Review: Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

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Under Rose-Tainted Skies (Standalone)
Written by Louise Gornall
Published January, 2017 by Clarion Books
330 pages
Genre: Mental Health, Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

At seventeen, Norah has accepted that the four walls of her house delineate her life. She knows that fearing everything from inland tsunamis to odd numbers is irrational, but her mind insists the world outside is too big, too dangerous. So she stays safe inside, watching others’ lives through her windows and social media feed.

But when Luke arrives on her doorstep, he doesn’t see a girl defined by medical terms and mental health. Instead, he sees a girl who is funny, smart, and brave. And Norah likes what he sees.

Their friendship turns deeper, but Norah knows Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can walk beneath the open sky. One who is unafraid of kissing. One who isn’t so screwed up. Can she let him go for his own good—or can Norah learn to see herself through Luke’s eyes?

Review:

Under Rose-Tainted Skies is one of my favorite books of 2017 so far. This book just explains mental illness so beautifully. I’m always incredibly worried that mental health would be treated inappropriately and really be more harmful than helpful. I was honestly shocked about how good this book was. It’s real. It’s raw. And most of all, it’s important. It deals with serious topics such as agoraphobia, anxiety, OCD and self harm. I personally have a very limited understanding of agoraphobia and reading a book about it by an author who suffers from it is incredibly refreshing. I hate when mental health is done incorrectly and this book just gives me so much hope for future books about mental health.

Norah is a great protagonist; she is easy to relate to and care for. If you have anxiety or OCD or know someone who does I think you will definitely see the accuracy of the illnesses depicted. It is not hard to sympathize with Norah’s struggle and feel for her.

I had a lot of feelings for Norah. She’s got so much personality, she feels trapped by her mental health, she mourns the life she used to have, she has dreams for the future, she wants to be with Luke but has no idea how to go about it or if her anxiety and OCD will let her.

One of my favourite part was that, even though there was a love interest and a romantic plot, love did not cure all. Luke is an incredible love interest and is so supportive but he doesn’t attempt to cure her. I can’t even tell you how sick I am of books that deal with mental health being easily solved by love. Love does not cure mental illnesses. Sure, they can definitely help but they do not cure it.

Mental health should never be used as a fun plot point that can be easily solved. Norah is sick when we meet her and by the end, she is still sick but slowly recovering. This is what it’s really like.

I hope this book finds an audience because of its vivid and powerful descriptions of what living with mental illness can be like.

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Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

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When Dimple Met Rishi (Standalone)
Written by Sandhya Menon
Published May, 2017 by Simon Pulse
380 pages
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

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.

Review:

I can’t believe we’ve been blessed with a book that is equally cute as it is culturally diverse. I couldn’t stop smiling while flying through this. This book is probably one of the most diverse and adorable contemporaries I’ve read this year. It’s packed full of Indian references and subtle little quips and it’s just so fucking good!

Dimple Shah has just graduated high school and is about to go to Uni to become a web developer and has no time for romance, tradition or her mother’s dedication to get Dimple married. Dimple Shah is determined, opinionated, and fiercely independent.

Rishi Patel on the other hand is quite the opposite of Dimple, he was traditional, romantic and intensely filial and he’s 100% on board with his parent’s arranged date between himself and dimple. Their first meeting is something straight out of a romcom – filled with miscommunications, twisted fate, and hilarity.

I also really liked how it was a positive story about arranged marriage for Indian cultures! Generally I see it portrayed as very negative, so it’s nice to get this perspective. Plus both sets of parents were lovely, kind, and wanted the best for their children. It’s always refreshing to see parents in YA books not casted as the villains.

This is a very fantastic rom-com. The jokes are actually funny and the romance was just adorable. It just works, you know? Dimple and Rishi are perfect together. I’m also glad it split up to tell both perspectives, because they really both were precious cinnamon rolls and I loved every chapter. The writing had me hooked on every chapter and I truly cared for the characters. I would highly recommend if you’re a fan of heartfelt romantic comedy.

Review: The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace

517Bf26IjpLThe Princess Saves Herself In This One
Written by Amanda Lovelace
Published April, 2016 by Createspace
156 pages
Genre: Poetry, Feminism
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

“Ah, life- the thing that happens to us while we’re off somewhere else blowing on dandelions & wishing ourselves into the pages of our favorite fairy tales.”

