My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell | Book Review

sunday market (2)imageedit_1_3468234889

Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of RoomMy Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.

Date Published: March 10, 2020

Date Read: April 8, 2020

Publisher: William Morrow Books

No. of Pages: 384

Setting: Maine

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Adult

Trigger Warnings: Pedophilia, Rape, Sexual Assault

Get you Copy Here:  Amazon | Book Depository 

imageedit_13_7735683809

Reading this feels like watching a wreckage, logical thought would suggest you have to look away, but against all odds you just kept staring.

TRIGGER WARNING: Rape, pedophilia, sexual assault.

My Dark Vanessa is the kind of read that will make your skin crawl. You will feel uncomfortable and bothered by what transpired between Vanessa and Strane. It has this inexplicable pull, its reader dare I say, a willing victim. Its darkness is all consuming and powerful, like you’re under an immense grey cloud hovering above you for days. Reading this feels like watching a wreckage, logical thought would suggest you have to look away, but against all odds you just kept staring. It will leave you with unsettling feeling, a feeling you cannot simply shake off. A book that will stay with you for however long you like it. Impactful and so beautifully written. A narrative that needs to be said no matter how ugly it was. I kept telling myself its fiction, but who am I kidding, these unspeakable things can happen or is happening to so many girls out there. That’s why it is so bothersome and depressing to read.

My Dark Vanessa is a book that will challenge you. Not an easy read. Not a book I would typically reach out, nor a book I would read during this pandemic. I first listened to on audio from Scribd, and I tell you it has the most talented narrator.Listening to it sends a different kind of chill – a whole new level of horror. The reading experience magnified and heightened 10x more. It will suck you in like a vortex. A tip to maximize your reading experience, listen to audio while reading the book. That’s a sure way to ingrain the book inside your pretty head. It was a harrowing read from beginning to end. My Dark Vanessa brought chills as I listen through Vanessa’s ordeal with what had transpired when she was 15, and how it affected her and her disposition throughout her adult life. Kate Elizabeth Russell’s writing style was precise, lucid and not too overwrought with unnecessary description of a place or a person, which somehow works really well in the book. It was able to send its chilling message across without sounding pretentious. My Dark Vanessa dumped love, consent, complicity, rape and manipulation in murky water making it hard to distinguish one from the other. Thought provoking at best.

The complicated characters, especially the narrator – Vanessa, gave so much depth to the book, making it more repulsive and graphic but also will give you a feeling you just couldn’t quite place, like sympathy and pity. Vanessa, was an enigma, (just how Henry Plough said it), her character so complex. You couldn’t quite guess what would be her reaction to certain things. There is darkness within her that is very hard to fathom, a kind of darkness that follows her, looms over everything she touches. Jacob Strane’s character is predatory and manipulative, but the book was able to paint him in a certain light that shows he is so much more than what he is. From this you will understand why Vanessa reacted the way she did or how Vanessa regarded Strane, on why she always puts him in a pedestal. It was frustrating to read, and yet the book was not amiss to lay down the foundation of Vanessa’s character, which was riddled with misplaced maturity and boldness.

I cannot in good conscience haphazardly recommend this book to whoever asks for literary fiction recommendation, I believe you have to set the trigger warnings first and always proceed with caution. It is a hard read, and I know not everyone would like it. A challenging read with sensitive topic but ultimately needed to be addressed. You have to have the proper mind set delving into this one. It will hit you differently, unpleasant at times, yet you will develop some profound understanding.

Kate Elizabeth Russell definitely made her mark with this debut. Now I have high expectations from her. Best believe I will be looking forward to more of her writing.

imageedit_11_3991205606

 

“Girls in those stories are always victims, and I am not. And it doesn’t have anything to do with what Strane did or didn’t do to me when I was younger. I’m not a victim because I never wanted to be, and If I didn’t want to be, then I’m not. That’s how it works. The difference between rape and sex is state of mind. You can’t rape the willing, right?”
― Kate Elizabeth Russell, My Dark Vanessa

img-5533

#StanAsianAuthors and 2020 #AsianReadathon

 

Brown Paper People & Blogs Youtube Outro (1)

May is Asian Heritage Month and what best way to celebrate it than to read all the Asian books. Looking at the books I have read so far this year, it pains me to admit that I haven’t been reading quite diversely. My need to read anything I like often wins more than the necessity to read more diverse books. There’s nothing wrong with reading the books you like, let me straighten that out. After all, reading should be something comforting and familiar. It is just my personal goal to read more diverse books, and I felt like I haven’t been acing that one lately. Now what pushed me to do this? Aside from the need to read more diversely, I felt the need to celebrate Asian Authors and their huge contribution to the literary world. This may or may not be affected by the recent book twitter issue involving a white author and a Filipina author. Would not delve on that issue since that isn’t my point here. My point is, Asian Authors are not given much love and recognition as opposed to white authors, and that is a bitter pill to swallow. And as an Asian myself, I think it is my duty to support and celebrate Asian authors (because frankly, Asians are cool, nope, not up for debate) the best way I know how.

Adding the fact that we are in an unprecedented time and we are coping the best way we can, I would like to take this opportunity to take you with me in combating this boredom and the pressing anxiety brought by this isolation. It is not easy to navigate life in this “new” normal, sometimes I want to indulge myself into some bouts of crying. Haha. But seriously, if you feel unmotivated, uninspired, anxious or afraid, your feelings are perfectly valid and you are entitled to feel all of it. If you don’t feel like doing anything, or you don’t want to read a book, or participate in anything productive, that is perfectly fine too. We cope differently, do whatever you need to help you get through each day!

