When Dimple Met Rishi – By Sandhya Menon

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Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

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This is going to be a hard book for me to review, because while I liked parts of it, I also decided not to finish reading it.  I decided to stop reading it because of other things in my life that I found I was taking out on the book, and eventually decided I should just put down the book, and then pick it up again in a year or two.  I think I might simply put this review into a list of things I liked about the book, and things I didn’t like.

Pros: 

  1. Dimple. Dimple herself is a great character, she’s smart, she’s motivated, she wants to work with web development. I mean even her name is great, I love the name Dimple.  For the first bit of the book, I enjoyed her character a lot. Her reaction to Rishi calling her his “future wife” was amazing. I mean who wouldn’t throw coffee on a stranger who wanted to marry you?
  2. Rishi. He was also a great character. I loved that he was on board with the arranged marriage, I loved that he was religious (he says “Gods bless you” in response to a sneeze and then goes on to explain his beliefs) and his romanticism was pretty darned cute.
  3. Culture. I loved all of the details about Indian culture, the food and language. I thought this was pretty cool.

Cons: 

  1. Dimple. After meeting Rishi at the college and then working with him on the project, suddenly Dimple seems to forget why she’s there. All motivation to design her app and win the contest seems to peeter out.  This was frustrating because it seemed contrary to what her character was set out to be. Where went the determined feminist girl I liked in the first few chapters?  When Dimple Met Rishi unfortunately follows the troupe of when a girl meets a guy suddenly all of her life goals mean nothing and all she wants to do is kiss him.
  2. One True Love Troupe. Kill me now. I hate this troupe with a burning passion. And it was honestly the last thing I expected from this book. I’m just so tired of this unrealistic idea that there’s one magical person in the world for you. It’s bullshit and ultimately the reason I stopped reading this book.
  3. Dual POV. If you’ve read my blog for very long you know that I hate POV jumps, and that it frustrates me to no end.

In conclusion When Dimple Met Rishi was simple just “It’s me not you.” I wasn’t in the right head space to read the book. I recommend you read and decide for yourself if you liked it or not. It seemed like it could be a very cute fluffy read, and there are definitely times when we all want to read books like that.  I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads.

Queens of Geek – By Jen Wilde

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Goodreads Synopsis: When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever. Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought. While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

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Queens of Geek had a lot of hype around it, so I figured why not read it? I love geeky things, this might be the book for me.

I think this book was just not for me. I didn’t really enjoy the writing very much. I didn’t enjoy the geekery. It felt flat to me. Like someone just wrote a novel, placed it at a convention for coolness and then threw in every ”geeky” reference to try and make the book relatable.

The characters weren’t bad. Charlie was pretty cool, I loved that she was bisexual and that the book actually used the word BISEXUAL. I did enjoy the romance between her and new girlfriend, I thought it was pretty adorable.

I liked that Taylor was chubby, and had anxiety and also was neurodivergent. I wanted to like her character more, but I also felt that she was fairly flat character. I wanted her to be more than just a geek and anxious. I wanted to see more of her personality, but it just never came out. Overall though I think that Wilde did a good job of making sure she had a diverse cast.

The plot was my main problem, it’s focus is entirely on the romances going on.  And I felt like it could have been about so much more.  But in the end, I didn’t have a hard time reading the book. I liked the characters, and I thought it had a pretty adorable ending. Queens of Geek gets 3 stars from me.

This Is Not A Novel – By David Markson

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Goodreads Synopsis: This experimental work is an enthralling amalgamation of anecdotes, aphorisms, and quotations from writers and artists, interspersed with self-reflexive comments by the Writer who has assembled them. As the title implies, this is certainly not a novel — not in the general sense of the term. And yet a reader who follows the flow will gradually notice certain novelistic conventions insinuating themselves. Writer — as the narrator refers to himself — is tired of inventing characters and subjecting them to the rigors of plot development. Instead, historical personages from Dickens to Beethoven recur throughout the book: They re born, create, speak fondly or acidly of their own work and the work of others, and then die. (Death, in fact, is a major concern of Writer.) Works of art interlock and interrelate; diary entries, attributions, and critical comments jostle for position. But what at first appear to be random bits of historical trivia ultimately come together with a narrative logic: a beginning, middle, and end. So while Markson has jettisoned the standard conflict-and-resolution pattern of a novel, he nevertheless fashions a literary journey that gets somewhere. Indeed, the book s conclusion will come as an intensely moving surprise to those who reach it.

