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10 Very Underrated Romance Books

As Romance is the genre I read the most, I will ALWAYS have recommendations for it.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blogging meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and this week’s topic is Genre Freebie, basically any topic related to a genre that we would like to talk about.

I’ve previously shared romance recommendations as Top Ten Romance Reads of 2019, so check that out as well so more books!

[1] Surprise, Baby by Lex Martin and Leslie McAdam

I read this YESTERDAY, actually. I was looking at the new releases in New Adult category and found this book there. It sounded interesting so I picked it up.

It was a pleasant surprise! Talks about second chances, trust, and is a really good story overall.

It’s a hate-to-love romance where they accidentally get pregnant and date during the pregnancy. The story is actually sensible and the characters are good, unlike many other secret-baby-trope books that I’ve read.

Goodreads

[2] Love Lettering by Kate Clayton

I’ve seen this around very less but it’s actually SO GOOD. It’s a comforting romance and I really love how the characters spend time and learn from each other.

The main character made a business out of lettering for events and planners. I’ve never seen that in fiction before so that was super cool.

Love Lettering really deserves more recognition.

Goodreads

[3] Shortcake by Lucy Watson

This is slightly longer than average romance books but it’s so worth it.

I’m a sucker for slow-burn romances where there’s proper relationship growth and the characters get to know each other over time. So this was really nice.

It’s also hate-to-love, if you like that trope!

My complete review

[4] Truth or Dare by Mira Lyn Kelly

This is an old favourite of mine that I’ve spoken about a few times on this blog. It’s barely known but it’s SO GOOD.

It’s a hate-to-love romance between new neighbours in an apartment building with LOTS of snark and hilarious dialogue.

My review

[5] Fumbled by Alexa Martin

I’ve been pretty much YELLING about this book on this blog recently haha. But truly, it’s so underrated! In fact, the author is underrated. More people should pick up her books because they’re so good!

The best part about Fumbled was the girl squad. Their friendship and the fun they have together is the best.

My review

[6] The Hooker & the Hermit by L. H. Cosway and Penny Reid

Cosway is pretty popular among romance readers but this specific book deserves more recognition. I really liked it! It swept me away subtly.

The main character lives a double life where she is a PR manager but also an anonymous blogger. And her blogger persona is VERY famous. She uses her platform for fun and snark at celebrities but also to forward good causes.

Goodreads

[7] Rafe by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Another book that I’ve been yelling about a lot is this one. The few readers who HAVE read this yell about it, but we’re still not enough. This amazing story with strong characters deserves so much more.

This is a romance between a single mother to two twins and a tattooed male nanny. It perfectly deals with boundaries and trust. I love it. I want to see this everywhere.

My review.

[8] Searching For Beautiful by Jennifer Probst

This is an old favourite of mine. Back when I read it for the first time, I was so caught off-guard by how GOOD it was. I reread it immediately, and then read the rest of the series.

But this book is still the best, in my opinion. It’s a beautiful best-friends-to-lovers story. The chemistry was great.

My review

[9] Imperfect Chemistry by Mary Frame

Another old favourite, Imperfect Chemistry is one that blew me off during my early New Adult Romance days. It’s an old book but has BARELY any recognition.

The highlight is the main character, to be honest. She’s a genius and decides to research human emotions. And she’s ADORABLE because she doesn’t have a shy bone in her body. The relationship development was awesome.

My review

[10] Rock Solid by Carly Phillips

A book that truly shows how covers can deceive us. I didn’t expect much from this but it was so good that, so far, I’ve reread it THRICE.

The chemistry between the characters is A+. They have issues that they go through but they communicate and act like adults. Also, the kid adds so much cuteness to the book.

Truly underrated and should be read more.

Goodreads


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What books do you think are underrated? Have you read any of these?

The Bronze Horseman || a history lesson with romance

the bronze horseman by paullina simmons

Title: The Bronze Horseman
Author: Paullina Simmons
Genre: Historical Romance
Category: Adult
Series info: Book #1 of The Bronze Horseman series

This book found its way into my TBR* because of Instagram. I followed @sissireads for romance recommendations and beautiful pictures and quickly caught wind of her UNDYING LOVE for this series. As far as I remember, she owns 75 or so editions of this book!

If a book is SO LOVED, it definitely deserves a chance to be read. Although it’s been in my TBR for a year, I picked it up only now with the added incentive through reading challenges.

This book fits into 2 of my challenges: #StartOnYourShelfathon and 2020 Popsugar Reading Challenge. Click here to know more about them.

*To Be Read list

THE PLOT

The book takes place in war-torn Leningrad, Soviet Union. Tatiana, a young 17 year old girl finds the love of her life by chance while sitting on a bench and eating ice cream. Alexander Belov, a handsome soldier, is also besotted with her.

But love isn’t that simple when you’re in Soviet Union and Hitler is coming after your country. And it becomes even more complicated because Tatiana’s sister is in love with the same man.

MY REVIEW

This book took me a LONG time to read. I used to read a lot back in school but don’t have the time now. It was only after my internship was paused and we went into precautionary quarantine that I got the time to really read this.

The Bronze Horseman is a romance at the core, but it also has a ton of history and politics.

The politics part is brought in because Alexander and Tatiana have many conversations talking about their country, their leaders and their situations. That was pretty interesting to read because I got to know a lot more.

I also really liked the amount of history brought in. It was VERY detailed in the book, and the author spent time on describing small losses and victories as well.

My history lessons in school barely mentioned Russia and, in fact, any other countries in focus other than India. So reading books like this one teaches a ton.

Through Tatiana and her family, we get a very detailed look into the lives of civilians during the war. At some point, it was less romance and more war-focused.

It comes through that the author cares a lot about getting the history right and has used this book to teach readers something about the place she’s from.

As for the romance.. I’m conflicted. I liked the romance sometimes, but the story kept going in circles. The love triangle between Alexander, Tatiana, and Tatiana’s sister Dasha was dragged on way too long.

It might be because I’m a nerd but I preferred the small details of war and history than the romance.

Another thing I noticed was that Alexander is problematic. He is portrayed to be this alpha-male who cares for Tatiana a lot. But multiple times his actions were not healthy. The more times I noticed it, the less I liked him.

Alexander has a temper, is unyielding when he wants something, is persuasive, and is controlling. He is also a hero. The perfect soldier who succeeds in every mission he sets out for.

To contrast, Tatiana is an innocent girl who is believed to be young and fragile but is actually a strong woman in will. She is stubborn, will put herself through hell for people she cares about, and has a habit of giving things away to the less fortunate.

