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No Plain Rebel- M.C. Frank: Review //Goes straight to my Top 5 reads of 2016


No Plain Rebel (No Ordinary Star #2)

M.C. Frank

Summary:

A soldier is summoned to the North Pole, days before the year changes, told to fix a the great Clock for a celebration. He has no idea what to do. 

A girl, hunted for the crime of being born, almost dies out on the ice. She is rescued by the last polar bear left alive. 

A library waits for them both, a library built over a span of a hundred years, forgotten in the basement of an ice shack. 

The world hasn’t known hunger or sickness in hundreds of years. It has also forgotten love and beauty. 

The year is 2525. 


Inspired by the short stories of Ray Bradbury, this futuristic novel is set in a world where Christmas -among other things- is obsolete and a Clock is what keeps the fragile balance of peace. 

Written in three installments, this is the breathtaking and sensual story of how two unlikely people change the world, and each other, one book at a time. 

Immerse yourself into the icy cold world of this scorching hot new novel. 

In No Plain Rebel, Felix finds out the truth. 

Or so he thinks. He’s trying to come to terms with that, as well as with the fact that the Clockmaster’s shack has been discovered by his fellow-soldiers, but he can’t exactly concentrate. The match girl’s fiery curls appear before his eyes every ten seconds, distracting him, and then he starts talking to her in his head. 

Because she’s no longer there. 

The Stadium is looming in the distance. 

It’s ten heartbeats to midnight.


Review:
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5

This book is magic.

“I hate you back, he tries to say, only his lungs can’t draw in enough air.” 

Things I liked about this book:

Everything. I repeat, EVERYTHING.

Writing reviews is sometimes really frustrating. I just can’t explain how sincere I am about my feelings for this book. It’s so easy not to trust a review. And so difficult to make people believe I mean every word from the bottom of my heart.

M.C. Frank is amazingly talented. I have read her book Ruined before this (https://thelonelybooklover.wordpress.com/2016/09/09/ruined-by-m-c-frank-review-spoiler-free/), it’s a historical romance which I LOVED. I can’t believe the same person can write a dystopian fiction with such ease and make it COMPLETELY different and unique. As I mentioned in my review of book 1 of this series (https://thelonelybooklover.wordpress.com/2016/11/28/no-ordinary-star-part-1-m-c-frank-book-review-this-will-be-short-because-i-need-to-read-the-next-part-now/), I am in awe.

When M.C. Frank describes the freezing cold breeze of the North Pole, you literally shiver. No joke. When she writes of Astra describing Felix holding her, I kid you not, it felt like someone lit a warm cosy fire near my soul.

I stayed up till 2.00 a.m. last night, reading No Plain Rebel and came to the conclusion that it is one of my favorite dystopian novels. I have read many books of this genre, in fact I started finding them quite boring and similar. But ohmygod this series is so good I can literally cry.

I am so emotionally vested in Astra and Felix’s lives, that my heart is in the author’s hands now. I don’t have any idea what can happen in the third book of the series but I am waiting with bated breath to find out.

Things I didn’t like about the book: 

This probably makes me a bad reviewer, but I couldn’t find a single flaw in this book.If you don’t believe me, read the book and show me ONE flaw.

Also:

This is not a sad book per se. And I don’t usually cry after reading books (I did not cry after TFIOS or Nicholas Sparks books). Then why did I tear up while reading No Plain Rebel?

I guess you never know WHAT could be a trigger for someone. You could find something cute, while I could cry buckets over the same story.

Also (this is the last one):

Please read this book. I am not asking as a reviewer. I am asking as a fellow book lover. If you want to read a solid good book which teaches you things and yet want to enjoy it, read this book.

Amazon purchase links: 

No Ordinary Star (Part 1):  https://www.amazon.com/No-Ordinary-Star-M-C-Frank/dp/1518681093

No Plain Rebel (Part 2): https://www.amazon.com/No-Plain-Rebel-Ordinary-Star/dp/1519171994

~Sripurna ❤

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How to motivate yourself to study (10 steps) // Study motivation tips 

I haven’t done a non-book-review post in ages!😂

I am a freshman in college, and my first semester just ended. Can’t motivate yourself to study? Trust me, there is no one more sympathetic than I am. But if your finals are near, and you just CAN’T sit long enough to study, here are some things that can help you to concentrate more, and be more inspired to study.

Comment below if you already use any of these tricks or found this article useful! ^_^

1. Get inspiration! : Studyblr

Studyblr is this community on Tumblr that post pictures and tips and tricks about studying. They post about everything study-related, and I swear this is SO inspiring. When you see other people studying and working hard, it triggers this part of your brain, and makes you go, “Hey, I can do this too!”. If you aren’t on Tumblr, you can search with the same keyword on Google Images or Pinterest.

