September Wrap-Up

The month of September was a breeze to begin with but I had to slow down in the end of it. I read 5 fantastic books and also managed to read my first graphic novel too.

1. Camp by L.C Rosen – 4/5

Camp is one of the best queer reps I’ve ever read. Released on 26th may 2020, this YA Romance is the kind of book that should be a part of curriculums.


2. Aurora Burning by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman – 4/5

The book #2 of the thrilling Sci-Fi Fantasy was released on 5th May 2020 but took its sweet time to come to India. While it has left me speechless in the end, it did have its ups and downs.


3. Anna K by Jenny Lee – 3.5/5


4. Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron – 3/5


5. Dancing at the Pity Party (A Graphic Novel) by Tyler Feder – 5/5


Camp by L.C. Rosen – 4/5

It’s a safe place. A place for you all to be yourselves and have a childhood that you don’t get anywhere else.’

– L.C. Rosen

Specifics:

Book: Camp

Author: L. C. Rosen

Published: Penguin Books

Genre: YA Romance, Romantic Comedy

LGBTQIA literature: Yes

Publisher: Penguin Books

Pages: 374

My rating: 4/5

Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Randy Kapplehoff loves spending the summer at Camp Outland, a camp for queer teens. It’s where he met his best friends. It’s very it takes to the stage in the big musical. And it’s where he fell for hunkey Hudson Aaronson-Lim – whose only into straight-acting guys and barely knows Randy even exists.

This year, though it’s going to be different. Randy has reinvented himself as ‘Del’ – buff, masculine and on the market. Even if it means giving up show tunes, nail polish and his unicorn bed sheets, he’s determined to get Hudson to fall for him.

But as he and Hudson grow closer, Randy has to ask himself how much he is willing to change for love. And is it really love anyway, if Hudson doesn’t know who he truly is?

We can do everything straight people can do, you’re right, but what makes being queer special is we don’t have to if we don’t want to.’

– L.C. Rosen

Review:

When I picked up this book, I knew it would be a good read but nothing could have prepared me for the unique and essential storyline that hit me.

The book was not only fresh but also close to reality. It had one of the best representations of all the sapphic books I’ve read.

Camp is set in a queer camp where queer teens can go to find acceptance and overcome bias by being themselves unapologetically for a month. Like any other camp, it has activities to do but most of all, it uplifts the once that need to be.

The narrator of the book is Randy aka Del aka Randall who has transformed himself for love. It seems to be working pretty well. What I liked here is that as absurd as it sounds he always maintained that it’s not permanent and that he will slowly turn back.

The story flows in two timelines, the present with Del and the past with the original Randy. I was expecting them to coincide sometime but I realised that it’s only to give us a glimpse to the past and an idea about how Randy came to this decision in the first place.

He has got some amazing friends who support him but also give him their honest opinion. What the author managed to do is share the spotlight equally among all the characters. The supporting characters don’t even feel like side characters. They shine with their own glitter.

*Source: Google

The character development is also immense and commendable. As irritating as Del may seem, he is a teenager and being irritating is almost every teenagers secong nature. So, the author nailed it. But, he also grows so much.

*Source: Google

The best part of the story is how we are shown all the sides and edges there are to the life of queer teens. Not everyone is readily accepted and not everyone is free to be who they are even after coming out. And this is expressed very well in the book.

We definitely need more books like this. It’s the need of the hour.

I rate the book 4/5 for being so important and just.

Spoiler alert

There’s not much mystery surrounding the book so as to call this as the spoiler section but there were a few things that happened that were too good to not talk about.

Starting with Hudson’s family history, this is one of the prime examples for DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY IT’S COVER. Yes, he was all crazy about being masc but his parents have forced him to do so. He lost his grand mother, the only person who ever accepted him in the family and fights his way to the camp every year. The way he opens up to Randy warmed my heart.

The history lessons given at the camp are so important and I wish everyone gets them. I like how even though the book was all fun and romance it didn’t deter from the cause of giving queer teens a sense of belonging.

The most important one is Randy’s diva blue sequin jumpsuit and his amazing win at the obstacle course. It was so dramatic and amaizng. The aftermath of the race was painful but necessary too. Hudson got to face the truth that you don’t have to act masc to he masc and I am glad he agrees to accept who he is.

*Source: Google

I love how they write their names on the tree as Randy and Hudson instead of Del and Hal or anything temporary or fake. I’m glad they found each other.

The overly dramatic acknowledgements are to date the best way I’ve ever seen an author do this part. It was so unique and fresh just like the story. I can’t stop talking about it.

I think he believes in me, and that makes me feel like I have a thousand stars–a galaxy–inside me, glowing brightly.’

– L.C. Rosen

Coming to the characters:

Randall: He is actually a sweetheart so smitten by love that he forgoes his passion for theatre and the usual fun he has with his friends to be with Hudson who openly hates on ‘Gay Acting queer men’. He tries to be masc and turns out that it isn’t that hard. In the process he manages to make Hudson fall for him but also keeps getting reality checks from his friends. Eventually, when he confesses to Hudson, he calls him a ‘Fa***t’ and that breaks him. After Hudson has time to think and tries to reconcile, he acts like an idiot. It takes for Hudson to accept who he is for Randy to take him back. But they do get back and I hope they live happily ever after.

Hudson: aka HAL is known to be someone who gets in with a new guy each time and sleeps with him in the second week and ends things by the next. But, Randy changes that about him and he genuinely falls in love. He goes from accusing his friend Brad for using nail polish to wearing nail polish himself. He has the highest growth in terms of a character and is handsdown one of my favourites. I love everything about his past and feel heavily for the unfortunate parents he was born to. I really hope it changed for him.

George: My best friend! Atleast my fictional best friend? I love him. Especially how he is so unapologetically himself and doesn’t give a damn of what people think or say. He’s a passionate actor and a very honest friend. He will support you in all your decisions but will never back away from telling you if your stepping into a ditch. I am so glad he found Brad this time.

*Source: Google

AshLeigh: The girl with a crush on a straight woman. Well, atleast when she had a crush, she was straight. Ashleigh is a tech nerd but lives in the drama tent because friendship above all else. She does not take any shit for herself or her friends but she is really shy. This summer, she gets to be the head of lighting on the drama and also finds someone with similar interests as herself.

