TommeTopple Readathon & TBR

I’ve never participated in a readathon before, mostly because they are focussed on read-as-many-books-as-you-can for the short duration of the readathon. I have never wanted to compromise on quality for quantity, which is why this readathon caught my attention. Thanks to Ayunda from Tea & Paperbacks for letting me know about it.

TomeTopple is a 2-week readathon, from June 5 to June 19, created by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. The goal of this readathon is to check off some of the intimidating big books (500+ pages) from your TBR shelf. I have quite a few tomes in my TBR, so this readathon is perfect for me! Here goes to participating in my first ever readathon.

There are 5 mini challenges in this readathon:

  1. Read more than one 500+ page book
  2. Take graphic novel breaks
  3. Read a book that is a part of a series
  4. Read over 500 pages in one week
  5. Read a 500+ page adult novel

I don’t read a lot of graphic novels. So I will just skip challenge #2. For the rest of the challenges, here’s my TBR:

Mistborn: The Final Empire, by Brandon Sanderson

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This book has been in my TBR for a very long time now. So I’m finally going to go ahead and read it. I’ve heard lots of praises about this book and I’m really looking forward to reading it. It has been a very long time since I have read fantasy so this book will, hopefully, also satisfy my growing craving for the genre.

The Book Thief, by Marcus Zusak

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Another great book that I haven’t read till now. I have seen the movie though, and it made me bawl like a baby. If I liked the movie so much, I’m sure I’ll love the book.

If I am able to read both these books, it takes care of challenge #1. By reading Mistborn, I will be completing challenge #3. I will try my best to complete challenge #4 starting next Monday, since I will be too busy packing and flying this week. And I think both these books are adult novels. They’re not YA for sure. So I guess I’m all set for the challenge!

I wish I had time to read more of those big books in my shelf, but I’m going to have a busy 2 weeks. I’ve got packing to do, and then I have to leave for Hyderabad. I can’t believe I have to start working. It feels like college just started yesterday. But well, these are some ramblings for another time.

I would love for you to join me in this readathon. Let me know if you are. I would love to read your TBR and updates.

Until next time.

 

Fangirl – Book Review

Title: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Page Count: 445

Rating: 4 / 5 

Fangirl

Goodreads Summary 

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible …


Book Review

At first, I thought the book would turn out okay. I wasn’t expecting anything great that I haven’t read in other YA books. But Rainbow Rowell proved me wrong. I have never liked a YA book as much as this one. It was an entertaining read the right amount of humor, romance and nerdiness.

The book follows Cather, one of the twins, through her new adventure in college. She’s very shy and socially awkward, which adds to the hilarity of the book.

“I don’t trust anybody. Not anybody. And the more that I care about someone, the more sure I am they’re going to get tired of me and take off.”

Cath loves writing fanfiction. This story had a story within it, an inception of stories! And the fanfiction that Cath loves writing, the story of Simon and Baz and The World of Mages created by Gemma T. Leslie, had so many head nods towards Harry Potter. It was a world inspired from the works of JKR. This gave me a bigger reason to fall in love with the book. Every Simon and Baz story I read had subtle (sometimes not so subtle) acknowledgements of the Harry Potter books, and humorous jabs at them. Or maybe it was just me because I see Harry Potter everywhere.

“You’ve read the books?”
“I’ve seen the movies.”
Cath rolled her eyes so hard, it hurt. (Actually.) (Maybe because she was still on the edge of tears. On the edge, period.) “So you haven’t read the books.”
“I’m not really a book person.”
“That might be the most idiotic thing you’ve ever said to me”

The book tells a heart-warming story of how college brought about a change in Cath’s life. She drifts apart from her sister and worries about her father all the time. She avoids going out, scared of meeting new people. Until Levi comes along. Rainbow Rowell has created a 21 year old (perfect) boy every reader would be smitten by. Boys, take notes. Levi maneuvers himself into Cath’s life and makes her more comfortable, and happier.

“Just… isn’t giving up allowed sometimes? Isn’t it okay to say, ‘This really hurts, so I’m going to stop trying’?”
“It sets a dangerous precedent.”
“For avoiding pain?”
“For avoiding life.”

The feelings of first love have been described beautifully in this book. I could feel every word. I could feel Cath’s joy and pain and that’s exactly what you need in a great book. But the thing that resonated me the most was her writing. Cath loved to write fanfiction, but when it came to creating a world of her own, she was insecure and vulnerable.

“I’d rather pour myself into a world I love and understand than try to make something up out of nothing.”


Final Verdict

If you love young adult books, if you’re a fangirl yourself or if you are a writer, you’ll love this book. I’d recommend it to anyone in a heartbeat. And now I can’t wait to read other books by Rainbow Rowell.

