Friday, 30 September 2016

♥ Announcing The Love in Literature Project ♥


Hi, everyone! 

So thrilled today, to announce a literary project idea that I had in mind for a rather long time. I've been contemplating a title for a while now and have come up with...

  THE LOVE IN LITERATURE PROJECT. 

What is it about? 


It's an attempt to read all the renowned love stories in the world of literature, including the translated books. There is no rules or time span for this project. I intend to read them as time permits and will share short, but concise notes about each book I read. May also come up with some discussion posts as well. Who knows? ;) From Pride and Prejudice to Fangirl, Gone with the Wind to Me Before You and Wuthering Heights to Twilight - I wish to peruse all those amazing books if I can.  

I'm very fond of love stories, in fact, of the stories that tug at my heartstrings. Once I had been an ardent fan of Elizabeth and Darcy, their love story meant the epitome of romance to me; lately though, I find them the least interesting. It's all about Jane-Mr. Rochester now. Hence, I'm starting my project with JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte. Let me know, if any of you wish to join along... I do also wish to read the articles and watch the videos related to the novel, to find out more about the Bronte sisters. In short, LOVE IN LITERATURE is a research project. 

Starting with JANE EYRE on October 1st, 2016.

What do you think? Would you like to join along? Which book will you choose, if you were asked to choose the topmost love story of all time? 
Let's Chat!
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Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Alphabet Soup For Lovers by Anita Nair

ALPHABET SOUP BY ANITA NAIR
Genre: YA, Literary Fiction
Publishers: Harper Colins 
Rating: 
Goodreads
Lena Abraham knows that love can end in only one way - disappointment. Her marriage to KK is perfect precisely because she is not in love with him, and their life on a tea plantation in the picturesque Anamalai hills is idyllic. Then, one rainy morning, a man arrives to take up temporary residence in the homestay they run. Shoola Pani is south Indian cinema's heartthrob, an actor in flight from his own superstardom, and the last thing he is looking for is emotional entanglement. But when Lena and he meet, something flares between them that neither could have anticipated. She becomes his Lee and he her Ship, and the place they inhabit Arcadia. Told partly from the point of view of Komathi, whose own relationship with Lena is fraught with buried truths from the past, this searing tale of unexpected passion and adultery reaffirms the magical power of love in all our lives.
Alphabet Soup didn't work for me, it was a recipe gone wrong somewhere. I read Anita Nair's LESSONS IN FORGETTING in July, which left quite an impression on me with a moving, yet fascinating storyline and her meticulous writing. Thus, obviously, I had high hopes when I picked up an another novel by her. Sadly, it was not up to my  taste. 

The story is described through the eyes of Komathi, a cook working for KK and Lena. She is learning English alphabets with the aid of familiar items around her in the kitchen. Each chapter is titled under a food item and is related to her and Lena's life; through anecdotes or any myth/stories/facts about that particular item. I delight in reading food fiction, so I really enjoyed how each chapter was connected with an ingredient, learnt one or two things about a few items and also became impressed by the lessons which the author has derived from each item, in a way I have never thought before. 

Each chapter gives an insight into Lena and Komathi's life. As stories unfold, we see a grieving lover in Komathi and a wife who becomes passionate for another man in Lena. Whilst the cause of Komathi's heartache was completely understandable, Lena's behaviour left me bewildered. I couldn't fathom her marriage to KK, their relationship and her sudden passion for the actor, staying in their cottage.

I ended up hating the protagonist towards the end of the story and thinking what the author wishes to convey through this novel. I don't understand how adultery reaffirms the power of love in our lives, should've read the blurb before buying the novel. Seems like the novel lacked the details to make the story actually enjoyable. Despite the familiarity of the backdrops and attractive prose  - it failed to impress me. It was okay, not up to par. Couldn't even connect with any of the characters. Terribly disappointed!
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Monday, 19 September 2016

Books to Read before November Ends


What does Autumn/Fall remind me of? Nothing. Period. To me, it exists only in the books. I have only experienced it through the author's imagination. I smell the pumpkin spiced latte, enjoy the warm evening sun, harvest apples, bake- off scrumptious dishes, feel the crunch of fallen leaves beneath my foot and even get ready for winter, along with the characters in the book. Oh, right! And all that Halloween fun as well. It's awfully sad, the region where I live doesn't get a chance to enjoy that delightful weather.