What I liked about it:

  • very easy read
  • one of the best queer reps ever
  • a realistic story showing us both the sides of the coin
  • pleasing ending
  • smooth writing
  • The unique acknowledgements in the end was amazing
  • Friendship goals

There’s no one way to be gay and no coming out story is the same as another.’

– L.C. Rosen

I made my first ever reading vlog for this book. Check it out by clicking on this link: CAMP – READING VLOG. If you like that video, don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more.

This was a buddy read with the amaizng Nilay Bhatt (Ig: @weelilbugboy) and we had a discussion. To check out the extended version of our chat click on this link: Camp – EXTENDED DISCUSSION

If you liked that and you want to see an uncut and super extended version of our chat, click on this link: CAMP – UNCUT DISCUSSION

Thank you! Stay tuned for more.

The Tycoon Thirteen Talks – 05

The creative genius behind ‘The Little Book Bar’ – Twinkle

Hello Twinkle! I remember when a few months ago I received an anonymous package which was a gift from my friend and it contained the single most beautiful enamel pin I have ever seen till date with an amazing quality and standard and colours and design and texture. The artprint and bookmarks were no less.

Then I began exploring your amaizng shop and your products never fail to mesmorize me. I am honoured to be talking to you today, to bring out to the world what happens behind the scenes with the creator of The Little Book Bar! 

Let’s begin with the questions:

Q. With radiant and eye-catching pictures, irresistible designs, we have an idea of what the business is. But, who is Twinkle, the girl behind the shop?

– AnM

Firstly, thank you so much for your kind words. It means so much to me that people like my designs as much as I love making them. As for who I am, I am an optimum of introvert. I am socially awkward and would tend to avoid any social gathering at all costs, but living in India and having a huge family that is not always possible. I prefer to stay alone, in company of myself rather than having idle conservation with people whom I don’t know.

– Twinkle

Q. For someone who’s visiting your shop for the first time, how would you describe it and what products would you mention as a must to look out for?

– AnM

For someone visiting my shop for the first time, I would describe my shop as… honestly I don’t know. I am not a person of too much words despite being a reader my whole life. I know it’s sad but it’s true. But the products that I would absolutely want you to check out would be the illustration cards. They’re my absolute favourite and would love to see them getting more love.

– Twinkle

Q. How customisable are your products? 

– AnM

Ohh Yes! They’re very customisable. Infact few weeks ago, in this lockdown period, someone messaged me on etsy asking if they’d be able to get the art print version of one of my bookmark since they want to gift to their friend. Ofcourse I obliged, because I absolutely love creating and designing stuff for fellow book enthusiasts. And since it was lockdown I wasn’t able to ship it so I kept that item as a soft copy so they could get that instantly. So I would say yes, the products are very customisable and I make them on commissions as well.

– Twinkle

Q. Where did it all begin? How did you get the idea of making these beautiful bookmarks and art prints?

– AnM

I was always fascinated with art works and illustrations. And I sort of knew I wanted to create something like this. Something people would like and appreciate like I do. To be honest I wasn’t able to create what I could create today. Drawing genes were not in me so I had to really push and practice more and more to make something like this and I am still struggling with few things here and there but I am still learning. As for creating art prints and bookmarks, I loved the bookmarks and art print on Instagram and wanted to make something like that. So I guess that’s where it all started.

– Twinkle

Q. What is the first thing you’ve ever made? Not for the shop, just when the creative genius in you kicked in.

– AnM

I don’t think I’ve ever made anything that was not book related. I especially studied graphic designing because I wanted to do the designing for books, not just prints and bookmarks but I want to design cover art as well. So no there aren’t any designs prior to the ones in the shop. Though many designs I’ve deactivated because I am not satisfied with them now.

– Twinkle

Q. How hard/easy is the process of coming up with designs? Do you start with a basic idea and work towards it or are you sure of what you want from the beginning? How much research do you have to put in?

– AnM

Sometimes, it’s like I know what I want and I am able to get them on screen while other times I really struggle to design it. Usually when I want to design something I’ve not read, I research for the aesthetics of that particular book or series and checkout the popular quotes to be turned into art work. Then after that I decide the colour palette and theme and then atlast I move forward with designing them.

– Twinkle

Q. How was your experience of making you first ever enamel pin? Was it tiring? How did the reception make you feel?

– AnM

 I love those pins! I was kinda confused in the beginning but slowly I got the hang of things and I guess both the pins turned out pretty great. 

– Twinkle


Q. What are some of your favourite fandoms to work with? 

– AnM

 I loved ACOTAR and ToG series so they’re a must for me. Six of Crows and the Lunar Chronicles are one of my favourite series as well.

– Twinkle

Q. What is the best part of the process of creating? Anything from the process of acquiring raw materials to making the products to shipping them and customer reviews?

– AnM

The end product is always satisfying. Seeing them come to life is just so good. Also, I love when the customer get their package. The unpacking and review gives me so much joy, I can’t even describe.

– Twinkle

Q. Are there any new products that we can get sneak peaks into? At least clues?

– AnM

I am thinking of adding few more new products in the shop in addition to prints and bookmarks. The only item that are confirmed and in process are the booksleeves. The fabric design of this sleeve will be all traditional, I want to install Indian designs in my work and out in the world. I hope people like them as much as I love making them.

– Twinkle


Q. What does the shop mean to you? How did it bring a change in your life?

– AnM

I love this shop a lot. I mean a lot. This shop changed my life significantly. I earn income from this shop which might not be much but it’s mine and it sort of gives me independence to buy certain mundane things I love.

– Twinkle

Q. Is this something you will continue doing or are there other plans in store?

– AnM

I want to continue with this shop as long as I can but this shop won’t only be with bookmarks and art prints. I plan to add more products along the way.

– Twinkle

Q. Are you a binge watcher? Or do you take it slow? What are some of your recent favourite shows?

– AnM

Oh I am definitely a binge watcher. I can’t wait for a week for the new episode. I want them all stat. I’ve recently started watching Turkish series and they’re fabulous. My recent favourite shows are Love 101, Elite, Bay Yanlış, Erkenci Kuş and Sen Çal Kapimi.

