Popular’s Reader’s Choice Awards + Review: The Commuting Reader: Here Now There After

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The Commuting Reader is a series of four books of local literature, one in each of Singapore’s four official languages. The books are anthologies of original, creative content; comprising stories, poetry and comics by many of Singapore’s most vibrant and talented literary artists.

All of the works featured in the four books were specially commissioned and the collections feature pieces by the likes of Troy Chin, Neil Humphreys, O Thiam Chin, You Jin, Chia Joo Ming, Isa Kamari, and many more. The books are heavily design-accented, with beautiful cover designs, plentiful illustrations, and even a removable, fully illustrated ‘Literary Landmarks’ map of Singapore.

Uniquely, the books come with an enclosed NETS FlashPay card, inclusive of $5.00 of pre-loaded credit. This allows readers to use the book as a ‘ticket book’ during their daily commute, encouraging the enjoyment of local literature while on the go.

The publication of these books is part of the wider initiative, ‘Buy Local, Read our World’, led by the National Arts Council and the National Book Development Council to promote the appreciation of Singapore literature among the general public, especially the younger generation.

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Popular’s Reader’s Choice Awards are back for yet another year and this year, their selection is incredible. They have a whole line up of local novels specially curated for the awards.

This year, Popular reached out and asked if I would review one of the titles and of course I said yes.

So here’s my review of The Commuting Reader which is from the English (Adult) category. Bear with me if my reviewing skills are not up to par. I haven’t reviewed a single book in ages.

The Commuting Reader

The Commuting reader is an anthology of  short stories, poems and comics all centred around a central theme of traveling. The book challenges our travelling habits and forces us as commuters to face up to the collective habits that we have developed.

The Poems

The collection of poems that peppered the pages of this book were probably my least favourite part of the book. I just felt like I couldn’t connect with the poems and most of them just seemed irrelevant. There were a couple that were nice as poems on their own. However, as a contribution to an anthology with a specific theme, they seemed to miss the mark.

The Prose

My favourite part of this book were the prose pieces. I loved each one but my favourite two were A Heart The Size Of An Armchair and Drunk and Orderly on The MRT.

A Heart The Size Of An Armchair

This is a story about a woman who gets called in to help cut up and preserve the skeleton of a sperm whale which has washed up dead along one of Singapore’s beaches. This is an event that actually happened a couple of years ago so I thought it was pretty cool to see this in the book. I also really loved how the author weaved in transport into the story. You really wouldn’t expect a story about a beached whale to have such strong elements of transport in it but there you go.

Drunk and Orderly on The MRT

This was my absolute favourite because of how the author confronted societal issues. So this story is basically about a drunk man on a train. I won’t spoil it for you by telling you any more but basically the drunk man puts a spotlight on our habits as commuters. As a social media generation. It’s incredible. You just have to read it to see.

The Comics

The comics were very interesting breaks in the story. I particularly enjoyed Herbal Tea. I thought it was really cute and sad. Even though the story felt pointless, it was quite nice to just be in it. White Rat, which was a comic on the war, was also gorgeously done. I was so blown away.

Readers’ Choice Award (RCA)

In an effort to support local talents, POPULAR came up with this campaign to recognize local authors. With three categories to choose from – English (Adult), Chinese and Children – readers of all ages will be able to vote for their favourite title. Voting ends 5 November 2017 and the winners will be announced on 16 December 2017 at BookFest@Singapore 2017.

RCA Voting Link: http://www.bookfestsingapore.com/readerschoice/

My-Rating-4-Stars

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Review: Moonrise By Sarah Crossan

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Joe hasn’t seen his brother for ten years, and it’s for the most brutal of reasons. Ed is on death row.

But now Ed’s execution date has been set, and Joe is determined to spend those last weeks with him, no matter what other people think …

From one-time winner and two-time Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this poignant, stirring, huge-hearted novel asks big questions. What value do you place on life? What can you forgive? And just how do you say goodbye?

Goodreads

Published on: 7 September 2017

I have strong views on the death penalty. I personally don’t believe in its value. I firmly believe that the state should not play God and decide that someone should be sentenced to die for their crimes.

I believe in jailing a person and giving them the chance to learn and reflect and become a better person. To me, the death penalty serves no purpose except to torment the families of criminals. Realistically, how does death punish a person? It’s over for them very quickly. But it’s their families who have to suffer with the grief.

