Spotlight: Sandhya Menon

This time in the author spotlight is Sandhya Menon, an author I’ve been reading since When Dimple Met Rishi was published in 2017. These diverse books are a lot of fun, with great characters, cute romances and a lot of fun.

We’ll start with When Dimple Met Rishi, which follows Dimple Shah and Rishi Patel on an adventure to a summer program for teens who are aspiring web developers. I really loved this book because Dimple is so headstrong and talented, and Rishi is much more likely to follow his parents plans for his life. Their differences create such a great relationship between them, and the book has some good lessons for teenagers. With the tech focussed setting and all of the drama, this is one of my fave YA romances. I feel like Dimple had such great character growth over the course of the book too!

The next book in the Dimpleverse, There’s Something About Sweetie, might just be my favourite of the lot. This time, Rishi’s brother Ashish is the star guy. After seeing Rishi’s success with Dimple, he challenges his parents to set him up with an Indian-American girl – but his parents insist on choosing the dates. Sweetie Nair is that nice girl they’re talking about. A star athlete, Sweetie is formidable. She’s also fat, a fact that her parents really can’t deal with. This is probably one of the most emotional of Sandhya’s books, as Sweetie’s relationship with her parents is complex. I really liked the romance in this one too – Sweetie and Ashish are so good for each other and watching explore their heritage through dates organised by Ashish’s parents was just so adorable. If you’re going to choose any of Sandhya’s YA to read, this is the one.

The most recent addition to the Dimpleverse is 10 Things I Hate About Pinky. This was one of the first ARCs I received from netgalley that I was really excited about and it didn’t disappoint. This one follows Pinky Kumar and Samir Jha, who share a mutual friend in Ashish Patel from the previous book. This one is a drama filled episode of fake dating with social justice warrior Pinky originally recruiting Samir as her fake-boyfriend to impress her corporate lawyer parents. Samir takes the opportunity, hoping to have good conversations with Pinky’s parents about becoming a lawyer – maybe even including an internship. You couldn’t pair two more different characters together, but that’s what makes it great. Samir is sweet, home-schooled so he can look after his mother, but Pinky teaches him to let go. Overall, this is a solid addition to the series – and I hope Sandhya writes about Pinky’s cousin Dolly next!

Aside from the Dimpleverse, Sandhya also has a book out called From Twinkle, With Love. This one doesn’t feature the same characters – instead it stars Twinkle Mehra, an aspiring film-maker who is asked to direct a film by Sahil Roy (the brother of her crush). This book differs from the other books as it is written in diary format, where Twinkle writes letters to her favourite directors. Twinkle really didn’t expect to start falling in love with Sahil – who could blame her, he is super sweet. If you’re looking for a super adorable contemporary romance, this is your book.

Sandhya has a fantasy YA out called Of Curses and Kisses, but I haven’t read it yet. She’s also publishing an adult romance called Make Up Break Up early next year under the pen name Lily Menon. It’s one of my most anticipated books of 2021 and I can’t wait to read it soon.

Have you read any books by Sandhya Menon? If you like YA I really recommend all of the books I’ve talked about.

Six for Sunday (Books That Gave You Feels)

Hi everyone! This week I’m participating in Six for Sunday, a meme hosted by Steph at A Little But a Lot. This month, the focus is on pumpkin spice goodness, and this week’s topic is: Books that gave you feels!

1) The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. I feel like this book ends up on my lists every time haha, but I literally can’t get enough of it. As I’ve said before, it spoke to my soul and made me feel all kinds of things.

2) The Burning God by R.F. Kuang. Okay so this entire series gave me feels – it’s one of the only books I’ve read that mixes the heavy military with all the emotions. Every book is heart-breaking and I could not recommend this series enough. You guys are all in for a treat when The Burning God comes out in November.

3) Meat Market by Juno Dawson. One of my favourite YA contemporary reads, as an adult this book was literally one of the most emotional and amazing things I’ve ever read. I’ve never cared so much about a protagonist. This one really made me empathise.

4) Honor Lost by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre. Okay, so this team of space whale, girl and girl is just the most heart-warming relationship. This one gave me all the good feels. It starts with Honor Among Thieves and these books really need to be read more so if you like sci-fi, get ready to read something different!

5) The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Okay….I mention this book a lot too but I can’t help it! Becky Chambers just makes me cry! This is one of the best series I’ve ever read (and all the books could standalone too).