– Twinkle

Q. What are some of your favourite places to travel to? Any place on your bucket list that you wan to visit asap? 

– AnM

I recently visited few countries in Europe and in that Prague and Budapest were my favourites. I would love to travel there again sometime. Also, as for the new place, I want to visit Turkey, Vietnam and Caribbean island sometime as well. 

– Twinkle

Q.  I reckon from you bookstagram account that you are a baker. How often do you bake? What are some of your favourite things to bake?

– AnM

I love baking and baked foods. I usually bake whenever I feel like, it really depends upon my mood and what I want to bake. As for the some of my favourite baked things they are cocktail cupcakes, tiramisu and brownies 

– Twinkle

Q. What do you like to do when your not creating or reading?

– AnM

Ooo!! I love baking. I usually bake when I am not reading and creating and sometimes I binge watch tv shows as well.

– Twinkle

Q. Asking this here since it was the name of the bookstagram account first! Why is it called Little Book Bar?

– AnM

Hehehe! This might sound silly but I wanted something that linked with my name. I was like let’s do something along the lines of ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ so then I was like I want a word that rhymes with star and so came bar  so like ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ came ‘twinkle twinkle Little Book Bar’

– Twinkle

Pc: Twinkle

Time for the bookish rapid fire!

Which Hogwarts house do you belong to?

Gryffindor with a splash of Slytherin

All time favourite book?

Empire of Storms

Favourite author?

Sarah J Maas

Favourite TV series?

Friends

Favourite movie?

Dil dhadakne do

Who’s your book boyfriend, if any?

Cassian and Dorian


This or that!

Bookmarks or art prints

Art prints

Books or TV series

Books

Paperbacks or hardcovers

Paperback

Physical copies or eBooks

Physical copies

Reading books or listening to books

Reading books

Fiction or Non-Fiction

Fiction


Thank you for accepting my request and giving me this opportunity. This was a blast.

Keep serving us merch! We owe you a tonne. 


To know more about the products that she’s selling and to stay updated, follow her shop: @littlebookbar_shop

Check out the products that she currently has on sale on her Etsy store: littlebookbar

You can follow Twinkle on her booksta account and spy on what she’s reading because merch hints 🙈🙈 on: @littlebookbar

If you like that interview and want more, let me know in the comments

August 2020 Wrap-Up

AUGUST READS

August was an interesting month for me. I didn’t really expect reading too many books but I got into a situation where I needed a major stress buster so I read 5 books in 5 days. I absolutely loved it. Here are the books I picked up in the month of August.

1. The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J Klune – 5/5

A book that I fell in love with, so much that I’m shoving it on people to read. The world needs more books like this. The world needs to know stories like these. Read my complete review: THE HOUSE IN THE CERULEAN SEA


2. Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bathena – 4/5

Published in June 2020, this is the part one of the Wrath of Ambar series. It’s an Indian fantasy which worked it’s way up my alley and now I need more of it. It is also one of my picks for #OwnVoices books. Read my complete review: HUNTED BY THE SKY


3. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – 3.5/5

A psychological thriller which won several awards and rightly so, it was so good. Originally published in February of 2019, it has been picked up to be a movie. Read my complete review: THE SILENT PATIENT


4. Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim – 3.5/5

Unravel the dusk is the part 2 of the blood of stars duology released in the July of 2020. It was a good conclusion to the adventure fantasy. Read my complete review: UNRAVEL THE DUSK


5. The Carpet Weaver by Nemat Sadat – 3.5/5


6. My Father’s Garden by Hansda Sowvendra Shekar – 3/5


7. King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – 4/5


8. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal – 4/5

The part one of the Sands of Arawiya series is this brilliant fantasy released on 14th may, 2019. It was filled with adventure and a lot of strong characters.


9. 10 Things I hate about Pinky by Sandhya Menon – 5/5

The last part of the Dimpleverse also happened to be my last read of August 2020. Released on 30th June 2020, this YA Romance manages to steal your hearts with all the emotions it puts you through.


That was an amazing month filled with some amazing reads! Can’t wait for the next month because my tbr is raging 🙂

My Father’s Garden by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar – 3/5

“I once read somewhere that the single minded persuit of one’s course over a lifetime can only be justified if one engages in two enterprises- building a garden, or raising a child. I now understand that my father’s garden is truly his child. And this child gives him the happiness and peace mind that nothing else could ever give him”

– Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar

Specifics:

Book: My Father’s Garden

Author: Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar

Published: 20th December, 2018

Genre: Fiction

LGBTQIA literature: Yes

Publisher: Speaking Tiger Publishing Pvt. Ltd

Pages: 192

My rating: 3/5

Blurb:

Spinning half A lie cover by father garden tells the story of a young doctor – the unnamed narrator – as he negotiates love and sexuality, his need for companionship and the burdens of memory and familial expectation.

The opening section, ‘Lover’, finds him studying medicine in Jamshedpur. At college, he discovers an all-consuming passion for Samir, a junior, who possesses his body, mind and heart. Yet, on their last morning together when he asks Samir to kiss him goodbye, his lover tells him
, ‘A kiss is only for someone special.’

In ‘friend’, the young doctor, after escaping heartbreak, finds relief in Pakur where he strikes up an unusual friendship with Bada Babu, the head clerk of the hospital where he is posted. In Bada Babu’s house, they indulge a shared love for drink, delicious food and convivial company. But when government bulldozers arrived to tear down the neighborhood, and Bada Babu’s house, the young doctor uncovers a sword tale of a party and exploitation – and a side to his friend that leaves him disillusioned.

And in ‘Father’, unable, ultimately, to flee the pain the young doctor takes refuge in his parents’ home in Ghatsila. As he heals, he reflects on his father – once a vital man who had phenomenal success at work and in Adivasi politics, then an equally precipitous downfall – and wonders if his obsessive gardening has anything to do with the choices his son has made.

Written with deep empathy and shearing emotional intensity, and in the clear, an affected rows that is the hallmark of Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s style, My Father’s Garden marks a major talent of Indian fiction writing at the top of his form.

Review:

Hold my horses as I go and make the foundation of my brand new garden!!!!

