Release Day: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Good morning, readers! I am so excited to announce that “When Dimple Met Rishi” by Sandhya Menon is out today in bookstores and online!!!!!

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This is the YA contemporary novel that both my sister and I have been anxiously awaiting, and I am beyond excited that it is out today! The story sounds insanely charming (keep scrolling if you want to read the summary), and I started following Sandhya and she seems like the sweetest, most adorable author. Also, she loves Bollywood movies and her newsletter is called “Cupcakes and Tea with Sandhya Menon,” so….that’s like an instant win in my book! (If you are interested in following this author, here is Sandhya’s website.)

Do yourself a favor today and go pick up or order a copy of this beautiful and adorable novel, and enjoys the contemporary FEELS!

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Goodreads summary:

“A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.”

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

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“The Light Between Oceans” by M.L. Stedman

4 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads summary:

“After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

“Elegantly rendered…heart-wrenching…beautifully drawn” (USA TODAY), The Light Between Oceans is a gorgeous debut novel, not soon to be forgotten.'”

So, I know it’s the cardinal sin of an avid reading to decide to read a book because its movie trailer looks really good, but that is what happened in my case. I had seen a commercial for the film adaption of this novel, and when I saw that Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender were going to play the main characters, I was very curious to pick up M.L. Stedman’s novel. Normally adult novels are not on my radar, especially since I dwell in the YA community, but now and then a unique and quality book will pop up within the adult genre for me to read, and “The Light Between Oceans” was one of those exceptions to the generally formulaic genre.

“The Light Between Oceans” was a wonderful book. It took me a very short amount of time to become invested in the story and its characters despite the slightly choppy narration by M.L. Stedman. Normally I would not enjoy her particular type of writing style, but for this novel it completely worked. Besides being extremely invested in the characters, especially Tom, I really appreciated M.L. Stedman’s boldness in which she portrayed the consequences of peoples’ actions, even when they are done with good intentions. Stedman did not shy away from displaying how one action made by an individual in their in sorrow and desperation could destroy the lives of people that they had never even met, and in consequence, they could also destroy their own family. The decision in this book was not made in malice nor had anyone intended to ruin the life of someone else, but it was a choice that had massive consequences, which began to wreak havoc on everyone.

The proof of how influential one choice can be in a person’s life was displayed in full effect in “The Light Between Oceans,” and even though I instinctively knew what was going to happen to Tom and Isabel and little Lucy, I was still anxiously reading this novel. M.L. Stedman did a wonderful job of making a historical romance novel feel more like a suspense novel at times. Not only was a crying towards the end, but my heart was also racing in dread at what I knew would come next. Maybe that only happened for me, but I was kind of a wreck once I got to the halfway point in “The Light Between Oceans.”

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The situation that was the driving force of this book’s plot was intensely emotional; the concept of love, family, and the choices we make influencing both of those things made for an emotional reading experience, especially with the kinds of characters that M.L. Stedman wrote.

Tom Sherbourne was a seriously compelling character, his past with his family and his experiences in WWI making him an extremely dynamic character to read about. He was a strong, quiet, and thoughtful individual, and he was completely dedicated to his job as the light keeper, as well as being a husband. “The Light between Oceans” was a small book, but I felt that M.L. Stedman made every scene and word count concerning this character, and everything that happened to Tom in this book struck my heart. The choices that he willingly and unwillingly made during this novel were decisions that I think anyone can understand the reasoning behind, and his strong moral compass made him stand out as a character, not only in this book, but it also set him apart from other male characters in the literary world. I can’t say much else about Tom other than that without spoiling this story, but he was a truly amazing and moving character, and I completely understood the convictions and fears that drove him to make certain choices, especially the ones concerning his wife.

Isabel started out as being a feisty, vivacious young woman in the first third of this novel, and then her personality changed quite a bit. Her and Tom’s relationship was really sweet and charming to see develop, and I was happy to get a little bit of happiness and joy from their relationship before the young couple was thrown into the heart of this heavier story. The young, happy Isabel slipped away quickly after she lost two of her children, and some of the choices that she made, though I strongly disagree with them, were understandable considering everything that she and Tom had been through. What I didn’t like, though, was how she treated Tom; no matter how broken you feel or are from your experiences, you should never treat someone you love that way. (I know we all do it at times to our lovedones, but I still did not like it!) I understood the choices that Isabel made, I understand her motivation, but I think that she made some very selfish choices from the beginning of this book, and then kept making the wrong choices afterward. She mentally justified what she had done, but there was a right way to go about things, whether she wanted to see it or not. Because of the decisions that she made and how she treated Tom, I pittied her and her circumstances, but I was not a fan of her as a character.

“The Light Between Oceans” was full of many characters who all made choices that affected others, as well as themselves, but I don’t really want to talk about them because this novel was really about Tom. The heart of this story was about Tom Sherbourne and the sacrifices he made, the love he had for his family, and his view of right and wrong. “The Light Between Oceans” was an extremely moving story, and I definitely found myself struggling to read through my tears a few times, especially toward the end.

