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Rosie Loves Jack by Mel Darbon – Book Review // Strong, heart-wrenching, beautiful, like Rosie.

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Summary:

Rosie loves Jack. Jack loves Rosie. So when they’re split up, Rosie will do anything to find the boy who makes the sun shine in her head. Even run away from home. Even cross London and travel to Brighton alone, though the trains are cancelled and the snow is falling. Even though any girl might find that hard, let alone a girl with Down’s syndrome. See the world through new eyes in this one-in-a-million story about fighting for the freedoms that we often take for granted: independence, tolerance and love.

Review: 

Rating: 4.5 stars / 5

When you see a book written from the point-of-view of a teenage girl with Down’s syndrome, you can have two reactions – happiness to see such a book being written, and scepticism because you aren’t sure how well it will be written. This book is so kind and sweet and well-written, it melted my sceptic heart.

Things I liked:

  • The Down’s Syndrome rep: I had no knowledge about this condition beyond what I studied in Biology, and I am truly thankful to this book for making me see the less clinical and more human side of things. What stood out to me was that ultimately human emotions are the same, whether you are medically considered “normal” or not.
  • Rosie and Jack: When you read this book, it seems to be mostly about Rosie. But then I realised, Rosie would probably disagree. The book is called Rosie Loves Jack, and it took me a while to understand why. In a way, this journey is solely Rosie’s, and when Rosie tells Jack, “You make me strong”, my first reaction was, “Girl, you’re plenty strong just by yourself.” However, maybe discounting the importance of Jack is discounting Rosie’s narrative itself, because that is precisely what she tries to make everyone understand – that broken as Jack is, he makes “the sun shine in her head”, and you can’t dismiss that, can you? [Also, Rose and Jack? Their very names? You have to root for them.]
  • The narration: “See the world through new eyes,” says the back cover of the ARC I received, and indeed Mel Darbon did a magnificient job in showing me the world through Rosie’s innocent and brave eyes.
  • This book had such a realistic mix of good and bad people, it simultaneously scared me and restored my faith in the world? Their were good people, kind people, horrible people, sad people, grey people. A perfect depiction of the human capacity to be evil as well as empathetic.
  • Exposure of double standards: It not only showed the sort of prejudices a girl with Down’s Syndrome or some other health issue has to overcome, but also the double standards society has regarding boys and girls of the same age. There were these subtle examples that were perfectly thrown in, but you’ve got to read the book to find out.
  • Rose Tremayne: In a way, this book is a very typical example of a kind of coming of age story, and I kept thinking about James Joyce’s “Araby” when I was reading it. Rosie doesn’t lose herself, but she learns about how promises can be broken, and sees the darkness in the world. Her courage is inspiring, and she taught me so many things.

Things I didn’t like:

Nothing much. I only thought the pace of the book became a little slow somewhere in the middle, but that was probably because I was impatient to finish it.

Overall:

Rosie Loves Jack is in the same vein such as YA books like Everything, Everything, Made You Up, or When We Collided , and I highly recommend this book to everyone, irrespective of age. Because it doesn’t matter how old you are, Rosie will teach you something.

The book doesn’t release before September 2018, but I suggest you put it in your TBR right now.

Here’s the Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39313720-rosie-loves-jack?ac=1&from_search=true

Thanks Usborne YA for the ARC!

Sreepurna.

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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 😉 Also, the third and final installment just came out yay! 😀 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.  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.

💜💙

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Chasing The Sun ~ Katy Colins : Book Review

Summary:

Perfect escapism’ – Heat 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: 

• Some parts are pretty melodramatic

• There are parts in the book which are kind of dragging and not very relatable.

• 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).

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

Things I liked: 

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.

• The main romantic relationship is very realistic and healthy. 

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

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

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

Overall: 

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! 

~ Sreepurna

💛

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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 💖

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

Summary

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. 

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. 

Review: 

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 😂

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

💜

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After The Fire ~ Will Hill : Book Review // A must-read

I finished reading this book ages back, but couldn’t review it because of exams 😦 Anywho..

Summary:

Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming.

 

Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out.


What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?

Review:
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The things I have seen. They’re burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade.”

This book gave me major goosebumps.

When I first started reading this, I had NO idea what it was about. But the writing style was engrossing, so I was hooked. By the time I finished it though, I realised it is SO much more than what I initially imagined it to be.

After The Fire has been published as a YA novel, but I feel like that’s a misleading term, to a point. The main character, Moonbeam, is an young adult, but the themes in this books are something that adult audiences shouldn’t miss either.

The storyline, first of all, is very unique, atleast to me. There are of course many novels about cults, but I haven’t read many, and I am sure not many of them are for such a wide range of readers. I am not going to go into the details of the story, which I know is unhelpful, but I don’t want to give anything away.

I loved Moonbeam’s point of view, and the Before- After chapter style. The story was thoroughly chilling, at times horrifying, and throughout intriguing. I had a lot of questions while reading it, but everything was answered in the end, zero loopholes.

The story also involves psychological treatment of a girl who hasn’t known “normal” in a long long time. I am no psychology student, but I think all the processes and results shown in the book were pretty realistic and genuine. 

As for the other characters, again I can’t go much into details without giving spoilers, so I suggest you should just read the book. 😂 

There were definitely negative things about this book. Mainly, it was silghtly repetitive at parts. But my counter argument is that the repetitiveness was required for full effect, all the detailed descriptions of the horrific crimes going on inside the cult were necessary, to prove the point of the story.

However, I would like to mention, this book doesn’t condemn or criticise any religious practices. It talks about an extremist cult, it ultimately boils down to power and corruption and not religious beliefs. It teaches you how powerful and convincing some people can be and also is a story of survival and recovery.

Overall, this book is highly recommended to readers of any genre. It’s dark and moving and entirely captivating. Thanks to the publishers for sending in an ARC, because I would have missed reading this wonderful book otherwise.

~ Sreepurna

💞