The Father’s Garden is a part of the story of a young doctor as he struggles with the acceptance of his sexual identity by his father while constantly having trouble with making people stay in his life.

It’s a very fast read and is divided into three parts as the blurb suggests. Each part gives us an insight into the current life of the narrator while also giving us a glimpse into his past.

I was initially confused as to what the gender of the narrator was but it gets clear as we keep reading. We also get a taste of Bollywood through one of the narrator’s lovers and of politics through the recollection of his father’s life.

The first part – ‘Lover’, revolves around the disastrous romances that the narrator has in medical school located in Jamshedpur. Disastrous because he’s all into who ever he courts but nobody is serious about him.

The second part – ‘Friend’, talks about his time working away from home in Pakur as a government doctor. We get a taste of how selfish some can get for their own gains at the expense of people’s lives while they can also be chivalrous and amicable to others. It shows how true, ‘Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, for better or for worse!’ is. The narrator learns it the hard way.

The final part – ‘Father’, is more about the past than it is about the present. We learn about the narrator’s grandfather and father. We learn how rebellious they were at a young age. This part however, felt a little disconnected from the others even though it was chronologically the continuation probably because of the excess political history that we get to learn to give us an understanding of the present.

The book does give you a feel of historical fiction and also sometimes, it feels like a biography. The unfair practice of the caste system, untouchability and corrupt politics is also spoken about at large.

I wouldn’t consider the book to be gripping but it was interesting. The writing style is to my liking and I enjoyed it.

The title was really apt and the ending was meaningful. I was however expecting to know more about what happens to the author and if he talks to his father about his sexuality.

I related immeasurably to the pressures of proving yourself worthy to your parents and giving their goals more importance than our own happiness. But the thing about that is, we don’t even give them a fair chance to understand that what they want for us is not the same as what we want for them. We just assume that they won’t be supportive.

I also learned during my research that the author was a doctor himself and faced backlash for this frank prose. The book was banned, even. It also appears to me that the narrator was highly based on the author himself given that he belongs to the community of Santhals and is a government doctor himself.

Since the book in itself is a short work of brilliant fiction, I won’t be getting into spoilers or characters.

I rate the book 3/5 stars.

What I liked about it:

1. Frank and descriptive
2. Fast and easy read
3. LGBTQIA plus literature
4. Gives us fairly good life lessons
5. Touches important evils like corruptive politics and caste system

What I did not fancy:

1. A little incomplete
2. A part of the story felt disconnected from the others

The Carpet Weaver by Nemat Sadat – 4/5

“‘I’ve dreamt about you. Only about you.’ He held his gaze then and studied my face. ‘I think you have the most beautiful almond-shaped eyes in all of Asia.’”

– Nemat Sadat

Specifics:

Book: The Carpet Weaver

Author: Nemat Sadat

Published: 25th June, 2019

Genre: Historical Fiction, bildungsroman

LGBTQIA literature: Yes

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Pages: 300

My rating: 4 /5

Blurb:

Afghanistan, 1977. Kanishka Nurzada, the son of a leading carpet seller, falls in love with his friend Maihan, with whom he shares his first kiss at the age of sixteen. Their romance must be kept secret in a nation where the death penalty is meted out to those deemed to be kuni, a derogatory term for gay men. And when war comes to Afghanistan, it brings even greater challenges-and danger-for the two lovers.

From the cultural melting pot of Kabul to the horrors of an internment camp in Pakistan, Kanishka’s arduous journey finally takes him to the USA in the desperate search for a place to call home-and the fervent hope of reuniting with his beloved Maihan. But destiny seems to have different plans in store for him.

Intimate and powerful, The Carpet Weaver is a sweeping tale of a young gay man’s struggle to come of age and find love in the face of brutal persecution.

Review:

A stunning historical fiction showing that the power of selfless love is beyond years of torute that include slavery, human trafficking, war and more.

It wasn’t just any other book with a gay rep. It was a book with a protagonist who was very much self aware and was willing to break all the walls inspite of the burdens of the expectations from his father and the society but ends up in a country with war where he has to chose survival of himself and his family above all else.

I always wonder why teenagers are said to be rebellious? Is it not because not everyone of them is equipped with dealing with the pressures of their families’ dreams and societies expectations?

The Carpet Weaver is a brilliantly written work about a boy in his teens who is constantly reminded to show off his Machismo and is bombarded with the hurdles of religion, politics and eventually war.

Set in Kabul, Afghanistan, the book is medium paced and takes a few chapters to get into. It is divided into three on the basis of a period of a few years beginning from 1977 and also on where the protagonist is currently stationed – Life in Kabul, Escape to Pakistan and Freedom in California.

There are a lot of aspects to the book as I’ve already mentioned but never did I ever feel like it was too much. It was too surreal for me to feel so. Nobody has the luxury to look at life one block at a time.

The book radiates finding happiness in the worst of times in abundance. The protagonist is put through years of torture but never did I see a loss of hope. Hope is something that was interspersed throughout the book alongside Love.

It was a very good read but the first two parts were so enticing that even though the last part was good, it didn’t speak to my emotions the way the first two did.

I was also not well versed with the blurb before entering into the story so I had no trigger warnings and that kind of put me off for a while but that is completely subjective.

For the unique premise and unconventional narrative, I rate the book 4/5 stars.

Spoiler alert

The major thing I want to talk about here is the ending. It’s unconventional but also the truth of life. Kanishka does not end up with who he thinks is his true love. He ends up living his life the way he always wanted to – as a proud homosexual.

The title is so apt. Kanishka has always wanted to walk in his father’s shoes by becoming a carpet weaver but his father outright gets disgusted. After his death and in the camp, they learn the skill of carpet weaving and also use their special talents to impress the officials. He ends up in a carpet store in America when he first reaches there.

Coming to the characters:

Kanishka Nurzada: The self aware teenager who’s always feeling like an inadequate son and also questioning the ways of the society in his own personal space is our main protagonist who has been through hell, literally. He had to live with asking to be more manly, struggling to decide whether to hide or reveal his sexuality, his country being captured, being enslaved, used as a sex-object and finally finding freedom only to struggle to talk to his mother about his preferences. He had a strong heart and he loved with all he got. He loved Maihan so much, even through the hell that he went through, he saw him as the destination. I loved how there wasn’t a happy meet in the end. It was great that he learned to love himself instead and chose to live his life to the fullest now that he’s been though so much.