Reading this book unsettled me quite a bit. It made me think a lot about what we value as a society and how we treat people who have committed crimes and even people who have not.

So let’s break this book down.

It was written in verse

In typical Sarah Crossan style, this book was written entirely in verse. I completely adored it. I’ve always loved Crossan’s books because of her simple way of telling a story in such a powerful and poetic way.

You really don’t need a lot of words to make a person feel something.

It was heartbreaking

The book follows the Joe and his family as they deal with the fact that their brother is heading straight for the gallows. He has been in jail for a long time and every single appeal has failed them.

As you can probably imagine, that is extremely difficult to bear witness to. It’s like watching a car crash happen in slow motion. You know what’s going to happen but you’re powerless to stop it.

I hated it but I also loved it. It was a beautiful sort of torment.

The characters were well-developed

What was interesting about this book was the fact that even though it was very short, we still got to see the characters in a very three dimensional way. I felt like I could really see Joe for who he was. does through this moral dilemma. We see him struggle against his heart and his head and it’s a gorgeous kind of struggle. The type that most people will understand but will not be able to relate to.

It was short but impactful

There’s not much to say about this book because the fact was that it was very short and it was also just very good in a way that is almost incontestable. At least to me. You guys know that when a book makes me cry, it has also basically stolen my heart.

It was certainly one of those very necessary books in the YA department. I enjoyed seeing such a highly debated topic in a book like this and I think Crossan looked at it in a very brave angle.

*An advanced copy of this book was very kindly provided to me to read and review by Pansing. However, all opinions are my own*

My-Rating-5-Stars

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SG Book Deals: Books Box Sale 2017

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Hey guys! Guess what! SG Book Deals’s Books Box Sale is back for another year!

This is the third year that they are holding this glorious book sale and if you live in Singapore or will be in Singapore between the 4th to the 13th of August, you should check it out because this is the book sales of all book sales.

What will happen is that you will be given a huge box. You will then be able to pack in as many books as you possibly can. Once you’re done, you just go up to the counter and pay $50 for your giant box of books and you’re done.

How many books you take home completely depends on your packing skills and the size of the books you pick.

I remember I took home so many books last year that I couldn’t even count them.

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Books Box Sale 2017 (Public Sale)

Date: 4-13 Aug 2017

Mon-Fri: 1pm-6pm

Sat, Sun, PH: 10am-6pm

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Free Books for Students:

This year, in an attempt to get people into the habit of reading, SG Book Deals is giving away 100 books per day to students. You can get one book per student and it can be redeemed using your student pass.

Book Genres You Can Get:

  • Adult Fiction
  • Young Adult Fiction
  • Baby Toddler
  • Early readers for children
  • Intermediate readers for children
  • Activity/Novelty books for children
  • NonFiction
  • Selfimprovement
  • Business
  • Health Wellness
  • Parenting
  • Crafts Hobbies
  • National Geographic
  • Cookbooks
  • History
  •  Music
  • Academic
  • Christian

For more information, you can visit their socials here:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SGBookDeals
Instagram: www.instagram.com/sgbookdeals

I will be down for the sale and I hope to see you guys there!

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Guest Post: Putting the Readers Back in Charge of Publishing

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Imagine a YA publishing process without gatekeepers.  One where editors and agents read the manuscripts that readers love, not vice versa.  One where anyone with a knack for writing, a passion to succeed, and a little flair for self-promotion, has a fair shot at being published.

All too frequently, this isn’t the case.  Books often get rejected for reasons beyond authors’ control.  One editor turned down an ultimately successful book by saying, “The girl doesn’t, it seems to me, have a special perception or feeling which would lift that book above the ‘curiosity’ level.”  The book in question?  The Diary of Anne Frank.  Furthermore, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, only about 10% of all YA books accepted for publication feature “multi-cultural content.”  Clearly, there are some blind spots that need addressing in the publishing industry.

It’s with this vision in mind that Publishizer is launching its YA book proposal contest called Plot Without a Cause.  Publishizer is a startup seeking to fill a hole in the publishing industry through crowdfunding.  It works like this:

You write the book proposal.  You know the book proposal I’m talking about.  The one you’ve been daydreaming about for years.  The one that just popped into your head last week and you haven’t stopped thinking about since.  The one for the manuscript that’s been dearly loved by you but maybe not so much yet by the publishing industry.  That one.  Then you register (for free!) on Publishizer’s website and post your proposal in the Plot Without a Cause section (again—for free!).