6) When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten. I had the pleasure of reviewing this for netgalley – and guess what? They used my quote on the reader reviews in the inside cover! Honestly this middle grade really hits hard for all ages – I literally didn’t see the twist coming at all. It’s a beautiful story with a vivid setting and you should absolutely pick it up.

This was really hard – there are loads of books that gave me feels but I wanted to choose books with different vibes. Others I have loved include Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, Fire by Kristin Cashore, Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Radio Silence by Alice Oseman.

Hope everyone is doing well, feel free to share your posts below.

The Bookish Snob Tag

I was tagged in this by Riddhi at Whispering Stories. Her blog has an amazing aesthetic, you should check it out.

There’s a bunch of questions about what bookish things you’re a snob about, so here goes!

ADAPTATION SNOB: Do you always read the book before watching the film/ TV show?

Pretty much! I can’t think of many occasions where I’ve watched the movie / tv show first. Game of Thrones maybe? I really struggled to get into the book so I gave up. With this one, I’m all for you do you. Books and films give me different forms of enjoyment so it depends what I’m in the mood for!

FORMAT SNOBYou can only choose 1 format in which to read books for the rest of your life. Which one do you choose: physical books, eBooks, or audiobooks?

Physical books for sure. I really love beautiful books, they make reading an entirely different experience. I also love the practicality of eBooks though – love taking my kindle on holiday with me. Audiobooks are a bit of a miss for me – I find it really hard to listen to books. I did enjoy Becoming by Michelle Obama though!

SHIP SNOB: Would you date or marry a non-reader?

I guess so if they didn’t mind me reading a lot. I am lucky enough to be living with my future husband who is a huge fan of books, though our taste doesn’t really overlap that much. He actually gave me his copy of Bel Canto by Ann Patchett when we first started dating, so that particular book is special to both of us.

GENRE SNOB: You have to ditch one genre – never to be read again for the rest of your life. Which one do you ditch?

Not sure to be honest – maybe horror? I’ve never been a big horror fan, though I do like Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo.

UBER GENRE SNOB: You can only choose to read from one genre for the rest of your life. Which genre do you choose?

Fantasy. I do love contemporary novels but honestly, fantasy is such a perfect escape from the real world and the majority of my favourites are in this genre. I’d be sad never to read Meat Market by Juno Dawson again though!

COMMUNITY SNOB: Which genre do you think receives the most snobbery from the bookish community?

Oooooh, maybe fantasy? Some people are really judgy about fantasy, particularly about female authors. Romance gets its fair share of judgement though.

There we have it, I have no idea who started this tag, but it was fun.

I am going to tag:

Jaye @ The Book Berrie

Sam @ Esoteric Elixir

Linaria @ Linaria’s Library

Meaghan @ Paragraphs and Pages

Janel @ Janel Allison

Vicky @ What Vicky Read

Cláudia @ Enchanted by Books

Alison @ Antari Reads

No pressure with any of these tag things but definitely check out each other’s blogs!

WWW Wednesday (14th October 2020)

Hi friends, it’s time for WWW Wednesday again. So, what’s it about? This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words. Here are my answers to the three Ws!

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab….again! But this time, I have a gorgeous hardback instead of the eARC. I’m reading it really slowly, really noticing and absorbing all the messages. I have even put sticky tabs in for my favourite quotes! This book is heart-breaking and comforting all at the same time and I love it with everything I have.

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo for the second time. This time, I read it really slowly like I’m doing with Addie and honestly enjoyed it even more. Leigh’s show not tell world-building is exemplary. Galaxy Stern is one of my favourite characters and I really can’t wait to see where her story takes her in the next book. Do check out the trigger warnings – this one has a lot. You can check out my review if you want to.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think I’m going to read From Blood and Ash, but that may change. I also really want to read The Broken Earth Trilogy and do a Jade City re-read since I just purchased Jade War. We will see where my mood takes me!

What do you think of these choices? I am so excited to make more progress on my to be read.

In other news, I do not have COVID, so I’m back at work loving life. Hope everyone is doing well.

Top Ten Tuesday (Super Long Book Titles)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This is my first Top 10 Tuesday post, and this week the theme is Super Long Book Titles.

