Help Me Set My October TBR!

Hello, friends! 

We’ve still got another ten days before the end of September but I’m already thinking of my October TBR.

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I’ve got a couple of books in mind already but since I’m reading more than ever (I’ve already finished my September TBR I set last month!) I’m looking for a few more for October.

This is what I’ve got so far…

What am I looking for?

Two things… 

  • A contemporary YA: As you know, I read mostly contemporary YA with the odd classic thrown in. Contemporary YA is what I love and it’ll always be my favourite. I have a long list of contemporaries I need to read someday but I’m asking YOU which one I should read first. So, tell me… what’s your favourite contemporary YA? Which one should I read RIGHT NOW?
  • A non-contemporary YA: Next month, I want to take a little break from contemporary (at least for a couple of days ahaha) and try something different. The problem is….I don’t know where to start.
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My world is limited to YA contemporary….help!

I’ve only read contemporary so far this year, so I’m out of the loop of what’s good and what’s not. That’s where you come in. I’m kindly going to ask you to give me a couple of recommendations, books I should absolutely give it a chance. I’m okay with all genres (but I’d like something space-related maybe??) so go nuts!

Give me all the recs!

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Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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Details & Summary:

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: May 30th 2017
Pages: 380

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 is one of the most hyped books of this year. Before reading it myself, I’d read countless reviews and most of them were very, very positive. As a consequence, I had high expectations and I was very excited to read it. Sadly, I didn’t love it or like it as much as I thought I would. While Dimple and Rishi showcase a healthy, realistic relationship, which we need to see more of in YA, I had a few problems with the story outside the romance.

I’ll start with the good stuff. Dimple and Rishi are both great characters. Dimple knows what she wants. She’s passionate about coding and she’s going to study at Stanford and hopefully someday have a career like her idol, Jenny Lindt. She’s not interested in going to university for the sole purpose of finding her IIH (Ideal Indian Husband) like her parents want her to.

“She refused to be one of those girls who gave up on everything they’d been planning simply because a boy entered the picture.”

Then there’s Rishi, who values family, tradition, and culture. He’s more than okay with the idea of meeting a girl his parents chose for him. He’s also completely okay and confident about the person he is, which was my favourite thing about him.

“If no one says, ‘This is me, this is what I believe in, and this is why I’m different, and this is why that’s okay’, then what’s the point? What’s the point of living in this beautiful, great melting pot where everyone can dare to be anything they want to be?”

Of course, the trouble starts when they meet. Rishi was aware he was being set up with someone he hoped he would marry someday. Dimple was not; she was kind of tricked by her parents.

All in all, I think the arranged marriage theme was done well. I understood both sides and sympathised with both Dimple and Rishi. I was interested to see how they’d get along after this misunderstanding. And, for a while, I really did like their relationship. Though rushed (they are completely in love in just a few weeks), I liked how it was a healthy, realistic relationship where both sides respect and value each other. Very nice to see in YA.

What I didn’t like was how the romance completely took over the plot. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a romance novel, but still. I respected Dimple so much for wanting a career and being passionate about coding and I felt like that all kind of disappeared into the background. Coding is supposed to be her number one passion, so I was very disappointed about how little time she seemed to spend on her project. It was mentioned a couple of times here and there, but I felt like she didn’t work on it that much. All of her time seemed to go toward dating Rishi, dealing with the Amberzombies (rich, mean kids? Really? Enoug with this overused trope already), and the talent show. Basically, the project kind of served as a background to their relationship, which is a real shame since I know how much hard work, time, and dedication it takes in real life.

I also wasn’t a big fan of how literally everything turned out okay in the end.

SPOILER ALERT….

Dimple and Rishi didn’t win but she did get a chance to meet Jenny Lindt who just so happens to love her idea so much she’s willing to invest in it. Dimple contacted Rishi’s role model / idol who also contacts him back. I mean, I really wish these kind of things happened in real life and I could get an answer from Elon Musk or J.K Rowling or anyone else who’s famous (and extremely busy!), but they rarely do.

The same thing goes for other plot points, such as Rishi’s relationship with his brother Ashish. They were all wrapped up rather fast and easy, which felt all a bit too convenionent to me and not very realistic.

While Dimple and Rishi deserves credit for showcasing a healthy, realistic teenage relationship and I loved reading about a different culture than mine, it’s a shame the romance dominated the plot as much as it did and their goals and interests were pushed to the background.

Rating

Dreary Day Reads: Books for Rainy Days

Hello, friends! 

The days are getting darker. It’s dark when I leave for work and the evenings are getting darker and colder too. No more strolling around the neighbourhood while the sun sets or going for ice cream late at night.

Right now, whe weather is okay where I live, but they’ve forecast a lot of rain for the end of the week. And since I live in a country where it raines quite often, I thought I’d share my favourite books to read on dreary days.

I love to pick up any one of these books and curl up in bed with a blanket and a box of chocolates in reach.