I am happy to learn that my little #StanAsianAuthor plan for May coincides with Read With Cindy ‘s 2020 Asian Readathon which is basically gearing towards the same goal – read all the Asian books!!! So yayy that is me hitting two birds with one stone! Here’s the master list of Asian Books (click here) curated by her. The master list is extensive and very helpful! I love love love it! If you wish to join Read With Cindy and/or me, you can use #StanAsianAuthors and #AsianReadathon on your socials!

 

I know everyone doesn’t have access to a lot of books, but I hope you can take this time to read those books sitting on your shelves for a little while now. I could also suggest Scribd for a wide variety of ebooks and audiobooks ( I live for their audio books selection!). The last time I checked, Scribd is still offering free month subscription to help us cope during this uncertain time. A sentence review on Scribd: I ‘ve been abusing it like crazy and loving every minute of it!

I also have curated the books I am planning to read. This is quite ambitious for me, since I am not a fast reader and I get easily distracted. Let’s just say I would be happy to read at least 4 of this. I am also planning to listen to some audiobooks and have plans as well to read on my kindle (since I tend to read faster on kindle). Below are the synopsis of the books I am planning to read:

viber_image_2020-04-21_13-20-25

 

1. Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

20868283._SY475_Tsukiko is drinking alone in her local sake bar when by chance she meets one of her old high school teachers and, unable to remember his name, she falls back into her old habit of calling him ‘Sensei’. After this first encounter, Tsukiko and Sensei continue to meet. Together, they share edamame beans, bottles of cold beer, and a trip to the mountains to eat wild mushrooms. As their friendship deepens, Tsukiko comes to realise that the solace she has found with Sensei might be something more.

 

 

 

2. Singapore Love Stories by Verena Tay

32147674._SY475_What does it mean to love and be loved in Singapore?

Singapore Love Stories is a vibrant collection of seventeen stories that delves into the diverse love lives of Singapore’s eclectic mix of inhabitants. From the HDB heartlander to the Sentosa millionaire, the privileged expatriate to the migrant worker, the accidental tourist to the reluctant citizen, the characters in this anthology reveal an array of perspectives of love found in the island city-state.

Leading Singaporean and Singapore-based writers explore the best and worst of the human condition called love, including grief, duplicity and revenge, self-love, filial love, homesickness and tragic past relationships. Collectively, the stories in this anthology reveal the many ways in which love can be both a salve and a wound in life.

 

3. In The Country by Mia Alvar

30738562._SY475_These nine globe-trotting, unforgettable stories from Mia Alvar, a remarkable new literary talent, vividly give voice to the women and men of the Filipino diaspora. Here are exiles, emigrants, and wanderers uprooting their families from the Philippines to begin new lives in the Middle East, the United States, and elsewhere—and, sometimes, turning back again.

A pharmacist living in New York smuggles drugs to his ailing father in Manila, only to discover alarming truths about his family and his past. In Bahrain, a Filipina teacher drawn to a special pupil finds, to her surprise, that she is questioning her own marriage. A college student leans on her brother, a laborer in Saudi Arabia, to support her writing ambitions, without realizing that his is the life truly made for fiction. And in the title story, a journalist and a nurse face an unspeakable trauma amidst the political turmoil of the Philippines in the 1970s and ’80s.

In the Country speaks to the heart of everyone who has ever searched for a place to call home. From teachers to housemaids, from mothers to sons, Alvar’s powerful debut collection explores the universal experiences of loss, displacement, and the longing to connect across borders both real and imagined. Deeply compassionate and richly felt, In the Country marks the emergence of a formidable new writer.

 

4. Lalani of The Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly

41180656._SY475_There are stories of extraordinary children who are chosen from birth to complete great quests and conquer evil villains.

This is no such story.

Sometimes, you are an ordinary child.

Sometimes, you have to choose yourself.

This is the story of Lalani Sarita, a twelve-year-old girl who lives on the island of Sanlagita in the shadow of a vengeful mountain. When she makes a fateful wish that endangers her already-vulnerable village, she sets out across the distant sea in search of life’s good fortunes. Grown men have died making the same journey. What hope does an ordinary girl have?

Inspired by Filipino folklore, Lalani of the Distant Sea introduces readers to a landscape of magical creatures, such as Bai-Vinca, the enormous birdwoman; Ditasa Ulod, part woman, part eel; the mindoren, a race of creatures modeled after the water buffalo; and the whenbo — trees that eat the souls of the dead.

 

5. Confessions Kanae Minato

19161835HER PUPILS KILLED HER DAUGHTER.
NOW, SHE WILL HAVE HER REVENGE.

After calling off her engagement in wake of a tragic revelation, Yuko Moriguchi had nothing to live for except her only child, four-year-old Manami. Now, following an accident on the grounds of the middle school where she teaches, Yuko has given up and tendered her resignation.

But first she has one last lecture to deliver. She tells a story that upends everything her students ever thought they knew about two of their peers, and sets in motion a maniacal plot for revenge.

Narrated in alternating voices, with twists you’ll never see coming, Confessions explores the limits of punishment, despair, and tragic love, culminating in a harrowing confrontation between teacher and student that will place the occupants of an entire school in danger. You’ll never look at a classroom the same way again.

 

6. The Poppy War by RF Kuang

35068705When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

 

7. Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

40121959How far will you go to protect your family? Will you keep their secrets? Ignore their lies?

In a small town in Virginia, a group of people know each other because they’re part of a special treatment center, a hyperbaric chamber that may cure a range of conditions from infertility to autism. But then the chamber explodes, two people die, and it’s clear the explosion wasn’t an accident.