Their dynamic is one I’ve seen many times in romance books. They need each other to balance out. Alexander is there to protect her and is the only person who actually prioritizes her, and she is the only one who sees the real him.

The highlight of the book is the plot overall. This is a huge book and it has the story to justify it. It contains A TON, and it’s worthy of 900 pages. The story from start to finish is quite captivating.

I was actually dreading reading the next book after this because book 2 is another 500 pages. But surprisingly, as I finished this book, I couldn’t wait to get to the next one. The story is good and keeps you interested. I want to know how it all ends.

OVERALL

I actually quite liked the book, despite not liking the romance. I was in it for the history and information. But, that DID get old after a while and I basically skimmed the last bits of the book.

This is not a book to just pick up, because you need time and patience for it.

Would recommend: if you’re into history and have the time and patience for this book.

Would not recommend: if you don’t like long books, details, and problematic heroes. Also if repetition really annoys you.

I rate this book..

3/5 stars

www wednesday @ the wordy habitat, all the bookish updates, currently reading, mini book reviews, books to read next.

WWW Wednesday // 18 March 2020

HELLO Y’ALL!

I’m officially just sitting home with no work and no college for the foreseeable future. Yes I am struggling because I need a purpose to my days and suddenly having all plans cancelled is not great.

BUT.

The silver lining is that I finally have time to read! And I’ve actually been burying myself into books for the last few days. I may catch up to my original reading challenge of 150 books for 2020. Let’s see.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly blogging meme hosted by Taking On a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m not reading anything currently as a paperback or ebook. I’m in-between books. I finished a book just this morning and haven’t picked up another yet.

On the audiobook front, I’m still reading Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed. As I’m not commuting, there’s no real use for an audiobook for me.

But I am planning on finishing it soon. Time to start doodling and listen to audiobooks while in quarantine.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

I have a proper list after so long! I read quite a bit.

I FINALLY finished The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simmons last weekend. That huge book was a long and wild. There were a ton of elements to it. It had been on my list for a long time. I’m glad I finally got to it.

It was pretty good. While it was very long and sometimes irritating, it was quite nice. I’m looking forward to read the next book because I gotta know how it all ends.

Right after that, I needed a pick-me-up. Especially with the news nowadays, and sitting at home all day, I needed a happy book.

My book club decided to read Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn and IT WAS SO GOOD. I stayed up until 3am and read it in one sitting. It was so nice. The book was actually quite comforting.

The next book isn’t one that I finished. After seeing it around a lot, I picked up The Upside of Falling by Alex Light. I read until 17% then gave up. It wasn’t good. There wasn’t a lot of content, and the beginning was simply glossed over with a dismal plot. As it didn’t interest me at all, I gave up on it.

After that, I went down back to random romance book haha. It’s been a while since I read books with the secret-baby trope. Don’t ask me why I went back to it, I just did.

The next book that I read was Surprise Baby for Christmas by Harmony Knight. I actually did not like it. It was so sub-par. My only takeaway from it is that there exists something called a cryptic pregnancy. I never knew that existed.

The last one is Her Sicilian Baby Revelation by Michelle Smart. This one was actually not bad. I wish there was some more focus on the struggles the female lead and her son went through, though. Their tragic accident and recovery part was kind of glossed over but I would have liked more focus on that.

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

No clue. I’m just picking up random books.

Over the next few days, I am planning on reading the sequel of The Bronze Horseman called Tatiana & Alexander. It’s smaller than the first book so it should be done faster.

And I want to read some book, ANY book, from my physical shelf. Maybe Frankly in Love by David Yoon? Just, any of them haha.

And that’s it for this week’s bookish updates!

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Tell me about your bookish updates! What are you currently reading? What did you read recently?

Love From A to Z || READ. THIS.

love from a to z by S.K. Ali

Title: Love From A to Z
Author: S.K. Ali
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

This book had been on my TBR* for a LONG TIME. Although I had heard really good things about it, I just was never in the mood to get it and read it. Thankfully, that changed recently.

When I got an audiobook subscription, I started going through all the book available and this caught my eye. Since 2020 so far has been reading backlist books, I thought I will tackle this as well. And that was a very good decision.

*To Be Read list

THE PLOT

Adam and Zayneb record their lives in their “marvels and oddities” journals. Although they got the idea in different ways, it’s how they see their lives.

Fate decided to push them together. They come across each other in the London airport waiting for the same flight, and then met each other again through family in Doha.

This book is a love story through and through. But it is made of so much more.

MY REVIEW

THIS. BOOK.

I shouldn’t have waited so long to read it. It’s so damn good.

Love From A to Z is the love story of Adam and Zayneb, who live in different countries and have entirely different plans for life. Their lives are very different, and yet they feel pulled towards each other.

Let’s do this in a list, because lists make everything better.

  • ZAYNEB.

Zayneb is an angry person. She becomes angry when any injustice occurs and cannot sit quietly, accepting it. Especially when it comes to her religion.

Zayneb got suspended for a week right before spring break from school because of a seemingly threatening note against her Islamophobic teacher. After her suspension, she decides that she will become a new person this spring at Doha. A quieter Zayneb. A softer Zayneb.

  • ADAM.

Adam is studying in London, but he stopped going to classes two months ago. After being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, the same condition which took his mom away, he has decided to LIVE. He’s on his way home from University and is faced with the decision to tell his family about MS.

  • CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT.

Both Zayneb and Adam go through leaps and bounds in this book. They learn, and they mature. They learn about themselves and find courage to be truly themselves.

Zayneb’s development was especially lovely to see. She wants to become a muter person who will cause less trouble for her parents, but this spring she learns that her experiences aren’t meant to be shushed. I loved that.

  • ISLAM.

This book teaches us so much about the religion, and the beauty of it. I’ll be honest, the only reason I know anything about Christianity is because of books. And I’m super glad that books about Islam are coming up too.

Books have the capability to teach us so much, and this one took the opportunity.

  • ZAYNEB’S AUNT.

I just love her. She’s awesome. I want her as my aunt.

  • MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS.

As Adam has MS, we learn a lot about it as well. The book has a very raw depiction of living with MS and I almost cried at one point. Although I knew the basics about the condition, this is the first time that I learnt about it in detail.

  • MARVELS AND ODDITIES.

The book is written through their journals. As Adam and Zayneb record the marvels and oddities of their lives, we see how they view life and it’s moments.

It was a new way of writing a book and it was nice. I enjoyed the format.

