A book review as a meal: A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

7599372

George, the protagonist, is adjusting to life on his own after the sudden death of his partner, determined to persist in the routines of his daily life. An Englishman and a professor living in suburban Southern California, he is an outsider in every way, and his internal reflections and interactions with others reveal a man who loves being alive despite everyday injustices and loneliness. Wry, suddenly manic, constantly funny, surprisingly sad, this novel catches the true textures of life itself.

A small meal but a full meal. An array of flavors but all cohesive and satisfactory circular. A firm patty, tough yet tender, buttery crumb. Pickles and mayo. Hand whisked, hand sliced, hand salted. Right after your carnivorous heart. Splash o’ intoxicant. Beauty and insecurity. Quite devastating in the end but only for the question, what if, what if there was more? All the more gustatory pleasures, that mouthfeel of balanced richness and common ground, those swirls dispersed in between that spoke of faraway things here contained. (Almost like (dark)chocolate in a burger.) Oh just what if! But that meal, it was there. Are you ravished or are you famished?

What do you think?
Beez.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon [I’m surprised I haven’t burned my eyes after reading this book] DNF review

THIS BOOK! Where do I even begin with this book?

I started this book with @bookedbybliss (She is a really good friend of mine and you should totally check out her page!) We decided to read it together and I’m glad to say that she and I have the same thoughts regarding this book, because I was terrified of what would happen if I told her I hate this book and she said the opposite to me.

Continue reading

We were liars by E. Lockhart [so am I]

(So so so sorry for the big absence we do other stuff sometimes? You can leave a Howler below.)

What started out as an easy and interesting read turned into the last chapter of shock.

We were liars, is about what goes on behind the scenes in the house of the Sinclair family.

Particularly, Cady.

The story is about four cousins who get together every summer and hence call themselves the liars.

And then there’s an accident.

Continue reading

Why I don’t like the romance genre

I’ve been wanting to talk about this topic for a very long time but I never got around to it cause I’m a lazy shit bag. So, moving on.

I don’t hate romance. I really don’t, but when you give me a book where two characters only care about each other and no one else (or nothing else), not only is it unrealistic but it’s also uninteresting.

I prefer a mix of romance with fantasy or sci-fi because the romance is in the background. It’s not all over my face. I like it when the characters start off as any two strangers would, or when they meet up for a purpose and slowly fall in love.

Continue reading

Rant review of Gambit: The prodigy chronicles #1 by C.L. Denault

19314543Publication Date: March 31, 2015

Publisher: REUTS Publishing

Targeted Audience: Young Adult (DON’T READ THIS PATHETIC BOOK, PLIS!)

Genre: Fantasy/Science fiction/Dystopia/Romance

 

[Note: I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review]

I’m gonna be in the minority here when I say that I absolutely despised this book. I have never hated something as much as I have hated this book. I’ll come to the reasons why I hated this book after I tell you about the plot.

Continue reading

Carry on by Rainbow Rowell

Carry onPublication date: October 8, 2015

Publisher: Macmillan

Pages: 517

Targeted Audience: Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal

Blurb: Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.

In the beginning, I won’t lie, this book was giving off serious Harry Potter vibes. Simon reminded me of Harry, Penny as Hermione, her family was like the Weasleys, Baz reminded me of Draco and Watford reminded me so strongly of Hogwarts (which brought about a serious feels attack).

But there are a few differences as well. Their spells are phrases and not words, the magick (this is how it’s spelled) has a ‘feeling’, a ‘reserve’. They play football in their school and NOT quidditch, the mage is nothing like Dumbledore and the villain who is named the Humdrum is nothing like Voldemort.

Now the story is about Simon who is attending his last year at Watford. They have been terrorized by a being named the Humdrum, who sucks magick out of a place. This Humdrum is hell bent on killing Simon, who is the chosen one, who is destined to save the magickal world. Then we have Baz who is “supposedly” out to kill Simon, and Penny who is Simon’s best friend.

The book takes some time to pick up speed but once Baz appears everything becomes interesting (x10). Needless to say I love Baz’s POV. He is very snarky and cynical and just fabulous.