A showdown unfolds as the story moves across characters who are all maybe keeping secrets, hiding betrayals. Was it the careless mother of a patient? Was it the owners, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? Could it have been a protester, trying to prove the treatment isn’t safe?

 

8. The Magical Language of Others by EJ Koh

46195204The Magical Language of Others is a powerful and aching love story in letters, from mother to daughter. After living in America for over a decade, Eun Ji Koh’s parents return to South Korea for work, leaving fifteen-year-old Eun Ji and her brother behind in California. Overnight, Eun Ji finds herself abandoned and adrift in a world made strange by her mother’s absence. Her mother writes letters, in Korean, over the years seeking forgiveness and love—letters Eun Ji cannot fully understand until she finds them years later hidden in a box.

As Eun Ji translates the letters, she looks to history—her grandmother Jun’s years as a lovesick wife in Daejeon, the horrors her grandmother Kumiko witnessed during the Jeju Island Massacre—and to poetry, as well as her own lived experience to answer questions inside all of us. Where do the stories of our mothers and grandmothers end and ours begin? How do we find words—in Korean, Japanese, English, or any language—to articulate the profound ways that distance can shape love? Eun Ji Koh fearlessly grapples with forgiveness, reconciliation, legacy, and intergenerational trauma, arriving at insights that are essential reading for anyone who has ever had to balance love, longing, heartbreak, and joy.

The Magical Language of Others weaves a profound tale of hard-won selfhood and our deep bonds to family, place, and language, introducing—in Eun Ji Koh—a singular, incandescent voice.

9. This Time Will be Different by Misa Sugiura

36220348._SX318_Katsuyamas never quit—but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. She’s never lived up to her mom’s type A ambition, and she’s perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family’s flower shop.

She doesn’t buy into Hannah’s romantic ideas about flowers and their hidden meanings, but when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. A skill she might even be proud of.

Then her mom decides to sell the shop—to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.

 

That’s my ambitious TBR, who knows I could add more. Crossing my fingers I could read most of them if not all! I quite started reading Asian authors as I am currently reading/listening on audio book Days of Distraction by Alexandra Chang.

Do share your tbrs should you decide to join this amazing asian readathons! Let’s spread all the love and celebrate Asian authors and their amazing works! I am thinking of doing this as a yearly thing, we’ll see!

Stay safe, stay home!

img-5533

Beach Read by Emily Henry | ARC Review

sunday market (1)imageedit_1_3468234889

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

Date of Publication: May 19, 2020

Date Read: April 05, 2020

Publisher: Berkley Publishing

No. of Pages: 384

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Setting: North Bears Shore, Michigan

Get Your Copy Here: Amazon | Book Depository| Book Of The Month

imageedit_13_7735683809

A new favorite romance for 2020!

Long time no review! I haven’t been giving full reviews since the year started, but this book deserves a full one! Beach Read is now included in my favorite books list. Best believe this will be one of the books that will come up on one of our conversations. Beach Read is so much more than what its gorgeous cover lets on. It is just everything I wanted in a book: 1) book about writers ; ) playful and funny banters; 3) characters that are relatable and realistic  (not the God-like, drop-dead gorgeous with ripped abs characters often described in romance books); 4) great family dynamic; 5) depth and character development and 6) lastly amazing plot line.

This book isn’t just your ordinary summer read. While it has the quality of a feel good book (something we desperately need during this uncertain time) it also gives off maturity and depth, focusing on dealing with grief and coming to terms with it while also discovering one’s self in the process. Beach Read offers its readers an escape from their own heads while imparting a lesson or two. I love that in a book, the way that it is not just a book but a depiction, an understanding, a realization. It deals with different kinds of grief but contain universal pain. I love how a book speaks in volumes.

January Andrews and Augustus Everett (gossssh I love their names!!!) are characters I have been longing to read for quite sometime. Who would pass up on a story about a romance writer and a literary fiction author? The premise alone holds so much promise and it definitely held up its part of the bargain, definitely exceeded my expectations.. January and Augustus have solid characteristics with amazing character development. Their characters represent two kinds of different people, one with a happier outlook and the other with seriousness, bleakness and some sense of intensity – looking at the world not with pessimism but with realistic eyes. I loved how their characters compliment each other and how their deal came about, how they each learn the value of the other’s work.

I loved how this book highlighted the notions on women’s fiction and how it should be valued just as much as any kind of literature. Oh gosh I love their rom-com trips, my fave was the drive-in, I am such a sucker for that! The author was able to highlight so much about the process of writing (makes me want to write my own book haha). Augustus and January’s banters and palpable sexual tension gave this book so much color. I laughed on more than one occasion. I love how easy their conversations are and how it doesn’t feel forced. Beach Read is the kind of book that really was able to sell the relationship of the characters, they are easily lovable and you just can’t help but root for them. The slow burn romance was played out well. While there are times that I would like Augustus and January’s relationship to move on to the next level and a few times got frustrated by their “almosts”, like I just want them to make out already  and be a happy happy couple haha. But when everything unfolded and ran its course, it was just perfect and definitely worth the wait. The romance was just made right, and that’s what I love most about it.

I can confidently say that Beach Read will be loved by many. It’s fun, sweet, tug at your heartstrings, with relatable characters and have an awesome setting. Honestly, what’s not to love?

 

imageedit_11_3991205606

Falling’s the part that takes your breath away. It’s the part when you can’t believe the person standing in front of you both exists and happened to wander into your path. It’s supposed to make you feel lucky to be alive, exactly when and where you are.