Now this is when you’ll have to start hustling.  Crowdfunding runs on pre-orders, so you had better start promoting that proposal.  Reach out over social media, post on your blog, email your old roommates—whatever it takes to start building buzz.  If you get the most preorders by the time the contest ends, you’ll win $1000 dollars.  And if you don’t have the highest number of preorders, don’t worry—you’ll still be queried to major publishers who fit your proposal.

Previous Publishizer contest participants have gotten interest and landed deals with a variety of traditional publishing companies, including Harvard Square Books, She Writes Press, and Weiser.  Publishizer takes a small commission on pre-orders when you choose a publisher at the end.

Every year, thousands of books are rejected by the publishing world for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the book—they’re too mainstream or not mainstream enough, too similar to books already being published or too different from books already being published.  Or the literary agent just doesn’t stand to make much money on the deal so they pass on a perfectly good book!  Imagine how many brilliant YA manuscripts go unpublished every year thanks to frustrating rejections.  Imagine how many hugely talented authors quietly give up on their dreams, just because the gate to a traditional publishing path isn’t open to them.

With their new YA book proposal contest, Plot Without a Cause, Publishizer is seeking to level the playing field.  Publishing decisions shouldn’t be based solely on a literary agent’s judgement or how many friends you have in the industry. They should be based on quality of writing and how many readers the book attracts.

Great books get overlooked all the time, and this is an opportunity to show acquiring editors that yours is worth paying attention to.  Not to mention the readership and funds you could gain in the process.  Crowdfunding (or crowd-publishing, in this case) is growing in popularity and brings a personal touch back to book sales—for readers and publishers.  Are you in?

Review: The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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The first day of senior year:

Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

Goodreads

Published: 7th March 2017

Okay I really didn’t expect to have to do this but I’m doing it.

I read ‘Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe‘ maybe a year or two ago and while I wasn’t utterly blown away by it, I did enjoy it. So when I received this ARC, I had high expectations. However, it didn’t entirely deliver. Here’s why:

Pros

Very real

The book was very real. The problems faced were realistic and the way the characters handed their issues was real as well.

This was obviously pretty great considering how very few books nowadays have that element of true realism in them. Like I could imagine them stepping out of the pages and living an actual life.

It did make me cry

Despite all the flaws of this book that I will outline in a bit, it did make me cry which is not always easy to do. There were parts that I teared up at and of course, the ending really killed me.

Actually, the ending was the only part of the book that was really interesting. It was heartwarming and I actually think it was only the last 100 pages or so that earned it one more star.

Cons

Too real

I am so fussy aren’t I? Yes, while it was good that it was real, it was also too real for me. I read a book because I want some sort of escape. I don’t read a book to see real life just plastered on a couple of pages.

Everything was real but felt stilted when you put it on a page. Like yes, this is the way a normal dad would react to situation A, but when you write about it, it just looks pretentious. Do you get my drift?

Too long

The book was way too long. Absolutely too long. At 452 pages, this book could have been halved and would have still delivered the intended message and impact. Actually there was no impact anyway.

Nothing happened

I feel like there was no climax at all in the book. It was just one big long line of normal. The whole book is about life and living but did I really get into a book to read about normal people living their dead ass boring normal lives?

Where was the action? Where was the big exciting event? It was so boring!

I mean, the blurb lines up this fantastic read about discovering yourself but the reality of the novel is that nothing happens at all.

Unrealistically perfect

The dad and the kids were just too perfect. Like no one is that perfect. How did the dad not have one single blow up? Or like, how did he not react badly to something at least once?

The writing style

Now, the absolute worst thing a writer could do. Repetitive and stilted writing. Sentences were jarring and everything was just said over and over. This adds on to my point about it being too long by the way.

Overall

Overall, it was a book that kept me reading till the end but I’ll be honest, I only really kept reading because I had to review it.

It was way too real and long. The characters just felt too much like a real, well-adjusted human and I couldn’t take it.

There was zero action. It was just a flat line of boring with zero storyline (especially for a book that stands at 452 pages jeez).

In fact, the only redeeming quality was that it was heartwarming and that it made me cry.

This is certainly not a book that I would recommend.