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Overall, I really enjoyed reading “The Light Between Oceans.” It was a surprisingly emotional story for me, and I loved all of the historical and geographically touches that M.L. Stedman used to make her book come to life. I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a good historical fiction novel or an emotionally gripping read, and I think that fans of “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers would really enjoy “The Light Between Oceans.” Now I just have to wait until the film adaption comes out so that I can watch it…

P.S. If my review did not convince you to give this book a try, here are all of the reasons why you should read “The Light Between Oceans” in bullit points:

  • Amazing historical setting,
  • Vivid detailing of Australia,
  • Gripping plot,
  • It’s a wonderfully introspective novel,
  • Makes you think about your own views of personal and societal morality.

And the most important reason of all: Tom Sherbourne who was:

  • Quiet,
  • Thoughtful,
  • Had an intensely strong conscience,
  • Made me cry multiple time,
  • Il était magnifique dans ce livre!
  • Part of the rare species of male characters with a strong moral compass and undying love for his wife and daughter,
  • All of the above equaled a super hot male character with an insanely moving story.

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Do yourself a favor, and give this book a try.

Release Day Blitz: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

unnamedThanks, Rockstar Book Tours, for letting me join in. Check out their blog here: http://www.rockstarbooktours.com

Hello! Today is a very exciting and eventful because it’s the release day of “An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir! Sabaa Tahir has generously set up a giveaway (signed copies of “An Ember in the Ashes,” hardback copies of it, and little sword letter openers!!) for those of you who want to enter, and the details about it are at the bottom of this post. But before then, I wanted to share with you the description for “An Ember in the Ashes” and also a letter from the lovely author herself!

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Title: AN EMBER IN THE ASHES
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Pub. Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 464

Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Goodreads


Set in a terrifyingly brutal Rome-like world, An Ember in the
Ashes is an epic fantasy debut about an orphan fighting for
her family and a soldier fighting for his freedom. It’s a story
that’s literally burning to be told.

Description:

“LAIA is a Scholar living under the iron-fisted rule of the Martial Empire. When her brother is
arrested for treason, Laia goes undercover as a slave at the empire’s greatest military academy
in exchange for assistance from rebel Scholars who claim that they will help to save her brother
from execution.

ELIAS is the academy’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias is considering
deserting the military, but before he can, he’s ordered to participate in a ruthless contest to
choose the next Martial emperor.

When Laia and Elias’s paths cross at the academy, they find that their destinies are more
intertwined than either could have imagined and that their choices will change the future of the
empire itself.”

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                                                  About Sabaa:

Sabaa Tahir grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room
motel. There, she spent her time devouring fantasy novels, raiding her
brother’s comic book stash and playing guitar badly. She began writing “An
Ember in the Ashes” while working nights as a newspaper editor. She likes
thunderous indie rock, garish socks and all things nerd. Sabaa currently
lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

Alright, now that you know what this book is about, Sabaa wanted us blitz bloggers to share a letter with you all.

Dear Readers,

Today, my “baby” AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is finally out in the world! From inception to pub
date, this journey took eight years. And what a journey it was: writing, rewriting, revising,
editing, querying, submitting; Meeting other debuts, bloggers, booksellers and librarians, and
hearing their thoughts on EMBER. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the radness.

And now, the book is here! I am so excited to see it in the hands of readers. I hope you enjoy
reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. To celebrate release day, I’m giving away two signed,
first-edition hardcovers of the book. Details below!

All my best, Sabaa

Thank you for looking at this release day blitz post, and don’t forget to enter Sabaa’s amazing giveaway! Go forth and read this book!

Giveaway details:

2 winners will receive a signed hardcover of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES. US Only.
3 winners will receive a hardcover of AN EMBER IN THE ASHES and a Sword Letter Opener! US Only.
Ends on May 9th at Midnight EST!

Enter giveaway here:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZTIzODliYTI4ZTEzMGVjODBhNzA2MmFmMTU3YWM3OjI5Mg==/?

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before #1)

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“To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Everyone has their own way of dealing with a broken heart. Some eat chocolate or ice cream, some watch endless amount of romantic movies, and some listen to love songs, wallowing in their pain. The options are practically limitless, but the way Lara Jean Covey prefers to ease the pain of a broken heart is by writing a letter to the boy who broke it. She holds nothing back while writing the letter, and once written, it is to be placed it in her teal colored hat box. No one will ever read the letter but Lara Jean; somehow, writing about what she felt while she was with that person helps her to let them go. Why should she dwell on a relationship that was only ever in her head, on someone who will never feel the same way that she does? Why not write a goodbye letter, and move on in life?

Her letters always seemed harmless, but when they get sent, Lara Jean has to decide how to clean up the mess she made in writing them. The problem with tidying up her mess, though, is that she doesn’t know where to start! Lara Jean has a long journey ahead of her if she is to resolve this catastrophe that has affected everyone she cares about. Can she protect herself from getting hurt while she tries to fix things with her family and friends, or will Lara Jean end up with another letter in her hat box and a broken heart?