— Emily Henry; Beach Read

img-5533

 

 

 

Nerdy Talks Top 10 Books of 2019

year long reading challenge

Another great year has ended with it the best books that graced the earth. 2019 wasn’t really the best reading year for me, I have been juggling my profession and personal stuff like crazy and let just say reading and blogging took the back seat this year. Despite this I was still able to read noteworthy books, I may not have made it quantity wise but the quality of the books I enjoyed the past year, I can definitely live with.

1. Not That Bad by Roxanne Gay

Not That Bad by Roxane Gay is a deep and raw collection of essays. It tackles rape culture told in varying perspective. This is such a powerful read, it should be a required reading. Have everyone in your life read this, especially the men in your life. It was a heavy read but so important! I have learned so much in reading this – and before this I thought I knew enough, turns out I am wrong. I know so little. Reading this book was a very bitter pill to swallow but something that should be fully addressed, and should be talked about more openly.

2. Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I have always been a fan of Laini Taylor’s writing. There was not single book she has written (that I’ve read) that I didn’t like. She has this whimsical way of story-telling. One of the best fantasy writers that I’ve ever read. Strange The Dreamer is magical in all sense of the word. It is not the usual fantasy we come across each day. It has so much more to offer. What I like best about Laini Taylor’s works is the quality of the writing style. Lyrical and well-executed – giving you the full experience. The kind of story that will stay with you, the kind of story you’ll definitely go back to.

3. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine  is the kind of book you never thought you ever needed. Eleanor was such a great narrator, funny without even trying, heck without even knowing it. This book is hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. It was so much more than the high praises it was constantly getting. Eleanor Oliphant is not the likable kind. I have always found it funny whenever people rates a book low because the main character was not likable. I always expect the characters to be as real as any human being one comes across with, and to be honest, not everyone is likable, I myself is not everyone’s favorite and that’s okay. Why should it be any different with characters in a book? This is the kind of book that makes sense as it goes, from loathing Eleanor to loving her and understanding her better. I can say this is my ultimate fave book of 2019.

4. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Ackkkk another book that made me so giddy. I have loved The Kiss Quotient and I was ecstatic about The Bride Test and it definitely did not disappoint at all. Helen Hoang has now a special place in my heart. Another auto-buy author. This book gives the right amount of sexy and sweet, with dash of some family dynamic. I loved loved loved the Asian representation. Asians are represented more and more into books and movies and I appreciate this a whole lot! Another plus point for The Bride Test is it is an own voices book. The Autism Spectrum was explained in a way that many people could understand it better and in simpler terms. You can really tell that the author knows her craft and is not afraid to use it.

I am glad this book did not suffer the proverbial second book syndrome. It is beautiful and engaging in its own right. Can’t wait for book three!

 

5. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Lock Every Door is the very first book I have read by Riley Sager. His name has been rounding the internet for quite some time already but I never got the chance to read his works until Lock Every Door and boy was I missing out. I breezed through this book. It grips you like a vise. This book is a solid page turner. The kind that keeps you at the edge of your seat. It will give you the creeps and the chills at first, but as you plunge deeper you’ll learn that it isn’t just a simple scare, something more profound lies underneath. Ahhh I wish I could say more, but I don’t want to spoil it to anyone. Here’s one thing I just learned, this will be made into a TV series, can’t wait how it will turn out! That would be exciting!

6. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Reading this book felt like a wonderful vacation! You have to give it to the duo to come up with fresh and unique rom coms every time. Unhoneymooners is not an exception – it is funny, sexy and cute! The best summer read if you ask me.The Unhoneymooners is quite addictive, just impossible to put down. And did I mention I love the humor in this one? It was so beautifully crafted, reading it felt like a true vacation. What I also love about this book is the conflict towards the end, how you thought everything is as smooth-sailing as one implies it to be, then bam! Loved that it wasn’t just some shallow conflict just for shock value, it was what the book needed to give more texture and to make it everything but a cliche. By the end my cheeks hurt from smiling a too much. Gahhhh I just love Olive and Ethan okay?? If you are looking for a fun and light read make it your life’s mission to read this one and all other books by these amazing authors!

7. On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous has got to be one of the most lyrical book I have ever read. This book floored me. It was so beautifully written. The kind of book that would stay with you for days, even years! It was short but it was dense. I have tabbed so many passages, I think this is my most tabbed book. This is not just briefly gorgeous, this book is eternal. A masterpiece! I am so in love with Ocean Vuong’s writing style – it was powerful yet melancholic, lyrical yet precise.

8. All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

All The Ugly and Wonderful Things is a highly controversial book. I know that this book ain’t for everyone. It is the kind of book that will challenge you as a reader. It will make you uncomfortable but at the same time root for the characters. You’ll be conflicted all the way but will end up appreciating the story. It was controversial as it was a masterpiece. It was an unconventional love story spanning years. The most unlikely couple yet a big part of me roots for them so bad. It’s like I wanted to be in the book and explain to people what’s between Wavy and Kellen.

Wavy, Kellen, Donal and all other characters are so distinct and impactful, the kind you’ll be thinking about long after you’ve read it. Bryn Greenwood is such an exquisite story teller. I’m silently cursing myself for not reading this one sooner. This book definitely made it to my top books of 2019!

9. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

The Nickel Boys sent me into an emotional turmoil. As if there’s this inexplicable weight on me that I just couldn’t simply shake off. I was more than sad reading this book, it was harrowing and unimaginable. Such an impactful read. Unforgetful. It would creep up in your head without preamble, and you’ll feel hollowed out and just extremely heart broken. The same feeling I felt when I read A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. It was unsettling, I can’t stop thinking about it. It was a short book but wow, it gave out more than you could hope for. And that ending, I was too stunned, I had to process everything. Such a well written book that tackles racism, discrimination and so much more. A required read if I say so my self.