*An advanced copy was provided to me to read and review. However, all opinions are my own*

My-Rating-2-Stars

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Product Review + Exclusive Discount: Maccessories MacBook Skins


Hi guys! Happy Friday!

Last week, I finally got my new MacBook Pro. I’ve had my old MacBook for about five years and it was getting very slow. So I decided to upgrade before I started university.

Of course, me being me, I had to deck out my laptop in some cool gear to personalise it. My old MacBook had a pink hard case and stickers. However, I was determined to make sure that this Mac looked like something a university student should be carrying.

I knew that I wanted something with a marble sort of design. Marble is very in right now and it looks gorgeous as well as professional. I also needed something that would protect my computer considering that I would be putting it in a bag every day and using it in class and in my dorm room. I am really not the gentlest of people with my things.

During my hunt for the perfect way to decorate as well as protect my MacBook, I got an email from Maccessories letting me know that they had a whole new set of skins for MacBooks. They invited me to check them out.

When I got on their site, I was blown away by the number of choices I had in front of me. They have so many designs to choose from. I struggled so hard to pick one guys. I’m not even kidding.

If you are searching for a unique way to deck out your Mac, this is completely where you should go.

What I Thought Of It

I put the skin on my laptop immediately after receiving it and I have to say, it was the easiest thing to do.

I am the clumsiest person ever and I can usually never get these things right without leaving at least five bubbles but for some reason, this just ended up sliding on perfectly.

Now one of my biggest concerns with moving from a hard case to a skin was the fact that I was worried it would not protect my computer as well as a proper snap on case.

Admittedly, the skin does not protect the bottom of my laptop and if I were to hit it against something accidentally, I’m pretty sure my laptop will still get dented. But, it does protect against scratches and dirt which is perfect for me and how I will be using my Mac.

I’m not totally secure in how safe it is just yet but so far, my laptop has been very safe and scratch free. Not to mention gorgeous and light.

Another perk of switching over to a skin is how light it is compared to a hard case. I really enjoy knowing that my computer is protected but that I don’t need to lug around a laptop that is twice its weight simply because of a case.

Finally, the shipping was lighting quick. I was so surprised when I saw it in my mailbox just a couple of days later. Usually things take about one to two weeks to get to Singapore so this was an incredible feat in itself.

Overall, while I’m not entirely sold on how well this skin will help me should I drop my laptop, I am very pleased with how well it has managed to avoid scratches. It’s kept my Mac looking amazing and I am very excited to be carrying it around campus in a couple of weeks.

Exclusive Discount

And now comes the fun part. The part where you get perks for simply being one of my readers (and making it to the end of this).

Maccessories is giving you guys a 15% discount! All you have to do is enter the code 23pages when you checkout an item. Yes, you’re welcome.

*The product was sent over to me for free. However, all opinions are my own.*

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What’s Up Wednesday: I’m Back + Life Updates

Hey guys! It’s been a minute hasn’t it?

As most of you might know, I basically vanished for the last three or so months. I stopped blogging to a large extent and I stopped replying emails related to the blog (I’m so sorry. I’m working on catching up now).

I promised you that I would update you as to why I disappeared and so here it is as well as a couple of life updates so you can catch up.

1. My Internship + The Scholarship

I have spent the last six months working towards a scholarship. As many of you will know, I want to be a journalist and I’ve dreamt of working at Singapore’s national newspaper ever since I was 14.

So I applied for the Singapore Press Holdings scholarship. It is an incredible scholarship that I have been eyeing for many years. I submitted my application in January and by March, I had passed the writing test and the first interview.


There was an internship at The Straits Times, an appraisal and a final interview left.

So I started at The Straits Times in March. I was in Digital for five weeks and then I moved to News till I quit on June 16.

It was the most intense three months of my life. While getting to be published in our national newspaper was so incredible, the hours were often very tough. I never knew what time I would end so I could never make plans. I would frequently end at 11:30pm and I really had no life.

Of course waking up in the morning and seeing my name in the papers made everything worth it. But this job really put my priorities into perspective.


My weekends were spent making up for lost time with my family and friends and I had little time for much less including reading and blogging. My life was consumed with work and I couldn’t figure out if I was happy or not.

You would think achieving your dream job at 20 would be the best thing ever right?

In the end, I was told through a short email that I hadn’t made the cut for the scholarship. This was a huge blow after working so incredibly hard and for so long for it.