The romance between Simon and Baz didn’t really interest me. It was cute but that’s about all I felt. Their romance actually reminded me of all the Drarry fanfics out there.

The Humdrum was a very interesting villian. He was one of the reasons why I kept reading in the beginning because I needed to know what he was all about. And in no way did he disappoint me. I think Rainbow Rowell has done a fabulous job on making this character so unique and different.

This book is actually more like a mystery book set in a fantasy world. But the problem I had with this book was that it felt like it was going nowhere in the beginning. I mean, I picked it up because:

1. It’s a Rainbow Rowell book.

2. It’s fantasy.

But this book had way too much romance and I just don’t really prefer reading romance. You see the problem here? This book had so much Simon and Baz romance that it felt a little random to me. Which is probably why I like the ending the most because there is some really good action and mystery reveal happening.

I guess the fact that we were just catapulted into Simon’s last year at Watford was also another reason why I was a little on the sidelines with the whole inside joke/revenge thing that had been going on.

I did not love this book but neither did I hate it. It was just okay. I didn’t FEEL anything for any of the characters. And the entire time I felt disconnected from the Watford world. I just couldn’t imagine it looking any different from Hogwarts.

I guess you could say that by the end, this book did not remind me of Harry Potter. It was similar yes, but also very different (if that makes any sense).

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a light fantasy read and also a good mystery and a lot of fantasy romance.

Ratings: 3/5 not one of the best books I’ve read by Rainbow Rowell.

Feather 3

Lots of love and Pasta,

Raven

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

Flipped

Publication date: May 13, 2003

Publisher: Knopf

Pages: 212

Targeted Audience: Young adult/middle grade

Genre: Fiction/Rom-com

Blurb: Flipped is a romance told in two voices. The first time Juli Baker saw Bryce Loski, she flipped. The first time Bryce saw Juli, he ran. That’s pretty much the pattern for these two neighbors until the eighth grade, when, just as Juli is realizing Bryce isn’t as wonderful as she thought, Bryce is starting to see that Juli is pretty amazing. How these two teens manage to see beyond the surface of things and come together makes for a comic and poignant romance.

“The first time I saw him, I flipped.”

This book is told in two POV’s, Juli and Bryce. Juli has been head over heels in love with Bryce ever since she saw his striking blue eyes and Bryce has constantly distanced himself from Juli. However, things start to change when they both hit eighth grade. Juli starts to wonder if she loved Bryce just for his blue eyes and Bryce slowly starts to realize the beauty in Juli’s eccentric nature.

I went into this book not expecting much. Beez had suggested it to me and I had just finished reading a fantasy book which had drained me of my ability to read so I thought, why not? It was a small book and maybe it would get me out of a reading slump which had rooted itself so early in the new year. And oh how well that worked.

A thing I really liked about the writing is how when the POV’s switch you get a slightly different view of how events took place. I love that, because human memory alters events to our liking. We don’t trust eyewitnesses most of the time because of this very reason and I thought that the author was really smart to address that point in this book.

Also, this book is absolutely adorable. 10/10 for the cuteness. It makes you giggle and it also makes you feel angry. Two extreme emotions that just adds to the amazing-ness of this book.

Juli: She is a girl with a titanium backbone. I believe that anyone who is starting out with contemporary YA should really give this book a try because this girl is a role model. She may be head over heels in love but she knows when to make a stand. She knows the difference between right and wrong and her peculiar behavior is what we all need in life. 

Bryce: In the beginning of this book I hated his character. His mindset was so narrow and he seemed to get annoyed even at the simplest of things. His character didn’t care about other people and that frustrated me to no end. However, his character development is also what makes me love him.

Keeping aside the sweet characters and the cuteness of the book, the main reason why I loved this book was the story. Every event that takes place gives us a deeper insight into the personality of almost every character. Usually the families in teen novels have such insipid personalities but this book gives us beautifully fleshed out characters.

Juli’s family is a family that I would love to have. The values that the parents teach is admirable but you also see Bryce’s family and suddenly each protagonists behaviour starts to make sense.

I also found out recently that this book has been made into a movie, so excuse me while I go and watch what is definitely going to be the sweetest love story in history.