10. Ice Planet Barbarians series by Ruby Dixon

Not a book but a series. It was 2019 when I finally been swayed to read the Ice Planet Barbarian series. And my goodness, it is a series that keeps on giving. It just keeps getting better and better each book. I love how as the book progresses the plot thickens, the setting expands, the characters evolve. Everything else gets better and more engaging. When you look past those covers and focus on the story of each book you’ll understand how it isn’t just smut, it is so much more. It had depth and a real story that is truly entertaining. If you’re just a tad bit curious, I say go ahead and read the first book, it wouldn’t hurt to do that. You can thank me later!

 

Honorable Mention:

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie

A powerful book! It was liberating and thought-provoking. Presented in a simple letter form that gave so much impact and hits home more than it intends to. There are differences in customs and cultures presented here, at least a little different from Asian type of upbringing, but what was written here is universal. The fifteen suggestions transcend cultures, customs, idealogies and race. It encompasses everything and that’s how feminist books should be written. It is not selective in its pursuit for equality nor it gives misconceptions, if for anything it debunks certain “feminist concepts” — feminist lites, which to be honest I may or may not have been one. This book lets you unlearn what you’ve been fed to believe and what you thought was right and acceptable all along. It was a blessing reading this one. I have learned so much. It is insightful and relevant, I couldn’t help but pass it on to someone else and let them be enlightened and be educated more. I’m gonna talk about this book as passionately as it deserves!

 

So there you have it, my top books of 2019. I hope 2020 will bring more quality books. Happy New Year everyone may you all find your favorite book this year!

 

img-5533

Falling Through Love by Akif Kichloo | Book Review

sunday market-7imageedit_1_3468234889

Falling Through Love is a heart-pounding, stomach-dropping, beautiful plunge into experiences of love, longing, and loss.

Falling Through Love submerges readers into Kichloo’s deeply personal yet widely resonant experiences, exploring relationships in their most exposed and honest states. Written in a variety of poetic forms—free verse, rhyme, prose, and visual poetry—Falling Through Love takes the reader on a poignant journey with the writer, about charting one’s own path in life, investigating failure, family dynamics, and love. Looking at life backward and forward simultaneously, this collection brings forth new perspectives on what it means to be alive, to have made mistakes, to have fought for an identity, to have loved and lost and then loved and lost again.

Date Published: November 5, 2019

Date Read: November 7, 2019

Genre: Poetry

Number of Pages: 144 pages

Get your copy here: Amazon | Book Depository| Barnes and Noble

imageedit_13_7735683809

Fearless, honest, evocative and personal.

Akif Kichloo has proven himself to be a new rising poet to definitely watch out for. I have the pleasure of reading his other work Poems That Lose which I thoroughly enjoyed as well, but Falling Through Love has got to be my favorite book by him. I have witnessed how much his poetry evolved from his very first book up to the latest one. He was more precise, yet never losing his signature charm.

There are few poems here that honestly made me tear up, especially the poem The Absence of Everything. I don’t know why, but it gave me goosebumps. The poem is about a stillborn child and how it somewhat affected the relationship of the parents. It spoke to me as if I have undergone the same ordeal, when in fact I didn’t. And that was what is commendable with this collection of poetry, it has the power to make you feel emotions beyond your own understanding.

Falling Through Love is such a powerful collection revolving around family, parent and child relationship, loss, longing, brokenness, love and the depths of it and so much more. It was coherent yet gave different textures, different flavours. It tackled topics with full of heart, you can notice how personal each of the poems were, yet one couldn’t help but resonate to it as if each poem is also about its reader no matter how different their situation might be. It was personal yet inclusive. It touches you like every good poetry should. It wasn’t a detached piece of writing, it was inviting, with shared joy and even shared grief. A collection like this is hard to come by these days.

Akif Kichloo is now added to my favorite poets list. His work is truly something to watch out for. Lyrical yet concise. Honest and evocative. Fearless and passionate. A book worthy of your precious time.

imageedit_11_3991205606

 

there is this tender place
between nothing & everything

now that’s where I see myself;

someone’s something
in the everything of their world.

— Falling Through Love, Akif Kichloo

img-5533

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo | Book Review

sunday market-6imageedit_1_3468234889

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Date Published: June 5, 2012

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Date Read: October 2019

No. of Pages: 358 pages

Genre: Fantasy

Get Your Copy Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

imageedit_13_7735683809

Verdict: Meh

Shadow and Bone, oh my oh my, where do I even begin? First off, this book is really hard to get into. I keep on spacing out, I keep putting it down. 100 pages down and it hadn’t gripped my attention. I just didn’t have it in me to be excited about it. I just wanted to get it over and done with so I can proceed to other books. You know that feeling when you couldn’t wait to rush home, lock yourself in your room and read the night away? Well, I didn’t feel it towards this book. Unconsciously maybe I have high expectations since I have been hearing a lot of buzz surrounding this series and since the cast for the show has been revealed. A part of me felt like I needed to be in the loop with what’s happening in the bookish world. I am easily swayed alright?

Shadow and Bone was a bit anticlimactic. There are so many missed opportunities to make it more solid and impactful. It really had the potential to be more epic, but the narration and world building just isn’t a cut above the rest. I feel like if you’ve been a heavy fantasy reader you would find this book mediocre, I am not a heavy fantasy reader by a long stretch, so that means a lot. Shadow and Bone might be a good start for readers who are branching out to the fantasy genre.