The Kite Runner – Book Review

Title: The Kite Runner

Author: Khaled Hosseini

Page Count: 371

Rating: 4.5 / 5 

The Kite Runner

Goodreads Summary

Amir is the son of a wealthy Kabul merchant, a member of the ruling caste of Pashtuns. Hassan, his servant and constant companion, is a Hazara, a despised and impoverished caste. Their uncommon bond is torn by Amir’s choice to abandon his friend amidst the increasing ethnic, religious, and political tensions of the dying years of the Afghan monarchy, wrenching them far apart. But so strong is the bond between the two boys that Amir journeys back to a distant world, to try to right past wrongs against the only true friend he ever had.

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, The Kite Runner is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

A sweeping story of family, love, and friendship told against the devastating backdrop of the history of Afghanistan over the last thirty years, The Kite Runner is an unusual and powerful novel that has become a beloved, one-of-a-kind classic.


Review

“It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime…”

This book had me crying before the story even began. 15 minutes into the book, I was already wiping tears off my cheeks and I thought I would be crying throughout the story, just like I was in A Thousand Splendid Suns. But much to the disappointment of my sister, who was sitting ready to make fun of me, I didn’t.

Set in Kabul, and later in America, The Kite Runner tells the story of Amir and his relationship with his servant’s son, Hassan. They grew up together, and to Amir, Hassan was the face of Kabul. Yet, he never acknowledged Hassan as his friend as he was from a lower caste; the son of his servant. Hassan never faltered in his loyalty, and Amir often made fun of Hassan for not being able to read and write. However, there was an unspoken bond of brotherhood between the two. As the story progresses, the two grow up, and grow apart, but they continue to feel the other’s presence in their lives.

The book also creates a beautiful picture of the Afghanistan before the Soviet invasion, and a heart-wrenching picture after. It shows the broken state of the country after the Taliban took over, and paints a sorrowful picture of what could have been.

Khaled Hosseini has perfectly captured a tale of a protagonist whose actions invite utter hatred, and his faithful servant who would willingly take on bullies for him a thousand times over. A tale of love, betrayal and remorse. A tale which arouses curiosity about the past of the protagonist and keeps you from wanting to put the book down.

“It’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out.”

I loved reading this book. Even though the story did not make me as sad as A Thousand Splendid Suns did, I found the writing in this book much better. It wasn’t very challenging, yet Hosseini managed to create beautiful metaphors and imagery with his simple words. He stunningly captures the feelings of remorse, regret and hope, and says there is always a way to be good again.

“Zendagi migzara. Life goes on.”


Final Verdict

A definite must-read. The book is very well written. Even though you will loathe the protagonist in the beginning, you won’t be able to stop reading his story.

Finding Audrey – Book Review

Title: Finding Audrey

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Page Count: 286

Rating: 3 / 5

Finding Audrey


Goodreads Summary

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.


Review

I haven’t read a book by Sophie Kinsella in ages! And with so much buzz going around about Finding Audrey, I couldn’t resist picking up this book. And the beautiful cover helped of course! I love Sophie Kinsella’s books for days when I want a fun, light read. And this book did not let me down. It’s very different from her other books, but it was enjoyable just the same.

When the book started, I did not find Audrey’s style of talking (which included a lot of whatevers) amusing. In fact I started to think I wouldn’t enjoy the book after all, but I was wrong. As the story progressed, I started to sympathize with Audrey. It was great how the book subtly addressed the issue of depression and anxiety attacks in a loud household with two teenagers and technologically-challenged parents. Sophie Kinsella did not simply give a character who suffered from clinical depression, she gave us a realistic character whom we could sympathize with and who helped us understand the ordeal faced by people who suffer from anxiety disorders.

“They talk about ‘body language’, as if we all speak it the same. But everyone has their own dialect. For me right now, for example, swiveling my body right away and staring rigidly at the corner means, “I like you.” Because I didn’t run away and shut myself in the bathroom. I just hope he realizes that.”

On a lighter level, the book hilariously portrays the relationship between every member of the family, especially Audrey’s brother, Frank and their mother. From the Goodreads summary, I was expecting Audrey would be cured because of Linus, but I was relieved to find out that wasn’t the case. Love didn’t magically cure Audrey of her depression, it was just an anchor; a support that helped her fight.

As the book progresses, we see Audrey getting better, taking small steps to be healthy and happy again, with the help of her family and her therapist.

“I think what I’ve realized is, life is all about climbing up, slipping down, and picking yourself up again. And it doesn’t matter if you slip down. As long as you’re kind of heading more or less upwards. That’s all you can hope for. More or less upwards.”


Final Verdict

Although the book wasn’t perfect in every way, it was a fun read and I would definitely recommend it if you like Young Adult books with a touch of humor.

Allegiant – Book Review

Title: Allegiant (Divergent series #3)

Author: Veronica Roth

Page Count: 526

Rating: 3 / 5

 Allegiant (Divergent, #3)

I took a very long time to pick up this book after Insurgent, mainly because I had heard so many disappointing reactions by fans. But I thought it was high time I finished the series now.

After the startling revelations in Insurgent, the faction-system that Tris has known all her life is shattering. As the factionless take control of the city, a group of rebels who call themselves the Allegiant decide to fight the factionless and go beyond the wall, where even more earth-shattering discoveries await them.

