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“for angels to fly” // winter reading list + playlist

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Winter. Is. Here. Christmas shopping has begun, the lights have been hung up, it has begun to snow in some places, and in my land of very boring weather, it’s actually slightly cold *impressed face*. I hope you have a cup of hot, steaming coffee or chocolate beside you, ’cause here’s a list of books and songs for you to check out this season while chilling out during the holidays.

READING LIST (basically a list of books that are sure to put you in a winter-y mood if IG wasn’t enough):

(These books are all of different genres; I hope you’ll find at least some you’ll like. Click on the book names to go to their respective Goodreads pages)

1. Comfort and Joy – Kristin Hannah

Very Christmas-y, very sweet. Mostly classified as romance and women’s fiction, Comfort and Joy is a cozy tale about relationships with a hint of magic.

2. The Grisha Trilogy – Leigh Bardugo

A series belonging to the genres of fantasy and romance, Bardugo’s books are a delight to read. The Grishaverse is cold and tumultuous, the central nation Ravka inspired by Russia. Although it is classified as YA, I believe it’s equally appealing to many older readers as well.

3. Landline – Rainbow Rowell

A super cute book based around Christmas, Landline has a rather mixed variety of characters, who are not always likeable, but very real all the same. A must-read for fans of Kristin Hannah, John Green, and Cecelia Ahern.

4. The Gift – Cecelia Ahern

Another book based around Christmas, The Gift is a typical Ahern novel – magical and filled with twists and turns. If you want a book that will truly make you introspect as well as put you in a mood for Christmas, this is perfect.

5. No Ordinary Star trilogy – M.C. Frank

Perfect for fans of Ray Bradbury and/or dystopian novels, M.C. Frank’s trilogy No Ordinary Star is the must-read for this winter. The connection to winter and/or Christmas is something you need to find out from the book πŸ˜‰ Also, the third and final installment just came out yay! πŸ˜€ Here’s my review of the first book of the series (I have reviewed all three books on this blog if you want to check them out). Plus, these books have the most gorgeous covers ever.

6. The Gift of the Magi – O. Henry

This is actually a short story, for all you busy people. You have no excuse for getting out of this one. I promise you won’t regret reading it.

7. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas – Agatha Christie

Where are all my fellow Christie fans? This one is my favourite Christmas-y murder story, not to mention one of my top favourite Poirot mysteries.

8. Devil In Winter – Lisa Kleypas

This book is not for everyone. However, if you like an occasional historical romance as a guilty pleasure, this book is one of my favorites. The hero is one of my all-time favourite anti-heroes, and the story is just so sweet :”) You can read it as a standalone, but I’d recommend reading the entire Wallflowers series for full effect.

9. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

If you haven’t read this book, winter is a good time to wrap yourself up in a blanket and speed through it. And if you have read it, this is the perfect season for a re-read, is it not?

10. Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling

Yes, yes, most of you Potterheads have probably started reading this again already. After all, what better time to visit Hogwarts than winter? :”) A winter reading list is incomplete without some HP, it seems.

PLAYLIST (songs to remind you of winter):

http://8tracks.com/mixes/8733662/player_v3_universal

“it’s too cold outside, for angels to fly” // winter playlist from Sripurna on 8tracks Radio.

  1. Winter Things – Ariana Grande
  2. The A Team – Ed Sheeran
  3. Fix You – Coldplay
  4. Silent Night – Taylor Swift
  5. Home – Ramin Djawadi (Stark theme from Game of Thrones)
  6. Mary Did You Know – Pentatonix
  7. Come Away to the Water – Maroon 5
  8. More Than This – One Direction
  9. Take Me To Church – Hozier
  10. Hallelujah – Pentatonix / Leonard Cohen
  11. Last Christmas – Ariana Grande / Taylor Swift
  12. All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey

I hope you are having a great winter, and Merry Christmas!

-Sreepurna.

 

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Looking for a YA series to read this Christmas? // No Vain Loss by M.C. Frank : Book Review

NO VAIN LOSS (NO ORDINARY STAR #3)


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.
This is the One World.
The year is 2524.

Inspired by the short stories of Ray Bradbury, this futuristic young adult novel in three parts 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 parts, this is the breathtaking story of how two unlikely people change the world, and each other, one book at a time.