Let’s talk about the characters. I found Alina’s character to be too weak, indecisive, push-over and what have you. It felt like whatever she did outstanding was just an afterthought. It lacked character development, something I crave for in fantasy books. The Darkling on the other hand, is something I want to read more of. I wanted to know more about his backstory and his real name (if that was somehow mentioned and my mind spaced out, forgive me). You gotta admit there is this enigma surrounding his character. The characters in this book didn’t catch my attention. None of them I have rooted for, or none of them appealed so much to me, which proves to be a problem when one reads a fantasy book, You have to be invested at least in the characters for your to have that driving factor to move forward no matter how plain the plot was. So there’s that.

Plot wise, Shadow and Bone was lacklustre. There was so much potential yet it was not fully explored. It fell short in all sense of the word. Like there could have been so much more, so much more. The author could have played with it, say, made it more complex, or gave it more texture. I don’t really know what’s needed for it to be amazing, all I know is I really wanted more from it. I finished the book feeling unsatisfied. I was told it gets better, but I won’t jump immediately on to the next book. I will take a break delving into Siege and Storm. I need to cleanse my palate first. So sorry but the hype was overrated. I would let my disappointment die down, or who knows I might just go ahead and read Six of Crows instead!

imageedit_5_9028825424

img-5533

The Octopus Curse by Salma Farook | Book Review

sunday market-5

imageedit_1_3468234889

 

 

 

 

 

 

Science would have us believe that we are nothing but cell upon cell. I disagree. We are made up of stories. The stories we hear from our mothers, the ones we tell our daughters. The tales we share with sisters and friends. The ones we never say out loud, but are heavy on our minds and run like a fever in our blood.

There are a multitude of great divides between us; race, religion, cultures, the way we dress, the languages we speak, but the stories we tell bridge us together in the universal tongue of smiles, tears, pain and laughter. They remind us that, as women, we’re all chasing similar fairy-tales.

This book is a call to celebrate the bridges, delight in our stories and to focus on the joy in our lives right now, rather than racing behind the happily-ever-after. That will come in it’s own time.

Date Published: November 1, 2019

Date Read: November 1, 2019

Publisher: SeaShell Publications

No. of Pages: 208

Genre: Contemporary Poetry

Get Your Copy Here: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

Ebook copy can be downloaded for free on Amazon until November 5th!

 

imageedit_13_7735683809

It has been a while since I last read a poetry book, so much so that I crave the feeling it gives me. That feeling of calm, some sense of inner peace that I don’t get from other genres. Poetry is the language within which people are united to share a universal emotion and experience, whatever situation they find themselves in. The Octopus Curse gave the same feeling, same impact.

The Octopus Curse is such a gorgeous book. Aesthetically pleasing. You’ll notice how much effort, art and hard work were put into it. That cover alone will catch your attention. But it isn’t just a book with a pretty face, its contents are amazing as well. I specifically love the correlation of the Octopus to human’s emotions. I like that it has varied topics, most especially the ones about travelling and woman empowerment. The Octopus Curse  is a celebration and acknowledgment, as much as it is bitter reality and unmasked truths. I loved how the author were able to bring out certain topics with ease, not beating around the bush but directly saying what needs to be said, and that is an important attribute of a good poetry book.

The Octopus Curse is a mixture of poems about love, heartbreak, self discovery, woman empowerment, rape culture, immigrants, mothers and so on. While these are some great topics, I would have liked it more if the poems are divided equally into these topics. Giving great emphasis to each. Maybe putting these topics into sections in the book might have warranted a five star rating for me. The Octopus Curse isn’t divided in parts, it was a continuous one with varied topics inserted here and there, but mostly it tackles love and heartbreak. While there is nothing completely wrong with that, I just wish there was more to it. More poems on immigrants and race, more on mothers. I wish it was more well put-together. I wanted to feel and experience the full extent of it and not just fragments. I will be waiting for her next collection as I am sure this poet has all the potential to surpass her current greatness, and I’ll be there to see it!

 

imageedit_9_9912736129

MIGRANT

“I am the bridge between continents,
The merger of languages,
The fusion of cultures.
I am the reminder that the lines
We once drew between ourselves
Were not meant to be fractures,
But only to show how our borders
Fall together like puzzle pieces”

 

img-5533

The Whisper Man by Alex North | Book Review

sunday marketimageedit_1_3468234889

In this dark, suspenseful thriller, Alex North weaves a multi-generational tale of a father and son caught in the crosshairs of an investigation to catch a serial killer preying on a small town.

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

Date Published: August 20, 2019

Publisher: Celadon Books

Date Read: October 6, 2019

No. of Pages: 355

Setting: Featherbank, Horsforth United Kingdom

Genre: Mystery Thriller

imageedit_13_7735683809

Dark, sinister and unsettling.

I went ahead reading The Whisper Man without knowing anything about it other than it is about a serial killer dubbed as The Whisper Man, in fact that is an enough reason for me to start it. And so I did, and oh boy, I wasn’t prepared for it. It gave me the creeps, and by creeps I mean all my nerves have gone haywire, my heart was beating so fast, hell I held my breath in more than one occasion. If you’re a big fan of true crime documentaries, this one might be for you. It had all the formula of a good thriller book — constantly keeps you at the edge of your seat, your nerves are tingling from the anticipation, you have occasional goosebumps and your mind is just blown how coherent everything was.

Upon finishing The Whisper Man, I was in awe by how much dedication was put into it. Everything was interconnected and made perfect sense. I don’t know if this is a good trait about me or not but I always tend to look for loose ends in a book — you know those things that hardly make sense, those things that are unnecessary and the book could definitely do away with. With The Whisper Man I hardly found loose ends, if there was any. The events made sense and interweaving with each other. A polished book – and you best believe those are hard to come by these days.

