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Before I Fall ~ Lauren Oliver : Book Review // Excitement for movie (released on March 3, 17)

Summary: 

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

Review:

Rating: 4 stars

Things I liked:

• The ending. Although the whole story reminded me of other books, the ending was unique and I love the moral.

• Character development. In retrospect, the whole point of the story was character development, and it was beautifully carried out.

• Kent. I was wayyyy more obsessed with this character than I was supposed to be. He was so unique, and so unlike other characters in YA novels.

• The literary references. Like how Sam uses her English class knowledge (page 44, last two lines, for those who have read the book). Also the Biblical allusions, which I missed in the beginning, but it all suddenly clicked near the ending.

• The writing style. It’s very poetic, and I love the basis on which the book has been divided.

Things I didn’t like: 

• It was kind of repetitive. I know that was necessary for the plot, but still.

• I wish this book wasn’t created along the lines of so many other YA novels. So many parts reminded me of If I Stay and Paper Towns. It was like John Green, David Levithan, Jandy Nelson and Jennifer Niven had a conference and cooked up the idea.

Overall

I am very excited to watch the movie. It looks much better than I imagined. Here’s the trailer if you still haven’t watched it:

https://youtu.be/f5hIJsdIQCc
This book is worth reading if you want a YA novel with a twist and a moral.

~ Sreepurna

💚

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Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton ~ Book Review // a.k.a the book I severely underestimated.


Summary: 

Gigi, Bette, and June, three top students at an exclusive Manhattan ballet school, have seen their fair share of drama. Free-spirited new girl Gigi just wants to dance—but the very act might kill her. Privileged New Yorker Bette’s desire to escape the shadow of her ballet star sister brings out a dangerous edge in her. And perfectionist June needs to land a lead role this year or her controlling mother will put an end to her dancing dreams forever. When every dancer is both friend and foe, the girls will sacrifice, manipulate, and backstab to be the best of the best.

Review :

Rating: 4.5 stars

I underestimated this book so much.

Out of the three books I received from HarperCollins for review last week, this was the one I was least interested in. Which is why I picked it up first (you know, saving the best for the last and all). I went into it quite blindly, having just skimmed through the back cover summary. All I knew was that it was about a ballet school, and no joke, I just expected lots of YA drama about white girls dressed in tutus (which would be great, but a little cliched).

I was blown away with the diversity in this book, in terms of race and sexual orientation. What I loved more though was that no specific race was specifically victimized and the girls were defined as separate human beings, instead of being cliche portrayals based on skin colour.

I know practically nothing about ballet. But that didn’t really prove to be much of a problem, because the story mainly dealt with the personal lives of the teens, not the technical ballet side of it. The cutthroat competition, desperate moves, it was all so well described, I didn’t need to be a ballet expert to appreciate Tiny Pretty Things.

The characters of this book are really complex and well-formed. I initially loved Gigi the most, but later on I felt like she is the one with the least amount of dimensions. Bette and June have much deeper tones to them, and throughout the course of the story, I started having a neutral opinion about the characters.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants a heavier and more thought provoking young adult novel. The name of the book is terribly misleading, and I am finding it hard to classify into a genre, but this is one eye-opening book that is worth a read.

Somebody please get me the second book in this duology.

~ Sreepurna. 💜

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Backstage (Boy Band #2) – Jacqueline E.  Smith : Book Review 

Summary

Melissa Parker might just be the luckiest girl on the planet. 

She’s just turned twenty-one. 

She’s best friends with The Kind of September. 

And she’s dating Sam Morneau, everyone’s ultimate celebrity crush. Of course, no one is supposed to know about that. 

As it turns out, no one is supposed to know about a lot of things that happen behind the scenes of life with the planet’s most popular boy band. Now, what should be Happily Ever After for Mel and Sam is turning into a series of secrets, manipulation, and potential heartbreak… Just in time for The Kind of September’s world tour.

Review:

Rating : 4/5 stars 

Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy 💕

Things I liked about this book:

● From the very beginning, Backstage had this aspect of suspense. With the cliffhanger ending of the previous book, the story took a tense turn, and I had to find out what happens next.

The lead couple, Sam and Mel were so cute 💕

● As with the first book, in this one too, I felt really personally invested in the lives of the characters.

● The writing style is simple, sweet and relatable.