However, I believe that everything happens for a reason.

I spent the day crying and then the next day, I went back to work. I still remember how drained I was. Like all the fight had left me.

It didn’t seem possible that after working so hard and throwing myself completely into the internship, I had still fallen short. Don’t they tell you that you get what you work for? I worked so incredibly hard.

My future was hanging by a thread. I was supposed to get the scholarship and that scholarship was supposed to fund my education in the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Without it, everything would be very dicey.

Of course it didn’t help that an editor who I didn’t know very well, decided to sit me down and tell me that I would never make it as a journalist and that I should quit while I was ahead.

Remember that scene in Gilmore Girls where Mitchum Huntzberger tells Rory that he doesn’t think she “has what it takes.” to pursue journalism? Yes. It happened exactly like that and I felt exactly the way Rory did because I too have been working to be a journalist for what feels like my whole life.

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So I went back to work the next day. I was going to tell my boss that I was going to quit by the end of the week. But then an email came in from Nanyang Technological University (NTU). I had somehow, by God’s grace, gotten accepted into their English programme.

Instantly, my whole life fell into place before my eyes. A year of stress and worry just melted away.

I extended my internship  for three more weeks thanks to some tough love from my aunt and uncle and made my decisions.

So I, who always makes very calculated decisions, jumped headfirst into what has been the biggest decision of my life. I accepted the offer the next day and extended my internship by another three weeks and all was right in the world.

2. Starting University

So now, I’m on the cusp of starting a four year degree at NTU. I will be studying English and I hope to minor in Communications Studies as well. I start on the 31st of July.

As a reader, you can imagine how thrilled I am that I will be in a course where I will be studying language and books and authors. It’s truly perfect for me.

As for becoming a journalist, I still intend to do that. I’m still freelancing with Popspoken and I intend to continue as a journalist after I graduate. The opinion of one person is not going to push me off my path. I truly feel that I have what it takes to be a journalist and I love it more then anything so yes, I have taken his criticism and I have taken out what I felt was useful. But the thing is, no one is born into a career.

Lawyers become lawyers through law school. Doctors become doctors through medical school. No one is born a lawyer or a doctor or a journalist. You get there by working yourself to the damn bone.

If you aren’t struggling, you aren’t growing and you aren’t getting better.

3. I Graduated

In May, I attended my graduation ceremony from Ngee Ann Polytechnic. I technically finished school in February but the ceremony was in May.

My whole family came down including my uncle and my grandma. Later, we had dinner at Din Tai Fung and my aunt and uncle got me a bouquet of flowers.

I had a lovely time and honestly I just feel so accomplished. I mean it’s a big deal to graduate even if it’s just a diploma (for now).

4. Twenty Three Pages Turned Three + 200 Followers

Last week, Twenty Three Pages celebrated its third birthday. I can’t believe how time has flown. It’s been such an adventure and I’m so thankful for the community that I have built up here. Some of you have become more then just friends. You’ve become siblings and people I can confide in. People who protect me. So thank you.

Speaking of which, Twenty Three Pages also hit 200 WordPress followers last month. I’m so pleased and I would like to welcome my new readers into the fold.

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So yes. That has been my life for the past three months. I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things. I’m trying to read again. I’m coming back to my beloved blog and I’m slowly but surely clearing the stack of unread blog emails.

Thank you for sticking around through this mental time. I promise to be better at this now that my life is settling to a large extent. By the way, if you want to read the articles that I’ve been writing during my hiatus, you can access them here.

Love you all!

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Review: When Dimple Met Rishi By Sandhya Menon

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A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Goodreads

Published: 30th May 2017

 

Hello guys! Yes, I know. I’m actually blogging for the first time in over a month. I’ve missed this so much but I’ve just finished the most adorable ARC and I had to rave about it before it was published. So here it goes. Be patient with me. I might be a bit rusty.

When Dimple Met Rishi is quite possibly the most adorable thing you will read all year. It is clichéd but oh so adorably cute. It took me a while to read (because of work) but I’m actually glad that I dragged it out for a bit because I got to really appreciate it.

Pros

It was so cute

I can’t say this enough. This book read like every romantic comedy ever. It had all the elements. However there was just something that made you feel like it was very down-to-earth. Usually romcoms have this element of ‘this will never happen in real life’. But this one just felt perfect.