OVERALL

A really REALLY nice book that I totally recommend. I “read” the book through audiobook and it was well narrated so I would suggest that too. It’s the best narrated book I’ve listened to so far.

I rate this…

4/5 stars

Axiom || Dystopian world of no emotions

Axiom by Kristofor Hellmeister book cover

Title: Axiom
Author: Kristofor Hellmeister
Genre: Science Fiction > Dystopia
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

I’m very into dystopia. While there are few books that I’ve really liked, I’m always looking for books in the genre that sound interesting.

Axiom was one of those. When the author reached out to me for a review in return for an advanced reader’s copy, I immediately agreed. And I looked forward to reading it as well.

The Plot

Axiom is peaceful. There is no violence and there are no variables. Even death is not a concept here.

People are known as “Figures” and have their own Roles in Axiom. Each Figure’s Role is important to the working of Axiom.

The reason this is seamlessly achieved is because only one person has control of Axiom—the Lord Protector. Only he has control and every Figure exists to serve him. In return for loyalty and obedience, he keeps Axiom peaceful and healthy.

But what happens when some Figures start having emotions? When they break out of Roles to search for purpose in their existence? And is Axiom really so perfect?

This book explores a future possibility where, to eradicate violence, emotions are removed and one person reigns with all control.

My Review

Tackling this review in the form of lists, because lists rock.

What I liked:

  • The world-building.

The first half of the book had me hooked. Through perspectives of characters in very different positions of the world, we get to see the various sides of Axiom.

I was completely engaged when reading about the setting, and how things work in this fictional place. The technology described was very interesting as well.

  • Addition of and debate on concepts like God and morals.

The way God was brought into the story and portrayed was quite clever. In the book, God is known as “Theo”. To me, that was weird in the beginning but it does make sense. No matter the name, it’s the belief that counts.

We see characters who are devout believers as well as characters who don’t even consider of such an existence. Interaction of the two was intriguing, and very similar to the current world’s stance. No matter the time, this debate will probably continue.

  • The ending.

I can’t say why without spoiling it but I appreciated how the book ended. It made me think for a few minutes, and I liked that.

What I did not like:

  • The plot didn’t seem cohesive all the time.

In fact, different characters could have been in entirely different worlds. There was very little connectivity between the different areas of the book, which was jarring during the perspective shifts.

  • Character growth.

This was the thing that got on my nerves the most. Characters would make entire revelations about themselves and/or the world around them based on very little.

In reality, the process of one’s growth is very long. But in this book it took place in the span of a night. Out of nowhere, revelations and identity changes were made. I found it hard to accept, because it happened so suddenly and is done at once.

  • I lost interest at around 50%

Until then, I was swept up in understanding the world and finding out how it worked. When the focus of the writing shifted to the characters, I wasn’t interested in the book as much.

It’s probably because of the way the characters’ journey was shown, especially a few key places about character growth. The world was great but the characters just did not interest me.

Overall

I found the book pretty okay. I didn’t enjoy the book a lot, but it wasn’t bad as well.

Recommended if you like great world-building, dystopian books.

Not recommended if characters and character growth is very important to you.

I rate this book…

2.5/5 stars

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The Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover

Books that leave you with book hangovers are the best books.

They affect you so much that you CANNOT MOVE ON.

And to be honest, I’ve not read many such books. I’m someone who likes to read quick and move on quick. I usually move on to other books soon. Hence, the books that give me a book hangover and grip me for days after finishing them are BRILLIANT.

My standards are pretty high lol.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ The Artsy Reader Girl to talk about books and this post’s topic is The Last Ten Books That Gave Me a Book Hangover.

Edit: I seem to have messed up my dates and picked up last week’s topic. You can see how out of it I am haha. Such a shame because this week’s topic is SO GOOD *cries*

[1] Heads You Win by Jeffrey Archer

heads you win book cover

Jeffrey Archer’s books always suck me in and give me a book hangover, although of different levels. The unique thing about this book was that it WASN’T ACTUALLY GOOD??? The ending got me so messed up and I still have a 100 questions.

After finishing the book, I thought about it and went around in circles for DAYS. Although the ending ruined the experience for me, it IS a very good book. And the author made sure I won’t forget it lol. That ending was… something.

Click here to see my full review of the book.

[2] Rafe by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Rafe book cover

Okay so you want to know why a fluffy romance book gave me a book hangover?

It’s because this book was AMAZING.

  • GOOD, STRONG, MATURE CHARACTERS.
  • A very nice plot.
  • PROPER REPRESENTATION.
  • No random nonsense or just fluff.
  • It was over all just really well written and
  • It was great to read.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the book after finishing it. I read a couple other books after it, and CAME BACK to reread this book because it wasn’t getting out of my head.

Click here to read my review.

[3] Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Norwegian Wood book cover

Okay this one gave me a PROPER HANGOVER.

When I finished reading it, I reread the last part then had to sit with my thoughts for quite a while. Just thinking and processing.

I spent the next one day just thinking about the entirety of this book and having questions. In order to get it all out, I found a random person on Reddit to discuss with lol. That’s how much I needed to talk about it and get it out of my system.

A brilliant book. In fact I did make notes on it for a review but never ended up writing it because my thoughts were never clear enough.

[4] Heartache duet by Jay McLean

heartache & hope book cover

Technically, I got a book hangover by the complete duology. I read books 1 and 2 continuously and hence they gave me a book hangover together.

This is another review that I eventually didn’t end up writing. My thoughts were quite clear but my emotions were ALL OVER THE PLACE. I didn’t trust myself to review clearly and hence I didn’t.

It was part of my best books of 2019 though. That should say enough.

The books deal with many themes but basically they BREAK YOUR HEART. Using realistic and heartbreaking situations, the authors weaved a romance story which is so much more. It has a happy ending but the road to it was brutal.

[5] The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

the poet x book cover

Honestly, the fact that this is on this list shouldn’t even be a surprise.

It’s a brilliant and powerful book. The words, the writing, the story, the representation, the EMOTION—they were all hard-hitting and on-point.

Click here to read my review.

[6] Forever Right Now by Emma Scott

forever right now book cover

Another book that was mentioned in my best of 2019 list that I didn’t review. Because I didn’t know how to.

This book is romance but also involves the struggles of an ex-drug addict in recovery. It’s about second chances, and about family.

I didn’t even see this book affecting me much while reading it. But it subtly made a big impression on me. I didn’t even realize it became one of my best reads until a couple days after finishing it.

The realization came when I realized that I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and it had me going back to reread parts multiple times.