The Whisper Man is this very elaborate and intricate story filled with creepiness and heart-thumping scenes. One you could not possibly put down. It will suck you in and before you know it you’re reading until 3am eager to know who this Whisper Man is. The eerie vibe to it only added to the goodness of the book. It will capture your attention and hold it longer than you expected. This book deserves to be made into a movie, yes it is that good. An impressive debut! Alex North is an author you should definitely watch out for. This book has this inexplicable pull that you couldn’t easily get out of. They said it is a different experience listening to audiobook, I would love to try that in the future! 

The varied narration also added texture to this book. I always look forward to Jake’s part of narration, that’s where most of the creepy and eerie stuff comes in. You can’t help but be attached to the characters specially Jake’s. Jake’s misunderstood behaviour, his imaginary friend, his silence were very essential and played an enormous part in making this book much more creepy and much more inviting. I also love that it is about father and son relationships, may it be in the normal or the most twisted sense. Gahhh this book is just superbly made. I am not a wide thriller reader, but this one is just exceptional. I don’t know what else to tell you to convince you. I don’t want to go into details about this book, but just take my word for it and read it! You won’t be disappointed I promise!

 

imageedit_11_3991205606

 

“If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken.
If you play outside alone, soon you won’t be going home.
If your window’s left unlatched, you’ll hear him tapping at the glass.
If you’re lonely, sad, and blue, the Whisper Man will come for you.”
― Alex North, The Whisper Man

img-5533

 

 

 

 

 

The Secret History by Donna Tartt | Book Review

sunday market

imageedit_1_3468234889

Storytelling in the grand manner, The Secret History is a debut remarkable for its hypnotic erudition and acute psychological suspense, and for the richness of its emotions, ideas, and language. These are the confessions, years afterward, of a young man who found at a small Vermont college the life of privilege and intellect he’d long coveted – and rarely has the glorious experience of youth infatuated with knowledge and with itself been so achingly realized. Then, amazed, Richard Papen is drawn into the ultimate inner circle: five students, worldly and self-assured, selected by a charismatic classics professor to participate in the search for truth and beauty. Together they study the mysteries of ancient Greek culture and spend long weekends at an old country house, reading, boating, basking in an Indian summer that stretches late into autumn. Mesmerized by his new comrades, Richard is unaware of the crime which they have committed in his dreamy, unwitting presence. But once taken into their confidence, he and the others slowly and inevitably begin to believe in the necessity of murdering the one classmate and friend who might betray both their secret and their future. Hugely ambitious and compulsively readable, this is a chronicle of deception and complicity, of Dionysian abandon, of innocence corrupted by self-love and moral arrogance; and, finally, it is a story of guilt and responsibility. An astonishing achievement by any standard, The Secret History immediately establishes Donna Tartt as a supremely gifted novelist.

Date Published: September 29, 1996

Date Read: July 06, 2019

Publisher: Ballantine Books

No. of Pages: 524

Setting: Vermont, USA

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary, Dark Academia

Get Your Copy Here: Amazon | Book Depository

imageedit_13_7735683809

Intriguing and lyrical.

The Secret History is the first book I have read by Donna Tartt and for so long I have been intrigued by it, it was so popular it’s already considered a crime if you haven’t read it (ahhh so much puns haha).  The Secret History started off as a solid book for me but ended up as a letdown. Let’s just say I am not a big fan, and I am a minority here, but hear me out. I completely understand why this has been a favorite by many, it was beguiling, lyrical, intriguing and truly engaging. It is the kind of book that once you’ve started reading, you just can’t simply put it down. It demands your attention, and you’ll give it. Much like how I spent hours reading it, it was enigmatic and will just pull you in. You thought you’ve read quite a lot of pages only to find out that in reality you only have read 5 pages or so. It was dense and verbose, so much so that I found it unnecessarily long. The beautiful writing style suffered because of how lengthy the book was. There were too many parts that the book can definitely do away with, it could have been condensed into 300+ page book without losing its essence. Maybe I would have liked it more had it been shorter, there I said it.

Reading The Secret History gave me the feeling that I missed out on important details, but no, I have read the book from the very first page down to the last line and I am positive I didn’t miss out on anything. I even read the part where the book was telling what happened to each characters, much like at the end of a movie. I don’t know if it is for closure’s sake, or what the story required, or I honestly don’t know what was it all for. A huge chunk of it could have been removed and it wouldn’t make any difference to the story.

What I commend about this book though, is the atmosphere set by Donna Tartt. It was equal parts chilling and hypnotizing. She has this way with words that completely enamor her reader, drawing them in like the proverbial moth to a flame. Donna Tartt will capture your interest and hold it for however long she likes. I am a slow reader, I only get to read at night and in between work, but whenever I get the chance to open this book I am filled with this excitement to finish it, I was anticipating how it will end, I have played so many scenarios in my head on how the ending will play out and maybe that’s why I didn’t love it. My mind is already set for something colossal to happen, something gasp-inducing or some mind-fucking extravaganza, and nothing of the sort happened. It was a little flat for me. Such brilliant writing style warranted a twist that would leave its reader in daze, sadly that wasn’t what happened here, at least for me.