1) The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

2) A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

3) The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

4) The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

5) The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

6) The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

7. You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

8) A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown

9) A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A Fletcher

10) The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce

Can’t believe I found ten books that I’ve actually read with what I consider long titles. I actually enjoyed the majority of these too, which is a win. There’s some really good covers mixed in here – particularly love the Wayfarer’s series ones by Becky Chambers.

Got any other fave long titles? I like A Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James too.

Six for Sunday (Characters You’d Be Scared to Meet)

Hi everyone! This week I’m participating in Six for Sunday, a meme hosted by Steph at A Little But a Lot. This month, the focus is on pumpkin spice goodness, and this week’s topic is: Characters you’d be scared to meet!

1) The Darkling from Shadow and Bone. Just noooo! That guy is creepy and manipulative who knows what would happen? (Fun story, when I met Leigh Bardugo this time last year, I asked her about the British weather….urgh, so cringe, well done Becca.)

2) Ruven from The Swords and Fire trilogy. One of the creepiest f’d up villains I’ve read in fantasy. Yuck.

3) Banu Manizheh from Empire of Gold. Just what a fierce character that’s absolutely awful but you can’t help but be drawn to.

4) Howard Doyle in Mexican Gothic. One of the most horrific characters ever written. Nasty doesn’t even cover it.

5) Ayoola from My Sister the Serial Killer. Korede is a more patient sister than I ever would be, helping clean up her sisters murders. Love that. Ayoola seems innocent which makes her terrifying.

6) The King in Girls of Paper and Fire. This whole book is awful to read because the situation the girls find them in is horrifying. Wouldn’t even want to be in the same building as him….

I’ve been really tired this week so hopefully I’ll feel better next week. Went for characters I would be terrified of rather than those I’d be scared to meet because I love them so much.

Hope everyone is doing well, feel free to share your posts below.

Book Review: Ninth House

A year ago, after reading Ninth House for the first time, I met Leigh Bardugo and asked her about the British weather. Today, I finish my re-read after a week of slow reading. Reading this book slowly, taking it all in, I enjoyed it even more than the first time. The magic is unique, elements are horrifying, and the characters draw you into this wild story completely. I recommend you read it slowly, absorb the detail, the atmosphere. This is a masterpiece. It should be noted that it is adult horror, and you should absolutely check out the long list of trigger warnings.

Star rating: 5 stars

Ninth House is and adult fantasy – horror that follows Galaxy ‘Alex’ Stern and Daniel ‘Darlington’ Arlington in a story that mixes present day and flashbacks. Alex is the central protagonist – she had a rough life growing up, partly due to the fact she can see Grays – also known as ghosts. When Lethe House of Yale University gets wind of this, she’s recruited to be Darlington’s successor. They have one year to train Alex, but things at Yale are not what they seem.

What makes this book is that the reader discovers the world-building just as Alex does. There are no info dumps, the reader is thrown in to pick up the details along the way. Alex is a protagonist you can really get on side with – she’s gritty, street smart and the way she still has hope, that she makes the reader hope for her, after all that she been through is just heart-breaking.

Darlington is the opposite of Alex – he grew up in a mansion, had access to the best education, and was always destined for success. But his back story reveals more, and he becomes another character I empathised with greatly. The flashback chapters with Alex and Darlington together are excellent.

At the centre of the plot is Alex unravelling a series of mysteries – a murder, several Yale societies involved, nobody she can trust. She does this with the help of Detective Turner who is one of my favourite side characters. Alex’s roommates Mercy and Lauren are also great – I really liked that despite Alex’s crazy life there are flashes of normality as she develops friendships with ordinary girls (I love how Alex defends them).

Overall this is one of my favourite books, Leigh Bardugo has grown so much as a writer since Shadow and Bone. I’m eagerly anticipating the sequel.

WWW Wednesday (7th October 2020)

Hi friends, it’s time for WWW Wednesday again. So, what’s it about? This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words. Here are my answers to the three Ws!

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I absolutely love this book, and on this re-read I’m going slowly in order to take it all in. I’m a big fan of the protagonist, Alex Stern. She’s had such a rough life but is really doing the most. It is a. ADULT horror though, so don’t go into it without reading the trigger warnings as there’s plenty of graphic descriptions.

What did you recently finish reading?