If you want a romance book recommendation that is underrated but really good, this is it.

[7] Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

queen of air and darkness book cover

This needs ZERO explanation.

Cassandra Clare’s The Dark Artifices trilogy was TOO DAMN GOOD and the last book gave EVERYONE a book hangover. That’s the truth. Let’s move on.

[8] The Perfect Husband by Lisa Gardner

the perfect husband book cover

This mystery + thriller book BLEW ME AWAY. I couldn’t stop talking about it to my friend.

Coincidentally, my friend actually referred to this book recently and remembered exact details because I was SO PASSIONATE about this book.

Click here to read my review.

[9] Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Josh & Hazel's guide to not dating book cover

Simply because this book was way too adorable. The characters were perfect, the chemistry was on-point, and the story had me HOOKED.

It also includes my #1 trope which is friends-to-lovers. Christina Lauren wrote this book so well and it’s one of my all-time best romance books. I’ve reread it SO MANY TIMES.

Click here to read my review.

[10] Radio Silence

radio silence book cover

Alice Oseman is popular for a very valid reason. And Radio Silence is her most popular book for a REASON.

I’ve never read a book like Radio Silence before. The plot, the characters, the VIBE—all of it was unique and immersive. After finishing the book, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I had so many feelings.

Click here to read my review.

And those were the last ten books that gave me a book hangover! This week’s prompt was actually fun to do because I got to talk about awesome books lol.

Take my recommendation and go READ THESE.

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What are some books that gave you book hangovers?

My So-Called Bollywood Life || the book I needed

my so called bollywood life by nisha sharma book cover // book review by Sumedha @ the wordy habitat

Title: My So-Called Bollywood Life
Author: Nisha Sharma
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

I picked up this book as part of the South-Asian Reading Challenge, and I was NOT disappointed. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to read it in January but after Kafka On The Shore I needed something light and this was perfect.

THE PLOT

The book stars Vaneeta “Winnie” Mehta—a film enthusiast (particularly Bollywood films), type A Indian student, and dramatic enough to make Bollywood writers proud.

After Winnie is cheated on and dumped by Raj, whom she thought was “the one” because of an astrologer’s prophecy, she sets out to change her destiny in the stars.

Enter: Dev Khanna, a guy Winnie had a spark with in freshman year before starting to date Raj. A guy who, while not matching her true love prophecy, feels more right for her than Raj ever did.

My So-Called Bollywood Life is perfect for readers who like YA. But it’s even more perfect for Bollywood-lovers. Following Winnie’s complicated life about teenage love, future plans, and family dynamics with Indian traditions, this book will transport you into a fun world.

MY REVIEW

I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.

I cannot describe just how much I enjoyed this. It has all the Indian elements I ever wanted in a YA setting. As someone who loves YA and barely sees true Indian representation, this warmed my heart so much. I could cry.

All the things I loved:

(pretty much everything lol)

  • Winnie Mehta is awesome. I absolutely loved reading through her perspective. She’s energetic, exuberant, and is very passionate about films. I adored her. ❤
  • EVERYTHING INDIAN. Of course, I have to mention this. Even the few Hindi sentences (smoothly translated in English for everyone else) were a huge addition. I felt included. *cries* The traditions, beliefs, everything was amazing to read about. #relatable

“Kamina, kutta, sala,” she said sweetly when she answered (the phone).

  • Family presence. Winnie’s relationship with her family, especially her dad and grandmom, was so nice to see.
  • It wasn’t just romance. A lot of YA novels tend to sideline everything else in the favour of scenes that contribute to the romance. That didn’t happen here. We saw enough about Winnie’s culture, other relationships, and mostly importantly her drive towards film. She was determined to do anything to get into NYU. The struggle and stress was shown.
  • Winnie and Bridget. These two best friends were adorable to watch and I loved everything about their friendship.
  • The romance. I mean, come on. Of course I’m going to mention this. As the heart of the story, the romance did NOT disappoint. Honestly, it gave me quite a few feels.

“I’m done with romance.”

Nani snorted. “You’re Indian! We live for romance.”

A book is not just made of major plot points, but also the small settings. My So-Called Bollywood Life was chock full of small scenes/parts which make a difference to the reader. From Winnie dreaming about her favourite actor to people belittling Indian beliefs, there were tons of moments that added to the experience.

OVERALL

Thoroughly enjoyed the book, and totally recommend it to all YA lovers.

I did notice that it’s not specifically targeted for Indian readers, as in that the traditions are subtly explained and Hindi terms are translated. So if you want to have a fun and light YA read, you can pick this up without any worries.

I’m so glad I was introduced to this book through the challenge because I doubt I would have come across it otherwise.

I rate this book…

4.5/5 stars

www wednesday @ the wordy habitat, all the bookish updates, currently reading, mini book reviews, books to read next.

WWW Wednesday // 05 Feb 2020

Hey everyone!

Ever since my internship started halfway through January, my reading has significantly gone down. Right now, I’m 4 books behind on my Goodreads reading challenge. This last week, I’ve been reading whenever I can to keep pace.

My goal is to catch up on the challenge in the next two weeks or so. Let’s hope I can do it lol. Otherwise, I might reduce my goal.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly blogging meme hosted by Taking On a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What did you recently finish reading?

1. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

To be honest, I finished this on 26th which is not in the last 7 days. But I want to talk about it since I didn’t in any post.

I like the author’s style as in Norwegian Wood. The underlying intention of the plot was a good concept as well. But the world-building and the fully developed plot did not make sense. I was confused a lot. After I finished the book, it left no lasting impression on me.

It was honestly disappointing. I expected a lot out of it since it’s a very popular Murakami book that many love, but I didn’t like it. Only after posting my disappointment over it did I find that many others didn’t like it as well.

So yeah, it is a popular book that I didn’t like.

2. My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

Read this as part of the South-Asian Reading Challenge after Kafka on the Shore since I wanted an easy feel-good book. It was really nice! Loved all the Indian elements and Bollywood references. The romance was quite nice too. But mainly, I loved the characters.

I’ll post a review on it in a few days, so look out for that!

3. Well Met by Jen DeLuca

When this released, it became super popular amongst romance readers online. The hype made me wary because it can always lead me wrong in the romance genre. There are things that I specifically don’t like.

I finally decided to read it as I already had it on my Kindle. And it was nice!!!! The book was so nice.

Main points: set in a small town, includes a Renaissance Fair(!!) and the romance is hate-to-love. It was so nice to watch the two main characters grow closer through banter and conversations about Shakespeare.