Recommendation: I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a light and sweet read or if you love knowing about an eccentric girl and a boy who learns the value of having a backbone.

Ratings: 5/5 absolutely adored it.

5 cupcakes

5 cute cupcakes for a cute book

Lots of love and pasta~

Raven

5 Buzz words that make us go buzzerk

Buzz words are words mentioned in book blurbs that will definitely hook you in. So, If a book has any of these below mentioned words in the description, we will want to read it 10 out of 10 times. Tell us your buzz words in the comments!

We were inspired by Cece (problemsofabooknerd): Buzz words, Top 5 wednesday

Here goes ours:

1. Physical disability

Wonder one me before you

Beez: I don’t always like book trends but I happen to love this one. I just feel physical disability is a hella interesting topic with this very earthly undertone that we all need to be reminded of in this consumerist-ic fetish world. If written well, I do not mind if this book is very simple and retells an already common story line.

Raven: I don’t necessarily prefer physical disability books (mostly cause they make me super sad) but if the said book, like Beez said, has an earthly undertone to it then I love it. I haven’t read any of the above books except Me Before You (quadriplegic male character) which I absolutely loved and I am looking forward to reading Wonder (chromosomal abnormality) and One (conjoined twins-which is written like a poem).

2. Zombies

Warm Bodies THZSH

Beez: Me and Raven once went through this phase (and we’re not fully out), where 80% of our conversations revolved around the zombie apocalypse and how we would escape and survive and fight, every single time we went to a place. We never got tired of it. So yeah, we’d read zombie books.

Raven: Yep, that phase was intense. We were inspired by The Walking Dead of course (can’t wait for it to start again this Valentine’s day!) I sometimes get into a fierce workout routine because I wanna survive the zombie apocalypse. Beez and I even missed our stop once while on the metro because we were discussing about zombies with supreme intensity.

The Happy Zombie Sunrise Home is an amazing short zombie story and Warm bodies is a very unique zombie-telling, both of them are recommended reads for zombie lovers.

3. World War 1 & 2

The Book Thief 18143977 SWYAATL

Beez: All coz of The book thief man.

Raven: My first book about World War was Stay where you are and then leave by John Boyne. It took place around the end of World War 1 and I was very skeptical when I started reading this book because even though I liked history I didn’t really prefer fictional history, but this book blew my mind and since then my favourite buzz word has been World War. I haven’t read All the light we cannot see but I do intend to read it soon and I don’t even have the words to mention how much I loved book thief.

4. Theme: Death, crime and psychological issues

IHK TGWTDT Shezza

Beez: So being morbid creatures, we happen to have an extreme liking of anything to do with death and killing and murdering and assassins and the sort. Completely normal.

Raven: I have a weird obsession with serial killers. I love to watch T.V shows and read books that describe how criminals think because it’s creepy but also fascinating to know that someone can actually think like that.

5. Intellectual blurgh

18143977 LFA TPOBAW

Beez: This is much less like a buzz word but something I absolutely adore in books and it is when authors include mechanics of the action. Think Ice Princess and her using hard core physics to do a perfect (I forgot the word, twirl?) (Actually the word is Triple Lutz I think… What are you saying? Of course I didn’t watch Ice Princess a thousand times!). I love it when the sci-fi in sci-fi books is explained, physics and math and all. I like that if someone is a nature lover and their mom introduced them to plants and types, then they use the scientific word and explain and show me the beauty!

The reason for this, other than the obvious, is that it shows me a way to appreciate stuff and see it’s beauty through other peoples eyes. It gives me perspective on things and it captures my heart. I don’t quite like biology but I love all the parts related to biology in All the light we cannot see. So authors, go in depth!

Raven: I agree with Beez. As science lovers we love to feel smart by reading books that explain to us the beauty of how things work. We have included Looking for Alaska and The perks of being a wallflower because even though they don’t have much of a science of objects they do go in depth explaining the “science” of life and that is beautiful.

I love to see things in different peoples perspective, it makes me think about it for weeks and that’s usually what I want in books. Something that will keep me ‘buzzing’ for days.