A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.

Review:

The princess saves herself in this One is a collection of poetry divided into four part; the princess, the damsel, the queen and you. For me, this book was somewhat similar to Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. The poems deal with a number of topics including abuse, grief and self-love. The similarities in Milk and Honey and this books is that in a way both of these books have a sort of dark, honest , depressing ambiance to it.

I started reading the princess saves herself in this one and could not stop. The great thing about poetry is how short it actually is. Due to the length of poems, I flew through the books. The poems were amazing, it was short but powerful and I couldn’t help but feel a connection even though I personally had not experience what the author had. It was very emotional and an empowering read, and there are some parts where I had tears in my eyes.

There are some poems I could relate to, some that were shocking in how raw and honest they were and there are also some I just didn’t get at all. But one thing I can promise is that this book will leave you like you personally know the author.

Overall, the princess saves herself in this one is a powerful read that even if you don’t enjoy poetry I know you will enjoy this one. I highly recommend this book!!

Review: The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

downloadThe Longest Ride (Standalone)
Written by Nicholas Sparks
Published September, 2013 by Grand Central Publishing
398 Pages
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

Ira Levinson is in trouble. At ninety-one years old, in poor health and alone in the world, he finds himself stranded on an isolated embankment after a car crash. Suffering multiple injuries, he struggles to retain consciousness until a blurry image materializes and comes into focus beside him: his beloved wife Ruth, who passed away nine years ago. Urging him to hang on, she forces him to remain alert by recounting the stories of their lifetime together – how they met, the precious paintings they collected together, the dark days of WWII and its effect on them and their families. Ira knows that Ruth can’t possibly be in the car with him, but he clings to her words and his memories, reliving the sorrows and everyday joys that defined their marriage.

A few miles away, at a local rodeo, a Wake Forest College senior’s life is about to change. Recovering from a recent break-up, Sophia Danko meets a young cowboy named Luke, who bears little resemblance to the privileged frat boys she has encountered at school. Through Luke, Sophia is introduced to a world in which the stakes of survival and success, ruin and reward — even life and death – loom large in everyday life. As she and Luke fall in love, Sophia finds herself imagining a future far removed from her plans — a future that Luke has the power to rewrite . . . if the secret he’s keeping doesn’t destroy it first.

Ira and Ruth. Sophia and Luke. Two couples who have little in common, and who are separated by years and experience. Yet their lives will converge with unexpected poignancy, reminding us all that even the most difficult decisions can yield extraordinary journeys: beyond despair, beyond death, to the farthest reaches of the human heart.

Review:

There are times when I don’t know what exact words to put on my review because I’m afraid that my lame words would ruin the perfection of the book. Today is one of them.

As the cover said, you follow two separate worlds, the youth with Sophia and Luke and then the very old, Ira. Both have emotional stories to tell but I have to say I could have happily read a whole book just about Ira and Ruth. Elements of their story was so engaging and yet so tragic.

At first I thought I’d be more drown to Luke and Sophia’s story but it turned out that Ira and Ruth’s were so damn beautiful as well, even more beautiful to be honest.

The more I read about Ira, the more I realized that it’s the little things in life that are more important. This is probably the reason why Ira was one of my favourite Characters. The relationship he had with Ruth seemed real, not some fairytale romance. Yes, there were ups and downs but both of them managed to worked it through even the toughest times.

Those letters Ira wrote for Ruth were so damn emotional that despite my efforts of pushing back tears, but I gave in when I read the last letter that Ira wrote for Ruth the one that Sophia reads out to him. The way it was written will surely make you feel the undying love that Ira felt for Ruth.

The longest Ride has a lot of meanings in respect to the book, but for Ira The longest Ride was his life as he happens to mention and for Luke it was riding Big Ugly Critter.

I had no complaints whatsoever about this book.

The longest ride is perfection.

Review: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

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Milk and Honey
Written by Rupi Kaur
Published November, 2014 by Createspace
304 pages
Genre: Poetry, Feminism
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look

Review:

I think there isn’t enough language in English to explain my love for this book. The make me feel like I was drowning and drowning each I turn the page. It was painful, so painful that I have to take reading breaks to indulge with suffocating words and yet manipulated by her stunning conscious voice.