I really liked “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.” It was one of those reads that you’ve heard about from people or seen on the shelves of Barnes and Noble, but you just never thought to pick it up on you own. I probably wouldn’t have read it if it wasn’t for my sister; her description of the characters and story made me want to read it, and I am very glad I got the opportunity.

Lara Jean is in my top five favorite female characters (America from “The Selection” is #1 at the moment) because of how real she was. A lot of heroines that I have read about are so unrealistic, and I guess a lot of times I don’t connect with them. I may like the book, but it’s like there is something holding me back from really liking the main female character; they’re not someone (usually) who I would want to be friends with in real life. Lara Jean, however, would be an awesome friend to have. She’s funny, sweet, smart, and a little quirky, and I could imagine her being a real high school student just trying to survive after something REALLY embarrassing had happened to her. If I was in her shoes, I would have crawled under a rock to wait it out so I wouldn’t have to deal with the humiliation.

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Lara Jean, though, took the situation in stride (granted, she’s fictional) and it made for some very funny situations. They were so funny in fact, that I would actually burst out laughing (at inopportune times, I might add). I tried to stop myself from laughing out loud, at least while I was hanging out with people, but it could not be contained.

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I haven’t had a book do that to me in a long time and I forgot what it was like to have one make me burst out laughing like this one did.

“To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” is worth a lot more than laughs, and it deals with some pretty big topics that I think a lot of teens/people eventually deal with in life. I also loved that this book didn’t ended up being one of those awful, empty, vain books where the characters’ minds are so vacant that there is no potential for character growth. I was so proud of Lara Jean for how much she grew as a person in this book. Jenny Han didn’t compromise her character’s (unlike a lot of authors I’ve read) personality, making her someone she wasn’t, she just helped Lara Jean grow up a little and moved her in the right direction. It was cool to see that happen in a more realistic way. Now that you know a little about Lara Jean (I can’t tell you too much because it will ruin the story), let’s talk about some of the other characters.

Josh, Josh, Josh…

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At first, I kind of liked his character and I wanted to know more about him and his relationship with Margot, but the longer I read this book, the more I came to dislike his character (you’ll understand why I disliked him once you read this book).  In the beginning I felt bad for Josh, and I wanted Margot and him to resolve their issues because you knew that they wanted to get back together, but then he started to get all moody towards Lara Jean (kind of unintentionally, but still), and it was really irritating. I felt like he didn’t deserve to have Lara Jean as a friend and that she was way too good for him. The final nail his coffin (for me) happened in the last couple of chapters; it was just SOOOOO selfish of him, and what he did put a lot of other people in bad positions.

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I was done with the character long before that scene had happened, but it made me dislike him even more.*Sighs*

Josh and his awfulness aside, I felt like Jenny Han did a really good job of creating believable situations between friends and siblings, especially between the Song sisters. Margot, Lara Jean, and Kitty all love each other, but that doesn’t make things easy, and I liked seeing their dynamic as they went about life. I do have to say that Margot was a bit cold for my taste, and the scene that really made me dislike her attitude was when she came home for Christmas break. Something happened and she treated Lara Jean really terribly when it wasn’t even her sister’s fault. I get that people lash out, but that was unwarranted! I do have to give props to the author, though, because after all their fights, the sisters decide to mend their broken fences and forgive one another. It reminded me of the last epic scene in “Frozen.” I’m always up for a story about sisters sticking together!

The last person I want to discuss in Peter. In the beginning of the book you know that he’s the popular, super good-looking guy at school. Peter’s the kind of guy that everyone either has a crush on, or they want to be like him. He was a good guy character, but when I first started this book, I didn’t like or dislike him; I guess you could say I was neutral when it came to Peter. I didn’t care whether he was in a scene or not, I was just reading “To All The Boys I’ve Love Before” because of how much I liked Lara Jean. But the more he was in the book, the more he endeared himself to me. His character snuck up on me when I wasn’t paying attention, and once I finally took a moment in the middle of the book to absorb what I liked and disliked, that’s when I realized how much I loved his character.

I don’t  know all the reasons why I ended up liking Peter so much, but I do know that I loved that he got along so well with Kitty and how nice he was to her and Lara Jean, and I also liked that he fit in with the Song/Covey family so well. It was really cute and sweet, and I liked what his character brought to this story. Lara Jean’s and Peter’s fake relationship was also quite funny at times (there’s a scene that involves a car, antiques, and competitive spirit. I was laughing so hard I almost cried!), and I really loved that Lara Jean brought out the best in him.

“To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han ended well, but it was on a bittersweet note and it even made me tear up a bit.

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This was a beautifully written and sweet book. I so enjoyed Lara Jean as a character, and I loved seeing her grow into a young woman. This is a really great coming of age story. Loved it!!