Benafsha: The best sister in the world, Ben has always supported her brother even when she didn’t understand what he wanted. She clearly is very creative and sensible. She encourages Kanishka to tell the truth to their mother instead of leaving on false pretexts.

Maihan: I don’t know what to think of him. He kind of encourages Kanishka and uses words that make us feel like he’s madly in love with him but he also comes across as a fcukboi. He is bisexual and promises Kanishka that at the end of this, they’ll be together but he is so scared to come out of the closet that he ends up marrying a girl that his mother selects. 

Rustam: Ruatam is bisexual and flashes at Kanishka on their first meet. I hated him for it. It’s soon found out that he has a family and he gave in to the pressures from his brothers and chose to support Pakistan. He’s stationed at the camp at which Kanishka and his family are enslaved. He helps bring medicine when Benafsha is sick. He leads in a mission where they make their escape into a UN camp.

Faiz: Faiz is a friend of Maihan and Kanishka and starts feeling left out when the first two start low-key dating. He’s the son of Zaki Jaan and it’s hard to keep up with his father’s expectations. In the process he also paves the way for the harassment that Kanishka and Maihaan face for being gay by leaking the information to some boys in his school. They were almost raped. He confesses to Kanishka and tries his best to help him find Maihan. He also lies to his father about his profession and makes money by stripping since he has the body for it. He has never let go of his dream of becoming an Actor!

Zaki Jaan: Zaki Jaan has the first line in the book. “The one thing I know is that Allah never forgets Sodomy”, in Kanishka’s birthday party. He somehow knew about him. How ever old school he was, he comes through and helps Kani’s family when they reach America. He also finds a girl and is about to get married. He’s proof that no matter what you were taught growing up or how old you are, you can open your eyes to the other ways of the world if you are willing to.

What I liked about it:

1. Highly Descriptive
2. Feels very real (something that I love in historical fictions)
3. Has strong characters with great developments
4. Eludes strong family values
5. Shows that Love is a very strong weapon to keep you determined and alive!
6. Shows that self love is bliss
7. Talks in depth about what teens go through with the burden of their parents, expectations.

What I did not fancy:

1. Takes a while to get into the story
2. TRIGGER warning for violence, bullying, war, graphic descriptions, outright hate, slavery and rape.

‘How many stars do you give me?’ ‘Five stars!’ Theatrically, I blew him five kisses.’

– Nemat Sadat

Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim – 3.5/5

“If dying is this beautiful, then I wish I was a tree too. I’d be happy to die and be reborn in the spring.”

– Elizabeth Lim

Specifics:

Book: Unravel the Dusk

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Published: 7th July, 2020

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, Penguin Random House

Series: The Blood of Stars Book II

Pages: 354

My rating: 3.5/5

Blurb:

Maia Tamarin has already proven herself to be the greatest tailor in the land. She out-staged her competitors In the emperor’s contest to select a new imperial tailor. She journeyed to the ends of the earth to gather the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. And out of these ingredients she sewed three magic gowns-each worthy of a goddess. But her trials are far from over.

She returned from her journey to a kingdom on the brink of war. Edan, the boy she loves, is gone – perhaps forever. And no sooner does she set foot in the Autumn palace that she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s runaway bride-to-be. When the emperor’s rivals learn of her deception, there is hell to pay, but the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within.

Ever since her encounter with the demon, she has been changing: glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red; losing control of her magic, her body, her mind… Maia will stop at nothing to find Edan and bring lasting peace to her country-before she loses herself completely.

BOOK II in the BLOOD OF STARS duology.

If you haven’t read my review for the part one of the duology, Spin the Dawn, click here: SPIN THE DAWN BY ELIZABETH LIM.

Skip reading this review to avoid spoilers from Spin the Dawn.

“I will stay by your side until the fire in the sun grows cold and the light of the moon is no more. Until time blots out the stars.”

– Elizabeth Lim

Review:

Unravel the Dusk is a heart-wrenching tale filled with adventure and war with a fairly good ending to the duology. It is as thrilling as it is agonizing.

The part two of the Blood of Stars duology starts off where we were left appalled at the separation of our beloved Enchanter and Imperial Tailor while she is at the brink of losing herself, turning into a demon.

Allandi is at the verge of a war which can only be prevented by the wedding of the Emperor to the Shashen’s daughter. But do things go as planned? Ofcourse, they don’t!

*Source: Google

Spin the Dawn was a thrilling story which showed us how powerful a form of art such as tailoring can be. I was expecting nothing less from Unravel the Dusk and I cannot say that it was delivered.

The book is fast paced with fairly normal sized chapters. However, it could not hold my interest. I was also somehow not bored. It was as though something was happening but I didn’t think it was enough. It did not have me captivated like book one.

The book is divided into three parts, each named after one of the three dresses that were made – The Laughter of the Sun, The Tears of the Moon and The Blood of the Stars.

It felt like the author was slowly destroying everything that was built in the part one of the duology. I was not sure if I would be happy with the it. But, while my suspicions weren’t entirely wrong, the author did it in a way where I was not disappointed.

It didn’t feel like something was run to the grounds after a lot of hardwork was put into establishing a strong structure. Instead, it felt like something far stronger was being built from the ruins.

*Source: Google

I almost lost hope when the author hit me with a new meaning to Maia’s life and that’s when it started going uphill.

It wasn’t long after, that I got emotionally invested in the story and it’s characters. While I may not be in love with the characters, I’m really happy they got their happy ending.

And for the beautiful end to an enthralling duology, I rate the book 3.5/5 stars. I duology in itself gets a 4/5.

Spoiler alert:

There were a lot of parts of this book that touched me. The most important one being the ending.

In Spin the Dawn, when we are introduced to Maia, she speaks of her dream house by the sea and the plans of having a booming tailoring store, it spoke volumes of how loved and beautiful her family and her heart were. When all that came true in unravel the dusk, I was beyond elated.

*Source: Google

The war was very descriptive and I loved the details. The Shashen selling his soul to a demon who’s form was a tiger and accepting the terms of giving 10,000 lives was so shock given that his daughter recollects him to be a good person. How could a person grow so power hungry that other lives don’t matter?