SO, as always, I'm planning to read a couple of Fall season books in these coming two months (Not last year, though. I was carried off by the novelty of Netgalley experience last year). I've selected books from different genres this year; women's fiction, fantasy, thriller, classics, mysteries and so on. Scroll down to see the book list and let me know, if we have any in common. 

1. A MONSTER CALLS by PATRICK NESS
It was on my radar ever since I read Susan's review. I intended to purchase an illustrated version, but only the paperback was available on Amazon. Decided to glance through a few chapters last day, and now I've finished almost half of the book. It's fascinating and heartwarming at the same time. Also, the movie is coming out in December, so wish to read it before it hits the theatres.

2. DRACULA by BRAM STOKER
Thinking back, I realise that I haven't read Dracula. I watched the movie in my childhood, but never bothered to read the novel for some unknown reason. Don't think I was afraid of Dracula Since I never ever was. He always cracks me up, instead. Pretty strange,right? So, maybe this year, I'll read his original story.

3. THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW by WASHINGTON IRVING
I never finished reading this book, since I made the mistake of watching the movie first. Also the fact that my copy is a PDF file spoiled the mood and stopped me from further reading it. It's just 41 pages long, can be finished it in a single day. So, I'll give it an another go this year.

4. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by PAULA HAWKINS
Bought it two months back, from a bookseller in the train. It's a well-praised thriller for it's intricate, complex and brilliant plot. The movie, starring Emily Blunt, will be released soon. It's on everybody's Fall list, so is in mine too. 

5. HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE by J. K. ROWLING
What if I tell you I'm going to read it for the very first time. Yes. You heard me - FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME. Many tell me how much they envy my chance to feel all the magic of Hogwarts for the first time, they are not aware of the fact that I'm drowning in shame for not reading them yet. I'll partially blame it on the movies and partially on the truth that I was banned from reading it. 

6. THE NIGHT STALKER by ROBERT BRYNDZA
This is the second book in the series #DCI ERIKA FOSTER by Robert Bryndaza, the author of the international #1 bestseller THE GIRL IN THE ICE- a book that I immensely enjoyed at the beginning of this year. I should have finished his next novel already, but have been keeping aside to read it after the exams, so I can devour it in just one-sitting. 

7. CELEBRATIONS AND CONFETTI AT CEDARWOOD LODGE by REBECCA RAISIN
Eagerly waiting for this book, for I know Rebecca Raisin never fails at delivering a wonderful, heartwarming story. The cover looks spectacular and I can't honestly wait to read it.

8. I PROMISE YOU THIS by PATRICIA SANDS
I haven't heard anyone talking about her books, it's rather sad because I am so obsessed with Patricia Sands's #LOVE IN PROVENCE series. I've already waxed lyrical about how much I love these books. The last book ended on a sad note, have to read the next book to find out more. A MUST-READ if you love reading stories set in the South of France.

9. THE SCARLET HOUR by ANDREA L WELLS
It's an another underrated series, that I can't stop talking about. Have waited a whole year for the next book, happy that the next installment is out in October. It's the story of werewolves - the only werewolf story I've read and loved to the core.

10. DEAD LAWYER'S DON'T LIE by MARK NOLAN
Received it from the author in exchange for an honest review. Read a couple of chapters, sounds intriguing and refreshing. Just waiting for a break in between the exams to peruse it.

Don't promise that I'll be reading all these aforementioned books, as leisure time has become a rare commodity in life, lately. I do have an eye on many Festive books too. It'll be great if I can read at least five books from my list.

