Two for the Road (Stories in Pairs, Set 3) By Ekta Garg

The First Story, “Excess Baggage”: Allison has just come home from a grueling business trip. All she wants to do is spend a quiet weekend at home parked in front of the TV or maybe curled up with a blanket. When a friend calls to ask her for a favor, though, all of Allison’s plans hit rough air.The Second Story, “Wrong Way”: With one daughter married and another in college, Rachel and Jim should be enjoying their time as a couple again. But Jim’s worries about his widowed mother force Rachel into a spur-of-the-moment road trip to check on the old bat. When Jim catches Rachel complaining to a friend, tension will ride with them in the car. Can Rachel make an apology stick?– Goodreads

I don’t really know how to start this review but I’ve been following this series since the beginning of the year when Ekta approached me with the first book. From then on, I’ve been following the series and reading each book as it’s come out.

This book was different from the first two because the characters were different and it was generally more on the American side instead of the Asian side that Ekta was pushing in her first two books. I didn’t mind that too much except for the fact that I was rather enjoying her bold take. I think it takes courage to write about Asians considering that the world is predominately Western and most books are written with a Western context. So I did miss that.

Each of her stories ended rather abruptly in my opinion and I would have very much liked to hear more of the stories though I have a feeling like the fourth book might have more elaboration. I don’t know. Just a feeling.

Otherwise, it was a very lovey and short read. I read it in one sitting actually. I absolutely adore this series and I can’t wait to read more.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the author to read and review*

#TBRTakedown 2.0

Hey guys,

I feel like I haven’t blogged in ages. Anyway, I thought I would write this to tell you guys that I am participating in the #TBRTakedown 2.0 which is starting tomorrow (Saturday) and it will be running for a week. So we end on the 31st of July. You can watch the official announcement video here:

I am so excited to be taking part in it and I’m even more excited that my whole bookclub is doing it as well. It’s going to be so fun and the challenges for this are so much more doable. So before it begins, I thought I would share my TBR list for the challenge.

1. First Book in a series: Cinder

Sandee has hyped this book so much and I’ve heard and seen it everywhere so I really can’t wait to get to it.

2. Sequel Book in a series: Heir Of Fire

I have read the first two books in the Throne Of Glass series and this is the second last book. The last book is coming out later this year. So I want to get this book read before that.

3. Out of your comfort zone : In Real Life: My Journey In A Pixilated World

I love Youtubers. That’s no surprise. Joey isn’t my favorite Youtuber and I don’t really watch him but I watch Zoe Sugg obsessively and she read this while on holiday a few weeks ago and she loved it. At first I thought she was just promoting it because Joey is her friend but I’ve also seen a lot of good, objective reviews online so I’ll give it a go.

4. On your shelf over a year (or the longest): Winger

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you would know that I’ve been trying to read this book every single month since last October. It’s been on every one of my readathon lists and I’m determined to finally get to it.

5. Most recently hauled book: Elizabeth Is Missing

This is a bit of a cheat because it was not in my last haul but it was pretty recent so I guess it’s okay.

Well that’s all my books for the week long readathon. I’m so excited for it and I’ve been finishing up books in preparation for it. Realistically I think I will only be able to read 3 books max but one can hope. Are you joining the readathon? What are the books on your list? Tell me in the comments!

I Loved You When

I loved you when I first laid eyes on you. I loved you when there were secret glances. I loved you when you smiled at me. When you sat next to me. When you talked to me. Your words leaving me beautifully dumbstruck. I loved you when everyone told me not to. I loved you when my pen gently carved your name into my journal. I loved you when it was wrong. I loved you when I knew I shouldn’t. When I knew you would ruin me in so many ways. When I learnt what you had done. Yet I still loved you blindly. But I was too scared. To scared of rejection. Too scared of you. So I let myself continue to love you in my head. I guess I got too good at living there because you never saw. You never saw me. And eventually you began to love someone else. The funny thing is, I still love you. I still taste your name in my mouth before I say it. I still quietly tell my journal that you are perfect. I let you live in my heart and head even though you belong to someone else. I let my heart leap when I see you. When you look at me. I let it happen because I hope. I still hope. Maybe soon. But until then, in my heart you shall live until one day, someone takes your place.

-This was a little poem that I wrote in class one day. It was a silly little thing but I hope you enjoyed it-

Wonder by RJ Palacio

You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside.

