When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Series: N/A
Publication: 13th July 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance.

Advanced Reading Copy provided, in exchanged for an honest review, from the publishers.

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A book written by a person of colour.

My Thoughts (2)

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.

My Thoughts

When Dimple met Rishi… she threw a drink in his face and ran away.

I have seen this book literally everywhere, and with good reason. This is one of those cute summer contemporary romance novels, plus it is diverse and did I mention totally adorable?

Dimple fierce, ambition and into  web development. She is all set for Uni and can’t wait to escape from her mum trying to find her the “Ideal Indian Husband”.  So she’s not too thrilled when Rishi pops up with;

“Hello, future wife,” he said, his voice bubbling with glee. “I can’t wait to get started on the rest of our lives!”

Although the blurb and synopsis seems to suggest the focus is on the arranged marriage, and this does have a major part, I would say that the focus is more on their developing romance and on the web design course.

If you’re into cute romances, this is for you.

My Thoughts (1)

4-stars

Truth or Dare by Non Pratt

Truth or Dare

Title: Truth or Dare
Author: Non Pratt
Series: N/A
Publication: 1st June 2017 by Walker Books
Genre: YA, Contemporary.

My Thoughts (2)

A powerful and moving novel about bravery from the Guardian’s “writer to watch” Non Pratt, perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell, John Green and Holly Bourne. How far is too far when it comes to the people you love? Claire Casey hates being the centre of attention. But if it means getting Sef Malik to notice her, it’s a risk she’s happy to take. Sef is prepared to do anything to help his recently disabled brother. But this means putting Claire’s love – and life – on the line. Because when you’re willing to risk everything, what is there left to lose?

My Thoughts

You know those books where you put them down and you find yourself thinking about them? This is one of those books. I was halfway through and almost got hit in the face by a tennis ball because I was thinking about this book.

The book is one story with two sides. Literally. I loved the way that you read Claire’s side first then had to flip the book over to read Sef’s side. Seeing the story from the two different perspectives really helped to understand where the characters were coming from and the choices they made.

Non Pratt just has this way with words. This book may be aimed at teenagers but it it’s definitely for all ages. Non managed to explore a huge range of different subjects – including social media, racisim and disability – without them becoming the main focus and still somehow making it relatable.

Claire and Sef’s relationship was just beautifully written. I’ve read so many books recently where the relationships have been out of the blue or really quick but this wasn’t anything like them. The entire relationship just felt so natural and realistic. I found myself smiling at so many points, and doing my foot wiggle that I do when I’m loving a book.

I really must insist that you all go and read this book.

My Thoughts (1)

5-stars

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying

Title: One of Us is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Series: N/A
Publication: 30th May 2017 by Penguin
Genre: Fiction, YA, Mystery and Thriller

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A mystery

Synopsis (Goodeads)

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

My Thoughts

Now here’s your assignment: connect the dots. Is everybody in it together, or is somebody pulling the strings? Who’s the puppet master and who’s the puppet? I’ll give you a hint to get you started: everyone’s lying. GO!

When I requested this book, it was described as The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars. Well what’s not to like? Simon’s blog posts reminded me more of Gossip Girl but I love that too!

I don’t read mysteries that often but it’s a genre I really enjoy, especially if I don’t guess the ending. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t guess who it was. The title lied, not only one of them was lying, they all were, and I suspected everyone. Everyone.

 The story is narrated by the four main characters – Bronwyn (The smart one) , Addy (The popular one), Nate (the bad boy) and Cooper (the jock). This meant the pace was pretty quick. Having the four perspectives meant that we got a lot more about each of the character’s backstories, which really fleshed them out and gave them growth. I ended up loving all four of them.

The only reason I didn’t give it 5* was because the ending didn’t sit quite right with me but I can’t really go into detail about that without spoilers. It was still a very enjoyable read.

A marvelous debut book, one that I’m sure I’ll still be remembering for months to come.

My Rating

4-stars

On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher

On the Other Side

Title: On the Other Side
Author: Carrie Hope Fletcher
Series: N/A
Publication: July 14th 2016 by Little Brown and Company
Genre: Fiction, Romance, magical realism

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge– A dual-timeline novel

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Evie Snow is eighty-two when she quietly passes away in her sleep, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. It’s the way most people wish to leave the world but when Evie reaches the door of her own private heaven, she finds that she’s become her twenty-seven-year-old self and the door won’t open.

