Currently Reading (May ’20)

Currently Reading (May ’20)

My reading list for this month.

  1. Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught.

I read ‘Perfect’ written by Judith McNaught and I liked her writing style. I found this book pretty randomly. I haven’t read historical fiction and romances much before but I think it is a fascinating genre. I started reading this book a couple of days ago and I have already finished 200 pages of it. The plot of the book focuses on the passionate and star-crossed love story of Elizabeth Cameron and Ian Thornton. The book is fast-paced and interesting. I think I’ll finish this one very quickly.

2. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

I borrowed this book a couple of years ago from a library but never finished it back then before I had to return it. I was almost halfway through the book back then and now that I have a copy, I am going to start from the beginning. I have read just a chapter of it as of yet but the premise of the story keeps you hooked. Never Let Me Go is a dystopian novel yet it is grounded in the real world with its setting which enhances the impact of the story. This time I am going to finish reading it quickly so there are no breaks in continuity for me while reading.

3. All the Bright Places by Niven.

This is one of my favorite books of all time. I read it at least 4 years back for the first time. Its been too long so I am going to read this again because I liked it so much the first time. The story of Violet and Finch is fun, self-aware, and heartbreaking. The character of Finch is so well written and the way Violet and Finch help each other is beautiful. I can’t wait to read this book again even though I am sure it’s going to end with me crying over it again.

4. Selected Stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

I have been reading a lot of short stories lately. I never felt brave enough to start reading Crime and Punishment or any other works by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Reading classics can seem like a task at times but I want to read his works so reading the short stories will kind of ease me into his writing style. I read the first two stories and they are really good. The descriptions and the writing style is unique and it’s not as heavy as I expected it to be.

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Books Review: Just For Now (Sea Breeze #4).

Just For Now (Sea Breeze #4)

-Abbi Glines.


I read the Vincent Boys series by Abbi Glines. I enjoyed reading those books and then I turned to this series by the author. I didn’t read Just For Now in the order it was intended but it didn’t take me away from the story at all.

Just For Now focuses on the love story of two characters Amanda Hardy and Preston Drake. They come from two completely different backgrounds and his reality is much different than hers. Amanda has a crush on Preston since her teens and he is her brother’s friend. Preston is kind of aware of her innocent crush but makes sure to keep a distance from her. The story begins when Amanda is successful in getting Preston’s attention for one night and it doesn’t end well for her emotionally.


The point of view keeps shifting from Amanda to Preston which works really well because it gave me an insight into the characters. This also went a long way in making the characters likable and relatable I think. Amanda and Preston’s paths cross a few weeks after that one night and this is where the pace of the story picks up. Preston is eluded to be doing something shady from the start but as the story progresses it is made clear. It was unexpected yet hinted at so not a complete surprise. For me, not completely knowing the backgrounds of supporting characters from other books of the series wasn’t an issue. This was Preston and Amanda’s story so it didn’t matter to me.


Amanda’s character can be naïve at times but she makes the right decisions when it matters. Her crush on Preston, in the beginning, is so rosy and idealistic but after how things end the night she finally manages to get his attention are eye-opening. After this, she realizes that Preston is not as perfect as she made him out to be in her imagination and looks at him realistically accepting that he has flaws. Preston is such a different character. There are so many things about him that don’t seem right with his sleeping around, his drinking, his job but he is trying his best to be a better person.


It was sad to find out about Preston’s past with his family and how his mother doesn’t care at all about him. He is responsible for his three younger siblings and is practically taking care of two households at once. Preston purposely keeps Amanda at bay or tries to because he knows she is going to leave when she finds out what his “job” is but it doesn’t go according to plan. Amanda starts to discover things about Preston’s family life and supports him through tough situations. They have a good relationship except for his lying part which he is constantly guilty about but still, he does lie.


Their love story is cute, dramatic, and different than I expected it will be. The relationship between them develops naturally and they open up to each other slowly. The part where Amanda’s brother finds out is slightly dramatic but it doesn’t seem unnecessary to the plot. Preston and Amanda have good chemistry from the start so when for a brief period towards the end they are not together anymore makes you feel their hurt over its end. The characters go through changes slowly but steadily as the story moves ahead and this makes the conclusion satisfying. It has a happy ending.


I read the first couple of chapters and then kept it aside while I finished A Streetcar Named Desire. Once I picked it up again, I finished it in 24 hours. It is an engaging, fun, cute, and steamy romance novel. I loved reading this book. This book was exactly the kind of novel I needed to read during this lockdown period because it cheered me up. I might add this book to the re-reading list, I enjoyed it.

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Book Review: A Streetcar Named Desire (Tennessee Williams).

A Streetcar Named Desire.

–   Tennessee Williams.

A Streetcar Named Desire has been on my reading wishlist since I studied American Literature for my Masters. Finally, I started reading it and it was worth it. This play was written by Tennessee Williams after World War II.

The story begins when Blanche DuBois decides to stay with her sister Stella and her husband Stanley in New Orleans. From the beginning, as a reader, you can tell that Blanche is hiding something that she is not okay. The signs that she has anxiety are seen from the get-go especially reading now when there is awareness about mental health issues. Stella is careful around Blanche and she knows her sister sensitive. Stanley Kowalski is Stella’s husband. The first impression of his character for me was that he is practical but that changed later.

Blanche and Stella come from an aristocratic Southern family and lived in a big house called the Belle Reve. Stella leaves the house after she falls in love with Stanley and this leaves Blanche responsible for the estate. Blanche is upset when Stella asks about Belle Reve and admits that the house is lost to creditors and now she has nothing. It does seem like she blames Stella a little bit for leaving everything behind for Stanley. When she finds out that Stella is pregnant, she is overjoyed for her sister.

Blanche and Stanley tolerate each other because of Stella but are constantly at odds with each other. Blanche is rude in the beginning about Stanley’s origins being different than theirs and later simply starts thinking of him as a brute. Stanley goes out of his way to poke at her and make her lose her fragile mental balance, he provokes her. Blanche is constantly on edge and slowly is starts unraveling the things that she has been through. She thinks highly of herself that’s evident but she is also vulnerable and scared most of the time. Mitch is Stanley’s friend who Blanche looks at as a potential suitor because she has always sought the protection of men. Mitch leaves her when he finds out things about her past and even tries to force her.

The characters of Blanche, Stella, Stanley, and Mitch all have their unique characterizations that add to the story. Blanche has a tragic past with her husband Trevor who killed himself after she found out about his homosexuality. It definitely indicates that Blanche feels responsible for his death because it follows the confrontation she has with Trevor. She is considered promiscuous by people in the town of Laurel because she seeks men’s company and that’s the reason she comes to New Orleans. Stanley defines the typical masculinity of the age with his behavior. He gets violent when he drinks and even hits Stella but at times she is the only one he is tender to and it is disturbing to read and understand.

The story of the play, the characters, and the setting come together really well. Even the musical cues while reading play a part in the plot though it might be more effective on stage. She is worried about her age and later she stops going out in daylight so people won’t realize her true age. Blanche is taken to a mental institution in the end but the decline of her mental health is evident as the story progresses; when Stanley rapes her it is in a way the last straw for her. Her understanding of reality and her fantasies blend together and she can’t tell the difference anymore. Stella is distraught when Blanche is taken away and regrets agreeing to it. The end is heartbreaking.

I loved reading this play and it is classic for a reason. The symbolism and the themes are subtly interwoven throughout the play which enhances the reading experience. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this play but I was pleasantly surprised. It is a must-read.

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Book Review: Black Hills (Nora Roberts).

Black Hills

– Nora Roberts.


I have read many books written by Nora Roberts over the years. The writing of the story might seem similar in her book; sequentially I mean but she manages to keep things fresh with the characters and settings.


A story about an ambitious girl Lil Chance befriends Cooper Sullivan when they are kids; the first summer Cooper spends with his grandparents. He comes back every year regularly for the next few years. Lil and Cooper are close and as they grow up their feelings change and they end up in a romantic relationship. Cooper breaks Lil’s heart and she throws herself into following her career ambitions. Cooper moves to his grandparents’ farm after his grandfather has an accident; this brings Lil and Cooper in each others lives again.


The book begins when Lil and Cooper are kids and it focuses on their relationship with their family and with each other. This part is a little slow plot-wise because not much is happening but it is necessary to establish the bond that Lil and Cooper have. The setting of the story, the Black Hills in South Dakota plays a major part in the story as it is an important place for the characters, especially for Lil. Lil is a wildlife biologist and sets up a sanctuary for animals on her family’s land just as she wanted while Cooper struggled a bit on what he wanted versus his father’s expectations. I liked the cute, innocent love story they have in the beginning and even when they reconnect the bond between them seems completely natural.


The story becomes suspense when Lil is stalked by someone who is threatening the life she has build for herself. Cooper is an ex-cop and he is adamant about helping her and keeping her safe till the person is caught. This is where the story picks up its pace and scary things start happening around Lil because of a man and his beliefs. I liked Lil’s characterization. She knows from a very young age which direction she wants to go in and she sticks to it which is in contrast to Cooper. She has made her dreams come true and she loves her work and life. She is bitter about how things ended with Cooper 12 years back but that because she believed that they meant to be.


The first introduction of Cooper makes you a little sad with the things going on with his parents and the way he acts like an adult even though he is 11. He struggles with his family issues throughout the story and with himself too. The explanation he gives Lil about breaking up with her back then makes sense in a way but still not completely so Lil is right to be mad about it. The point of view of the stalker/murderer is downright creepy at times but intriguing because it made me want to find out who he was and it wasn’t an obvious choice.


I have to say this is not my favorite Nora Roberts book and like some of her other works I might not read this one again. I liked the love story and the suspense element of the book and the characters. The pacing was a little slow and for me; even though the setting is important I could never completely get into it or imagine it which disappointed me a little bit. In my opinion, overall it is a good book but it didn’t match some of the other works by Roberts which I have read. It was a good escapist read for this weekend.

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Currently Reading (April ’20)

Currently Reading (April ’20).

My reading list for this month.

  1. Black Hills by Nora Roberts.

The story is set in South Dakota with the backdrop of the Black hills range. It is a story about Lil Chance and Cooper Sullivan. I have always enjoyed reading books written by Nora Roberts and I have read many of them over the years. I started this book a couple of days back and it’s keeping me interested. The plot of the story is going different than my assumptions of it but in a good way. I might finish this one pretty quickly.

2. Just For Now by Anny Glines.

The fourth book in the Sea Breeze series by Abbi Glines. I don’t think I have read the books in the correct order but I have read them so I have a bit of context going into this book. Amanda has had a crush on Preston since she was sixteen and he is her brother’s best friend. I am enjoying it so far. The characters are from different worlds and have completely different issues. It’s a feel-good book, perfect for the weekend.

3.French Short Stories of 19th and 20th Century.

This book I have is a collection of short stories by French writers in English. Over the last week, I have read a few of these stories and they are amazing. Some of the writers in there I hadn’t heard of before which was the reason I picked up this book. Unlike a full-length novel, it’s much easier to read a short story a day especially when ten other things are going on. I am glad I bought this book; so far every story I read has been amazing.

4. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennesee Williams.

Williams was never a part of my syllabus of Literature in college but my teachers always recommended her plays. I finally got myself a copy of A Streetcar Named Desire and I am excited to read it. I haven’t made much progress because I started it last night. I am intrigued to see how the play unfolds. The writing and characters have already managed to capture my interest.

*Buy a copy on Amazon by clicking on the books covers.

Life (Poem)

    

Life goes on,

Never stopping for anyone.

Once in a while,

You can’t help but wonder,

If things hadn’t changed.

A deep-seated need to reconnect,

An emotion you cannot comprehend.

You can only wish for another chance,

Make things right but you can’t.

This is a part of the journey,

Even if you don’t like it.

                                                       

Book Review: Little Women (Louisa May Alcott).

Little Women

– Louisa May Alcott

I saw the Little Women movie recently and I realized how many things from the book I have forgotten since I read it years ago. So, I decided that I will re-read Little Women. There were some aspects I remembered and some I didn’t but I enjoyed reading it nevertheless.  Little Women is a story of the March family focusing on the four daughters Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. The story is set in Concord, Massachusetts in 19th century.

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The story is divided in two parts. Part one begins in the year 1860 when Mr. March volunteers for the Union army and leaves his family behind to join the civil war. This part of the story follows the lives of the March sisters during this year. Jo is assisting her aged aunt March. Meg and Jo go to a part at one of their rich neighbors where Jo meets Laurie and his grandfather along with his tutor John become a part of the March family. Beth contracts scarlet fever and Amy is sent to live with Aunt March as a precaution.

The part two is set three years later. Jo is earning money by getting her stories published in New York and working as a governess at a boarding house where she meets German professor Bhaer. Meg is married to John and they have twins. Amy is in Europe with Aunt March where she is learning art and meets Laurie there. Beth’s health starts declines and Jo comes back home to take care of her sister.

The majority of the story is told through the eyes of Jo. The character of Jo is so relatable. She is considered too bold and outspoken and tomboyish in those times but all that makes her more likable. The difference between the four sisters is clear from the beginning Meg is traditional, Jo is bold, Beth is shy and Amy is vain and can be self-centered. The themes of familial and romantic love run throughout the story and they are touching. Marmee (Mrs. March) is such an amaing role model for her daughters and all of them share a good bond with her; the can talk about everything and anything with her.

The favorite part of the story for me will always be the dynamic between Jo and Laurie. The first time I read it, I had cried and well some things don’t change. They seem so perfect together and I felt so bad for Laurie when Jo rejects him. Her concerns are completely valid but it is still heartbreaking and I never expected it happen. When Jo confesses to Marmee how she is not in love with Laurie in any romantic way, it’s a hard pill to swallow. The whole journey of each of the character is satisfying as you get to the end. The point in the story where Beth dies is so emotional and devastating to her family and the readers.

I was a little shocked by the pairing of Laurie and Amy but it in a way it makes sense. The story ends on a somewhat of a happy note. Beth’s death leaves a huge impact but rest of the family band together. Jo gets married to Professor Bhaer. Mr. March is finally home. Aunt March leaves Jo her mansion where she and Bhaer open a school. In the end, Marmee’s 60th birthday is celebrated with her husband, her three daughters, their husbands and her five grandchildren.

Little Women is one of my favorite books but strangely this is only the second time that I have read it. I love the flow of the writing and the story. All the characters add something to the story and are well rounded and relatable. Jo is my favorite. The story is happy and sad is equal measures I feel.

Book Review: Perfect Regret (Bad Rep #2)

Perfect Regret (Bad Rep #2)

– A. Meredith Walters.


I have read quite a few books written by A. Meredith Walters and I really enjoyed reading all of them. Perfect Regret is the second book of the Bad Rep series. I didn’t read the first one because I didn’t think I’ll like it. It didn’t make any difference at least I think it didn’t that I read this book as a standalone novel.


Riley Walker is a self-assured and ambitious individual. She has all these plans about her life and she makes sure to work towards it. Riley gets dumped by Hunter who she thinks was a perfect person for her and that makes her second guess herself. Garrett Bellows is a lead guitarist in a band and is drifting aimlessly in life. He is the kind of person Riley can’t stand and they don’t get along very well but tolerate each other for their friends’ sake. Garrett and Riley hook up after a party and Riley immediately regrets this but things start changing for her.


I liked the characters of Riley and Garrett. They are opposite of each other but when they are together it makes sense. They are not as different as Riley believes them to be. Their love story unfolds in a cute and natural manner which I liked. The reservations Riley has about Garrett at the beginning about his behavior and lifestyle choices seem justified concerns. She sticks to her guns and can be too stubborn at times but she doesn’t come off as completely unreasonable at any point.


Garrett’s character had much more depth than I thought he would have. He seems typical in the beginning but as the story progresses there is a whole new side to him. As you go ahead, I could understand and sympathize with some of his actions and why he seems purposeless in life. Riley can be mean to him at times and you do feel bad because he doesn’t exactly deserve this behavior. The way the story is written, the chemistry between the characters is palpable from the beginning. The emotional connection that they develop happens so naturally.


I loved reading this book. Riley and Garrett both have their own issues and baggage which they learn to deal with individually first and then together. The story is relatively simple and straightforward but the characters are complex, layered and sometimes, completely relatable. I liked the pace of the story and the fact that there was no unnecessary drama. I know this is a story I’ll reread over the years.

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Smile (Poem)

From the moment we met,
My heart became happy.
The way you smiled at me shyly,
Made my days colorful.


Just being around you was enough,
No need for empty words.
Knowing you for a short while,
Yet it left a mark on me.


I still think about your smile,
And the way your eyes brightened.
Those smiles made my heart flutter,
Like they were reserved only for a few.
I will always wonder about your smiles,
Were those smiles for everyone or just for me?

Currently Reading (March 2020)

My reading list for this month so far.

1) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

I read this book almost 6 years ago. I loved the book but never re-read it. I saw the Little Women movie recently and I realized how many details from the book I have forgotten. So, I am going to read the book again this month. I loved the characters and their relationships with each other. The story has subtle emotional undertones throughout which I like because it’s not explicit for the reader all the time. I am excited to read it for the second time.

2) Perfect Regret by A. Meredith Walters.

This book is part of the Bad Rep series but I am not planning to read the one before because I don’t think I’ll like it, guessing by the description. So, I’ll read this one as a stand-alone novel. I started reading it last night and I read 5 chapters at once. I like the characters and how natural the flow of the story is so far. Not reading previous book is not an issue; I didn’t feel lost because of it. I am intrigued to see how the story unfolds as the plot moves forward.

3) 1984 by George Orwell.

I wasn’t able to finish this book last month as I had planned. I read it less than I anticipated because it can get heavy at times due to its dystopian elements. It’s very interesting and engaging but I am not being able to read the book at a stretch. I will finish this book before I properly start the other ones. Hopefully, next week I will post a review of this book.

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