The hype did not lead me wrong here.

4. #TheRealCinderella by Yesenia Vargas

Okay so I’ll be honest. This wasn’t even on my radar.

I got an audiobook subscription few days back, mainly to listen during commute. As I walk for most of my commute duration, I can’t read. Audiobooks never worked for me before but I really wanted to try them again since it’ll help with my commute.

I found this book while perusing the selection available on Storytel. Since it would be my first time listening to an audiobook while commuting, I thought I’d try an easy read to see if I can manage concentrating to the book while on my way.

#TheRealCinderella sounded very much like the movie A Cinderella Story starring Hillary Duff and Chad Michael Murray. I was curious whether the story was an almost literal copy, and it would be an easy read. That’s why I picked it up randomly.

Now that I’ve finished it, I can say that it was pretty much the same as the movie’s plot. Click here for my full review on the book.


What are you currently reading?

It seems to that I’ve gone back to reading multiple books at a time haha. And it’s only because they’re all on different mediums.

1. The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Picked this one up in my last bookstore run. I was curious and honestly wanted a small book to read. This caught my eye since it’s short stories.

I’ve read only about two short stories so far, but it’s going good. I’m not a fan of short stories, generally. I want to try though. Let’s hope I enjoy it.

2. Not the Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher

This was already on my Kindle and my Kindle was next to me on the couch during my weekend laziness. So I started reading this book.

Not going to lie, I don’t think I’ll like it..? The beginning was kinda weird and I don’t like the characters all that much. I’ll read a bit more and decide whether I want to DNF* it.

*Did Not Finish: book blogger speak for not liking the book enough to abandon it midway.

3. Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Quite a few people I follow have been RAVING about this book, especially Fanna. When I saw the title available on Storytel, I had to start it as my next audiobook.

I just started it this morning on my way to work so I’m not going to make any judgements just yet. Let’s see how it goes.


What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m a mood reader and I pick up books randomly, so I’m not sure. But there are books that I hope to read this month. It could be next week, or it may not be.

1. Stories We Never Tell by Savi Sharma

Picked this book up on my last bookstore run along with The Thing Around Your Neck. It caught my eye because the author is claimed to be India’s highest selling female author. I’ve never heard of her though, so I thought I’ll give her work a try.

The synopsis clues in that it’s a romance so it should be perfect for February’s South-Asian Reading Challenge prompt which is Mohabbat i.e. love. Keeping in theme with Valentine’s day and all.

2. The Worst Best Man by Mia Rosa

This book has been on my TBR for a while now, ever since I saw it on someone’s blog post. It released just yesterday and I’m super excited to read it.

I also found a romance book club on Instagram called Romancetheque Book Club. It is hosted by @thebibliotheque whom I’ve been following for a long time, and our reading tastes are quite similar. Joining the book club was a no-brainer.

The book pick for February is The Worst Best Man so it’s extra incentive for me to read this book soon.


And that’s it for my bookish updates!

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Tell me about your bookish updates! What are you currently reading? What did you read recently?

The Bluest Eye || a confusing read

The bluest eye by Toni Morrison book review

Title: The Bluest Eye
Author: Toni Morrison
Genre: Fiction
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

For the past couple months, I’ve been seeing Toni Morrison mentioned a lot online. Several bookstagrammers and bloggers whom I follow are reading Morrisson’s works. Of course, all of this got me curious about the author and her works.

Right in time, my book club chose The Bluest Eye as our book of the month. That got me motivated to read the book and try the author’s works.

Trigger warnings: racist slurs, bullying, rape, neglect, abuse, humiliation. (Probably more but I can’t remember, so make sure to find out before picking it up)

The Plot

The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison’s debut novel and has a unique take on racism. Through this novel, the author crafts a situation which causes a young Black girl to desperately want blue eyes.

Showcasing multiple issues such as racism, abuse, and neglect, the book shows how hard life is for a young innocent girl to want blue eyes. Blue eyes, which are usually a feature of white people who are loved and cherished.

The Bluest Eye is definitely not a light read. It’s poignant with a message in every chapter, and has a strong voice as a book.

My Review

First of all, let me say that this book wasn’t easy to read. And this was so because of multiple reasons.

The timeline of the book isn’t linear. The chapters are scattered and it is up to the reader to figure out the timeline after reading most or all of the book. The jumps were very confusing in the beginning that I gave up trying to make sense, and instead just took the book chapter by chapter.

As the chapters were scattered, I was trying to understand what was happening and piece together the timeline. Hence, I couldn’t connect with the characters or feel for them. That was unfortunate, because it would have made much more of an impact on me.

Morrison’s writing is very different than what I’m used to, and the way she spoke about and crafted the situations was something to get used to. That also played a part in the book not being a good read for me.

One thing that quite irritated me was the point of view shown. Some chapters are in first person point of view of a supporting character, not the main one. But most of the book is in third person point of view. The random switching, without sense, was off-putting.

Every chapter in the book had something to show, by itself. I really liked that. Because even if I managed to read just one chapter a day, I’m still getting some meaning out of it.

As The Bluest Eye deals with heavy issues, it’s not an easy book. Morrison doesn’t describe things very graphically, but it’s enough that it makes a lasting impression on you. This played a part in me reading the book very slowly.

Overall

Honestly, I’m not too sure about whether I liked this book or not. I would have liked it a lot more if the chapters weren’t jumbled up. But because of that, I simply could not get lost into the book and was confused for a lot of time.

I will be picking up at least another book by Morrison, though. I want to know why this author is so popular and I don’t think The Bluest Eye did justice.

I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone looking for a light read. Pick this one up only if you have the time to devote to reading it. It’s a slow but meaningful read.

I rate this book..

2.5/5 stars

Have you read Toni Morrison’s books? Or, are they on your list?

top ten tuesday header image

Ten Most Recent Additions To My Bookshelf

Hey everyone!

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a list about books and we’re overdue for one. And today’s topic is exciting!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt has come in the right time because there have been quite a few additions to my bookshelf recently, and I can’t wait to talk about all of them.

I’m listing my physical additions first and then the ones on my Kindle!

[1] Release by Patrick Ness

I met up with my Bangalore Book Club on Sunday and Sukhaja from Bookish Bulletin* was SO KIND to giveaway** the books that she doesn’t have space for anymore. It went off almost like an auction, with first dibs called on the Whatsapp group.

I managed to nab this book and I’m so happy to finally own a Patrick Ness! I’ve been wanting to read his work for a long time and this will finally push me to it.