I was swooning throughout the book with everything that Rishi was doing for Dimple. I mean come on! Where do you even find someone like that??

It felt realistic

The book certainly felt realistic mainly because of how drawn out everything was. There was no insta-love so everything felt very organic and natural. The progression was just slow enough to feel real but fast enough that one would not easily lose interest.

I particularly like how the storyline was fleshed out. So it wasn’t just a story about the two of them but rather it was an entire story. Even the supporting characters had storylines and that really added to the whole realism factor.

There was so much cultural pride in it

I have not read enough Indian-American books to be able to make a general statement of any sorts but I did feel like the author really let her culture, heritage and language shine through this novel.

The book is peppered with Hindi quotes and sentences and the best part is that not everything is translated. So you sometimes have to just glean the meaning from the other paragraphs, But it just felt like such a brave thing to do.

Obviously the book is meant for an American audience but she bravely and unapologetically let her own words sit in the paragraphs and that is honestly such a beautiful thing.

To be honest, I’m tempted to learn Hindi now.

It tackled a controversial practice

This book is about arranged marriages. That part is quite clear. But what I liked about this was the way it was handled.

In a number of Indian books that I have read, arranged marriages have been treated with a mostly negative tone. And yes. For a lot of people arranged marriages are a terrible thing. Girls are sold to their husbands for the price of a fat dowry. Girls get raped and abused by their new families. Arranged marriages are not always good.

That said, I felt like this book took cultural norms like arranged marriages and a girl’s place in an Indian household and turned it into something that was actually fun and interesting.

Dimple was so headstrong despite coming from such a traditional family and Rishi was so dedicated to his parents and their wishes. It just made for a very lovely combination. Getting to see two very different worlds come together like that.

There was this aspect of fun and wit in the whole thing that you rarely see. I really enjoyed that.

Cons

Clichéd

Okay this is honestly the tiniest problem and it actually isn’t even a problem. The book was clichéd as in this has literally been done so many times.  But at the same time, it was so adorably cute that it didn’t even matter anyway.

Though I did think that ending was a bit cringe. But only slightly.

So there you go! My gushy review of When Dimple Met Rishi. I’m sorry it was very quick. I’m literally scrambling for time here. It’s been so hard to blog with my job (which I’ll tell you guys all about in about three weeks).

Regardless, I would like to take the time to thank you all for sticking by me even as I vanished without a word. I’d also like to thank you for 200 followers which I hit last week. You guys are the best and I look forward to coming back full time with a proper life update.

My-Rating-5-Stars

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Review: Other Breakable Things by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood

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According to Japanese legend, folding a thousand paper cranes will grant you healing.

Evelyn Abel will fold two thousand if it will bring Luc back to her.

Luc Argent has always been intimately acquainted with death. After a car crash got him a second chance at life—via someone else’s transplanted heart—he tried to embrace it. He truly did. But he always knew death could be right around the corner again.

And now it is.

Sick of hospitals and tired of transplants, Luc is ready to let his failing heart give out, ready to give up. A road trip to Oregon—where death with dignity is legal—is his answer. But along for the ride is his best friend, Evelyn.

And she’s not giving up so easily.

A thousand miles, a handful of roadside attractions, and one life-altering kiss later, Evelyn’s fallen, and Luc’s heart is full. But is it enough to save him? Evelyn’s betting her heart, her life, that it can be.

Right down to the thousandth paper crane.

Goodreads

Published: April 4 2017

This was such a cute read and I really enjoyed most of it. It’s just that there were a couple of major bits that made it lose points with me.

Pros

It was cute

This was a very cute road trip romance that I really enjoy simply because of how simple and easy it was.

The relationship between Luc and Evelyn was just adorable and mushy. The whole trip just  such a lovely journey that I felt really privileged to be on. It was an adventure that’s for sure.

The illness was fleshed out well

I also liked how Luc’s illness was properly brought out in the book. So he wasn’t suddenly superman on this road trip but he had his ups and downs just like if he were to be at home.

Evelyn was a great character

Evelyn was such a lovely human being. Her mildness just reminded me a lot of myself and I really liked her. She was so sweet as compared to Luc who I actually didn’t really like personality-wise for most of the book.