What does Autumn/Fall mean to you? Which are the books in your Fall list? Which is your favorite Autumn Read and why?
LET'S CHAT!
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Friday, 16 September 2016

What was I reading lately: The Lie & Just Like Me

THE LIE by C. L. Taylor
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Publication Date: 7th June 2016
Publishers: Sourcebooks Landmark
Source: Received from Publishers (Thank You)
Rating:
Goodreads
Haunting and compelling, this psychological thriller is perfect for fans of Gone Girl, Girl on the Train, and Daughter.
Jane Hughes has a great boyfriend, a job in an animal shelter, and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She's happier than she's ever been...but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.
Five years earlier, Jane and her best friends set off on what was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, but it rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of her friends. Ever since Jane has tried to put the past behind her and lead a normal life. But someone out there knows the truth about what happened and they won't stop until they've destroyed Jane and everything she loves.
Jane Hughes has gone on a vacation with her friends to Nepal, it was supposed to be a fun week, away from all worries. Instead, it turns out to be the most frightening chapter of her life and their decision to stay at a retreat centre situated at the top hill, becomes the worst decision. There was more than what it appeared to them, dark secrets lurking behind the walls and soon, they find themselves fighting each other and trying to find the way out from there. 

Set at the backdrops of Nepal, THE LIE is a sinister psychological thriller, that struck terror into my heart. With each page turning, my heartbeat kept raising and became frantic over what could happen next. The writing is atmospheric, it actually evokes the tension and of the danger coming next. Along with the characters, I was also trying to run away from the place as soon as possible and didn't want to spend a few seconds more on that damned place. The fear was suffocating and the suspense kept me on the edge of the seat throughout the story. The story is narrated through alternating chapters, past & present, it allows readers to see how the protagonist is haunted by the past and how much it affects her present days. It also portrays different levels and types of female friendship, I could easily relate to what Jane was going through a few times and found the author's descriptions so genuine.

To put it briefly, THE LIE is an intense dark thriller, which will haunt your thoughts for days and force you to do the security check twice before going on a vacation to an unknown place. A must-read for all thriller/mystery lovers!

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JUST LIKE ME by NANCY J. CAVANAUGH
Genre: Middle-Grade Fiction
Publication Date: 5th April 2016
Publishers: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Source: Received from Publishers (Thank You)
Rating:
Who eats Cheetos with chopsticks?! Avery and Becca, my “Chinese Sisters,” that’s who. We’re not really sisters—we were just adopted from the same orphanage. And we’re nothing alike. They sing Chinese love songs on the bus to summer camp, and I pretend like I don’t know them.
To make everything worse, we have to journal about our time at camp so the adoption agency can do some kind of “where are they now” newsletter. I’ll tell you where I am: At Camp Little Big Woods in a cabin with five other girls who aren’t getting along, competing for a campout and losing (badly), wondering how I got here…and where I belong.
JUST LIKE ME is a middle-grade fiction, it's the story of Julia, a Chinese adopted girl, who have never been comfortable in her own skin. She detests being compared based on her Asian heritage and prefers to be treated as a normal American tweenager. Her adopted Mum insists her to go on a summer camp, along with her "Chinese sisters", hoping it would help her to accept herself as she is. The story revolves around how  a Week Long Camp helps her to find herself.

Though it's a middle-grade fiction, the message behind the story is significant. The author has effortlessly explained a valuable lesson to the teen, about accepting themselves as they are, in this book. The entire plot is narrated through a series of summer camp activities, the kids can relate to and understand easily. A few incidents helped me to recollect some of the experiences I had in school/college and I could totally understand Julia's array of thoughts. Besides the teen friendship, JUST LIKE ME also throws light upon the child adoption. It made me think, about how an adopted kid feels always. Julia always finds herself trapped in imagining "what if"s and it makes her life miserable until she accepts the truth about herself. This simple, easy-to-read story is an excellent choice for your kid's library! All in all, JUST LIKE ME is a brilliant book with a remarkable message.