*check out her YouTube channel as she has some really good book recs on it!
**P.S. I gave away a couple books as well, so my bookshelf is still kinda balanced haha.

[2] Stories We Never Tell by Savi Sharma

I went to my favourite bookstore with the other Book Club members and sold back two* of my books for store credit. Of course I had to get new books, and I wanted to go for some new books that I haven’t heard of before.

Stories We Never Tell caught my eye as I was just going around in the bookstore, and the tagline “the most popular female author of India” caught my eye. With the South Asian Reading Challenge going on, I’m definitely trying to read more books by Indian authors and this looked perfect to try.

I will let y’all know how it is once I’m done!

*yes 4 books disappeared from my shelf in total! I like how I’m managing to keep my number of books constant haha.

The Ten Most Recent Additions to My Bookshelf - books in picture: Stories We Never Tell by Savi Sharma, The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Release by Patrick Ness

[3] The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I actually also own Americanah by the same author, which was an old Book of the Month picked by the club but one that I haven’t gotten to yet. I am intrigued by the popularity of Adichie’s works though and definitely will read more. I hadn’t heard of The Thing Around Your Neck before but many fellow book club members have and loved it, so of course I got it.

It’s a pretty thin book so I do think I’ll pick it up sooner, especially since it’s also a collection of short stories.

[4] Six of Crows Collector’s Edition by Leigh Bardugo

I already spoke about this in my life update but if you haven’t read that yet, my awesome-sauce friends gifted me this GORGEOUS edition after seeing it on my wishlist. I was so shocked when I saw it and my reaction is recorded on video for proof. It’s the most beautiful book I own at the moment.

six of crows collector's edition

[5] Circe by Madeline Miller

Another birthday gift that I received, this one from my book club, was Circe. It is a book that most of the members have either read or want to read, so I trust where they’re coming from and am super excited to read it.

Also, doesn’t hurt that this book is gorgeous too haha. I can’t resist pretty books.

circe by madeline miller

[6] Frankly In Love by David Yoon

My book club* did a Secret Santa pool back in December, and this LOVELY book was the gift that I got from my Santa. It’s a book that was on my wishlist but one that I would always pass up for another book, so I’m super glad that my Santa got it for me. I’m definitely going to be reading it soon when I need a YA contemporary kick.

*wow they’re being referenced a LOT today haha

Frankly in love by David Yoon

[7] The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

This book was this month’s Book of the Month pick, and I’m actually already done reading it. It came at the right time since Toni Morrison is rising in popularity and I’ve become intrigued by her works as well.

As I read this book, I was confused by the timeline and the point of the story. We kept shifting focus on characters, and some chapters are in first person while all others are in third person point of view. The author’s intention was to let us read and assemble the timeline ourselves, but it caused a disconnect between me and the characters. I couldn’t truly connect with them because I was trying to grasp the story.

It is a profound story involving themes of racism, sexism, neglect, abuse, and other strong topics. I am still looking forward to read more from the author as I’ve heard her writing is not like this all the time.

[8] My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

As I am taking part in the South Asian Reading Challenge this year, I will be picking up some books for their prompts.

My So-Called Bollywood Life is the backlist book recommended by the hosts for this month’s theme “shuruat” i.e. beginning. The premise sounds interesting and while I may not be able to read it this month itself, I am excited to read it soon.

[9] Us, Again by Elle Maxwell

Recently, I’ve been reading books with strong themes—ones that require concentration and mulling over. This has made me want a light hearted book to offset them and I always turn to romance during these times.

Us, Again is a romance book that I got on impulse off my Goodreads TBR and am currently reading. I’m not enjoying it very much, as the male lead is pushy and slightly problematic, but it’s a book I’m simply reading to pass the time. So, yeah. Hopefully I like it by the end but I won’t be too disappointed if I don’t.

[10] Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno

I’m pretty sure this book caught my eye either on Goodreads as someone else was reading it or through a book recommendations blog post. I’m unsure of where exactly, but it sounded really nice and I impulsively got it on my Kindle.

I’m generally quite picky about my paperback and hardback buys but I go all impulsive on ebooks haha.


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What are the most recent additions to your bookshelf? Have you read any of the books I mentioned above?

Thanks For The Memories || an interesting idea

thanks for the memories book cover || review

Title: Thanks for the Memories
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Genre: General Fiction
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

I’ll be honest, the only reason I got this book was because it was being sold for a really low price in a book fair. I hadn’t even heard of this book before, and the synopsis at the back gave NO CLUE to the actual story.

THE PLOT

The book starts with Joyce having a fall on the stairs and losing her baby. She has a lot of blood loss as well, which leads to her getting a blood transfusion in the hospital. She barely survives.

When she wakes up after the incident, Joyce is almost like a different person. She knows things that she never even cared about, and remembers things that she has never experienced. Suddenly, she knows about architecture and history, and speaks Latin. Which is completely bizarre.

The other protagonist of the book is Justin, a guest professor at a college in Dublin and an art and history enthusiast. He was convinced to donate blood one day, which could someone’s life.

After Joyce’s incident, she becomes way too much like Justin. She has his memories and inherited his characteristics. One can say that his blood was given to her in the transfusion, which also transferred his memories and characteristics.

Throughout the book, we follow Joyce and Justin as they go on with their lives which somehow interleaves and changes everything.

MY REVIEW

First of all, a very interesting idea. It’s the thought that if something directly from a person’s heart is transferred to another person, it could transfer memories and characteristics as well.

The problem with this idea, which showed in the book, was a lack of plot around it. We just follow Joyce and Justin. There’s no great plot-line except this idea. Which kind of made it boring, and easy to skim. I read this book in a day because it was easy to read fast because there wasn’t very much substance in every line.

I liked following Joyce’s journey after losing the baby which signals the end of her marriage. She moves back in with her widowed father and they learn to share space after so long. Their bond was pure, and although it had it’s annoyances, they support each other and have new adventures.

Justin was a fun character to read about. Simply because he’s kinda embarrassing and quirky. He has his flaws, which is seen very clearly, but his story was fun to read. He is a divorced man who moved to London to be closer to his teenage daughter, and travels to Dublin regularly for guest lectures. It’s hard for him to adjust to this new life after leaving behind a great life in America, but he does it for his daughter.

Now, the point that I really want to talk about. The ending. The ending was disappointing. After all that chase and adventures, the last bit felt rushed and quite out of place. The falling in love part did NOT make sense. Joyce and Justin didn’t even really know each other. And considering that they share a lot of characteristics now, it’s quite weird.