Let’s talk about the characters. We have Richard Papen, our narrator. Richard’s point of view completely added some sense of mystery in the story. Reading it felt like I am his character and I am a part of the story. We have Henry, who embodies the word enigmatic. He is the character I expected so much from. The mastermind among them. His character was very distinct, someone you either hate or love. Towards the end I was anticipating some trickery on his part, some kind of grand manipulation and all that, but this didn’t quite reflect on how the book ended. We have the twins Charles and Camilla, characters that are indispensable in the story. Both of them played an enormous part leading to the climax. I can’t say so much without spoiling anything. Then finally we have Bunny, the root cause of the whole book. His character was presented, at least for me, in a way to justify his murder. To make it look like they have all the reasons to commit such a crime. This isn’t a spoiler since his murder is already mentioned the first paragraph of the book. These characters acted way too mature for their ages, they drank a lot, use drugs quite a lot as well, and they have these cunning minds that you would be surprised how callous they do things. Dark academia said to be unofficial name of the genre deals with novels set in campuses with dark underlying theme may it be mystery or murder. Dark Academia is something new to me, I have read quite few books set in campuses but not so much on the darker concept. This genre surely appealed to me, I would want to read more of it. 

Dark Academia novels contain elements of both satire and tragedy, and they tend to focus on the humanities and liberal arts, these tend to play a role as the passions of the main characters, which ends up driving them too far. The genre has a tendency to over-romantizice a liberal arts education, xxx.

Excerpt from LitCrit: Dark Academia by blackhholesbooks

The reverse murder mystery isn’t what I often read in mystery thrillers. We are spared from guessing who killed who and the motive behind all of it. The reverse murder mystery didn’t really work favorably, because of its nature, the readers look forward to how the murder will come about, the before, during and after up to the climax of it all. Readers were led to believe that there would be something colossal that would transpire, at least it felt like that for me and when it ended the way it did I was more annoyed than satisfied.

It would be quite a while for me to pick up another Donna Tartt book, I heard Goldfinch is better than The Secret History but I will be saving that up in the far future. It was a lengthy book and I do feel a little proud that I finished it in a short span of time, sadly I wasn’t turned into a huge fan.

imageedit_7_4282314069

“There is nothing wrong with the love of Beauty. But Beauty – unless she is wed to something more meaningful – is always superficial.”

― Donna Tartt, The Secret History

img-5533

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman | ARC Review

sunday marketimageedit_1_3468234889

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

Date of Publication: July 09, 2019

Date Read: June 27, 2019

Publisher: Berkley Romance

Number of Pages: 352 pages

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Fiction

Setting: Los Angeles, California

Get your copy here: Amazon

Source: Berkley Publishing sent me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

imageedit_13_7735683809

Cute, nerdy, fluffy and feel good book! Every reader would find Nina Hill their spirit animal! Loved this one to bits!

I can’t wait for everyone to read The Bookish Life of Nina Hill! It was the ray of sunshine on a gloomy day, or that warm blanket on a cold night, or the cooler side of the pillow, or just your favorite comfort food at the end of a depressing day. It was just too cute, unabashedly nerdy and relatable to fault! Aren’t we all a little Nina Hill one way or another?

We follow the life of Nina Hill and how it suddenly turned upside down overnight. How her little world was not so little after all upon finding out about her new and utterly big family. Have I told you how much I love everything about this book?  From Nina being bookish, her working in a bookstore, trivia teams, a hint of family drama and a cute romance to tie everything, I mean what is not to love? I love that this book is light and feel good, definitely the book you’ll need to cheer you up! Those books are hard to come by these days, so whenever you chance upon one, you’ll treasure it like no other, much like how I treasure The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. And would you look at that awesome cover? Nothing I quite gravitates towards more than a yellow and sky blue cover. I reckon now that books with yellow covers are definitely good reads, fight me on this one (oh wait I just remembered one particular yellow book with such a very boring story, but that is for some other time). Haha

I know I always say this, but ever since I have read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine I tend to look for it in some books I read. And it so happened that The Bookish Life of Nina Hill had a minor resemblance to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. And what a delight it was for me! Let’s just say The Bookish Life of Nina Hill is the subtler, funnier, lighter version of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and it was just amazing. The one about their mothers stopped me in my tracks really, I really thought they have the same fate. That’s why I really loved The Bookish Life of Nina Hill it had everything I wanted in a good read. To those who haven’t read both books you are in for a huge treat!

Seriously, a book about a bookworm? That is a no brainer for me! I would read that in a heartbeat. I’m so glad this book existed, it was all my nerdy dream! I could relate to Nina Hill more than I could admit myself. Nina Hill with a schedule she follows quite religiously, Nina Hill who’d rather read than go out on a Friday night. Nina Hill who enjoys the company of few select people. Nina Hill who has three bookshelves filled with books she loved. Sounds very much like me. I love how it accurately describes a bookworm. I love the other characters as well, I love how each of them resembles Nina, from her father down to her niece. It’s like Nina is an amalgamation of all of her relatives – each having a unique connection with her. Making Nina feel a certain sense of belongingness, though she didn’t want it a first. And of course let’s not forget about Tom here, Tom and Nina’s romance was played out really well, it wasn’t the main focus of the book but it definitely made the whole story even better. I love how cute it was!

This book had the perfect humor, more often than not I catch myself laughing way more than necessary. It is the perfect rom com! It will give you that perfect rom-com vibes – the feel good type. One you’ll still think about for days on end. One you fall back into over and over. This is that book for me. And while true, this book is funny, humorous and light it also presented serious matters, one that I completely appreciated. It has depth and maturity. The writing style was brilliant, engaging and full of wits and humor. Charming and captivating, it was so likable without even trying so hard! Now this is the first book I have read by Abbi Waxman, and it sure isn’t the last one. I now have a new go-to author whenever I need a pick-me upper! It left me with a big smile on my face!

imageedit_11_3991205606

“If you’re not scared, you’re not brave.” 
― Abbi Waxman, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

img-5533