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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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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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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

💞

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Waiting for the Beast (Lucifer’s Clock) (Vol. 1) ~ T. Hayden : Book Review 

Summary: 

Angelica is drop dead gorgeous, lives in a sprawling mansion with her two aunts, attends a prestigious private school, is an A student and excels at everything she does effortlessly. She has a great life. That is until her 16th birthday and her family is forced to tell her the truth.Her aunts are actually supernatural beings that have been charged with protecting Angelica from her father, Lucifer. He has put a bounty on Angelica’s head and every creature from the Abyssal Realm a.k.a Hell is looking for her. In addition she has a hot guardian angel that has been assigned to her since birth that she can now see. She is suddenly thrust into a dangerous, magical world. Between dealing with her new identity, a love interest, hiding from her father, and just trying to be a teenager she has to make a decision to run, fight or wait for the darkness to consume her

Review: 

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

I couldn’t put this book down once I started it! It was extremely fast-paced and highly entertaining. And to top it all off, it sent me into this paranormal romance craving, and I went about reading books from that genre all throughout last month. 

Out of all the characters, I believe Michael was my favorite. He is so sweet (not to mention swoon-worthy). I loved how kickass archangel Gabriel is too. The main character, Angelica, is a little naive and juvenile, but that’s realistic if you consider her background and age. Although I disliked Lucifer a lot, perhaps, somewhere the character might have a chance for redemption later in the series? Or maybe not.

The author’s writing style is quite appreciable considering this is her debut novel. I am not very familiar to the Bible, I only read it last year because it was part of my Literature course, but I did not have problem understanding the story because it was all explained quite well. At times the supernatural aspect was a little too overwhelming, but otherwise I enjoyed reading the story a lot.

The romance part of this story was very innocent and sweet, and I can’t wait to know the rest of the story! The ending was perhaps not a straight cliff hanger; but I became so invested in the characters that I need to know whar happens next.

Overall I would recommend Waiting for the Beast to fans of fantasy and paranormal stories. I’d say it’s also appropriate for a YA audience. The author is very talented and the story is fluid and captivating. The plotline is also very unique and fresh!

Get yourself a copy here:

https://www.amazon.com/Waiting-Beast-Lucifers-Clock-1/dp/1500900168/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1487781088&sr=8-1&keywords=waiting+for+the+beast+book

~ Sreepurna.

💜




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Perfect (Flawed #2) ~ Cecelia Ahern: Book Review // The year-long wait was worth it!

Summary:

Celestine North is Flawed.

Ever since Judge Crevan declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick, the only person she can trust. 

But Celestine has a secret—one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing. 

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or risk her life to save all Flawed people.

Review:
Rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2 (4.5/5 stars)

This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017!

The moment I started this book, I got hit by the familiarity of Ahern’s writing style. Flawed was very well-written, but I feel like the writing style was more experimental. However,Perfect started off in a way that’s so typically Cecelia Ahern, it warmed my heart to the very core. Need I gush more about how much I love her writing?

Let’s start with the characters. I adore Celestine and Carrick, but I think this series has really interesting side characters, even the antagonists. I love how, keeping with the spirit of the story, none of the characters are made to seem perfect, or wholly flawed (maybe Judge Crevan though? I HATE HIM). I don’t want to give much away, but there is a character in this book called Lennox, and he is bae. I love what Ahern did with his storyline in the end.Even the really gray and shady characters were interesting to read about, because they had such gripping backstories.

Can we talk about the romance in this book? It satisfied my romancy-hungry heart; BUT I can say for sure that those who don’t like cheesiness will appreciate the story too. There is a love triangle, and though I hate those, it was very very well executed here. I love how Celestine does not merely lose all her feelings for one boy when she falls in love with another. She is conflicted but not in that horrible stringing-you-along way.

This second installment of the duology was perhaps even faster paced than the first. Some parts were horribly shocking, and very emotional. There were chapters which totally changed the whole track unexpectedly, and those were the best.

There were a few tiny details that bugged me though. For example, the plotline was very dependent on the existence of nice people in the world, and Celestine was helped by wayyyyy too many people. There was also this sort of unnecessary stress on symbolism, which gave a nice effect and shine to the story, but was unnecessary all the same.

Overall I thought this series was a really good YA debut. Although the dystopian world is a little overused nowadays, Ahern’s superb storytelling style is unique and worth the read. The series and this book in particular is not only thrilling, it also makes you stop and think about the present world and our obsession with striving to be flawless.

~ Sreepurna

💜