each others paths. I loved how Natasha had a scientific explanation for everything while Daniel explained it with a more whimsical twist. He is not a boy with his head in the clouds. He is smart and witty but believes that there is an unexplained force that helps to bind the world together. I loved both of the characters and the age-old science vs destiny debate.

The book deals with the anxiety of every immigrant parent who wants their children to have all the opportunities that the new country offers but also wants them to remember their roots, their culture and their tradition. The children, who have grown up with dreams and values of the new country do not really understand what their parents want from them and are torn between wanting to please their parents but also have a life that they see their peers living. I loved how each event of the day has a consequence that includes not just the people involved in the event but everyone around them. The attorney’s actions with his paralegal is the perfect example of a butterfly event with the ripples reaching into the lives of not just Daniel and Natasha but his future children as well. I enjoyed Natasha’s explanations of dark matter and The Grandfather Paradox. I was glad that the characters were not romanticised and each event was taken at face value. If I had to nitpick, I would say that the epilogue was unnecessary and the story had already reached its natural end without it.


TL;DR: A beautifully written story with well established characters that made me feel good while breaking my heart.


What are some of your favourite reads?

Give me some suggestions and I might just feature you in my reviews.

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

Book review, Received for Review

The White Room by C. M. Albert

Statistics

Format: eBook (Kindle) Screenshot_20180509-141536-01-min

Length: 218 pages

Genre: Erotica, Romance

Publisher: Flower Work Press

Rating: 3/5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.


I had subscribed to Xpresso Book Tours and agreed to do a bit of promotion regarding new books and authors and also to review certain books. The White Room was one such book. I was curious to see how it compared to 50 Shades of Grey, the only other erotica that I have read.So I went ahead and gave it a read and here is what I thought of it.


The Author

USA Today Best Selling Author C.M. Albert writes heartwarming romances that are both “sexy and flirty, sweet and dirty!”

Her writing infuses a healthy blend of humor, inspiration, and romance. She’s a sucker for a good villain, but a die-hard believer in everlasting love.

In her spare time, she and her husband wrangle their two kids and enjoy spending time outdoors. When not writing or kid wrangling, C.M. Albert is also a book editor, Certified Medical Reiki Master, chocolate chip cookie aficionado, kindness ambassador, and seeker of naps.

The Blurb

What we do behind closed doors reveals the naked truth of who we really are.” 

Welcome to the White Room . . . The rules are simple:
No real names.
No commitment.
Two hours.

They’re put into place to protect us—exclusive clients lucky enough to afford the cost of playing. But everyone knows: some rules are made to be broken. 

When hearts and bodies collide, even the best intentions slip away . . . exposing the true reasons why we seek the room in the first place.

Will the White Room set you free? Step inside and find yourself.

* * * 

The White Room is a five-star STEAMY contemporary romance that takes off from page one and leaves you breathless and panting for more with each new chapter. This book IS different from my first three books as the heat has been dialed up times a thousand! 

Thirteen chapters explore different couples as they discover the naked truth behind their desires, limits, lessons, love, and what they really crave in life. The White Room is non-stop heat from page one, but don’t let that fool you. There’s plenty of heart, humor and depth woven into each couple’s adventure.

The Book

We have all grown up reading Mills & Boons on the sly and have a strong rebellious bond attached to the books. Following that, we came across 50 Shades of Grey which proved to be to older adults what M&B was for young adults. It is not often that a book delivers both on raunchy details as well as a believable storyline and I was curious to see what sort of a book The White Room would turn out to be.

The book consists of 13 different chapters which are 13 different stories told from the points of view of various recurring characters. It began great with steamy scenes right off the bat. The first couple of stories were fun to read and ended on a high note with the characters bolstering each other’s courage and helping each other with their problems. However, this seemed to go against everything that the White Room stood for. All the stories held the same problem for me. The premise was that the White Room was strictly anonymous and cardinal rule was that the participants were not allowed to exchange personal details. However, it was seen that many of the partners knew each other in real life and every single one of them exchanged important details. It was later also seen that the participants were able to request and obtain specific partners. Although it was explained that the rules were being changed, it did not seem feasible that such a steadfast rule could be changed so easily and in any case, it spoilt the experience for me.

While the book did not stay true to course and gave us personal story on each of the characters, I did not form a bond with any of them. We weren’t provided with enough backstory and all of the details seemed a bit too dramatic to feel real. I also did not like the fact that any character that entered the story as a ‘dominant’ or as a ‘submissive’ did not stick to its role. I wish inconsistencies such as this and the dilution of the exclusivity of the White Room were eliminated from the book. Having said that, the book delivered more than it’s money’s worth in steamy scenes. Every story had more than one scene and they were all unique and kept the interest of the reader.


TD;DR: A steamy book that delivers on its brief about the eroticism


Have you read any ‘adult’ books?

What would you recommend I read next?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life

Book review, Received for Review

Fate of Farellah by Brindi Quinn

Statistics

Format: eBook (Kindle)

Length: 392 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Rating: 4/5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.


AS a part of the Brindi Quinn Review Warriors Street Team I get to read all of Brindi’s books and I could not be happier. She is in the process of publishing the sequel to Lightborne and I cannot wait to read it. I have just one more of Brindi’s books to be read (Atto’s Tale) and I hope that the new book is published as soon as I’m done with it.


The Blurb

This is the tragic, beautiful tale of a girl
without a soul. I am that girl and this is my story. Let’s start at the end . . .

Everything was black for a time.
“Let go!”
There was a distant cry. Was it for me?
“Aura, LET GO!”
Yes, it was for me. And no, I’d never let go again. There was no way. He was mine. All of him was mine. We were meant to be this way.
We were meant to be one.

Songstress Aura Telmacha Rosh continues her quest into the mist to free the moon from a corrupt angel. As she battles Nyte’s destiny, she must also fight the ‘small something’ that pulses along with her heart. Will she be able to release the Song of Salvation before time is up?

The Book

This is the third book in the series and starts where the previous book left off. Here we see the characters develop more with all of their backstories making more sense. The way Brindi writes her stories, you do not know what is happening unless she wants you to know. Since Ardette is my favourite character, I have tried to guess his story from the time that he was introduced in the first book. But what was revealed here blew my mind. I could not have imagined it in a million years.

The story grew a lot more complex in this book and we see the technicalities that govern the world that Aura lives in come into play. Their walk through the mist lands was very interesting but I did not fully comprehend all the deals with the moon. As per usual, Brindi weaves a very vivid fantasy land and I was blissfully lost in the descriptions. I could not get enough of Ardette’s story and am hoping that the last book in the series has even more of him. I wish Aura was a bit more strong without having the need to be carried around that much and without having her guard make decisions like when she needs to be put to bed. But the unselfish way with which she decides to answer the moon’s question put her back into my good graces.


TL;DR: A great book for everyone that loves fantasy with vivid descriptions of places made to seem realistic at the same time.


What are your favourite fantasy places to visit?

Tell me in the comments below or on my Instagram @the_food_and_book_life