In No Vain Loss, the world is on the brink of the greatest war humanity has ever known. Lives will be lost. New truths will be revealed.

Review:

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

What I liked:

This series is definitely one of my all-time favorites. I don’t think I have come across a better written young adult series; most of them are either too simplistic, or cheesy, or transparently copying The Hunger Games so that the sales are high. No Ordinary Star on the hand is a fresh story, built on a striking, frozen, cold background (I adore the imagery). The characters are the absolute best. Felix was stupid and adorable and Astra was strong and beautiful and fiery.Β  The first two parts of the story had already stolen my heart, and quite predictably, I found this installment near perfect. It was an absolutely breathtaking read and I just wanted to read without stopping, and in fact forgot to take notes for writing the review (which is why this review is so messy). The books are each really short, they don’t take much time to finish, hardly a sitting or two. However, M.C. Frank packs a huge amount of emotions, suspense, and sheer beauty in these pages. Not going to lie, the ending made me cry and it was beautiful. When I first finished it, I thought there were quite a lot of loose ends, but I feel like I LIKE how the ending is a little unresolved, giving you space to think.

What I didn’t like:

Not much, but I do wish there was more world-building, because I wanted to know more of the world. However, I don’t think the length and the style of the series would really support more intricate details, so I am happy with how it was all the same.

Overall:

If you are looking for short reads to go with your Christmas-y mood, BUT you don’t want to read something too cheesy or too serious, this. is. perfect. I cannot stress more on how much I adore MC. Frank’s versatile writing style, and I highly recommend this series (and her other books) from the very bottom of my heart.

The fact that the covers of all three book are STUNNING is an added plus.

Happy reading guys!

– Sreepurna.

πŸ’œπŸ’™

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“like pieces into place”// fall reading list + playlist

21715002631_5a8b4cb481_bWith technically only one more month left of it, autumn is almost over here in the northern hemisphere. Where I live, it won’t make much of a difference. The sun and the rain will fight as usual, and only a slight chill will settle in over the next few months. However, the internet has finally pulled me into its fall-worshipping madness, and truly, I’m going to miss everyone talking about back-to-school, pumpkin spice lattes, Halloween, and seeing photos of brown and orange leaves on people’s Instagram feeds. So here’s a list of books and songs that I always associate with fall, to celebrate the season that I mostly enjoy vicariously.

Fall Reads:

1. The Raven Cycle (Maggie Stiefvater)

2. Dracula (Bram Stoker)

3. A Court of Thorns and Roses (Sarah J. Maas)

4. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

5. The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Michelle Hodkin)

6. Macbeth (William Shakespeare)

7.Hallowe’en Party (Agatha Christie)

8. Lord of the Rings trilogy (J.R.R Tolkien)

Fall Playlist:

Here’s the link to the 8tracks version of my playlist :http://8tracks.com/mixes/8715936/player_v3_universal

“like pieces into place” // fall playlist from Sripurna on 8tracks Radio.

 

  1. Youth – Daughter
  2. Skinny Love – Birdy
  3. I See Fire – Ed Sheeran
  4. Running With The Wolves – AURORA
  5. Autumn Leaves – Ed Sheeran
  6. All Too Well – Taylor Swift
  7. Wake Me Up When September Ends – Green Day
  8. Run – Snow Patrol
  9. Set Fire To The Rain – Adele
  10. Safe and Sound – Taylor Swift
  11. The Night We Met – Lord Huron

I hope you have the best fall!

Also, if you liked this, please let me know, I’ll make a winter version of this soon then!

~ Sreepurna

❀

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Godblind (The Godblind Trilogy #1)- Anna Stephens ~ Book Review

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Summary:

The Mireces worship the bloodthirsty Red Gods. Exiled from Rilpor a thousand years ago, and left to suffer a harsh life in the cold mountains, a new Mireces king now plots an invasion of Rilpor’s thriving cities and fertile earth.

Dom Templeson is a Watcher, a civilian warrior guarding Rilpor’s border. He is also the most powerful seer in generations, plagued with visions and prophecies. His people are devoted followers of the god of light and life, but Dom harbors deep secrets, which threaten to be exposed when Rillirin, an escaped Mireces slave, stumbles broken and bleeding into his village.