So those are our 5 buzz words. Feel free to make your own post about your favourite buzz words. If you are reading this post right now then consider yourself tagged/nominated but we would also like to mention certain blogs:

theriverofbooksblog.wordpress.com, fictionjunglebookblog.wordpress.com, yourdaughtersbookshelf.wordpress.com, sammiesbooknook.wordpress.com, embuhleeliest.wordpress.com and abookwormsperfectapple.wordpress.com

You can do this if you like, no pressure. We know some people like doing these chain posts and others don’t.

This is Raven and Beez,

Signing out~

Stay where you are and then leave by John Boyne

SWYAATL

Publication date: September 16, 2013

Publisher: Doubleday Childrens

Pages: 247

Targeted Audience: Everyone (except maybe kids)

Genre:World War/Fiction/History

Blurb: The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield’s father promised he wouldn’t go away to fight – but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn’t know where his father might be, other than that he’s away on a special, secret mission.

Then, while shining shoes at King’s Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father’s name – on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Bewildered and confused, Alfie realizes his father is in a hospital close by – a hospital treating soldiers with an unusual condition. Alfie is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place . . .

If you X-rayed me right now, you would see shards of my heart all over my chest. So before beginning this review, WARNING!: YOU WILL BE EMOTIONALLY TRAUMATIZED BY THE HANDS OF A PAPERBACK!

Moving on…

I love history. It’s something that surprises people for some reason. I might not know everything about history but I love knowing more about it. There is the appeal of the unknown. So I guess that is one of the reasons why I picked up this book from the library shelves. 

I loved this book the moment I read the first line. The story is told through the POV of a 9 year old boy and I believe that it’s really difficult to write it cause after you grow up, you mostly don’t remember what you knew and what you didn’t know when YOU were younger. So it was really cute how he used to interpret certain things and the author has done a great job at it *claps*. 

1914- The year the first world war broke out. Alfie Summerfield made his dad promise not to go to the war, but he broke that promise later that day. Georgie Summerfield would go to war and not even his weeping wife could stop him.

Joe Patience- Georgie’s best friend, who refuses to go fight a war just because the government wants him to. He is a man who sees no peace through war. And as expected, he is insulted, tortured and left to fend for himself.

Alfie Summerfield- Who goes to school only on days when they teach his favorite subjects and the other days he earns money by polishing shoes in Kings Cross Station. 

Four years have passed and talks of the war finally ending have begun, yet Alfie’s mother refuses to tell him why his father hasn’t returned. She says he is working on a secret mission. But Alfie knows this to not be true. And one day as he was polishing shoes in the station he saw his fathers name on his customers file. 

Apparently his father wasn’t on a secret mission. He was in a hospital. 

Then why had his mother lied to him? Whatever the reason, now Alfie has only one thing on his mind. And that is to rescue his father.

If you actually think about it, it’s pretty obvious what kind of a hospital his father is in. But I was so indulged in the happenings of the book that I didn’t realize it until the author told me (as in, until I read it).

As I said, this book is written from a child’s point of view so the emotions that older people feel isn’t something that a kid completely understands. So when Alfie talks about a particular thing or a situation and if you are really paying attention, those things will make you laugh or break your heart. Because it’s been said the way he sees it. There is no sarcasm, no running around the bush. The happy or sad facts are just thrown on your face and it hurts guys, it hurts worse than an author describing the characters distress. The author has used such simple yet solid words that dig a hole in your heart forever.

And I loved it.

Every page made me cry or laugh. I mean, it was terrible! No book has ever affected me like this. I am not lying when I say that the left side of the book made me laugh and the immediate right side made me cry. I AM NOT LYING! Or exaggerating. It literally happened. I don’t like people seeing me cry. So when I cry over characters I just keep my eyes closed or look up for a second or two and I’m done. But it wasn’t like that. In this case, before I could turn away the tears were already rolling down. And usually I read on my way to school, on the bus! You can just imagine the number of people looking at me cry.

Now time for a little rant. 

