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Salt for Air – M.C. Frank : Book Review

40119041Salt for Air by M.C. Frank

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Genre: YA romance, urban fantasy)

I started this book yesterday, then woke up at 4 a.m. today to finish it.

I don’t know why, but I was a little scared to pick this book up. I had already delayed reading it because of several other preoccupations in the last few months, and I planned to read it this winter for sure. But when I finally opened the book, I felt like I might not like it. I have LOVED all of M.C. Frank’s books, and it was possibly the high expectations that felt intimidating to me as a reader. I am also not much of a fan of YA novels, but made an exception for M.C. Frank’s lovely writing. Salt for Air did not disappoint.

What I liked about this book:

– The plot and the world-building was great. I am obsessed with fairy-tale retellings of all sorts, and this one was perfect.

– One thing I love about M.C. Frank’s books is how intense the stories are. The characters are brimming with all sorts of emotions and I love reading about them trying to figure it all out. I like my romance novels a bit angsty, and Frank’s books have all the angst I need.

– I adore the setting of this book and how the author deals with it. Ellie keeps comparing American contemporary YA fiction to her own life, and her tone is very similar to what I, as an Indian, think every time I read one of those books. Although Greece and India are very different countries, they both carry a rich cultural heritage and an ancient history. It was very easy for me to relate to Ellie in that sense. If you like your YA books to be set in places other than a small town in North America, Salt for Air is a great choice.

– The characters and the settings are really vibrant and real. Although half of them were mythological creatures come to life, they were still very humane, despite their attempts to act like they weren’t.

What I didn’t like:

– I think the narrative focused on Ellie a lot, and sometimes too much. I would have liked to know more about Ky especially – his feelings, his motivations – not to mention about the realm that he is supposed to be king of. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a sequel, because I really think this book has potential for a continuation.

Overall:

I am so, so happy with this book and its characters. Whatever flaws I thought it had also has the potential of being erased with a sequel. If you are a fan of Cassandra Clare’s world-building or Roshani Chokshi’s mythology-based fantasies, this is a great YA read for you.

Grab your copy here: https://www.amazon.com/Salt-Air-M-C-Frank/dp/1722339969/

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Happy reading!

– Sreepurna. ❤

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Girl, Wash Your Face – Rachel Hollis : Book Review

35542451Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was the first self-help book I have read, and while I did enjoy reading it to a point, it was not applicable to me and I did find some things I would consider as flaws. I had no idea who Rachel Hollis was when I went into the book, so my views are, in that respect, unbiased.

Things I didn’t like:

– The book seemed to be aimed at a very white, affluent, Christian audience. I am in no way suggesting that Hollis’ tragedies were any less real than anyone else’s, but there are several incidents she mentions that, for the lack of a better term, I must categorize as “first-world problems”. For instance, she talks about seeking professional advice regarding mental health, but that is an essentially unhelpful advice for most of the world, which does not access to such benefits.

– The language. She keeps using terms like “girl” and adopted a conversational style, which felt a little forced to me. It would work for a blog post, but in the 200+ pages of that book, those terms were too repetitive and the style too cringey.

– I am not sure if this is a flaw per se, but the book just was not exceptionally impactful for me. Perhaps I expected too much, but I felt disappointed. Or perhaps self-help books are not for me, as I have always guessed.

Things I did like:

– Rachel Hollis has courage. You might call it an attention-seeking move, a publicity stunt, or whatever you wish, but the level of intimacy she shares with her readers is praise-worthy. No matter how famous and successful you are, no matter how much your life is subject to societal scrutiny, it takes a lot of bravery to reveal the amount of things Hollis has in her book. It wasn’t necessary for her to be this personal in a self-help book, but the fact that she was, enriches this book a lot.

– The structure of this book is really nice. It is divided into short sections with appropriate chapter headers which helps you choose any chapter randomly and start reading. I personally did not feel the need to read serially, and even skipped one or two chapters that I was sure were not applicable to me at this point of my life.

– This book is Rachel Hollis’ personal mantra of success. She structures her advice as “things that helped me”, suggesting that these were the things that helped HER, and she is sharing it to readers in hope that they might find them useful too. It instantly makes her sound less preach-y, and helps you understand where she is coming from.

Overall:
Personally this book did not strike a chord with me. However, I do think it is an interesting read for fans of Hollis and anybody who is curious enough to know what worked for one particular successful woman. It is honest, if not anything else, and I would say that alone makes it worth a read for those who are interested in the genre.

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– Sreepurna ❤

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The Night of Broken Glass – Feroz Rather // Book Review

20180805_110022-01

Summary:

Over the last three decades, Kashmir has been ravaged by insurgency. While reams have been written on it – in human rights documents, academic theses, non-fiction accounts of the turmoil, and government and military reports – the effects of the violence on its inhabitants have rarely been rendered in fiction. Feroz Rather’s The Night of Broken Glass corrects that anomaly. Through a series of interconnected stories, within which the same characters move in and out, the author weaves a tapestry of the horror Kashmir has come to represent. His visceral imagery explores the psychological impact of the turmoil on its natives – Showkat, who is made to wipe off graffiti on the wall of his shop with his tongue; Rosy, a progressive, jeans-wearing ‘upper-caste’ girl who is in love with ‘lower-caste’ Jamshid; Jamshid’s father Gulam, a cobbler by profession who never finds his son’s bullet-riddled body; the ineffectual Nadim ‘Pasture’, who proclaims himself a full-fledged rebel; even the barbaric and tyrannical Major S, who has to contend with his own nightmares. Grappling with a society brutalized by the oppression of the state, and fissured by the tensions of caste and gender, Feroz Rather’s remarkable debut is as much a paean to the beauty of Kashmir and the courage of its people as it is a dirge to a paradise lost.

Review:

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Thanks to HarperCollinsIndia for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Things I liked:

– The writing style: Feroz Rather’s writing oozes sophistication and beauty. I loved the lyrical quality of the words, and the author’s grip over the language was well established.

– The different styles of narrative: The book is a series of connected short stories, and some stories are in first person narrative, some in third, and one of them reads almost like a love letter. While it’s slightly confusing, I really enjoyed reading these different styles, and thought the author used them all really well.

– The emotions: Writing about emotions is not very easy; it can easily seem forced. But the stories here generate emotions easily. While they rely a little too heavily on incidents, there were many parts where the author uses solely his words to make you feel something, and it’s all very well written.

Things I didn’t like:

– Timeline: It was very hard for me to keep track of the changing timelines. To connect each story, you also need to figure out the time when it is set. Even within the story, there are changes in timeline as the narrator thinks about past incidents.

– Characters: There were some stories where I loved some characters, but there were many where I didn’t really form much of an opinion about them. I think many of the characters could be a little better fleshed out with just a few additional sentences.

Overall:

The Night of Broken Glass is a short and emotional read with tales that make you think. Definitely worth a read if this is your genre. It was interesting to read a book such as this. While the stories are sort of confusing at first, things more or less fall into place in this fast-paced and evocative read.

Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.in/Night-Broken-Glass-Feroz-Rather/dp/9352641612/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1533446644&sr=1-2&keywords=the+night+of+broken+glass

~ Sreepurna. ❤