Meanwhile, more and more of Rilpor’s most powerful figures are turning to the dark rituals and bloody sacrifices of the Red Gods, including the prince, who plots to wrest the throne from his dying father in the heart of the kingdom. Can Rillirin, with her inside knowledge of the Red Gods and her shocking ties to the Mireces King, help Rilpor win the coming war?

Review:

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Things I loved about this book:

*So we all know that fantasy is basically The Genre right now, whether it’s the Game of Thrones TV show based on the ASOIAF series or the Throne of Glass series popular among young adults. And do I want more of this genre? Hell yes.

*The characters in this series are AMAZING. I especially loved how realistic Rillirin’s character is, how she is not unnaturally strong and bad-ass like your general heroine these days. Her strength comes from within, and it’s quiet, but it’s world-changing. Lesson: You don’t necessarily need to be an athletic, beautiful assassin to be a strong woman.

*THE SHIPS. I really didn’t expect romance in this book, but it was there and it was beautiful and heart-wrenching and soul-shattering. Call me biased, but I am obsessed with the tender little moments in the otherwise dark and grim world of Godblind.

*Honestly, I didn’t really like the book in the beginning, but it kept getting better and the ending just kind of drove me crazy. I need the second book real bad (and that’s when you know the book was worth the read).

Things I didn’t like:

*The beginning was a bit slow paced.

*Some parts were really, really gruesome. (This is probably not a bad thing for everyone, but everyone has a tolerance limit and this almost pushed mine. Also, when it wasn’t like it was necessary to be that gruesome for plot development, only the shock factor I guess.)

*A lot of the story was pretty close to ASOIAF (but that isn’t REALLY a bad thing for me because I love good old Martin’s books).

Overall:

If you like fantasy, and can stomach a bit of gore in books, this debut is a must-read. It is raw and gritty and in fandom-language, “gives you the right feels”. But it’s also intelligent, realistic and thought-provoking. If you are having a boring weekend which needs some spicing up, this is the book you need.

(HarperCollins did a great job with the cover, check it out here )

four-and-a-half-stars

– Sreepurna.

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Chasing The Sun ~ Katy Colins : Book Review

Summary:

Perfect escapism’ – HeatΒ magazine

Georgia Green is on the conveyor belt to happiness.

Live-in boyfriend, perfect career and great friends, it seems like Georgia is only a Tiffany box away from her happily ever after. But when she arrives in Australia for her best friend’s wedding and is faced with the bridezilla from hell, she starts to realise that she might not want the cookie-cutter ending she thought.

What was meant to be a trip full of sunny days at the beach and wedding planning over cocktails, has turned into another problem for her to fix – just like the ones she’d left behind. With hardly any time for her boyfriend, let alone herself, it feels like there is just too much to juggle. It might be time for Georgia to step off the conveyor belt to find the balance in life and see if she really can have it all…

Review:

Rating: 3.5 stars

Katy Collins’ Chasing the Sun is ideal for anyone who wants a short sweet read that takes them places, and is yet finished within an afternoon. It isn’t the best romance novel out there, but it is realistic, unique, and very cute.

Things I didn’t like:Β 

β€’Β Some parts are pretty melodramatic

β€’ There are parts in the book which are kind of dragging and not very relatable.

β€’ Speaking of which, the protagonist, Georgia Green was not the most relatable character. This is mostly because of her age, her disposition, and her rambling thoughts (which you have to read because the story is in first person narrative).

β€’ It read like a travelogue sometimes, and that wasn’t really my thing.

Things I liked:Β 

β€’ The present-day lingo. I read a lot of contemporary novels, but usually people conveniently forget to mention the extreme usage of technology. I love how everything is so NORMAL here, the number of texts and calls, Facetiming, discussing about Instagram hashtags, etc.

β€’ The main romantic relationship is very realistic and healthy.Β 

β€’ The drama. Oh c’mon we all like a little drama. And when there is a wedding in the story, there is ALWAYS drama.

β€’ The beautiful Australian backdrop. While I don’t enjoy travelogue-style writings, I do enjoy a pretty and unique (relatively?) setting.

β€’ It was really short, the book didn’t feel like a chore, and it’ll put a smile on your face.