I did not like the ending, but I guess the author didn’t know how to end the book since it doesn’t actually have a plot. It makes sense why she chose to do this but… eh.

OVERALL

It was an okay read. I wasn’t very invested in it, and it was more of a pass-the-time read. I’m glad that I didn’t go in with expectations.

This book had been sitting on my shelf for almost a year so it’s good that I finally got to it and read it. Even though it wasn’t in my TBR, it’s part of my #StartOnYourShelfathon to finish the books I currently own first before buying new ones and reading them.

I rate this book..

2.5/5 stars

Have you read books by Cecelia Ahern? What’s your opinion on this idea that blood transfusion could transfer characteristics?

Becoming || inspires hope for change

becoming book cover

Title: Becoming
Author: Michelle Obama
Genre: Autobiography

Goodreads

Becoming, since it’s release, has been praised to the stars by just about everyone. All the readers I follow posted about it, and it was my book club’s pick sometime last year. I didn’t have the time to read it then, though. I finally picked up the book in November, but did not have the time or patience for a non-fiction.

In order to motivate myself to finish it this year, I chose Becoming as the book for a prompt in the Popsugar Reading Challenge and also included it in #StartOnYouRShelfathon. And it worked! I finished the book as my second read of the year. We’re off to a good start.

MY REVIEW

Once I was actually in the mood to read this book, which was so a few days back, I couldn’t stop reading it. Although it’s an autobiography, Michelle Obama’s life has been very interesting that it almost feels as if I’m reading fiction. She has written her story so beautifully, showing how she was brought up and what made her into who she is today.

Even when it’s not pretty or perfect. Even when it’s more real than you want it to be. Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.

Becoming is a brilliant book that sends a message of hope, change, and power in resilience. It was inspiring and motivating.

How Michelle Obama was portrayed in the media is such a contrast to how she is in the book. She, along with her husband and family, are humanized and broken down to the small quirks that makes them. She speaks about her struggles, her fears, and her weakness plainly. There was no hiding, but instead she owned every part of her story.

In my opinion, a major reason that this book resonates with people across the world is how Michelle openly talks about her struggles which many others are going through as well. She talks about the struggles of being a woman, being Black in a predominantly White country, being a woman in male-dominated field, being a working mother, and being the wife to a politician.

Confidence, I’d learned then, sometimes needs to be called from within. I’ve repeated the same words to myself many times now, through many climbs.

Am I good enough? Yes I am.

It was wonderful to read her thoughts and feelings on everything, especially the negative ones. In the end, she overcame all of that and stood strong. Michelle Obama learned how to adapt and use her resources to help other people. She recognizes all her privileges, from the people in her life to the power she has, and works to make changes in the US.

Through Michelle Obama, we also get insight into Barack Obama as more than the former US President. We see him as a passionate person, a fact-guy, as a husband, and as a father. It was interesting to see their relationship from the start and the issues they went through as he climbed the political ladder.

The choice, as he saw it, was this: You give up or you work for change. “What’s better for us?” Barack called to the people gathered in the room. “Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?”

I was most curious to read about the Obama family’s time in the White House and I was not disappointed. A major portion of the book took place during those 8 years, and Michelle spoke about everything. We read about the staff, the rooms, and multiple small quirks of living there. Their life changed drastically the day Barack Obama became the President-Elect, and Michelle showed the overwhelming changes in the book.

Being the First Lady is very much different to being the President. The role doesn’t have all the hard power of the President, nor does it give the platform to talk about the same issues. But being First Lady does give power due to the image. Reading about Michelle Obama’s journey in the role was intriguing and inspiring.

A First Lady’s power is a curious thing—as soft and undefined as the role itself. And yet I was learning to harness it.

One thing that Michelle Obama counted on for several years was the support from her girl friends. The power of female friendships is not spoken about much, in fiction or non-fiction, and it was really nice to see Michelle talk about it multiple times.

OVERALL

I should stop talking because there is SO MUCH in the book that I loved and several more quotes that I want to add. I can probably talk for an hour about this book.

But all I’ll say is, read this book if you haven’t yet. It’s a wonderful and inspiring story that drives home one thing: you are worth it, you can make changes in this world as well.

There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.

Michelle Obama

I rate this book..

5/5 stars

Have you read Becoming? Do you have favourite quotes from the book?

blogmas 2019 header image

A-Z Reading Challenge 2019

It’s the end of the year! Which means that it’s time to look back on all the challenges and see how we’ve done.

I didn’t join in on any challenges this year since I knew that I won’t be able to keep up with them all. College has been HECTIC, and I was expecting it. But there are two challenges that I always participate in passively. It’s the Goodreads reading challenge, where I set my goal to 150 books this year. Another is the A-Z Reading Challenge.

How this challenge works is that we have to read books for every alphabet. For A, we should read a book whose name starts with A. The one rule is that “The”, “A” and “An” doesn’t count. For Q, X and Z, the letters can be anywhere in the title.

P.S. This is part of my blogmas! Follow my blog to not miss any of my posts since I’ll be posting everyday leading up to Christmas. You can also check out all the posts I’ve published so far.

Here’s what my list looks like!

A – Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

B – Butterface by Avery Flynn

C – City of Ghosts by V.E. Schwab

D – Defy Me by Tahereh Mafi

E – Educated by Tara Westover

F – The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

G – Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

H – Heartache and Hope by Jay McLean

I – Intercepted by Alexa Martin

J – Justice by K.C. Lynn

K – Knots by Deblina Bhattacharya

L – The Lie by C.L. Taylor

M – Muffin Top by Avery Flynn

me standing next to a stack of books of my height

N – Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

O – On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

P – Punk 57

Q – Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

R – Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

S – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

T – That Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson

U – The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

V – A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

W – The Wicked King by Holly Black

X – The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Y – The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Z – The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez


I completed it! When I was planning this post and noted down the books for every letter, I was still missing Q and Y. It was only last week that I managed to complete those haha. And that’s by cleverly choosing a small book for Y. But I’m glad I did 24 letters without consciously trying!

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Are you doing the A to Z Reading Challenge as well? Or are you doing any other challenge? Tell me in the comments!

The Gilded Wolves || full of adventure

Title: The Gilded Wolves
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: Fantasy
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Book 1 in The Gilded Wolves series

Goodreads

Even though I haven’t read much Young Adult this year, I still notice the popular books and trends. One of the books which has been HYPED UP is The Gilded Wolves. Almost everyone was talking about it. Especially since it involves a diverse set of characters, the praise was high.

So when I got the mood to read a YA book, this was the first one that I picked.