What are you reading this week? Any fall recommendations? Have you read any book by C. L. Taylor? What do you think of them? 
Let's Chat!
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Saturday, 10 September 2016

The Best Books I Read in Summer 2016

Books to read in Summer

Summer of 2016 was entirely different from my previous summer vacations, by all means. It started with a mayhem and ended on a happy note. A number of exciting as well as unhappy incidents happened. Though we were disheartened at the beginning, we learnt to sail through them in time and have nearly mastered the skill now ;) It brought many changes to our life, taught new lessons and have shaped me into the woman I'm today. 2016 gifted a Summer to remember and cherished in the coming years. In a few words, SUMMER 2016 CHANGED MY LIFE and have helped me to look at life with a different perspective.

Amidst all those issues, finding the time and having a peaceful mind to read books was quite a challenge. My mind had a zillion matters to be worried about, even the most well-praised stories failed to grab my attention and were moved to my DNF stack. Nevertheless, I managed to read a couple of good stories in the last four to five weeks, about which I'm super happy, as each book turned out to be better than the previous ones.

SO, without further ado...

1. FANGIRL BY RAINBOW ROWELL
Best Romance in YA
Once again, I fall short of words to describe how amazing this book is! FANGIRL is the first book, which had me in tears when the main characters confess their love for each other. Still, have no clue about why I cried when Levi says he is rooting for Cath or when Levi admits that he can't be away from her even for a few minutes. FANGIRL is so close to my heart, and Cath and Levi's romance is my favourite. I could relate to Cath in many ways, it helped to enjoy the novel completely and warm to her character instantly.  Besides Cath and Levi, Wren and Reagen also became my favourites and I ended up rooting for them all. FANGIRL also ends abruptly, like in Eleanor and Park, I really hope Rowell writes a sequel to this novel, as I'm too curious to know how Cath and Levi are doing. Fanfictions are of help at all. SO, there you have it. FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell is the no:1 in my list.

2. GARDEN SPELLS BY SARAH ADDISON ALLEN
BEST REAL LIFE WITCH NOVELS
When it comes to books, Fantasy/Magical Realism was never my cup of tea (NOT FAIRY TALES, though. Both are different, aren't they?). However, GARDEN SPELLS is the second best book I read this year, so far. Without a doubt. The Waverley women had me entranced with their unusual talents and the garden, that is full of magical edible flowers and an apple tree that reveals the future to whoever partakes its fruit. A whimsical and enchanting story, set in North Carolina, that outstands for its simplicity of writing and the charm it spells on readers with a marvelous story line. It's rather unfortunate that I can't find any of her works at where I live now, or I would have already devoured them all by now. In a nutshell, GARDEN SPELLS is all WOW, it comes with a huge, wholehearted recommendation to you all! GARDEN SPELLS will be a perfect novel to read in the Autumn or on Halloween, for it can also be considered as a "real-life witch fiction". 

3. THE GUESTBOOK & SUMMER AT ROSE ISLAND BY HOLLY MARTIN
My list would be incomplete without Holly Martin's books. I love everything she writes, her stories instantly perks me up and bring that smile back on my face. Basically, I depend on her stories, whenever I need a dose of happiness, she creates magic with her witty writing style and perfectly perfect chick lit plots. Holly always manages to blow me away with her oh-so-amazing make-me-feel-good stories. Sheesh! I'm an ardent fan of Holly Martin.

4. BILLY AND ME BY GIOVANNA FLETCHER 
GIOVANNA FLETCHER BOOKS, SUMMER BOOKS
Giovanna Fletcher is familiar with the world of glam, fashion, and showbiz and in her debut book, BILLY AND ME, she introduces readers to that one place, she is accustomed to. Really commendable! It was a pleasantly different trope, which I happened to enjoy immensely. It gives an insight to the readers how celebrity's life is, something I have always wished to know and have wondered about. The heartfelt writing of this story prompts the readers to re-think about the value of their beloved family, it's a poignant, tear-jerking, and thought-provoking. I'm definitely going to read more Giovanna Fletcher's novels.