Evie’s soul must be light enough to pass through so she needs to get rid of whatever is making her soul heavy. For Evie, this means unburdening herself of the three secrets that have weighed her down for over fifty years, so she must find a way to reveal them before it’s too late. As Evie begins the journey of a lifetime, she learns more about life and love than she ever thought possible, and somehow , some way, she may also find her way back to her long lost love . . .

On the Other Side will transport you to a world that is impossible to forget. Powerful, magical and utterly romantic, this is a love story like no other from everyone’s favourite ‘big sister’, Carrie Hope Fletcher.

My Thoughts

I picked this book up for the beautiful cover and because the premises intrigued me.

I knew the author was a youtuber, and that this is her first novel, so I didn’t go in with overly high expectations. I came out thinking that the whole thing was just a bit sillyI just had so many issues with the book, some of which probably wouldn’t bother other people but just really got on my nerves.

Firstly, those ridiculous names. Evie Snow, Vincent Winter, Colin Autumn, August Summers, Sonny Shine and Clementine Frost. It felt like a a teen who had read how some great authors use names to suggest their character and foreshadowing and had no sense of how to do with subtly.  The characters themselves felt quite two dimensional. Based on the world I don’t understand why she decided to cave to her parent’s demand to support her brother if he was disinherited. They’re both adults living in a seemingly accepting society with jobs, which Evie easily got. Also, why keep with the choice for so long if it is clearly what none of you want? It was partly hard to understand the characters choices because there was no timeline to link it to.

The magical realism was also problematic for me. Firstly, I actually rolled my eyes at “Little Bird”, the white bird they wrote love notes on until it was so full it was a “black” bird. Especially how this bird lived almost fifty years because of their love.

The dove’s wings had become almost entirely black, so he’d started carrying their messages on his back and his chest, but he welcomed them with open wings. No one wanted their love to work more than he did. Their messages of love and kindness gave him strength and a purpose.

The tree was bizarre and although was explained I don’t really feel it fitted in with the book. If you’ve read it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, just wait for that delight… I just personally feel the whole magical realism should have been removed.

Vincent was described as being bi-sexual and her brother as being gay. Although I liked this as it was inclusive and wasn’t too predominant, I was also annoyed because I had this bugging feeling that the author only added it because she knew her audience would love it. Vincent being bi-sexual also added literally nothing to the plot.

I just didn’t love this book.

My Rating

2-stars

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

File:The Reason I Jump book cover.jpgTitle: The Reason I Jump: THe Iner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism
Author: Naoki Higashida. Translated by K.A.Yoshida and David Mitchell
Series: N/A
Publication: 27th August 2013 by Random House
Genre: Non-fiction

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge–  A New York Times best seller

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one, at last, have a way to break through to the curious, subtle, and complex life within.

Using an alphabet grid to painstakingly construct words, sentences, and thoughts that he is unable to speak out loud, Naoki answers even the most delicate questions that people want to know. Questions such as: “Why do people with autism talk so loudly and weirdly?” “Why do you line up your toy cars and blocks?” “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking?” and “What’s the reason you jump?” (Naoki’s answer: “When I’m jumping, it’s as if my feelings are going upward to the sky.”) With disarming honesty and a generous heart, Naoki shares his unique point of view on not only autism but life itself. His insights—into the mystery of words, the wonders of laughter, and the elusiveness of memory—are so startling, so strange, and so powerful that you will never look at the world the same way again.

My Thoughts

This book wasn’t what I was expecting. I was expecting an author to have sat down with a boy with autism after an interview or two with him and to have taken his answer and put it into eloquent paragraphs for a long book. What this was was much better. At the top of each page was a question and Naoki Higashida’s responses, as best as he could, for his own personal reactions and why he feels other people may react in that way.

If you know anyone with autism or have read about it, you know that every person is completely different and autism is a wide spectrum. Just because one person with autism does not like to be touched, does not mean that another person doesn’t either, just because one person has trouble with speech doesn’t mean that another person would. With this in mind, this book is a wonderful insight into Naoki’s mind, and elements can definitely be applicable to other people but it is in no means a help guide or a fact book.

When you read information about Autism, it is usually written by Ed psychs, psychologists and doctors that have studied it. It is based on their research and their discussions and observations. It is rarely written directly by a person who lives it. Especially by a person with limited verbal communication skills. It was therefore incredibly interesting to read why Naoki feels he reacts to certain things in certain ways. For example, many children with autism run away. Naoki explains that is not because he means to, it’s because his mind is on a certain place and before he even notices it his body is flying to that room. Similarly he explains that he feels that some people seem emotional not necessarily because they’re upset but because they’re remembering something happy.

Everybody has a heart that can be touched by something. Crying isn’t necessarily about sadness or meltdowns or being upset. I’d like you to bear that in mind, if you would.