However, like all things Tumblr, studyblr is also very addictive, and sometimes you just end up wasting a lot of time looking at pictures of other people working instead of getting your own work done. So I’d suggest you do this a while before you start your actual preparations. That way you’ll be inspired, but it won’t take away the crucial hours of the week before the finals.

2. Dress for success 

I am not telling you dress up like you are going to a party, no. Dress comfortably, be relaxed. But sometimes getting too comfortable makes you feel lazy, specially if you already have a habit of falling asleep while studying. So dress a LITTLE less homely, maybe wear a pair of jeans instead of PJs?

3. Search for your study space. 

It doesn’t matter where you study as long  as you can concentrate there. I know everybody says that you shouldn’t study on your bed, but I don’t own a study desk, and my bed is where I get most of my studying done. It’s completely your own decision. You can also try a library or somewhere outdoors if that’s what works for you.

4. Tidy it up!:  Clean your study space

This one is a no-brainer. The moment a desk or your bed is cleaner, you’ll feel more motivated to begin working. So pop those headphones and start cleaning that messy desk before your finals week, and KEEP IT CLEAN.

5. Start planning: Schedule

You don’t need any fancy BuJo (although I am guilty of using a DIY-ed one 🙈 ). Just get a clean piece of paper, decide your study schedule for the day or preferably the whole week. Working with a checklist next to you is VERY motivating and you’ll definitely be more driven to finish your work, and put that tick on your schedule page.


6. Words mean a lot: Inspirational quotes

I used to hate those typical inspirational sayings, but during exams they just make so much sense. By nature I am an unambitious person, and that is VERY detrimental to my studies. These quotes make me want to work harder and achieve something, even if the feeling is temporary.

Tip : You might want to put these quotes somewhere where you’ll see it often. Like maybe as your phone wallpaper?

Check Pinterest for more, but REMEMBER TO GET BACK TO STUDYING.

7. Phone a friend!: Discuss studying with friends

I am against group study because I love my friends and I have too much fun with them to put all that aside and actually study. But, when you aren’t together, it’s easier to change the topic when you are texting. Try texting about studying. Ask them what they are studying now, how much they have completed. Also, if they have any doubt, explain the topic to them, and you’ll be done with your own revision that way.

8. Take what you need

Before sitting down for a study session, take out all that you might need, so that you don’t have to get up again and again to bring over stuff. This decreases distractions. (I feel like making a post about “Things you need for a study session” 😂) (I am on a roll)

9. Keep away distractions

I ALWAYS need my phone to study because I study a LOT of things online (Sparknotes, JSTOR, Wikipedia :p ), so it’s very difficult for me to keep away distractions. I can neither switch off the phone, nor turn off the WiFi. So what I do is turn off notifications for Whatsapp and other apps, and I also close any tabs that might distract me (like Kindle. How many times have you started reading a book when you should be studying?)

10. Be creative : Make your notes pretty 

Don’t spend a lot of time on this. Most people think this is an utter waste of time, my friends have even laughed at my notes, but this works for me. I like being creative and artsy, so decorating my notes is one way to make myself sit with my notebook and read the material. If you are a very studious person who uses up every second to study, or if you are a person who does not study AT ALL and won’t know where to draw the line, I suggest you don’t do this. But it’s fun. And colourful notes help you remember things better.

…………………

However, these are just some tricks that worked for ME. I hope it works for you, but obviously we are all different people and I can’t guarantee you that these tricks will work for sure.

Remember to comment and follow me for more such articles!

~ Sripurna ❤

*All photos used are taken by me. Please use credit in case you use it again.*

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No Ordinary Star (Part 1) – M.C. Frank : Book Review // This will be short because I NEED TO READ THE NEXT PART NOW

Summary :

A soldier is summoned to the North Pole, days before the year changes, told to fix the great Clock for a celebration. He has no idea what to do. 

A girl, hunted for the crime of being born, almost dies out on the ice. She is rescued by the last polar bear left alive. 

A library waits for them both, a library built over a span of a hundred years, forgotten in the basement of an ice shack. 

The world hasn’t known hunger or sickness in hundreds of years. It has also forgotten love and beauty. 

The year is 2525. 


Inspired by the short stories of Ray Bradbury, this futuristic novel is set in a world where Christmas -among other things- is obsolete and a Clock is what keeps the fragile balance of peace. 


Written in three installments, this is the breathtaking and sensual story of how two unlikely people change the world, and each other, one book at a time. 


Immerse yourself into the icy cold world of this scorching hot new novel.


Review:

Rating : 5/5 

So I have been staring at my computer screen for the last five minutes, thinking about what to write.

Because I don’t think I am capable of writing a review for this book.

I am in awe.

This book isn’t like anything I have ever read before. I closed my Kindle app, and I am looking around and surprisingly THIS world seems surreal now. This tiny book that took me two really short sittings to finish captivated me so much that the STORY seems more real than reality.