● THE ENDING. Jacqueline E. Smith knows exactly where to end her books. I increased the rating by one whole star just because of the ending. It makes you feel like jumping on to the next book ASAP!

Things I didn’t like about the book:

It felt a little cliche at times, and some incidents in the book reminded me of real life celebrities, and unfortunately I am not very fond of those same celebrities and their actions. (Wow that sounded so much meaner than I intended it to be 😓)

Overall:

I feel like people who like to read YA novels about romance and friendship and life problems and who love fangirling over boy bands and celebrities (like I do) should DEFINITELY give this series a go ❤

My review of Book 1:

https://thelonelybooklover.wordpress.com/2016/11/06/review-boy-band-by-jacqueline-e-smith/

~ Sripurna

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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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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.

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Book Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook

 


Summary: 

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.

As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.


Review:

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

Thank you Bloomsbury India for sending a review copy of this book.

Things I liked about this book:

I wanted that ending. I am happy with it. It COULD have been more, but eh, I’ll take it.

YA thrillers are rare. Like, really rare. Hats off to the author for taking up that genre.

I LOVE how they show the outside point of view in the form of police reports, yearbook records, etc. That was smart, and it made the book MUCH better in terms of writing quality.

Things I didn’t like: 

• It had very little overall impact. It’s supposed to a “chilling psychological thriller” (according to the back cover of my copy). The book did not, however, give me enough chills.

I am probably unfairly comparing all thrillers to my favorite ones, but this one just didn’t surprise me enough, you know? I am satisfied with the ending, but I had also predicted it.

And because this is supposed to be a thriller, I can’t reveal much about the plot or characters without giving spoilers. And there lies the trouble of writing reviews :p

Overall: 

It’s a good book, I liked a lot, but it just didn’t live up to the “thriller” status.I didn’t like any of the characters, but I don’t think I was supposed to. But I’ll still urge you to read it, because seriously, how many YA thrillers do you come across?

~ Sripurna.

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“Tanya Tania” by Antara Ganguli : Review 

Tanya Tania

Antara Ganguli


Summary:
“Last night there was a snowstorm that made my window disappear. I woke up gasping at the heater. This is my first letter in three years. First letter since I left Pakistan. First letter since Nusrat. “

Tanya Tania is a story about two young women coming of age in two countries that are coming of age. Tanya Talati in Karachi and Tania Ghosh in Bombay, daughters of college best friends, write to each other of what cannot be said to anyone else: a mother who has gone from quiet to silent, sex that has become a weapon, a servant with unforgettably soft hands and a country beginning to play with religion. When Tanya’s brother receives a kidnapping threat, she sets in motion what no one could have predicted, least of all Tania, who finds herself alone in a forbidden bazaar in Bombay, listening to the sounds of a riot torn city coming closer and closer and closer . . .



Written in letters that span six years, Tanya Tania is a story of what it means to be between childhood and adulthood at a time when two countries are struggling with what it means to be Indian and Pakistani, rich and poor, confident and lonely. A story of love between girls, between families and between countries, Tanya Tania, is, at its heart, a love story about what it means to be human.



Review:

4/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Bloomsbury India for sending me a review copy of this book.

Things I liked about this book:

• For the past few years, I have read almost nothing by any Indian author. I have always had a prejudice against them (you can’t blame me, because the prime examples of Indian authors seem to be Chetan Bhagat and Durjoy Dutta, and I have tried readingtheir books. Enough said) . But recently I came across a few other books which totally changed my perspective. Antara Ganguli’s Tanya Tania is one such example.

 Tanya Talati and Tania Ghosh, both were extremely well-constructed and realistic characters.

The concept of a book through letters is something I loved. The only other time I have come across this concept was Cecelia Ahern’s Love Rosie, I had loved it then, I love it now.

Tanya Tania also taught me some parts of the history of our country, about the last decade of the 20th century.

Things I didn’t like about this book:

The ending was sort of anticlimactic. It just wasn’t enough, because the whole book was built towards the ending, but it just fell flat there.

I couldn’t relate to either Tanya or Tania. They were supposed to be normal teenagers I am guessing? But I couldn’t relate.

Overall:

Even though the story falls slightly flat, the writing style and the small and big lessons you learn from this book cannot be ignored. If you ask me whether you should read it, I’d say yes, definitely.

~Sripurna.