Baring in mind how every person is different, I did find it very frustrating when the said “us” and “all” generallising all people with autism, when this is clearly not the case.

Additionally, although I found it interesting, I am skeptic of how much was written by Naoki. As a thirteen year old with limited verbal communication skills  I do find it difficult to believe that he, independently, wrote things like

We just want to go back. To the distant, distant past. To a primeval era, in fact, before human beings even existed. All people with autism feel the same about this one, I reckon.

It states that he was supported by his mother and a facilitated communication, then translated. I wonder how much was embellished.

A very interesting read, with some interesting insights, but definitely not to be read as a face-fact book.

My Rating

3-stars

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm

Title: Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell
Series: N/A
Publication: August 1945
Genre: Fable, allegory, satire.

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge–  A banned book

Synopsis (Goodreads)
“All animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others.”

One night on an English farm, Major the boar recounts his vision of a utopia where his fellow creatures own the land along with the means of production and are no longer the slaves of humans.

Before long his dream comes true, and for a short while all animals really are equal. But the clever pigs educate themselves and soon learn how to extend their own power, inevitably at the expense of the rest of the community.

This well-loved tale is, of course, a satire on the Soviet Communist system that still remains a powerful warning despite the changes in world politics since “Animal Farm” was first published.

This production is based on Orwell’s own radio version which was first produced in 1947.

My Thoughts

This is the first Orwell book I’ve read – I know, I’m shocked too. I’ve been meaning to read one for a while and I’m glad I finally managed to do so.

Although I found the book surprisingly easy to reading and interesting, I found the author’s note afterwards even more interesting. In the note, he explains his motivations and need to write this blunt and in your face book. He explains that

it was of the utmost importance to me that people in western Europe should see the Soviet régime for what it really was.

He already knew it would be banned and difficult to publish due to it’s nature, stating

The English intelligentsia, or most of them, will object to this book because it traduces their Leader and (as they see it) does harm to the cause of progress.

Furthermore, he explained his reasoning for using the analogy of animals to represent the Soviet régime, explaining that

It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat.
I must admit that I know very little about the Soviet régime, so I was unable to draw the exact parallels between the people and the animals representing them, however this did not make the message any less powerful. What was so wonderful about this book was that even for someone like myself, with very little prior knowledge, the plot was so simple and succinct that it drove home the message and forced you to see what what was happening. Those damn pigs.
I really felt for Boxer who was the most hardworking animal on the farm, working himself to the bone, with utter faith in the leadership. Whilst the pigs organise, lie, re-write history and double-cross.

It was easy to see why this book has been banned in so many countries.

My Rating
5-stars

You’re the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

You're the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

Title: You’re the One That I Want
Author: Giovanna Fletcher
Series: N/A
Publication: 22nd May 2014 by Penguin
Genre:  Fiction, Romance.

Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge – A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view)

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Maddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob – the man she’s about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben – best man and the best friend any two people ever had.

And that’s the problem.

Because if it wasn’t Rob waiting for her at the altar, there’s a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it…

My Thoughts

I’m not going to lie, I ordered this book because I knew she was the wife of Tom Fletcher, from McFly and I wanted to see what it would be like. I went in with no knowledge of the book and very little expectation. The truth is I was blown away. I completed the book while waiting for my flight, bearing in mind I’ve been in book slump for a while, and I completed it in one sitting. Result!

Maddy, Rob and Ben meet for the first time when Maddy joins their school when she is nine, since then they have been inseparable. The opening part starts with Maddy’s wedding and throughout the book flashes back to the past and flicks between the three friend’s perspectives.

I loved the changing of different perspectives and seeing the different characters motivations behind the choices they made. It was really nice following them as they grew up as it not only meant that you were more attached to the characters but you also got the lovely in jokes and references to when they were younger.

A lovely, refreshing and surprisingly addictive read.

My Rating

4-stars

Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

Perfect (Flawed, #2)

Title: Perfect
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Series: Flawed #2
Publication: 24th April 2017
Genre: Teens & Young Adult, Dystopian

ARC provided by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

Around the Year in 52 Book Challenge – A book published in 2017

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine’s life has completely fractured–all her freedoms gone.

Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick–the only person she can trust.

But Celestine has a secret–one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing.

Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or to risk her life to save all Flawed people.

And, most important of all, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed?

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed Flawed. I loved the world and the story and although the world was slightly familiar, I loved the new take on it.

While I loved the story in the last book, finding it refreshingly different, I found this book boringly predictable. I had to put it down about 50% of the way through  I found myself strongly reminded of the Divergent series. I finally picked it up after about a month and could easily pick up the book from where I’d left off.