The very journey taken up by Maia and the enchanter is thrilling. I loved how the demon form of Maia was a phoenix.

*Source: Google

Her brothers and other soldiers lost to the war coming back in a ghost form and them having a moment together was precious.

In the end when Maia’s mother sends her back with the blessings of the Goddess Amana and she refuses to take back the scissors, it reflects on how great power comes with great responsibility and how there’s always a right time for you to pass it off.

The main thing that made me like the book is that it wasn’t just picking things off after book one but it gave Maia new purpose and we learn about the history of the enchanted scissors. They were used to stitch a tear in the heavens together. Maia has to repeat history and do it yet again and she does.

Coming to the characters:

Since we spoke of Maia and Edan already, the only person I wanna talk about is the Shashen’s daughter – Lady Saranai.

Lady Sarnai: A powerhouse of strength and composure, she was very close to her father and played a major role in destroying armies in the first battle. She runs away with her general and is captured, thanks to Maia who’s intentions were to prevent war. Maia, however also helps her escape and she repays the help by coming back and helping to kill her father and his destructive reign. The emperor’s death only ensures that the kingdom falls into the right hands. The death of her beloved lover shakes her but she holds her ground and perseveres for peace.

“I know that for every dawn, dusk must unravel its darkness.”

– Elizabeth Lim

What I liked about it:

1. Fast pace
2. Beautiful end to the duology
3. Lives happily ever after kinda story
4. Very descriptive writing which was pleasant to read
5. Warms your heart
6. Strong family and friendship values
7. Love for ones own country
8. Has a map!
9. Has powerful female characters

” I will stay by your side until the fire in the sun grows cold and the light in the moon is no more. Until time blots out the stars.”

– Elizabeth Lim

What I did not fancy:

1. Book 1 was definitely a little more gripping
2. Felt a little stretched in the middle
3. I kept second guessing the story

“We were like the sun and the moon, sharing the same stars and the same sky.”

– Elizabeth Lim

10 Things I hate about Pinky by Sandhya Menon – 5/5

10 Things I hate about Pinky by Sandhya Menon

“I don’t think we could be more opposite if we were custom-designed to be.’

– Sandhya Menon

Specifics:

Book: 10 Things I hate about Pinky

Author: Sandhya Menon

Published: 30th June, 2020

Genre: YA Romance

LGBTQIA literature: Yes

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Series: Dimpleverse #3

Pages: 368

My rating: 5/5

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Pinky Kumar wears the social justice warrior badge with pride. From raccoon hospitals to persecuted rock stars, no cause is too esoteric for her to champion. But a teeny-tiny part of her also really enjoys making her conservative, buttoned-up corporate lawyer parents cringe.

Samir Jha might have a few . . . quirks remaining from the time he had to take care of his sick mother, like the endless lists he makes in his planner and the way he schedules every minute of every day, but those are good things. They make life predictable and steady.

Pinky loves lazy summers at her parents’ Cape Cod lake house, but after listening to them harangue her about the poor decisions (aka boyfriends) she’s made, she hatches a plan. Get her sorta-friend-sorta-enemy, Samir—who is a total Harvard-bound Mama’s boy—to pose as her perfect boyfriend for the summer. As they bicker their way through lighthouses and butterfly habitats, sparks fly, and they both realize this will be a summer they’ll never forget.

Review:

How does someone take a similar concept and write three novels with it belonging to the same series and somehow manage to make each of them unique conceptually and the way it touches our hearts?

SANDHYA MENON! Sandhya Menon can do that and actually, she has done it.

This was my 4th book of hers, 6th, if you add the two sweet novellas and also happens to be the final part of the Dimpleverse series.

It has really great writing with a very good pace, brilliant characters and plot. I related to the scenarios and characters so much. I’ve seen a few people calling it a cliché but I didn’t see it at all.

*Source: Google

Apart from the cute love story, it had passion, self-love, being driven for something other than one-self, it showed the power of what can happen when someone takes a stand and brings like minds together, it shows how communication can improve any relationship.

The most relatable thing is the love-hate relationship between Pinky and her mum and how it’s been solved. A lot of Indian kids can relate to the former part and I’m lucky enough to relate the latter also.

The book is from 2 POV’s, Pinky and Samir. Two complete opposites who happen to get into a situation where they fake a relationship for completely different gains. What starts with a list of ’10 Things Samir hates about Pinky’ slowly turns into the opposite.

Everything you expect happens. I’m not saying it’s predictable. What I mean by it is if you’ve wanted a story where all the good things happen and all the problems are sorted, you’ll be granted that wish. It’s so heart warming and beautiful. Happy endings always please me. This was a happy ending multiplied by infinity.

I am rating the book a very merry 5/5 stars.

Spoiler alert:

Did I know that Samir and Pinky will fall for each other and Pinky will solve her problems with her mother? Hell yes! This was supposed to be a happy book. What I had to find out was how that would happen.

I was this crazy over supportive friend shouting ‘kiss, kiss’, every single time Samir and Pinky were together. I was thrilled when Samir made the first move. He did come across as shy but when he knew what he wanted, he didn’t hold back.

The amount of support Pinky and Samir manage to gather for the town hall meeting and the strike was amazing. It goes to show how you’re never too young to achieve something amazing.

I kinda knew Samir was going to make Pinky’s mom realise that she needs to take a step forward and burry the misunderstandings between them. And he does. I love how Mrs. Veena not only comes through but also uses her amazing lawyer skills to save the butterfly habitat.

Coming to the characters:

Pinky Kumar: Short for Priyanka Kumar, the daughter of two highly successful lawyers is a highly passion driven and impulsive rainbow haired girl who does not see eye-to-eye with her mother. Her struggle with the broken relationship with her mother and her feelings for Samir prove worthy in the end as with a little help from Mr Jha, she manages to put everything behind and gives a fresh start with her mom and also falls madly in love with Samir. Her love for nature and animals is commendable. She spends half of her summer vacation spreading awareness and succeeding in protecting a butterfly habitat from being razed.

