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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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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

💜 

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The Phoenix Project (The Liberty Box #3) by C.A Gray : Book Review // The perfect finale to the Liberty Box Trilogy

Summary: 

The haven city of Beckenshire has been demolished, and most of the rebels lie beneath the rubble. The few that remain scramble to communicate with the outside world, knowing that if they are to stand a chance in the coming war, they can’t do it alone. In a last ditch effort to grow their ranks, the remaining rebels systematically destroy the repeaters which help to propagate the control center signals. And it’s working: citizens in targeted cities are waking up in droves. But Ben Voltolini will stop at nothing to quell the uprising before it has a chance to get off the ground. And he has one major ace up his sleeve: Kate Brandeis. 

During Kate’s broadcast to the nation, Voltolini unleashed targeted brainwave signals against her, causing her to allow both Jackson MacNamera’s capture, and her own. Now, despite Voltolini’s exquisite wining and dining, she can’t seem to stop the panic attacks. Whom can she trust? What is truth? Is there even such a thing? 

Meanwhile, imprisoned and hopeless, Jackson realizes the depths of his feelings for Kate only after he has already lost her. The incredible self-control upon which he prides himself gets put to the ultimate test when he meets an unlikely ally who just may turn the tide in the rebels’ favor—but only if Jackson can put aside his own bitterness. In this gripping conclusion to The Liberty Box Trilogy, new and surprising alliances are formed, passions run high, and our heroes learn what they are really made of. Do they have what it takes to fight for freedom—even if it means paying the ultimate price?

Review: 

Rating: 4 stars

The second book of this series ended with a perfect cliffhanger, so naturally I was very excited for this book to release, and it was all I dreamt of.

When The Phoenix Project started off, I was quite frustrated, but in a good way. The atmosphere was tense and it was a complete page-turner, I was captivated by how fast the world pulled me into it again. I read the whole thing in one sitting; the thrill and suspense not letting me put the book down at all.

I absolutely adored Jackson in this book. He was so kickass and sweet and just amazing. Sometimes stories like these get a little overwhelming either on the romance part, or on the action. But I love how balanced this series is, it has the perfect dose of everything.

I have admired certain things about this series from the beginning, one being the inclusion and treatment of science. Sci-fi books these days tend to go so off-track, but the author showed great skill while incorporating the science factors in the story, it was not very complicated, but just enough.However, I do wish I could connect a little more to the characters.

I loved how this series ended as well. It was completely satisfactory and didn’t drag on unnecessarily. The Liberty Box trilogy is a definite recommendation for anybody who wants to read a science fiction dystopian series which not only has an original and interesting plotline, but is also very well written.

~ Sreepurna.

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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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Worldwide (Boy Band#3) ~ Jacqueline E. Smith : Book Review

Summary:

Melissa Parker’s secret is out. 

Now that the entire world knows she’s dating Sam Morneau, Mel suddenly finds herself and her relationship under the intense scrutiny of celebrity gossip bloggers, curious fans, and appropriately concerned family members. 

But then, that’s nothing compared to the other secrets and scandals that plague The Kind of September. In the midst of their long-anticipated world tour, a toxic combination of infidelity and betrayal has left the band and its fan base angry, confused, and ultimately broken. 

No one ever said that life with the world’s most popular boy band was easy, but in spite of everything she’s seen, Mel is still willing to believe that it’s worth it.

REVIEW:

Rating : 4 stars out of 5

This book was possibly my favorite one in the series yet? The story has become SO much more interesting at this point, I NEED to know the rest of it ASAP.

I have always loved the Boy Band characters. Sam is hilarious, Mel is quite funny herself in that awkward way of hers. I love all the boys (even Jesse), but right now let’s just say there is one boy in the band, I am unhappy with *cough* Mr. Bad Choices *cough*

Worldwide provides an even more detailed picture of the negative sides of fame. Even though Sam and Mel try their best to handle things as smoothly as possible, they face a lot of hardships, and this was portrayed VERY realistically, through fan tweets and newspaper article snippets.

Jacqueline E. Smith’s easy going style of writing is something I admire in all of her books. The story always progresses fast and efficiently. I finished this book in one single sitting and loved every second of it. I say this all the time, and will repeat it again- I love how each Boy Band novel ends with us readers NEEDING the next book NOW. It increases my respect for the book every time.

My favorite part of the book though was the chapter intro style. All the Boy Band novel chapters begin with a couple of lines from a song by the fictional band in the series, or by the other musicians mentioned in the book. I love the idea, but Worldwide had the best lyrics out of all the boy band novels. 💕

So if you love music and/or boy bands, cute romances, stories about friendship and love and drama and celebrities — go pick up these books now!

~ Sreepurna.

💚

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Lyrebird – Cecelia Ahern : Book Review

413 pages

Published: November 3, 2016

ISBN13: 9780007501861

Summary: 



Life is in two parts: who you were before you met her, and who you are after.

A documentary crew discover a mysterious young women living alone in the mountains of West Cork. Strikingly beautiful she has an extraordinary talent for mimicry, like the famous Australian Lyrebird. The crew, fascinated, make her the subject of her story, and bestow the nickname upon her.

When they leave, they take Lyrebird with them back to the city. But as she leaves behind her peaceful life to learn about a new world, is she also leaving behind a part of herself? For her new friend Solomon the answer isn’t clear. When you find a rare and precious thing, should you share it – or protect it…

Review:

Rating : ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars

At this point I have blind faith on Cecelia Ahern. I went into this book knowing that it’d be good, and I obviously wasn’t disappointed.

Ahern’s writing has always had a very lyrical quality to it, and somehow the atmosphere and characters in Lyrebird just enhance this, and give the story a whole lot of added magic.

The concept, as usual, was really unique. Laura, the beautiful mysterious woman Solomon and Bo discover living alone in a mountainous locality, is the lyrebird. She literally can mimic any sound she hears, and tends to do so more when she is upset or anxious. This magical girl is brought to our noisy world and the story shows her transfer from the solitary life in the wilderness to the hustling and bustling city, while she discovers more about life and people.

I loved Laura, and I could relate to Bo, somewhat. I sometimes found Solomon a little weak, though. But somehow these just made them all so real.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. The thing about Cecelia Ahern is that her books don’t fit into any particular genre, and I feel like most people should give her books a try.

If you still aren’t sold, take a look at the cover of the book. And judge it by this cover.

~ Sripurna.