I felt like the original concept, of having a flawed society that brands their flawed, that I loved from the first book was gone. We all knew how it was going to end and it took us on a very long journey to get to there. Even what I assume was meant to be a shock I found predictable.

Oh and we can’t forge the love triangle – because all YA Dystopian books I seem to be reading at the moment have to have a love interest at least. I really feel that this book mainly disappointed me because of the love interests, although this wasn’t the only focus I do feel that it occurred in parts where it didn’t need to.

An OK sequel but not my favourite.

My Rating

3-stars

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K.Rowling

harry-potter-re-read

I’m not sure why, but this has always been my favourite book of the series. I just love Buckbeak, Lupin, Hogsmeade, the Marauder’s Map, Sirius… The whole thing, really.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

My Favourite Bits

The Foreshadowing – The Irish team putting in for seven Firebolts and being the favourites for the World Cup, the Pocket Sneakoscope constantly going off and everyone just thinking it’s broken, Dumbledore saying that Harry has now got a bond with Pettigrew and saying there might be a time where he is very glad he saved his life.

Fred and George winding Percy up about being Head Boy.

It’s because of you, Perce,’ Said George seriously. ‘And there;ll be little flags on the bonnets, with HB on the -‘

‘-for Humungous Bighead’ said Fred.

Everyone except Percy and Mrs Weasley snorted into their pudding.

Dumbledore aiming his speech at the Weasley’s and Harry.

The Boggart – the whole thing is just absolutely riddikulus.

How much McGonagall seems to despise Professor Trelawney

Sirius’ letter to Harry. It makes me smile every time.

 

Bits I Forgot About

How much Crookshanks helps Sirius out, and how much Ron and Hermione fall out because of the cat.

The Hermione gets very emotional and worn down with all her subjects and cries to Hagrid. That she gets so tired that she falls asleep on a pile of books.  Doubt the dementors helped much either.

 

My Favourite Quotes

‘I’m not going to be murdered,’ Harry said out loud.

‘That’s the spirit, dear,’ said his mirror sleepily.

 

‘Hermione, I don’t know what’s got into you lately! said Ron astounded.. ‘First you hit Malfoy, then you walk out on Professor Trelawney – ‘

 

‘…was she making a real prediction?’

Dumbledore looked mildly impressed.

‘Do you know, Harry, I think she might have been,’ he said thoughtfully. ‘ Who’d have thought it? That brings her total of real prediction up to two. I should offer her a pay rise…’

 

‘Godfather?’ spluttered Uncle Vernon. ‘You haven;t got a godfather!’

‘Yes, I have,’ said Harry brightly. ‘He was my mum and dad’s best friend. He’s a convicted murderer, but he’s broken out of wizard prison and he’s on the run. He likes to keep in touch with me, though…keep up with my news… check I’m happy…’

 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K.Rowling

harry-potter-re-read

This is my least favourite out of the series but that is not to say that there aren’t parts that I love. Out of all the films, I’ve probably watched this one the least too. I mainly remember playing this on my Gameboy Colour (I’m pretty sure I still own that bad boy). Is anyone else excited that they’re opening up the Forbidden forest at the Studio Tour?

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

 

My Favourite Bits

Harry asking Dudley to say the “magic word” and the Dursleys loosing their s**t.

Mrs Weasley telling Mr Weasley that the boys had flown the car and his response being “Did you really? Did it go alright?”

Ron twigging on about Lockhart’s uselessness before Hermione “He says he’s done.”

Lockhart loosing his memory. Bless him.

 

Bits I Forgot About

De-gnoming the garden – once I read it, I remembered doing this in the game. Having to spin them really fast so they get so dizzy they won’t return any time soon.

Nearly Headless Nick’s Death Day party with all the mouldy food. yum. And Peeves winding Myrtle up and sending her off crying.

The dwarf’s kicking people out of the way to begrudgingly deliver valentines day cards and songs on Valentine’s day.

His eyes are as green as a fresh picked toad,

His hair is as dark as a blackboard.

I wish he was mine, he’s really divine,

The hero who conquered the Dark Lord.

 

My Favourite Quotes

Lockhart cuffed Harry merrily on the shoulder. ‘Just do what I did, Harry!’

‘What, drop my wand?’

 

‘Oh Potter, you rotter, oh what have you done?

You’re killing off student’s, you think it’s good fun-‘

 

‘Am I a Professor?’ said Lockhart in mild surprise. ‘Goodness, I expect I was hopeless, was I?’