I did not find the plot build-up in this book as great as the other two. It was a little too bland at times, and too overwhelming at others. However, I liked the development of characters int the book. A lot of questions from the previous two books were answered, quite unexpectedly. A more human side to Tris and Four was shown, describing their insecurities and vulnerabilities.

Fans of the series were mostly upset over a sacrifice made by Tris towards the end of the book. They deemed it unnecessary. But to me, her sacrifice was full of love, and act of heroism. It takes courage to write something that you know would be very controversial and for that, I applaud Veronica Roth.


Final Verdict

Even though I did not find the book as intriguing as the first two, I did enjoy it and I don’t think it deserved as much backlash as it received. So if you haven been putting off reading the book because of all the negative reactions, I think it deserves a chance.

Allegiant – Favorite Quotes

A few books have dialogues and lines that have such a great impact on you, you can’t help but repeat them over and over. Here are all my favorite quotations from Allegiant by Veronica Roth. Sometimes, these are enough to make you want to read a book 🙂

If you would like to read the review, you can find it here.


It’s strange how, even though I should be grieving, I feel like I’m getting back pieces of her, word by word, line by line.


No matter how smart, people usually see what they’re already looking for.


When you take a person’s memory, you change who they are.


I examine my knuckles. A few of them are split from punching Caleb, and dotted with faint bruises. It seems fitting that the blow would leave a mark on both of us. That’s how the world works.


It seems like the rebellions never stop, in the city, in the compound, anywhere. There are just breaths between them, and foolishly, we call those breaths ‘peace’.


It’s strange how time can make a place shrink, make it’s strangeness ordinary.


I belong to the people I love, and they belong to me – they and the loyalty and love I give them, form my identity far more than any word or group ever could.


There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater. But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life.


She taught me all about real sacrifice. That it should be done from love… That it should be done from necessity, not without exhausting all other options. That it should be done for people who need your strength because they don’t have enough of their own.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on these quotes. Do they make you want to read the book yet? And now I’m 2 books closer towards my reading goal! Gotta love flights.

Happy reading, everyone! 🙂

Top Ten Characters I’d Like to Revisit as Adults

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme / feature created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Today’s topic is: Ten Childhood Characters You’d Love To Revisit As Adults (i.e. a novella or something to see what they grew up to be) — you could always just pick YA characters you’ve read recently you wouldn’t mind revisiting in 10 years or so. Or you could pick 10 characters and guess what you think they’d be doing in 10 years or 20 years. OR you could go the other way and wish for coming of age stories for adult characters you love. 

My list is going to be a mixture of childhood and YA characters, and the last one is a coming of age story I’d love to read. In no particular order, here goes!

1. Joe Hardy from The Hardy Boys

I was a huge Hardy Boys fan as a little girl. Reading about them solving mysteries used to be extremely thrilling. I would love to revisit Joe Hardy to see if he’s still the fun, mischievous person he was as a teenager.

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2. George from The Famous Five

George was my favorite character from The Famous Five. She was bold, mischievous and resolute. And her dog! I adored Timmy. The books just wouldn’t have been the same without the two of them.

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3. Julian from The Famous Five

The most mature of the group, Julian was an absolute delight to get to know. At 12, he displayed exceptional intelligence and was one of the most reliable childhood characters I knew.

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4. Jack from The Secret Seven

Jack was very headstrong character who didn’t think twice about standing up to the group leader, Peter, when he was being too unreasonable. I loved reading about Jack and his arguments with his little sister Susie.

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5. Fatty from The Five Find-Outers

All my favorite childhood books were mystery books. I am still a fan of the genre, but I suppose ‘Fantasy’ overtook ‘Mystery’ after I read Harry Potter. Fatty, though boastful and annoying at times, was very clever and shared all his money with the group. He was a kind soul, always being nice to Bets, the youngest in the group, whom the others didn’t want around. I would love to revisit him to see if he perhaps stopped boasting after he grew up.

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6. Jesse from Bridge to Terabithia

This book broke my heart. I would love to see how Jesse grew up to be. Did he ever get over the death of Leslie? I know I haven’t.

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7. Teddy Lupin from Harry Potter

I’m sure Teddy never felt unloved. But I would love to see him grow up with a little bit of both Remus and Tonks. JKR, if you’re listening, please?

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8. Minnie from Mini Shopaholic

The shopaholic series was a guilty pleasure for me. The books were absolutely hilarious, and with Minnie, trouble was bound to ensue. Did she grow up to be a hot mess like her mother? I need answers!

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9. Elizabeth from The Naughtiest Girl

This book made me want to go to a boarding school. That never happened, so I visited her world instead. I would love to see if she remained as mischievous as she was a little girl.

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Coming of Age Books

10. Young Sherlock Holmes

In keeping with my love for the genre, I would love to see a young Sherlock sleuthing around.

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Well, this was my list. Who are your top ten picks?