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“Hatred of the bourgeois is the beginning of all virtue, said Flaubert.”

I love experimental stories, and have actually read other books by Markson, so that’s why I decided to read This Is Not A Novel.

In the beginning of the book I really enjoyed the style and the prose. This Is Not A Novel is very experimental, so if that’s not your thing I would so to stay away from it.  The book is a collection of sayings, facts, and occasional comments from the Writer. To me it felt like a book on mortality.

Like I said, in the beginning I liked the book, but yes after awhile it did get repetitive. Without a consistent character to propel the novel I found myself getting bored at times.

Why would I recommend you reading this book? Because I did like how it was a different type of story. I think every writer should read at least five experimental novels in their lifetimes. These books can help you look outside the box, and push the boundaries of storytelling. In the long run they can help you become a better writer.

I gave This Is A Novel three stars on Goodreads.

Otherbound – By Corinne Duyvis

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Goodreads Synopsis: Amara is never alone. Not when she’s protecting the cursed princess she unwillingly serves. Not when they’re fleeing across dunes and islands and seas to stay alive. Not when she’s punished, ordered around, or neglected. She can’t be alone, because a boy from another world experiences all that alongside her, looking through her eyes.

Nolan longs for a life uninterrupted. Every time he blinks, he’s yanked from his Arizona town into Amara’s mind, a world away, which makes even simple things like hobbies and homework impossible. He’s spent years as a powerless observer of Amara’s life. Amara has no idea . . . until he learns to control her, and they communicate for the first time. Amara is terrified. Then, she’s furious. All Amara and Nolan want is to be free of each other. But Nolan’s breakthrough has dangerous consequences. Now, they’ll have to work together to survive–and discover the truth about their connection.

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This book boiled down to being very “meh” for me. Despite the bisexuality, diversity and disabled representations, it was just a little bit slow.

Nolan and Amara are fairly good characters. They are unique and had great diversity. Amara was also mute, and Nolan is an amputee. I thought the way they interacted was well written, and realistic.  My complaints with the book weren’t with the characters, in fact I think this book as a brilliant premise. It was mostly that I found the book so slow. After the first 60 pages the book lost it’s pacing, and from then on it was either cliche, slow or just plain boring.  The world also felt like it could have been explained more, I didn’t understand the magic system and I also didn’t really understand the curse surrounded Cilla. I guess I just wanted to know more, and to feel more for the characters. Sadly I never did.

I gave Otherbound three stars on Goodreads.

3 NetGalley Reviews

These are my most recent NetGalley reviews, thanks as always to NetGalley for giving me copies of these books.

The End We Start From – 3.5 Stars.

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Goodreads Synopsis: In the midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, the family are forced to leave their home in search of safety. As they move from place to place, shelter to shelter, their journey traces both fear and wonder as Z’s small fists grasp at the things he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds. This is a story of new motherhood in a terrifying setting: a familiar world made dangerous and unstable, its people forced to become refugees. Startlingly beautiful, Megan Hunter’s The End We Start From is a gripping novel that paints an imagined future as realistic as it is frightening. And yet, though the country is falling apart around them, this family’s world – of new life and new hope – sings with love.

This book was a lot shorter than I thought it was going to be, so I actually ended up sitting down and reading it in an evening.  The End We Start From has some really beautiful, and almost lyrical prose.  I wasn’t expecting an apocalyptic book to be written like this, and right away it hooked me on the book.

The characters in this book were all named with just initials, which was interesting. Though I felt it made the characters feel a little distant. I never really felt for them as much as I wanted too, and as much as I thought the story had potential to make me feel. But I did like the idea of seeing the end of the world from the point of view of a mother. In the end I decided to give this book 3.5 stars.