SYNOPSIS

The book is set in France, 1889. But we don’t really see the mundane France. Right from the beginning, we’re introduced to the new concept of “Forging” and the hidden Fantasy world.

In this hidden world lies The Order, and the Four Houses that protect the art of Forging. Severin, the last heir of one of the houses, was denied of his birthright as patriarch of the house years back. Ever since, he has been on the path of revenge, and his only mission is to be instated with his birthright.

Over the years, he has brought together a band of people to work with him. Laila, the dancer from India with her own mission. Enrique, a well-read historian looking to be recognized. Zofia, a very smart engineer with a debt. And Tristan, Severin’s brother in everything except blood.

Right as Severin’s dream is close enough to reach for, things go awry and the group is thrust into a mission they didn’t sign up for. Together, they discover hidden truths and learnt what it truly means to be family.

MY REVIEW

First of all, this book reminded me why I loved the Fantasy genre. It has been so long since I read a Fantasy book, and reading this was like breathing fresh air. It was wonderful.

The plot is very captivating. We are taken on an adventure through this book. An adventure with a denied birthright, Forging, mystery, manipulation, secrets, betrayal and magical objects. Basically everything you want in a great Fantasy book.

The writing was very descriptive. We are given details about everything, especially the history in this world. At times, I found the descriptions and background information too much. Yes they’re planning something and are researching a lot for it, but there was way too much unnecessary information for me to read through with concentration. That could have been reduced.

Even though the plot was really good, what really made the book great were the characters. The characters were brilliant. They were each unique and fully-fledged i.e. with depth and layers. Every character was endearing in their own way. They are precious.

There was also enough highlight on each of them. I never felt like we saw more of one or two and less of the others. They were all equally the main characters of this book.

The found family trope was executed beautifully. The relationships between the characters, and what the relationships mean to them, was shows really well. The interactions were very fun to read as well, and didn’t feel like an overkill.*

*cough Aurora Rising cough

Many readers have compared this book to Six of Crows. While I do see the similarities—with the plot type and character relationships—I still think that they are entirely separate books. They have similar concepts but each with their own spin and meaning to it.

OVERALL

I’m very happy with this book. I absolutely loved reading about the characters going on their dangerous adventures together. It also brought back some of my love of YA Fantasy.

Would recommend especially: if you’re looking for a book with the found family trope, with a very Fantasy-world, and adventure.

I rate this book..

4/5 stars

Have you read The Gilded Wolves? Do you like the Fantasy genre?

Wilder Girls || gory and creepy

Title: Wilder Girls
Author: Rory Power
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

When this book was released, it became a huge hit in the Bookstagram community. Everywhere I saw, people were reading or talking about this book. This cover was shown to me so many times that I didn’t even have to add it to my TBR, it was just imprinted in my head.

It took me a while to pick it up since I wasn’t in the mood for YA. But the second I wanted to, I read this one. And it’s safe to say that I went in with HUGE expectations.

SYNOPSIS

The book is set on Raxter Island, which has been taken over by a disease called “The Tox”. It has affected the entire island including the trees, the animals, and even the people. Ever since it hit, the island has been put on quarantine.

The girls in Raxter School, a boarding school which has now turned into a weird hell, have scales on their body, bones sticking out, and other weird body parts which have developed because of the Tox. They were told that a solution will be found, and to just hold on, but it’s been 18 months. They stay locked up in the school, only a few wandering out for supplies.

Hetty, Byatt and Reese are a tight knit group. When Byatt goes missing, Hetty vows that she will find her. In the process, she discovers so much more that she was looking for.

MY REVIEW

Let’s do this in parts.

THE GOOD

This book is unique. I have never come across a story like this in YA, and it was very interesting to read. The Tox is an unknown thing, and no one knows what it is, how it actually came to Raxter, or how to get rid of it. They’re just hanging on and living with it.

Reading the book will put you in that world. The writing is highly detailed and eerie. Sometimes, I could barely handle it because I was so grossed out with the descriptions. The author hold back from exactly detailing everything related to the Tox. I was slightly nauseous a couple times as well*. The writing also sets the creepy vibe well. This is not a happy book. It’s one meant to creep you out.

The characters and the relationships were nice. We focus more on Hetty, Byatt and Reese. The complex relationships between these three was nice to see. They’re super close and will always have each other’s backs.

*note: don’t read when eating, or right after eating.

THE OKAY

I feel like the characters were sometimes underdeveloped. Since we read through Hetty, we know a lot about her and she’s a full-fledged character. I can’t say the same for Byatt and Reese, and we barely think about others if not Tox-related. The characters could have been worked on much more. Byatt especially confused me. I always felt like I’m reading a surface-level version of her. There was no clear depth.

The plot, overall, was quite unimpressive. The book spends so long describing the Tox and it’s effects on everyone, and how daily life has become since the quarantine. But it never pays off. It’s as if the author thought of this situation and somehow constructed a plot around it, but the plot was never the main focus. It didn’t feel like there was a point to it.

THE BAD

I’m someone who is ALWAYS up for romance, no matter the genre. So when I saw the hints of romance in this book, I was ecstatic at first. But a while later, I wish it didn’t exist.

The romance felt like a needless addition to the plot, and at times it took attention completely away from the main plot*. The timing of the romance scenes was very inconvenient as well. I just could not go with it. I wish there was no romance at all.

*if there’s actually a main plot.

The book got pretty boring about halfway. By that point, all the Tox descriptions and intrigue was waning. I needed some actual plot, but none was forthcoming. I actually had to pause reading it, read another book, and then get back to it. By the 80% point, I was speed-reading so I could be done with the book faster.

But the book’s ending was NOT satisfying. I really hated the way the book rushed through to provide some form of an ending. But it doesn’t actually end as well.. It was an open ending! There’s still so much mystery around the Tox and what happens to the three girls. We still barely know anything. It’s like the author gave us clues and told “figure it out yourself.” To have sat through an entire book, that was highly underwhelming.

OVERALL

I was highly disappointed. For the amount of hype going around, this book is not worth it. Sure, the concept of the Tox, and the descriptions and vibe were cool. It was very different than the usual YA books we get. But I still would have liked a proper plot and some form of definitive ending.

Considering that the book was about the Tox, the least it could have done was leave me with no questions about it. But I still don’t exactly know what the Tox is.

Would recommend: if you’re looking for a unique YA with creepy vibes.

Would not recommend: if you can’t handle descriptive gore, and like proper endings.

I rate this book..

2.5/5 stars