I knew I would fall in love with Joe Patience. I just knew it. The way he was described as, since the beginning, just caught my attention and I knew I would fall for that heartbreaking bastard! He rebelled the government and his views were so similar to mine. I just… GODDAMMIT! Does everyone love a good rebel or is it just me?? 

This guy here, plays a clarinet (though I think the saxophone is sexier, I still like the clarinet), is a reader (his house is stacked with books, why wouldn’t I want to marry him??), And he is just bloody awesome. 

I cried for him. I mean I cried just for him, the character only. Not the plot or what was happening. Just for him. After the end of chapter 10, I just closed the book, lay my head down and cried *insert loads of tissue usage* 

To be honest, I don’t know what it really was that made me love him so much. But whatever it was, I just wanted to get inside the book, knock on his door, hug him as soon as he opened his door and then give him a red rose saying that he was the bravest man ever and that he shouldn’t let himself down just because certain stupid women think that only men who do go to war deserve them. He is a hero to me.

You guys probably want me to shut up so I’m going to talk about the rest of the things that I want to mention. 

I really love how Alfie believes that it’s absolutely normal for a girl to be president even though his own mother laughs at him. I’m a feminist so of course I loved that.

The description of the hospital and all the troubles of those patients will make any grown person cry. I also marveled at how Alfie was able to get in and out of the hospital so easily. He is one smart boy.

Most people talk about how honorable they felt when they fought for their country, but this book shows you the invisible scars that war leaves on people. And I think that is what people need to understand. Just because a person’s face isn’t readable does not mean that he/she doesn’t feel any emotion or in this case, just because you don’t visibly see the harm of the war does not mean it’s not there.

I have noted down certain quotes from the book. I haven’t been able to find this book on any bookstores but I’m planning on ordering it online because I really need to have it with me. It may not be the same as it was the first time but I still feel those emotions in me whenever I see it.

“It’s a big wide world, isn’t it? said Georgie. “Do you think they all hate each other on other planets too?”

(I had to stifle a cry at this part)

“Of course I was afraid. What kind of fool wouldn’t be afraid, going over to some foreign country to dig out trenches and to kill as many strangers as you could before some stranger could kill you? Only a lunatic wouldn’t be afraid. But it wasn’t fear that kept me from going, Alfie. It wasn’t because I knew I’d be injured or killed. It was the opposite of that. It was the fact that I didn’t want to kill anyone.”

OH MY JOOOOOE! *cries Niagara falls and incinerates into the sun with pain*

He’d done it for the best reason in the world. For love.

*Ambulance needed*

The ending of this book left me scarred with happiness… if that makes any sense. I would recommend this to everyone and anyone. Maybe you all won’t feel the same emotions that I felt. But still do read it, it’s worth it.

Recommended to anyone who would want to read about the World War and to anyone who wants their hearts torn out.

Ratings:

fox fat 1

A fabulous fox for a fabulous book

Lots of love and pasta~

Raven

Alex + Ada (#1-#14) by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn

alex + adaPublication date: July 16th, 2014

Publisher: Image comics

Illustrator: Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn

Targeted audience: People

Genre: Graphic novel/ Sci-fi/ Futuristic/ with a bit of romance

Blurb: From JONATHAN LUNA (GIRLS, THE SWORD, ULTRA, Spider-Woman: Origin) and SARAH VAUGHN (Sparkshooter) comes ALEX + ADA, a sci-fi drama set in the near future. The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an X5, the latest in realistic androids. But after Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot.

There are a lot of things I like about this graphic novel series. One of them is how this series does something that you don’t see much in graphic novels and comic books, that is, it sets the pace of a normal life, gives the story and characters space and time to develop and that coupled with a simple, not uncommon but heartfelt story, works extremely well.

Alex is a normal guy, going through his day to day life, going through all the little things, every boring and treacherous necessity of life, quite unremarkable-y. He has a job that he hates, gadgets of the future world, ex-girlfriend that he is not fully over and friends throwing parties he isn’t really into. Quite basically, he’s in a slump. (O’ life!)

Comics usually rely on action and happening and a lot of time makes them feel rushed, especially for a reader who is used to reading words and words and words to be action, surrounding, dialog, and thoughts.