Overall:Β 

This book is perfect if you like chick-lit novels with a little soul-searching and self-discovery mixed with romance and drama. Perhaps it isn’t the deepest story which will stay with yoy for years, but hey, we all love a light read sometimes!Β 

~ Sreepurna

πŸ’›

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How To Read Literature Like A Professor – Thomas C. Foster: Book Review

Summary:

What does it mean when a fictional hero takes a journey? Shares a meal? Gets drenched in a sudden rain shower? Often, there is much more going on in a novel or poem than is readily visible on the surface — a symbol, maybe, that remains elusive, or an unexpected twist on a character — and there’s that sneaking suspicion that the deeper meaning of a literary text keeps escaping you.

In this practical and amusing guide to literature, Thomas C. Foster shows how easy and gratifying it is to unlock those hidden truths, and to discover a world where a road leads to a quest; a shared meal may signify a communion; and rain, whether cleansing or destructive, is never just rain. Ranging from major themes to literary models, narrative devices, and form, How to Read Literature Like a Professor is the perfect companion for making your reading experience more enriching, satisfying, and fun.

Review:

Rating: 5/5 stars

Thomas C. Foster is your friend and favorite professor rolled into one. How To Read Literature Like A Professor solved a lot of my problems, and I can assure you, it will do the same for you, provided you are reading it for the right reasons.

Firstly, I’d like to mention that this book is used in a lot of colleges/high schools as a legit recommended reading. (LUCKY YOU). In my opinion, every English class in high school or an undergraduate year should use this book to make lives easier. I am not even exaggerating.

I am an English major in my 2nd year of college as an undergraduate, and this book helped A LOT (understatement). But that shouldn’t be a surprise, the book seems to have been written exclusively for English majors. Right? Wrong.

How To Read Literature Like A Professor isn’t only for us poor fellows doomed with a lifetime of overanalyzing. We learn all this in class anyway, albeit not in such a clear and fun way. This book is for anyone who reads. Any bibliophile who would like to really understand a book. You don’t need to be studying Literature to know a book, to read a book properly. This guide book of sorts gives you a completely new and enriched insight to literature.

If you are a student of literature, doing your masters or PhD, this might not be very useful to you. Foster mainly explains key concepts and tricks that help you read literature, and fill in the gaps your high school English teacher or college professor should have filled (They never do. They’ll expect you to know all this magically).

Foster uses a lot of examples in this book, but it shouldn’t be a problem, because (a) the examples are from pretty common books and (b) whenever he mentions a book, he explains the plot and other details so that you can understand the context.

Conclusion:

I highly recommend this book to all book lovers who need a little help to get to know books better. Not only is Foster’s writing witty and fresh, it also motivates you to go and read some books and really understand them.

Happy Reading!

~Sreepurna πŸ’–

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Not If I See You First ~ Eric Lindstrom : Book Review

Summary:Β 

Parker Grant doesn’t need perfect vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind and never take advantage. There will be no second chances.Β 

When Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart, suddenly reappears at school, Parker knows there’s only one way to react – shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough to deal with already, like trying out for the track team, handing out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible and the more Parker learns about what really happened – both with Scott and her dad – the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem.Β 

Review:Β 

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Things I liked about this book:

● The unique quality : There aren’t many books from the POV of a physically challenged teenager, and this was obviously interesting to read. The writing style was cliche but I like this kind of writing, it was quite captivating.

● The side characters: Gold. Somehow I could relate to a lot of side characters here. Weird.

● Certain parts were very realistic. I like how Parker isn’t really a likable character at first. Even as a whole most characters were very real, people you’d actually meet in your own high school.

● I love that this book focuses on Parker’s entire life rather than her love life specifically. The theme of friendship as depicted in this story is definitely worth reading too.

● The advice-giving sessions conducted by Parker. #RealityCheck πŸ˜‚

Things I didn’t like:

● The ending??! Like what is it with YA contemporary novels and weird endings?

● Scott. I am not sure if I liked him much at all.

Overall:

Comparatively unique YA novel with a well-constructed storyline. I didn’t love the ending, but if you like loose endings where the author leaves things to your own interpretation, this one is for you. Even otherwise, Not If I See You First is worth a read because of its fresh concepts, steady pace and a wonderfully diverse group of characters.

~ Sreepurna

πŸ’œ