Do I even make sense right now?

I COULD write about the storyline right now. But you already have Goodreads and Amazon for that. Or I could write a detailed literary essay, except I haven’t read anything by Bradbury, whose writings inspired this story, so I don’t think I am qualified enough to do that.

All I can say is HOLY HELL THIS BOOK NEEDS MORE HYPE. Because No Ordinary Star has EVERYTHING. It is deep, it is amazingly unique, it has suspense. The world building is perfect, there is no introduction to the world, you just have to keep reading the book to figure things out.The characters are so foreign and yet so natural.

I am fangirling too much right now to write anything more coherent. I hope I could express the effect No Ordinary Star had on me.

Go. Read. It. Whatever your usual genre is. It doesn’t matter.

~Sripurna ❤

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A Torch Against The Night (AEITA #2) ~ Sabaa Tahir : Review

Summary

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.


Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.


But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.


Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

Review :

Rating : 4 /5 

Thank you Harper Collins India for the review copy. ❤ 

Okay so don’t kill me. I know EVERYBODY loved this book. And while I admire Tahir’s writing style, the story was just not my type. First of all, I am tired of these brave young things saving the world. It’s too cliche right now,  after the numerous fantasy or dystopian novels we have read about the same topic. Moreover, there wasn’t a single character I could relate to. I respected them all, Laia, Elias, Helene – they are marvellously courageous people, but they aren’t close to my heart. I did not like the path the story took, some actions were unnecessary. Also, somehow Helene started taking up a huge role, shadowing Elias and Laia, and because I didn’t like her from the first book itself, I resented the fact that she took up the limelight. The lack of emotions in the characters also tires me. The AEITA fandom showers love and emotion, but the characters themselves are so stoic, even in the saddest situations. I get that it’s part of who they are, the plot requires them to be this way, but I don’t necessarily like it. 

All this being said, I think this book is WONDERFUL with respect to the writing quality. The sentences are beautifully constructed, and the world-building has been vivid. The language used is so very appropriate with that setting.

There were surprise elements which shocked the hell out of me, and I was moved by many of the scenes. There is a lot of intelligent action in this book. Sabaa Tahir is an amazing author, however, I believe this just isn’t my genre anymore. 

~ Sripurna ❤

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Review: Boy Band by Jacqueline E. Smith


Summary: 

Sam Morneau is Melissa Parker’s best friend. He’s also a member of The Kind of September, basically the hottest boy band on the planet. 

After two and a half years, Mel is all too familiar with the day-to-day occurrences that come with being a member of the band’s inner circle, including hectic schedules, passionate fans, and gossip-mongering celebrity girlfriends. 

Now, with the release of the group’s third album just weeks away, their lives have never been crazier and Mel is doing everything she can to keep up, all the while trying to cope with the ridiculous rumors that follow the band everywhere they go and pretending that she isn’t harboring a secret and hopeless crush on Sam. 

It’s weird enough being in love with your best friend. It’s even weirder when the rest of the world is in love with him, too.

Review:

Rating: 4.5 stars

*Lots of thanks to the author for providing me with the review copies. My review, however, is impartial and unbiased.*

Things I liked about this book:

 This simple YA story took me back to 2 years back when I had started reading this genre. It reminded me of how relatable a YA novel can be. Don’t get me wrong, my best friend/ crush isn’t some celebrity. In fact I don’t have a crush on my best friend at all. But something about Mel’s feelings and attitude is really familiar and realistic.

● Let’s just admit that Sam is awesome ❤

● I love how the whole book stays linked with music. I have read a ton of books about rock stars, and all they do is sing a song in the end of the book to woo the heroine. But in Boy Band, every chapter began with a few lines from one of the band’s songs, and the whole story integrated the musical part of their lives as well the personal parts.

● The characters were so realistic, it really made me wonder about real life boy bands and their lives. It felt like this book was sort of a journal or a documentary for a real boy band!

● The ending! I would have given this book 3.5 stars if not for that ending. I loved it, and I wasn’t expecting it at all, but I highly support it. 😂😂

Things I didn’t like about this book:

I wanted a little more angst and feels, I think.

Overall:

This is a cute and fun YA romance perfect for pre-teens and teens. All the characters– Sam, Mel and the rest of the band and crew are really interesting and have their own dynamic. Also, this is a book where the book summary isn’t misleading at all. If you like the blurb, you’ll love the book. Also this a very short read (all the 3 books in this series are short), so all of you busy teens out there, go ahead and pick this up already.

I wish I could read the 2nd book literally NOW, but I have my finals this month and I don’t think I’ll be able to read it before 23rd November. 😭 But watch this space after that for more 😊

Buy Boy Band on Amazon

~ Sripurna.