Comic reading is a lot like wine tasting, to fully enjoy it, you need to savor every single aspect of it and take it in and let it mingle with your senses. They need to be appreciated for all the aspects- the color, the art, the drawing, the placement, angle, background, and all the tiny little details including the facial expressions and the creation of a real looking surrounding. This is a little hard for someone whose primary means to fiction is getting carried away by words with a bout of imagination in your pocket (I’m still learning).

This makes Alex + Ada a very good comic for newbies to get into. What i loved in particular was the spacing in the panels because it gives a lot of breathing room and combined with the setting pace of his life, it sets a synchronous hum in our minds as well.

In terms of plot, Alex + Ada is quite unoriginal and predictable. I didn’t think that this was a bad thing and on the contrary, I loved how we got to know these characters in small ounces and bouts that felt very genuine and real.

Like I mentioned, Alex is a normal guy who is living a pretty tired life. He finds no joy in life. Then 0n his birthday, his grand mother surprise gifts him with a X5, the latest realistic android, very much to his displeasure.

Never the less, he goes along with it and powers up the robot. The robot is… disappointing, to say the least. The robot, who he names Ada, puts artificial intelligence to a shame. And Alex is yet again disheartened.

In the next turn of events, Alex discovers that inside, Ada is a person with tastes and opinions. However, that person is simply asleep, disconnected from the actions of Ada the body.

So Alex, who wants a little more than this shell of a person, decides to make Ada a sentient i.e. wake up the person she is deep down inside. The person with opinions. The real person.

Obviously, creating sentient robots is against the law (due to incidents). And what happens next, is for you (or not you) to read on.

One very interesting angle this book plays with is who we give the privilege of being a person. As Alex gets to know the real Ada, he is faced with the question of whether she is just a collection of machines with a conscience and if so, does that count as an actual person, with no boundaries attached? In the outside world, governments are banning sentient robots to avoid incidents and some people are fighting for the rights of a robot- they deserve to be free too!

The obvious parallels are the on going and existing discrimination against different people- whether it be religion, race, gender, sexuality and even acquired things such as wealth, status and education. There is an unconscious bias in all of us, whether it’s that girl in class who gets poor marks on all her tests, or that stereotypical blond bombshell with boobs and boys, or that frivolous cousin who despite encouragement and endless help from his parents keeps doing drugs and sleeps in all days.

Don’t we at some point, assign them a role and maybe think that that popular person with tons of friends doesn’t really have true friends because how can someone be friends with a fake person (pun intended)?

Don’t we strip people of the right to be fully functioning, thinking people with thoughts when we judge their decisions with our thoughts? After all, we aren’t them, we don’t see the world through their eyes, and so don’t we, sometimes, strip them of being an actual person behind our perception of them?

Take the simple act of people watching, a very popular activity portrayed in books, movies and television of the protagonist judging peoples choices based on the protagonist’s judgement. The idea that that other person has an equal and rational thought for choosing what-you-think is a hideous top is positively puzzling, because how could anyone find that top you find so repelling, actually, genuinely nice??

It is hard for us humans, who live our entire lives through our eyes, our mind and our thoughts, with us being the absolute center of our world, to understand the thinking of a different mind.

This went in a very different direction than how I was planning to take it…

Never the less, this book highlights inequality and discrimination and our definition of a person. And it has a pretty good story which is entertaining and engaging and makes us feel, while keeping it very simple and grounded.

I give this book a full four stars and I recommend it to people who want to expand their reading and want to welcome graphic novels and people who like simple yet touching story lines and themes and people who don’t mind cliche human-bot stories and fans of minimalist story telling art.

Additionally, I have not finished reading the entire series as I have not got my hands on the 15th issue yet, which is splendid because the 14th issue ends on very much a cliff hanger. What is actually splendid though, is that in my distressed state after finishing the 14th issue, I sent a tweet to Mr Luna himself highlighting my state and he liked it!

Here’s to a book you should probably read…

cute_orange_by_islam764-d3i6x4skawaii_orange_by_tetrojensencute_orange_by_islam764-d3i6x4skawaii_orange_by_tetrojensen