I don’t know much about this author but I believe her to be very intelligent and brave. Her thoughts are raw and real and deep down every woman knows is true.

The book is divided into four sections: the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing

The hurting shocked me; it depicts the author’s experiences with sexual assault and the struggles of overcoming family issues. I didn’t realize what subject matter was going to be when I began reading. My attention was captures and I couldn’t help thinking of the abuse of the writer how it eventually lead to the words I was reading on the page

The loving; is a more uplifting read. The poems are sweet and idealistic. It was welcome and it proved that even if you have experienced hurt, you can still find love in all its forms.

The breaking; brought us again to Kaur’s darker place in life. Any girl that has endured a break up could find a relatable poem in this section. I realized how they worked as solace for the writer, but also for the reader who might be in need of some quiet, well-chosen words to bring them out of heartbreak.

The healing is probably my favorite section. The poems empowered to embrace themselves and to value who they are regardless of what they have endured in life. This section was the most inspirational and motivational.

I love it! I love Milk and Honey. It was simply stunning! Rupi Kaur, Thank you for your words that can enlighten a lot of people. Thank you for writing such an amazing book. And I highly recommend that every woman should read this book.

Review: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

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Ugly Love (Standalone)
Written by Colleen Hoover
Published August, 2014 by Atria Books
337 Pages
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis:

When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

Review:

WOOOOOOOOW! This is such an amazing story

It was absolute stunning perfection in every way. My heart is just overflowing with emotions.

I read this book in one sitting, because I couldn’t stop reading it. It was very addictive. I immediately fell for this book on page one. Yeah I know that first page is still a little too early to proclaim the undying love for a book but I instantly felt connected- it was like I’d just stepped right into the story.

If I could ever describe this book in one word it would realistic.

This book was just so realistic. Real life isn’t just all rainbows and flowers and this book shows that. There are harsh things in reality that change us and mold us to become who we are today. Even the littlest thing can change a massive part of us, in Miles’ case, makes us completely block thing and people off.

Tate obviously didn’t have such terrible time in her life like Miles did but I’m sure she had her own problems, and yet she became a massive to him. She did let him use her for sex but she knew was she was doing. You can see how much she deeply cares for miles and it must be awful to see someone so important to you fall apart. I’m proud off her. She was strong, sweet and a great character to experience the story with.

Ugly Love delivers a reading experience rife with heart and hurt. Quiet in agony and loud with emotions. Expect to feel everything.  I couldn’t have loved this story more and I highly recommend.

Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless (Standalone)
Written by Marissa Meyer18584855
Published November, 2016 by Pan Macmillan
464 Pages
Genre: Fantasy, Re-tellings
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis:

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Review:

This is my first ever Marissa Meyer and I have yet to read the Lunar Chronicles. But this book literally won me over, although there are times where I felt that I was dragging myself to finish this book. I still was a fun read.

There are a few things this book didn’t sit well for me. First, was Wonderland itself (specifically hearts). I just don’t get why Cath’s mother would fat-shame her own daughter, and force her to marriage that she clearly does not want. Like C’mon, it’s wonderland. I just found it too historical, which I wasn’t that keen on. And also, it just felt so unmagical and so rigid.

Second, was the pacing of the story. The pacing was very slow and it can be a bit tedious at times. I actually heard that this was also most people’s complaint with this book. You see the plot was mostly about Catherine not wanting to marry the King of Hearts which does get really repetitive and boring.

Now, Heartless wasn’t all complaints and disappointment. I actually really did enjoyed reading it, despite my reservations. The ending completely won me over, it was intense. I didn’t know what was going to happen next or who was going to die. I loved seeing what happened to Catherine that turned her into the beheading crazy Queen of Hearts that we all know.

While I did have a few problems with this book, overall I still found it to be quite an enjoyable read. I am still pretty upset that this isn’t going to be a series, I would really love to see more of Cath’s adventure but given the way it ended, I understand why it’s a standalone.

Nevertheless, I would still recommend reading “Heartless” if you are willing to look pass the slow pacing but if you aren’t a fan of slow book and quickly loses patience then maybe give this one a skip.