  • We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson: because it’s very bleak and it’s about the end of the world (kind of) and, somehow, reading this book on a sunny day doesn’t feel right.
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: because you get to escape your own (dreary) world and immerse yourself into a wonderfully, magical one. Any of the HP are good but if I had to choose, I’d probably pick Prisoner of Azkaban because it’s my favourite or the Half-Blood Prince because it’s a bit darker and because I remember it was raining and there was a thunder storm when I got the part where a certain someone dies. It’s stuck by me as a “rainy day book” ever since.
  • History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera or any other Silvera book: because you can go outside afterward and let the rain wash away your tears.
  • One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus: because who doesn’t love a good mystery on a rainy day?
  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: because it’s a beautifully written book about the lives of a blind French girl and a Germany boy / soldier during WWII. The prose is stunning and the story captivating. You won’t want to put this one done before you’ve reached the last page.
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: because it transports your rainy day to another time and place. No one knows how to write dreary settings and lives better than Charles Dickens.
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brönte: because a rainy day is perfect for a dark, gothic novel like Wuthering Heights. You’ll find very little happiness in this book but the storylines are captivating and the descriptions of the moors and the English countryside in general are beautiful and mesmerizing.

Would / Do you like to read any of these books on a rainy day? Which are your own favourites? Let me know in the comments!

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[e-ARC] Review: Plank’s Law by Lesley Choyce

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**Thank you to Orca Books Publishers, who provided me with an e-ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

Details & Summary:

Title: Plank’s Law
Author: Lesley Choyce
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Release Date: September 12th 2017
Pages: 179

Trevor has known since he was ten years old that he has Huntington’s disease, but at sixteen he is informed that he has one year to live.
One day while he’s trying to figure stuff out, an old man named Plank finds him standing at a cliff by the ocean. It’s the beginning of an odd but intriguing relationship. Both Trevor and Plank decide to live by Plank’s Law, which is -just live.- This means Trevor has to act on the things on his bucket list, like hanging out with real penguins, star in a science fiction movie and actually talk to Sara–the girl at the hospital who smiles at him.
With the aid of Plank and Sara, Trevor revises his bucket list to include more important things and takes charge of his illness and his life.

My thoughts…

I requested this book because of the premise. The book promised a story about self-discovery and “living your life to the fullest”. Unfortunately, this book didn’t work for me.

Plank’s Law was simply too short and simple to leave any sort of impact on me. The characters were all rather two-dimensional. They never felt like anything more than “sick kids” which is a real shame because I feel like that’s what the author tried to show us. That kids who are (terminally) ill are not unlike you and me. We all have hopes and dreams for our lives and we’re all trying to fulfill them and live a good, happy life (no matter how long our life might be). It’s a great message – albeit not the most original one as “sick lit” has been popular for quite a while now – but it never came across due to poor character development. For me, the characters felt like rough drafts–outlines of the fully formed characters in the author’s mind. They felt like ghosts of the characters he wanted them to be.

I think the number one reason why I didn’t connect to the characters was because they weren’t given enough time to grow and develop. There were simply not enough pages (or plot) for them to go from characters in a story to real people you can imagine living and breathing in the real world. I had an additional problem with Sara. I liked her at the start, I really did, but I lost all connection with her when she asked Trevor to have sex with her and possibly get her pregnant. I’m sorry, but I don’t see how anyone at the age of sixteen and battling cancer could possibly have such a thought.

The writing wasn’t bad, but I didn’t feel particularly polished either. Again, the books feels more like a first or second draft that could’ve been a lot better if properly developed.

Rating

April 2017 – TBR

March was a really good month for me. I read five books and finished the tenth draft of my WIP which has now officially moved into the stage of ‘final draft’. It’s going to be hard to recreate that kind of a success because I’m also doing CampNaNoWriMo, but I’m not going to be less ambitious because of it.

In April, I’ll try and read these five books

 

  • The Hate U Give: I’ve talked about this several times on my blog, most recently in my Waiting on Wednesday post. THUG has been (and will continue to be) the most anticipated and hyped YA in a long time. And from what I’ve heard it’s a fantastic and important read, so I’m really excited to finally be able to read it for myself.
  • Goodbye Days: This one is a very contemporary read. It’s about Carver, who causes a car accident by sending a text to one of his friends. Three of his friends die in the car crash. I’m expecting this one to make me feel like an emotional train-wreck but that’s okay. I actually prefer those kind of books. Sadistic? Perhaps.
  • Stargazing for Beginners: Meg juggles taking care of her baby sister while trying to win a competition to get a chance to go NASA headquarters. Oh, and her rival is a boy named Ed. I’m sensing a cute romance. And even if it doesn’t, it’s got NASA. That’s all I need.
  • The City of Saints and Thieves: About a refugee from Congo. “Four years after Tina’s mother is found shot to death, Tina becomes an expert thief. When she finally gets the chance for revenge, she learns how dangerous the past can be.”
  • Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda: I know, I’m kind of late to the party, but better late than never right? I’m reading this while I (impatiently) wait for The Upside of Unrequited.
What books are you reading this month?

See you soon,

Lauren