Samir Jha: Homeschooled and the only son of a cancer survivor, Samir has had a very controlled childhood. He had to take matters in his hands at a tender age of 10, when his mom, the only person in his family, was taken ill by cancer. He is very passionate about being a lawyer and wants to study in Harvard. His summer internship falls through and he accepts a proposition made by Pinky to be her fake boy friend in exchange for an internship with her mother, who is a lawyer. He is a very kind and caring person. He helps Pinky realise how amaizng she is (which she already knew but anyway) and talks to Pinky’s mother about breaking the ice. When Pinky finds the awful list that he makes with the things he hated about her, he realises his mistake and recites a poem with how those exact things made her fall in love with him. Can I get a Samir Jha in my life please?

Mrs Veena Kumar: The Shark, as they call her in the world of law, Mrs. Kumar is Pinky’s mom and she always has been stern with her. It’s only because she’s afraid that Pinky will become he past self where she was a rebellious teen who gets pregnant from a one night stand. But once she realises that a life depends on her, she put her best foot forward and changed her life overnight and pulled herself together. She gives up the part of her that is lively and brave to become someone responsible and reserved. She dedicates her life to Pinky. When Pinky finds out about this, all is well between them.

Dolly: The best cousin ever!! Inspite of being an over achiever and a perfect kid who never dissapoints anyone, Dolly is having an identity crisis and tried to be a rebel and date Cash, a neighborhood fcukboi. It obviously ends in a disastrous therapeutic retreat with her parents for three weeks. But she’s always there to support her cousin and she comes back right in time for the protest.

What I liked about it:

  1. Such relatable characters and plot
  2. very very emotional and I connected with the characters a lot
  3. Tears inducing happy love story
  4. Emphasis on how important Therapy is and can be
  5. Shows how communication can make any relationship better
  6. I might love my parents a tad bit more than how immensely I already did
  7. Speaks about the importance of conserving nature and how a voice can bring a change in the community

What I did not fancy:

  1. Dimpleverse is over
  2. If you are single like me, beware, because you’ll be craving for someone to love you like Samir Jha loves Pinky Kumar
  3. Agh! My heart!

“I want to give this kid the best start in life I possibly can. And if that means doing something I’ve never considered before, then so be it.”

– Sandhya Menon

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – 3.5/5

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

“Remember, love that doesn’t include honesty doesn’t deserve to be called love.”

– Alex Michaelides

Specifics:

Book: The Silent Patient

Author: Alex Michaelides

Published: 5th Feb 2019

Genre: Novel, Thriller, Mystery, Psychological thriller, Suspense, Psychological Fiction

LGBTQIA literature: No

Publisher: Orion books, Hachette UK

Pages: 338

My rating: 3.5/5

Blurb:

‘I love him so totally, completely, sometimes it threatens to overwhelm me. Sometimes I think…

No. I won’t write about that.’

Alicia

Alicia Berenson writes in her diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.

Until late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.

Theo

Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes for deeper than he first thought.

And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?

“You know, one of the hardest things to admit is that we weren’t loved when we needed it most. It’s a terrible feeling, the pain of not being loved.”

– Alex Michaelides

Review:

Thrillers have never been my go to genre but I really liked suspense and I always wanted to try some. So, I picked up the most decorated psychological thriller and somehow, I knew I wouldn’t be dissapointed.

Alex Michaelides delivered what was promised and just like that, I am into thrillers now.

The book is mostly from Theo’s POV but we also get the ocassional intercepts from Alicia’s journal and they were so strategically placed that they made the biggest difference on the impact it had on me.

The chapters are really short and the book is fast paced. That’s something I loved about it and I think it is the kind of book you should read if you want to get introduced to a particular genre.

The blurb didn’t intrigue me much tbh but the first chapter was good that I couldn’t keep it down. The author also drops a lot of interesting twists every now and then to make sure that the reader stays hooked onto the story.

I absolutely loved the characters and the writing was so good that I couldn’t judge them correctly. I think that was what made it more interesting for me. I usually guess who the culprit is or get a sense of where it is going but I wasn’t even remotely close for this one.

*Source: Google

One take back for me was that the ending felt stretched out. I got the dramatic effect that the author might have gone for but I didn’t think that it was necessary. It could have ended at the last excerpt from the diary and that would have been perfect.  But, that’s just want I think.

I also feel like a lot of loose links have been left in the form of suspects. It’s like a few stories opened up but were not completely explored and have been kept hanging.

Overall, it was a great read and I really want to read more thrillers. The reference to a Greek Tragedy – Alcestis and how the story of connected to it is also something that made me like the book.

Somehow, the author chose a very predictable plot and made it unpredictable by hitting us with the truths in the most uncanny way possible.

I rate the book 3.5/5.

“No one is born evil. As Winnicott put it, “A baby cannot hate the mother, without the mother first hating the baby.”

– Alex Michaelides

Spoiler alert

The book had a lot of twists but it didn’t go overboard. The biggest and the one I hadn’t seen coming was Theo’s version of Kathy being in the past and not in the simultaneous timeline as his work in the Grove.

*Source: Google

I had a hunch that Theo might somehow be involved in the murder but I loved how it all came together. I also think that Theo has several unresolved issues and he needs to work towards them and given that he is arrested, I hope he does that soon.

Coming to the characters:

Alicia Berenson: I so badly wanted to believe that she was acting. I wanted to believe that she hasn’t committed the murder but is trying to protect someone. Boy, was I wrong! Alicia seems to be a good person haunted by her demons. She got help at the right time but for once, it would have helped her if people believed her.  I think Alicia dearly loved her husband and was heartbroken to a point where she felt helpless. She was very creative and worked hard to be happy but you don’t always get what you want.

Theo Faber: Did I have a hunch that he’s our bad guy? Yes! Sort of! But listening to his past struggles and his current (or so I thought) betrayal with his wife, I thought he might not be as bad as I thought. I was proven wrong but I am happy about it. This guy needs help. He has destroyed so many lives just because he couldn’t confront his wife. I do have taken a liking to him though.

“There’s so much pain everywhere, and we just close our eyes to it. The truth is we’re all scared. We’re terrified of each other.”

– Alex Michaelides

What I liked about it:

1. Short chapters
2. Fast Paced
3. Gripping story
4. Not predictable
5. Will take you by surprise more than once

“Sometimes it takes courage, you know, and a long time, to be honest.”