But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go.
Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all? -Goodreads

I don’t really know how to review this book. This book that made me feel queasy on the inside. This book that made me need to isolate myself to think and to write down half this review when I was only 56% into the book. I don’t know what to say about it. So I’ll talk about myself for a bit.

When I was in primary 6 (11 years old), I endured what I still think was the worst bullying I had ever experienced in my life. I was bullied all through my school life really. But I think primary 6 was the worst because I was aware. I was aware of what was happening and I let it happen.

So this is what happened. In my primary school class, much like the classrooms in Wonder, we sit in twos. I was sitting next to this girl. Let’s call her Jo. Behind me were two others and in front of me, two more. I thought the 6 of us were the best of friends. We used to play during lunch and we would send notes in class and eat together. We were friends. Until I wasn’t. I remember this clearly only because I wrote about it in great detail in my old diary but what happened was that I accidentally gave Jo the wrong page numbers for our homework. It was a complete accident. Mind you, Jo was in school that day. She just wasn’t paying attention.

So the next day, she got into a lot of trouble for not doing her homework and I of course didn’t. I apologised profusely but she was mad. That day, after recess, I received a note from her. It was a sort of a contract and it was signed by 5 people. The same 5 people that sat around me and who I thought were my friends. It said that I had to change my attitude because it was really bad. According to the contract, the people that signed it were promising to not talk to me at all until Jo decided that my attitude was better. There was no mention of what it was I did wrong or how I could change or anything. I didn’t even know what I had done wrong. Because as far as I knew, I did nothing wrong. Again, I was 11. So this was much like my world had just exploded.

Okay so that was day 1. The next day, more people in my class started signing it. Next thing I knew, people in other classes had signed it. Very quickly, people I didn’t even know began signing the stupid contract.  I would ask someone something and they would be like, “I can’t talk to you. I signed the contract.” This lasted a week before I finally said something to my dad who talked to my teacher. She scolded Jo and the others and made them rip up the contract and apologise to me. Of course the problem didn’t just vanish. I mean, a lot of things happened that week. The problem wasn’t just that there was a contract. There was so much more that happened and so much more that happened throughout the entire year. But I won’t go into it. All I will say is that at the end, I still embarrassingly enough, had to grovel to get my ‘friends’ back. I was 11. I was foolish and I let it happen.

The point of this story though was that for 1 whole week I was ostracised by everyone. Even people I didn’t know. I pretty much was Auggie in that week. It was the most horrible week of my life. I had never felt so isolated and so belittled. What did I do wrong? I did nothing except to exist. The feeling was just indescribably awful.

So when I read this book, especially the Jack Wills chapter when the entire school froze him out, I got it. And I didn’t like it that I got it. I felt queasy. I felt trapped because all the emotions from that awful week came rushing back at me. I didn’t like that I got it. I was in school and I actually had to isolate myself during lunch to write all this down.

Okay I’ve just finished the book so let me talk to you more about it. Don’t worry. No spoilers here. So the writing was excellent. It was very believable that the narrators were mostly 11 year olds. The way they reacted to things was also very understandable of people their age. I liked how the author got into the minds of children instead of making them overly philosophical and annoying.

I went into this book expecting to cry. And I did. I cried a lot. I had a lot of weird feels that I have never had when it comes to any other book. It was just strange and amazing at the same time.

I think if anything, this book really makes you think about how you treat other people. It really forces you to think. I mean we all want to be like the character of Summer. We all want to believe that when faced with someone with a disability or abnormality, we will react like how Summer did. But the truth is, most of us are Charlottes or Jacks. We try but when push comes to shove, we cannot see it through. We cannot defend our friendships with the less popular people. We show little bit of kindness but really we will not stick by them. I am like that. You are like that. And I think this book challenges us to be Summer. I know that I will now look at life differently. I will try to be Summer in the way I treat people who have difficulties. I mean, I don’t know anyone who would strive to be Julian so.

Overall this was an amazing book. It’s definately one of my new favourites and I’ve just got The Julian Chapter into my kindle and I’m reading it now and it’s so exciting because people have been raving about it and I need to read it. It’s a novella in the POV of the bully in the book by the way. So go read it. Now. Like go right now. Go. Click here. Buy the book. Now. Go.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars