Book Discussion: The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella.

After reading all these YA contemporaries, I was craving some Sophie Kinsella. I recently bought three Sophie Kinsella books at the same time. I am probably going to read the one left soon enough. But first let’s see what I think about this one. This book was hilarious, but it didn’t meet my expectations. Among all her other books, I think I liked this and Finding Audrey the least. But that doesn’t mean it was bad. It was still sweet and happy and beautiful. Its just that it wasn’t the best.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She’s made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership.
Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up, in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they’ve hired a lawyer; and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can’t sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #@%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope – and finds love – is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.
But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does – will she want it back?

The thing about Sophie Kinsella books is that they pull you in right from the start. They make you laugh and they make your heart happy. And this book did all those things. As I mentioned before, this book was hilarious. I laughed out loud in so many places and that’s a big plus point. For example:

“Our whole family thrives under pressure. It’s like our family motto or something.

Apart from my brother Peter, of course. He had a nervous break down. But the rest of us.”

or

“Great. Just great. One glimpse of his body and I have a full-blown crush.

I honestly thought I was a bit deeper than that.”

And there are many more lines like these throughout the book!

Another thing that I liked very much about this book and about all her books in general, is that even though the characters look crazy, they are all headstrong women who are smart enough to know what they want. Her books are incredibly feminist and its good to see that in chick-lits. Also, in this book, Nathaniel was not that important. Samantha and her journey was important. There are so many little elements in this book that are unique. When I put down the book and thought the story through, I realized how unique this book is when compared to other books of the same genre. Its not stupid and unrealistic. Her characters are extremely relatable and nice, which is always a nice change.

The things that I didn’t like in this book was that apart from Samantha, there was no one else I was remotely interested about. I didn’t like Nathaniel all that much and I didn’t really care. I liked Samantha because she was funny. And even though I liked Iris, I didn’t like her as much as I wanted too. None of the the characters were just good enough for me. As a result, I didn’t feel enough about the story. These are my complaints about this book.

So, that’s all! I will recommend this book if you want an overall happy book that is easy to read and that will make you laugh. Have you read this book yet? If so, did you like it? Or did you not? Please tell me in the comments!  Thank you so much for reading this. Until next time then.

Fin!

My rating- 3.25/5.

My Goodreads rating- 3/5.

-Sanchita.

Book Discussion: The Grownup by Gillian Flynn.

I am a major fan of Gillian Flynn’s work. The first book that I had read by her was Gone Girl and I soon followed up with Sharp Objects and Dark Places. The gory tales of the Midwestern Americans that screw with your senses are immensely enjoyable to me. I adore how twisted her characters are and how pitiful their lives can be. Gillian Flynn has mastered the art of creating characters that you love to hate. So when I heard about this new book (which is actually a short story published in form of a book), I decided to buy a copy instead of reading it online because I’m such a loyal fan and all. I did not have any second thought before ordering it. And when my copy of the book finally arrived, it only took me a few hours to finish reading it.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection. However, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.

Although I enjoyed The Grownup, I wouldn’t consider it one of Flynn’s best works. The story is mildly enjoyable at most. The book consists every Gillian Flynn trademark – a heroine whom you’d rather not know in person, some misplaced characters, a psychological disorder and the kind of dialogue exchange among the characters that’ll make you squirm; but all in all the story fails to deliver its desired effect ie. I personally did not find the story to be dark and twisted enough to be a true Gillian Flynn work. The book falls short in this aspect. I also found the ending problematic because not only was it too hasty, it also failed to leave an impact on me which means I did not think about the characters or what is that they were planning to do once I closed the book. I felt that it’d have been okay if I didn’t bother reading the book in the first place (and I’d never EVER say that about a Gillian Flynn book). In conclusion, I’ll say that read The Grownup only if you are a fan, otherwise give it a miss. You won’t miss out on anything.

Fin!

-Sayari.

Book Travelling Thursday #13:Choose a book that is going to be adapted into a movie in 2016.

It’s time for Book Traveling Thursdays! This meme is created by the wonderful bloggers from Danielle’s Book Blog and The Girl Who Read Too Much. If you want to participate in this meme, you just have to go to the Goodreads group where the weekly themes will be announced at the beginning of each month. I will link the group here. After that, you have to just select a book according to the theme and explain why you chose this book in a blog post. In that post, you also have to choose different covers of the book you select. To be more specific, you have to post the original cover, the covers from you country, your favourite cover, and lastly, your least favourite cover. So, here goes!

So, this week’s theme is to choose a book that will be adapted into a movie this year. There are a lot of books that are being adapted this year, so it was really hard to choose one. Ultimately, I chose Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I don’t even remember when I read this book, but I loved it with all my heart. I laughed and mostly cried with this books. It was overwhelming and I loved it to bits. So, I am highly, highly anticipating the movie of this one. Other honourable mentions are The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and Inferno by Dan Brown. Let’s see the covers now!

Original Cover:

MBY0

There is nothing to be said about this cover. The font is pretty cute and that’s all. It is actually pretty generic.

Cover from my country(India):

MBY6

This cover is really, really pretty. And though it does not really relate to the book (which NONE of the covers do), I like it! And yes it looks like a chick-lit and yes I’m okay with that.

Favourite Covers:

These covers are adorable aren’t they? I found them beautiful and couldn’t decide which one I liked more. The left one is French and the right one is German.

Least Favourite Covers:

Okay, what the hell. Why? Just, why? I don’t get it. Why?

So, that’s all for this week! Have you read this book? Please tell me in the comments. Thank you so much for reading this. I hope you liked it! Until next time then!

Fin!

-Sanchita.

Book Discussion: The Color Purple

The Color Purple, by Alice walker, was first published in the year 1982 and it won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature the following year. Rural Georgia of the 30s provides the backdrop of this powerful novel. Walker has used specific dialects and this helped open another window into the lives of the protagonists, for the readers. The novel is in the form of letters- Celie’s letters to God and her beloved sister, Nettie, and Nettie’s letters to Celie. The novel talks about the terrifying social status that the African-American women had in society.

Celie was this uneducated girl who was raped and beaten innumerable times by the man she called ‘father’. He impregnated her twice and took her children away from her. She was compelled to marry her sister’s boyfriend who married her as he needed someone to take care of his children. Apparently, he needed a maid and not a wife. She lived in a society where she was not even allowed to own her own body as that was also carefully preserved for the ‘man’ (Hello patriarchy, my old friend, I have come to talk with you again). She never knew about her sexual orientation until the arrival of her husband’s ex lover- Shug Avery, as she had no right to explore her sexuality, as well (sounds familiar?). This woman would eventually transform Celie into a whole different and better person. She would change the color of her life from black and white to ‘purple’.

The society where the characters of this novel resided was murky as hell (if something like that exists). Women were ‘given’ to men and they had to ‘mind’ the men so to carry on with their lives. The women who did not ‘mind’ their men were beaten and tortured. Black people were imprisoned for refusing to work for white folks as serving the Whites were their sole and innate duties. The highest social position the tribal women could think about was to become the Chief’s wife as a single woman was of no use to society. No, I kid you not!

A parallel has been drawn between the oppression of the blacks and that of women. Both these practices arise from the power loving mindset where one try reaching the summit by exploiting others. Celie pulled her life together and became an independent woman. She learnt that it was her and only her responsibility to make herself happy and for that she did not need the help of any man or woman. She had to fight tooth and nail with this male chauvinistic society and finally, she nailed it. But why do a woman always have to fight to get what she deserves? How difficult it is to get that men and women are complementary in nature?

My rating- 4.5/5

Fin!

-Debanjana

Book Traveling Thursday #7: Choose a book with a major plot twist.

It’s time for Book Traveling Thursdays! This meme is created by the wonderful bloggers from Danielle’s Book Blog and The Girl Who Read Too Much. If you want to participate in this meme, you just have to go to the Goodreads group where the weekly themes will be announced at the beginning of each month. I will link the group here. After that, you have to just select a book according to the theme and explain why you chose this book in a blog post. In that post, you also have to choose different covers of the book you select. To be more specific, you have to post the original cover, the covers from you country, your favourite cover, and lastly, your least favourite cover. So, here goes!

We all have a moment of shock when a super unexpected plot twist happens. So, this week’s theme is to choose a book with a major plot twist that surprised me. For this theme, I chose Night Film by Marisha Pessl. This book has too many plot twists to count and each one is better than the other. Just when you think that you know where the story is going, it changes direction. It messes with your mind, and though the book is of more than 600 pages, it makes you want more of it. This book is amazing! It may even be one of the best books that I’ve read this year. I highly, highly recommend this book to everyone!

Original Cover:

10112885This is the original cover for the book and I really like it. It has this mysterious feeling to it that lingers throughout the book. Then, there is the girl in the red coat which is an important detail of the story. So, as a whole, even if there is not much to the cover, it is good.

Cover from my country(India):

18070787This cover also has the same elements as the original cover. But I like the original cover better. This one is average. I don’t know any other way to describe it.

Favourite Cover:

22138511This Greek cover is amazing! It perfectly describes the book. It describes what you’re in for when you read the book. The dark, unending stairs reaching down is almost a symbolical object to describe how Scott reaches the deepest and the most horrifying truths about himself and about the Cordovas. It’s like this unending path to darkness! I can’t say any more without giving some spoilers, but if you’ve read the book, you know what I’m talking about. This cover is perfect.

Least Favourite Cover:

18486830This Finnish cover has got it all wrong. It doesn’t have any relevance to the story and it isn’t attractive. It doesn’t encourage the reader to pick it up. It is dull and uninteresting. So, I think this is my least favourite cover of the lot.

So, here it is! A book with major plot twists. Please comment what you think of it if you’ve read the book. Also, comment what you think about the covers. For those of you who haven’t read it yet, pick it up immediately! It’s amazing! Well, until next time then.

Fin!

-Sanchita.

Book Discussion: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

22557272

Hi, guys! I’m Sayari and I’m one of the new members who have started contributing to abookesia and in my first post in this blog, I’ll be discussing The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is the latest fad and has generated rave reviews from both critics and the popular readers alike. This book has recreated the Gone Girl frenzy and the obsession with The Girl on the Train is totally justified and I’ll tell you why. My fellow blogger, Sanchita had been nagging me to read the book for quite some time and I eventually came around to reading the book only a few days ago and it took me less than two days to go through its 316 pages. Yes, the book is THAT interesting and unputdownable!

The Girl on the Train is essentially a thriller although its subplots explore a few other genres as well. While reading this book I realized that it is impossible to discuss the book and even its genres in length without giving away the story. The entire plot has been narrated in first person voice of three female characters – Rachel, Megan and Anna where Rachel is the prime protagonist of the story.

On the first page of the book Rachel appears as just another person you’d see on a train who like thousand others like us is on her daily commute to work and back home. She appears as uninteresting and mundane as any other Plain Jane you know. But Rachel here is actually slightly different. She’s a victim of a broken marriage, unemployment, has lost her home and is slowly sinking into the dark depths of depression, alcoholism and bankruptcy. She’s ever melancholic and is unable to let go of her husband and accept the fact that he’s happy with his new wife and to him she’s just a ghost from the past. Her unreliable mental state and heavy drinking causes her to experience blackouts and complete loss of memory during which she ends up doing/saying things which only make her hate herself even more. Distraught by her broken marriage and unhappiness, Rachel seeks solace in her daily train travel to London. She’s in awe of this beautiful Victorian house that she spots along the tracks and starts fancying its occupants, “Jess and Jason – the perfect couple”. Although she doesn’t know them yet she aspires for a life as beautiful and fulfilling as theirs. To her they are the most beautiful and happy people she’s ever known. Everything is going as expected in Rachel’s life until she sees something so shocking in the ” perfect house”, even if for a minute, that she finds herself drawn into a bizarre situation where she sinks further into the murkier depths of a mystery that is going to change her life forever.

This is literally ALL I can say without spoiling the book for you.

More often than not we tend to dismiss debut work and assume that being their first book, the author is bound to fumble or get too extravagant along the course of the story but Paula Hawkins surprisingly does neither. She’s calm, composed, confident and in complete control of the plot. It is a stylishly written coming-of-age thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat and guessing until the very end. The sentences are short, the storyline crisp and the characters hauntingly beautiful. This is the level of perfection that many seasoned mystery writers had failed to achieve in their debut work. But not Paula, she’s bang on from the very first page of her book.

The character that particularly interested me would be that of Rachel Watson. By writing about Rachel, Hawkins actually writes about each one of us who are bound to turn into a Rachel if we found ourselves in a situation as helpless as hers. It made me wonder how so many of us go about our day so mechanically just to avoid losing a grip of our carefully planned lives and spiralling out of control towards darkness. While analyzing the other two female characters, Anna and Megan, I couldn’t help but notice how even these two women are on different stages of turning into a Rachel. Paula Hawkins seems to have taken extra care in sketching every character in the story and she nails it by making them as complicated as is expected of any thriller. They are raw and terrifying and Hawkins has brilliantly exposed the madman psyche in seemingly normal people. She has dug out the complications of apparently happy families and unhappiness in seemingly content marriages. One must applaud Hawkins’ courage for penning down our deepest fears. With The Girl on the Train, Hawkins has left us astonished and terrified of our own minds. She has dared and her daring has resulted into this wonderful masterpiece which has startled all of us and has left us craving for more from her. If you think that no upcoming thriller could ever beat Gone Girl, you are in for a surprise. The Girl on the Train is in the same league as Gone Girl and is sure to haunt you a long time after you’ve turned the last page. Go pick the book NOW and experience an outstanding thriller. Happy reading to you!

Fin!

-Sayari

Book Traveling Thursday #4: A book that brings you “fall feels”.

It’s time for Book Traveling Thursdays! This meme is created by the wonderful bloggers from Danielle’s Book Blog and The Girl Who Read Too Much. If you want to participate in this meme, you just have to go to the Goodreads group where the weekly themes will be announced at the beginning of each month. I will link the group here. After that, you have to just select a book according to the theme and explain why you chose this book in a blog post. In that post, you also have to choose different covers of the book you select. To be more specific, you have to post the original cover, the covers from you country, your favourite cover, and lastly, your least favourite cover. So, here goes!

This week’s theme is to choose a book that brings me the nostalgic “fall” feels. And because fall precedes winter, which is the only time we get some break from the heat here in India, it makes me very happy! At this time of the year, I love to read books from genres like mystery or thriller. So, the book I’m going to choose for this theme is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. The creepiness of this book is something I enjoy a lot! I love screwed-up characters and Nick and Amy are the most screwed-up characters that I’ve ever read about. So, this book seems like the perfect choice to me!

Original Cover:

isbn9780753827666This cover is really pretty and I really like it! There’s not much to the cover but somehow, this cover looks really cool, even though it’s not the best cover out there.

Covers from my country (India):

21480930 23290223These are the covers from my country. The orange cover is same as the original one. But I would prefer to have the black cover because all the other Gillian Flynn books have covers with black backgrounds. This copy of Gone Girl looks very odd next to my copies of Dark Places and Sharp Objects. I just like my books to match, is that too much to ask for publishers? Apparently, yes! 😦

The other cover is, of course, the movie version. But the original is always so much better! Sorry! 😛

Favourite Cover:

13617471 23453787 I really liked these covers. The blue one is Indonesian and the other one is Dutch. The Dutch cover is so beautiful that I had to choose it. Though it doesn’t quite relate to the story, and generally I don’t like people’s faces on covers, I had to choose it because of it’s sheer beauty! The blue one, however, captures the moods of the story and represents it well. I loved them both!

Least Favourite Cover:

17697576This cover is weird! The girl on the cover looks straight out of a horror movie and the cover as a whole is unattractive. This is a Macedonian cover. And I thought that this was the worst cover that I could find.

So, here it is! A book that brings me “fall feels”. Tell me what you think about Gone Girl and about it’s covers! Also, comment on the book that brings you your fall feels! Until next time then.

Fin!

-Sanchita.

BOOK DISCUSSION: DARK PLACES BY GILLIAN FLYNN

Dark_Places_cover

Any fan of the horror-crime-thriller genre(s) would be pretty familiar with the name Gillian Flynn. They would know how deftly Flynn pens her plots, making the reader go through a whirlpool of fear, suspense, mystery, dread, pity, and stark horror. ‘Dark Places’ is another of Gillian Flynn gripping, spine-chilling novels which refuses to leave your mind free of the macabre incidents happening outside in so many parts of the world.

Libby Day, the protagonist, has been an orphan since she was 7 years of age when her fifteen-year-old brother Ben had been put behind the bars, accused of having brutally murdered his mother and his two other younger sisters for a Satanic cult ritual, while she had escaped through the window.

The prologue, quoted from the book, is-

” The Days were a clan that mighta lived long

   But Ben Day’s head got screwed on the wrong

   That boy craved dark Satan’s power

   So he killed his family in one nasty hour

   Little Michelle he strangled in the night

   Then chopped up Debby: a bloody sight

   Mother Patty he saved for last

   Blew off her head with a shotgun blast

   Baby Libby somehow survived

   But to live through that ain’t much a life

                -schoolyard rhyme, circa 1985 

All her life Libby has maintained that Ben was the murderer of her family. Twenty-five years later when she is contacted by the Kill Club, a group of amateur investigators convinced of her brother’s innocence in the “’The Satan Sacrifice” of Kinnakee, Kansas” incident, Libby starts to question her own verdict before the court and to herself and the media, forcing herself to delve into the memories of “that night” within the “dark place” in her heart. In return of certain amount of fees, Libby decides to track down the people involved with the massacre, only to discover a deeper truth and finding herself face-to-face with the killer who has now focused on finishing off the unfinished job of wiping off the Days.