It handled a tough subject well

This book is basically about euthanasia and the right to die. Topics that are still widely discussed and debated. I think this book took the topic and just spun it in a way that was very easy to understand

Cons

The lack of backstory

I actually think their love story was really natural but I think what was missing was the backstory and how they became friends. We start out the book with Evelyn returning home after some time away. So she and Luc have been friends for ages but we only come in somewhere around the middle.

I guess that’s what made me feel like there was just something not so right. I think the whole move would have been more impactful if we could actually understand just how close they were before the story begins.

I think that’s why I’m still not sure if it was really insta-love or not. I mean it progressed naturally but we jump in and they already kind of have feelings for each other so it was a little strange.

It was unrealistic

At it’s base, I think there were a lot of things that were just a tad unrealistic. For one, how is it possible that Luc kept his illness a secret from Evelyn for that long? They grew up together and you’re telling me that Luc was that selfless even as a child? No way.

Evelyn was also rather daft for not figuring it out. I mean she suspected but why did she never ask. Seems uncharacteristic of the basic human instinct of being curious.

It was infuriating

Every single time Luc got the chance to tell Evelyn about his illness and then didn’t, I DIED.

*An advanced copy of this book was provided to me to read and review. However, all opinions are my own*

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | Entangled Publishing

My-Rating-3-Stars

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Review: The State Of Grace by Rachael Lucas

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Sometimes I feel like everyone else was handed a copy of the rules for life and mine got lost.

Grace has Asperger’s and her own way of looking at the world. She’s got a horse and a best friend who understand her, and that’s pretty much all she needs. But when Grace kisses Gabe and things start to change at home, the world doesn’t make much sense to her any more.

Suddenly everything threatens to fall apart, and it’s up to Grace to fix it on her own.

Whip-smart, hilarious and unapologetically honest, The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas is a heart-warming story of one girl trying to work out where she fits in, and whether she even wants to.

Goodreads

Published: 6th April 2017

This book was just so perfect and cute and relatable. I loved it!

It was so honest

What really made this book special for me was the fact that Grace was just so relatable and honest. You might think that it would be hard to relate to an autistic girl but I found myself completely relating and understanding many of the things that Grace was going through.

Maybe it’s because of my years spent as the least popular person in any given situation but I really felt Grace’s pain and her desire to just fit in for once in her life. I really liked that.

I think a lot of her bits where she was just trying to fit in really struck a chord with me just because that was my life.

The book helped me understand Autism

Autism is one of the many diseases that I don’t completely understand. And honestly, unless you have it, you’ll never understand completely.

But I think this book put Autism at a level where most people could understand it. It made it easier for me to relate to the struggles of an autistic person and while everyone is different and Autism is different in each person it affects, it still helps to know of some coping methods so if you’re ever in a situation, you can try to help or at least attempt to do the right thing for that person in their time of need.

Insta-love

Okay first of all, I didn’t like what a big cliche the whole thing was. The most popular boy at school falls for the least popular girl. I mean come on! Really?

It was so typical! Not to mention that somehow, no matter what Grace pulled, Gabe was just always bouncing back to her. Like it just seemed a bit unrealistic.

Gabe gave off a very ‘too cool for school’ kind of vibe and anyone who’s anyone will very easily be able to tell you that Gabe is not the definition of a 16-year-old cool kid. He’s weird. He’s a John Green character. Ew.

Plus I think the story could have done without the love story altogether. If they were just friends that would be cool. I mean a lot of the times, the love story seemed to fall away because everything else with Eve and Anna and Leah was just so much more important. The love story parts sometimes just felt like an afterthought which I found to be quite uncomfortable.

The happy ending

I hate happy endings.

There I said it.

I am not five. Why does everything have to have a perfect ending with flowers and a white picket fence? Real life does not happen that way. You don’t just pull a stunt and then have people just forget about it. At least not when you’re 16.

It was unrealistic and I hated the ending.

So there you go. It was a short review because honestly there isn’t much to talk about. In the grand scheme of things, it was a good book but there were parts of it that just could have been so much better.

It was a very relatable book that’s for sure and anyone hoping to learn more about Autism should read this book to supplement proper researched writing. But some bits were just too forced and the reader could totally feel it.

It’s a quick and light read though so if you need something like that in your life (like I do because my new job is exhausting) then give it a shot.

*An advanced copy was provided to me to read and review by Pansing. All opinions expressed are my own*

My-Rating-3-Stars

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