Welcome to another of my favourite books of the year. It didn’t start too strongly for me but by the end it left me eagerly anticipating what happens next. The protagonist, El Higgins, is so easy to get behind. She’s got walls up for good reason, and she had really heart-warming character development during a tense, deadly plot. You can read my thoughts in my review, which has actually turned into one of my more popular reviews!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Okay, so I don’t often re-read books with this small of a gap in between, but I can’t help it with this one. Now I have a physical copy I am so excited to be absorbed in Addie and Henry’s world again. It’s also a Book Coven book club pick along with A Deadly Education so looking forward to discussing both of them with my friends.

What do you think of these choices? I am so excited to make more progress on my to be read.

In other news, I do not have COVID, so I’m back at work loving life. Hope everyone is doing well.

Top Ten Tuesday (Covers with fall vibes)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This is my first Top 10 Tuesday post, and this week the theme is Book Covers with Fall Colors/Vibes (or spring if you live in the southern hemisphere)

1) The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. I reread this book recently (review here) and the cover has such autumn vibes with it’s reds, oranges and greens. Definitely gorgeous.

2) Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I’m not sure why this one gives my fall vibes, I think it’s because it has that lovely brown snake and a horror / Halloween feel? Anyway, it’s a great book that I’m reading right now as I write this.

3) The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. Again it’s definitely the orange that gives me all the autumn feels. I also tend to read this book in autumn. I met Samantha and got my book signed in October last year.

4) Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco. This is another book for spooky system with a great cover! I read an ARC recently and it was a really good fit for Halloween his year!

5) Uprooted by Naomi Novik. It’s probably the mushrooms giving me a fall feeling! Also I love forests in autumn.

6) With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. This one has gorgeous autumnal colours! It’s also a really amazing book that you should absolutely check out sometime.

7. The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty. The conclusion to an amazing trilogy that I’m still not really over. Please read so we can cry together.

8) The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco. Spooky witchy vibes? Yes please. I love this cover, it’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s a beautifully written book too.

9) The Familiars by Stacey Halls. This is a really heart-breaking book that an old friend recommended to me. I really loved it, I think I’ll re-read it soon. Look at all those leaves. And the cute fox. Such beautiful cover art!

10) The Betrayals by Bridget Collins. More autumn colours. I rated this ARC 5 stars but I’m still debating whether I liked one of the plot twists or not! Anyway, we have to agree the cover is gorgeous – and my Waterstones special edition pre-order has sprayed edges. There’s still time to pre-order!

There we have it, some autumnal covers. It was harder to do this than I thought it would be! I’ve gone for some Halloween vibes, some autumn leaves vibes, some colour vibes. What do you think? Feel free to link your posts below!

Six for Sunday (Coffee Date!)

Hi everyone! This week I’m participating in Six for Sunday, a meme hosted by Steph at A Little But a Lot. This month, the focus is on pumpkin spice goodness, and this week’s topic is: Characters/authors you’d like to go for coffee with. I’m going to stick with characters this time.

1) Henry Strauss from The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue no question. I connected so much to this guy, just wow. Check out my review of the book and book inspired playlist!

2) Samiah Brooks from The Boyfriend Project. I want to go to coffee with Samiah, London and Taylor! Their friendship seems so fun (plus I want to quiz Samiah on being a woman in tech and on the events of the book).

3) Evelyn Hugo from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I’d probably not say a word from awe and intimidation but I love Evelyn so much and I would really love to meet her. I mean, Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote her so well she felt real!

4) Jasmine Santos from From Lukov with Love. So I absolutely love Mariana Zapatas characters and this is one of my fave books of hers. I’d love to quiz Jasmine on all things figure skating.

5) Sissix from The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. To be honest all of the characters in this book are amazing, but I’d like to talk about Sissix to learn more the Aandrisks! You can read my Becky Chambers Spotlight post here for all the reasons why I love her books.

6) On to the last character! I think I’d like to take Galadriel ‘El’ Higgins from A Deadly Education for a coffee. I finished this book yesterday and I really empathised with this girl, I just want to be like an older sister to her. You can check out my review for some incoherent ramblings on this amazing start which I think will become one of my favourite series ever.

And there we have it, six characters I’d like to go and get coffee with (though I’d definitely be ordering tea). This was way more difficult than I thought it would be. Hope you are all well and having a great weekend (I am still waiting for my COVID test results, so still self-isolating. I think it’ll be negative because my cough is very nearly better).