The narrative of ‘Dark Places’ swings between the present and the past, the present being Libby’s narration, and the past being mainly Ben’s and Patty’s narrations, giving shape to three different characters and their psychologies. This helps to paint a picture of “a grim life of desperate poverty, marital abuse and abandonment that characterize life on the farm prior to the murder”.

I absolutely love this book, but I don’t think this book is as unnerving and crazy-pulse-beating as Gillian Flynn’s other novels ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘Sharp Objects’. I feel that there are times where there is slightly too much information that borders on just-a-little-bit-kinda-boring. But I cannot deny this book of its brilliance as a mystery novel.

I am sure thriller lovers have already given this book a try. But those who haven’t read this, please do give it a try. I mean it- despite that small negative point written above, this book is pretty amazing. If you love Gillian Flynn books, you will love this.

Fin!

I would give this book a rating of 4/5.

This is the first time I am writing a review on a blog, so a big thank you for bearing with me.

– Bhaswati.

Book Discussion: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

25669271 This book discussion is going to be another rant. This is another one of those books that I can’t speak coherently about. I was never interested in reading this book. The premise sounded very uninteresting to me before. But now I am glad I read it. Because Rainbow Rowell amazed me again. She is one of those authors who can do no wrong. I have to read Attachments soon because I just can’t have enough of her. Anyway, back to the book. This book taught me a lot about love. I can say this now. Maybe I won’t feel like this after a year or so. But right now, let’s just accept this fact on face value.

Goodreads Synopsis

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

I practically treated this book like the books in my required reading list. I made so many notes. And I wish I could show them to you. My feelings for one of the characters of this book changed drastically through the course of the story. And so did my interpretations about it. Now, if you haven’t read the book yet, I suggest you to go read the book and then come back because this will be a spoiler filled discussion.

I hated Neal violently when I started reading the book. Something about him just didn’t let me get close to him or try to understand him. The way he gave passive aggressive responses to Georgie about everything, the way he never reacted much but opposed every decision Georgie made, all this just made me violently hate Neal. I felt that he made everything seem like Georgie’s fault even though it wasn’t true. Even the flashbacks ruined Neal for me. He was never the passionate lover that I love to read about. I also found it irritating that however Neal treated Georgie, she treated him like he was her one true love. The instances just made me vehemently opposed to this whole relationship. I was sort of rooting for Georgie to get together with Seth in the end. But slowly, without me knowing it, all these changed.

The writing was just so beautiful that I felt like I was Georgie. And so, when Georgie slowly re-discovered the parts of Neal that are beautiful and caring and just amazing, I discovered them with her. And slowly, I began to like Neal. I would never go so far to say that I loved him, but I sure did like him. I began to accept why he did some things he did. I began to take him for who he was. In the end, I discovered that he was just like anyone else. He was flawed. He wasn’t always amazing, but he was reliable and loving and realistic. This story helped me to understand that even though an adult relationship is not like the oh-so-romantic stories that I read about, it is reliable and sweet, and realistic. And for me, it’s perfect. With Georgie, I found out about the sweet Neal, the one that Georgie had loved and still loves, the one that slowly disappeared. Discovering him was like Tom re-discovering the bad memories he had with Summer in the movie (500) Days Of Summer (Great movie BTW. If you haven’t watched it yet, please do!), only this time, Georgie was discovering all the good ones. I really, really appreciated them. All the characters in this book are very well-rounded, which really elevated the story. Heather was a character I exceptionally liked. And obviously, Seth too. There was this moment in the story where Georgie explains love to Heather, which I really loved. She said, “It’s more like you meet someone, and you fall in love, and you hope that that person is the one—and then at some point, you have to put down your chips. You just have to make a commitment and hope that you’re right.” I couldn’t agree more. In the end, I wanted Georgie and Neal to get back together. The way that Neal accepted Georgie with open arms made me appreciate him more. I even had this love-hate relationship with Georgie. Even though I may not have agreed with her on some of her choices, I accepted it. The ending, in my opinion, was just perfect. You may have noticed that I didn’t talk about the magic telephone at all! It’s just that I felt like telling these things more. 🙂

So, this is what I felt about Landline. Please comment on how the book made you feel. If you didn’t like it, tell me why. I know this discussion is really long, but I hope you liked it. I would recommend this book to everyone. Even though it wasn’t mind-blowing or anything, it was really, really good. It was realistic. And that’s all I can ask for.

Fin!

My rating- 4/5.

My Goodreads rating- 4/5.

-Sanchita.