The Wisdom of Dead Men – 1 Star.

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Goodreads Synopsis: While investigating a series of mysterious murders, Nate uncovers dark secrets that threaten to reveal the true nature of the Wildenstern family. The British Empire is no longer the authority it once was. Instead, it’s controlled by private business organizations–the most powerful of which is Ireland’s ruthless Wildenstern family. Eighteen-year-old Nathaniel Wildenstern has given up his dreams of travel and adventure to devote himself to being his brother Berto’s head of security. With the help of his wife, Daisy, Berto wants to change the barbaric ways of the clan. But there are many among the Wildensterns who like things the way they are, and will resort to whatever devious methods necessary to keep it that way.Meanwhile, the burnt bodies of women are appearing around Dublin. When a connection to the Wildenstern family is discovered, Nate, Daisy, and Nate’s sister Tatiana decide to investigate. Soon the young Wildensterns are digging into shadowy societies and dark family secrets that date back to the origin of the engimals, who are part animal, part machine. And what they find could shed light on the savage nature of the Wildensterns themselves.

This book took me months and months to read. I kept trying to get into the story, kept trying to be interested in the characters but I just wasn’t.  Part of this could be that I wasn’t able to read the first book. I didn’t realize this was the second book in the series when I originally got it from NetGalley.  Awhile back I’d read the prequel to the series and loved it, so I thought I’d read more.  Maybe if I’m able to read the first book and I like it I can come back to this one and try it again.  1 star.

Once, In Lourdes – 3 stars.

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Goodreads Synopsis: Four high school friends stand on the brink of adulthood—and on the high ledge above the sea at the local park in Lourdes, Michigan, they call the Haight—and make a pact. For the next two weeks, they will live for each other and for each day. And at the end of the two weeks, they will stand once again on the bluff and jump, sacrificing themselves on the altar of their friendship. Loyal Kate, beautiful Vera, witty C.J., and steady Saint—in a two-week span, their lives will change beyond their expectations, and what they gain and lose will determine whether they enter adulthood or hold fast to their pledge. Once, in Lourdes is a haunting and moving novel of the power of teenage bonds, the story of four characters who will win your heart and transport you back to your own high school years.

I was expecting this book to be somewhat dark, it is after all about four kids who have a suicide pact. But I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so disturbing.  I mean the book was interesting, it had more of an experimental feel when it came to the writing. It included some of the drawings of the main character Kate.  The characters were all interesting as well, I was able to feel for all of them.  The ending took me by surprise as well, and I wasn’t sure if I liked it. It was a very dark ending. Which is why I ended up giving the book three stars. It whole thing just left a bad taste in my mouth.

Winesburg, Ohio – By Sherwood Anderson

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Goodreads Synopsis: Before Raymond Carver, John Cheever, and Richard Ford, there was Sherwood Anderson, who, with Winesburg, Ohio, charted a new direction in American fiction–evoking with lyrical simplicity quiet moments of epiphany in the lives of ordinary men and women. In a bed, elevated so that he can peer out the window, an old writer contemplates the fluttering of his heart and considers, as if viewing a pageant, the inhabitants of a small midwestern town. Their stories are about loneliness and alienation, passion and virginity, wealth and poverty, thrift and profligacy, carelessness and abandon. “Nothing quite like it has ever been done in America,” wrote H. L. Mencken. “It is so vivid, so full of insight, so shiningly life-like and glowing, that the book is lifted into a category all its own.” 

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I picked this one up because I’ve been trying to read more classic literature, this was one of the books I found on a list. Which list I can’t actually remember at the moment. 😀

Short stories are always fun to read, and this collection is quite interesting. It’s also really odd. The stories are a jumbled mess of characters and lives and plot. In a way it’s fitting, as these stories look deep into the heart of humanity and carry the story from there. But at the same time it was also a little confusing. Winesburg, Ohio is a book I would read again just to see if I got it better the second time round.  It’s also a book that interested me in reading more by the author Sherwood Anderson.

I gave it three stars on Goodreads.