Have you read any of these books? What were your top summer books? Which is your all-time favorite summer novel? 
LET'S CHAT!
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Friday, 2 September 2016

Mini Reviews

A VERY COCO CHRISTMAS by Robert Bryndza
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publication Date: November 2013
Publishers: CreateSpace
Goodreads

Robert Bryndza's  debut thriller novel, THE GIRL IN THE ICE is one of my top favourites of this year, so, I snatched a couple of books from his chick lit series, COCO PINCHARD, hoping to find out how good he was at writing women's fiction. A VERY COCO CHRISTMAS is a short novella from the aforementioned series. In this book, the author weaves a short festive story, full of warmth, love and laughter. Set in the backdrops of 80's, it paints an authentic rural English Christmas for reader's enjoyment. I warmed to Coco immediately, for her character appealed to me as a genuine one. This quick short novella also has a group of funny, likeable characters and a string of anecdotes, certain to amuse you. The Christmas Dinner part is hilarious and is, of course, my favourite part of this book. I'm certainly planning to read more books by Robert Bryndza now. Give this a book a shot, if you are in a mood for a delightful festive short story. 

RIGHT UNDER YOUR NOSE by Holly Tierney-Bedord
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publication Date: November 13th, 2015
Goodreads

RIGHT UNDER YOUR NOSE is a cheerful Christmassy novella, it's warm, fuzzy and light-hearted. The heartbroken Ariadne decides to skip Christmas this year, and her best friend Jess tries his best to get her in the festive mood. When all effort falls apart, a mysterious bookshop owner manages to help them find what they are looking for and celebrate Christmas. The author has managed to pull off a good festive story within these few pages. Her characters are easily likeable, so is the setting of the story. Incorporating the 'guardian angel' theme to this novella was brilliant, for it makes the story sounds interesting. I want to read more stories from this author now :) This novella certainly is a good choice for a light, quick, and a cheerful festive read!

THE SECRET BY THE LAKE by Louise Douglas
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: November 19th, 2015
Publishers: Black Swan

THE SECRET BY THE LAKE is a gripping, nerve-wracking and spine-chilling mystery, set in the 1960's. A ghost story, actually. Amy finds herself needed by the Laurent family and goes to stay with Mrs Laurent and her daughter, in their lakeside cottage, the house that witnessed two awful deaths in the past, at Somerset. The reservoir cottage is tumbling down, rooms still having the coldness and eerieness of the past. Vivienne befriends an imaginary friend, Caroline, who happens to be Mrs Laurent's dead sister. Amy risks herself to save the Vivienne from her troubled mind, but soon, she realises the truth behind Caroline, the noisy room in the upstairs and the nasty secrets of the villagers. Can she set the spirit free and solve the pieces of the puzzle? 

From the very first chapter, I was hooked by the story. More than the characters, it was the storyline and the spooky settings, that the author has perfectly built throughout, are what attracted me. The writing is mesmerising, capable of taking the readers back to 60's, making them feel as if they are there at Somerset witnessing all incidents and transfixing them with fear. I was afraid to be alone in the room and of all those slight movements and sounds, whilst reading this novel. Even though, I was burning with curiosity to know how the story pans out and didn't dare to put it down until the mystery was solved. THE SECRET BY THE LAKE is a riveting and breathtaking mystery and the vivid descriptions and the eerie feeling will keep you glued to it until the end. The ending was unexpected, yet sorrowful. But, definitely, a MUST read for mystery lovers! 

BILLY AND ME by Giovanna Fletcher
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publication Date: April 5th, 2016
Publishers: Penguin
Goodreads

I was sceptical before, but not now. BILLY AND ME is an awesome debut book by Giovanna Fletcher. The theme of the story was a breath of fresh air to me, I really enjoyed it, though, it took me a while to get into the story. The story shed light on the showbiz industry and the life of actors, a unique trope, to be told. The characters were amazing too, their warm personality did win my heart straight away. Though the attitude of Sophie irked me a few times, I was able to relate to her with myself and couldn't find any fault with her ;) Each character has their own reasons for being in a certain way, and it reminds readers not to judge anyone knowing a little about anyone. The story also teaches us to believe in ourselves, when the adversity strikes. The entire storyline is absorbing, it makes you think sometimes or weep for the characters. BILLY AND ME is a wonderful story which reminds each of us to celebrate the life we have surrounded by our dear ones. The life is unpredictable, live each moment you have without any regrets.
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