– Alex Michaelides

What I did not fancy:

1. I felt like it was stretched in the end.
2. Murder can be a trigger but it is a psychological thriller!

“I suppose what scares me is giving in to the unknown.”

– Alex Michaelides

Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bathena – 4/5

Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bathena

I finally recover use of my voice. “It wasn’t your fault, Rajkumar.You didn’t do anything.”

“No, I didn’t. And with my silence, I became an accomplice.

– Tanaz Bathena

Specifics:

Book: Hunted by the Sky

Author: Tanaz Bhathena

Published: 22nd June 2020

Genre: YA Fantasy

LGBTQIA pro literature: Yes

Publisher: Penguin Books

Series: The Wrath of Ambar #1

Pages: 374

My rating:  4/5

Blurb:

Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks happen disappearing for years. In fact it is this very mark that led to her parents’ murder at the hands of king Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding in order to protect her own life. So, when a group of rebel women called the ‘Sisters of the Golden Lotus’ rescue her, take her in and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge.

Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, but Cavas will do anything to save him. Sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl – Gul – in the capital’s bazaar. As the chemistry between them grows undeniably, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance and discovers a magic he never expected to find. Dangerous circumstances bring Gul and Cavas together at the king’s domain in Ambar fort – a world with secrets deadlier than their own.

Inspired by medieval India, this is the first in a stunning fantasy duology by Tanaz Bhathena, exploring identity, class struggles and high-stakes romance against a breathtaking magical backdrop.

“Weakness is not always a terrible thing. It can be used as a shield to hide your true strength.”

– Tanaz Bathena

Review:

“The sky will fall, a star will rise
Ambar changed by the king’s demise
Her magic untouched and unknown by all
Marked with a star, she’ll bring his downfall.”

Hunted by the sky is a refreshing story that adds a desi touch to the otherwise common fantasy and manages to keep the readers gripped with its twists that are timed to perfection.

I finished in under 6 hours and am glad that I picked it up.


I love magic and now that an Indian touch has been added to the never ending fantasy reads on my tbr, I feel like I am ready to take more on again.

*Source: Google

This is a well written novel about a girl named Gul who seems to be the only hope to restore order between the folks that have magic (the Magus) and the ones that don’t ( dirt-lickers as they call them). In her journey, she is aided by a lot of people pushing her towards the right direction but it’s only her will and choices that lead her to acclaim the prophecy which she was apparently born to fulfil.

The premise is enticing and the characters are strong. The writing is very smooth and relatable probably because of the use of a desi slang. The book is fast paced which was expected  but the pace is also helped with the perplexing twists that hit us from time to time.

The book alternates between two POVs. One is of Gul and the other is of Cavas, the protagonists.

Having read a lot of fantasies, I couldn’t help but recollect a few scenes from the Grisha trilogy, Harry Potter and serpent and dove. I also couldn’t help but link the story to a lot of dramatic scenes seen in the bollywood movies like the meeting of Gul and Cavas to a scene in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. But, that only made the book more interesting for me.

*Source: Google

I also felt like the murder of her parents was the only reason why Gul decided to take on the prophecy and otherwise she wouldn’t have given a damn about it.

I cannot stop myself from imagining this story being picked up to be a movie with someone like Deepika or Anushka Shetty as Gul.

*Source: Google

I enjoyed the book thoroughly. My only disdain is that I didn’t go through a range of emotions while at it. I didn’t form an emotional connection with the characters or the story.

The book, being the part one of a duology also ends on a cliffhanger and a lot of unanswered questions. While it makes me anxious, I also cannot wait for part 2 to be out.

I rate the book 4/5 stars.

“Give them the truth, but never the whole truth”

– Tanaz Bathena

Spoiler alert

The subtle surprises and shocks that the author gives us through out the story are mind blowing.

The ones that kept me wanting more were: Cavas being a seer(half Magi and half non-magi) which I totally called when I learned about them, Juhi being an ex-wife of the king Lohar being tortured by him, Latif being a spirit and the biggest of them all, Major Shyla being the daughter of Queen Megha!

I am also really intrigued by Pashu King Subodh being alive and the new city of Tanaz showing up. I have so many questions and I really want to know who the real father of Cavas is. I can’t help but wonder if it’s Latif.

Coming to the characters:

Gulnaz: Our protagonist lost her parents at a tender age of 14 for being born with a star shaped birthmark as there is a prophecy which mentions that the king’s rule will be overturned by a girl born with such a mark. He takes it upon himself to capture such girls and drain them out of magic and kill them. Gul’s parents die trying to save her. (Major Harry potter vibes) Gul has always had trouble on controlling her magic but her desire to get revenge helps her learn to wield it. She is a very driven and motivated woman who sees her goals and tries to do everything she can to achieve them. She is also very passionate and loving which is obvious by her reactions to other girls being killed or taken away for being born with a mark. She also came across as reckless and selfish.

Cavas: The stable boy who’s father is sick with tenement fever is doing everything he can to keep his father alive. He is nudged by his father to get Gul into the palace. He hates the Magi folks because of the discrimination he receives and is unable to muster the courage to accept the fact that he is half-magi when he finds out about it. He is what you could call an ideal son. He would do anything for his father which does not change when he finds out that his father is not his birth-father at all.

Sisters of the Golden Lotus: Formed by Juhi, the sisters protect all the girls and women in need. The first two members are Amira and Kali, both with birth marks leading to them being tortured and rescued by Juhi. They continue to rescue and train helpless or abandoned girls, with or without magic and provide them with a home. They play a vital role in helping Gul reach her potential and also help her escape her in the end. Juhi and Amira are caught in the process and I really hope they won’t see an end in part 2.

What I liked about it:

1. Amazing fantasy with a unique desi touch
2. Good writing with a good pace
3. Fast read
4. Strong female characters
5. LGBTQIA pro literature
6. The character development is great
7. I want a star tattoo already!
8. It has a map!

What I did not fancy:

1. A lot of unanswered questions
2. Ends with a cliffhanger
3. I couldn’t connect with the book emotionally

“Accept love, no matter how barbed it may look. It is the only way to restore balance in the world.”

– Tanaz Bathena
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