My Review of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Five glorious stars!

Truth be told I’m not a romance reader. I’m more into young adult fantasy and SciFi. But lately I’m branching out as a reader and this book I heard about so much I had to read it.

And everyone was so right. I may not be a romance reader but this book even made me swallow it and squeal in delight from it. I finished it in one day and I savored every page.

It’s a hilarious lighthearted romance full of hilarious witty banter and steamy sexual tension in abundance. And since I am a huge fan of ACOTAR series, you bet I enjoyed every banter.

Now, the analysis of the book:

01. Plot:

The plot is super funny and adorable and pretty much like any other typical office romances. Two rival colleagues falling for each other. But the simplification of the plot mustn’t throw you off. I loved every thing about this plot. It wasn’t clichéd or corny. The plot moved without making any cringe worthy moments and dialogues.

So the plot is the romance between the assistants of the two CEOs of a merged publishing house. They start off as arch nemeses and you know I love a good enemies to lovers romance. The plot goes seamlessly and I loved how there was no problematic aspects of this relationship. Nobody does any abusive or manipulative stuff. The guy, though big and rough and all, isn’t an asshole to the heroine so I was relieved.

Sally Thorne created a healthy portrayal of a healthy relationship.

02. Characters:

Lucy Hutton:

She’s the narrator and protagonist of the book. She’s your typical girl next door librarian type who’s sweet with a smart mouth. She’s not ashamed of her sexual feelings for her arch nemesis and I applaud the author for creating a heroine who is confident in her desire for someone she’s not supposed to like. I felt mostly akin to her for her height and fiery personality since I got both. Like her, I’m also 5’0″ and I got a bit of temper when I’m pissed lol.

Josh Templeman:

He’s the love interest. He’s everything Lucy isn’t. He’s almost 6’4″ and big bodied, he’s all muscles and very clinical and uber professional in the office. He too has a bit of temper and keeps everyone scared of him except for his bosses and Lucy. He later turns out of be super adorable and in the end, he does several super adorable and devotional things for the love interest that makes me go awww.

Helene:

She’s the only significant enough character I found apart from Lucy and Josh. Everyone else kind of vanishes in the background to me. She’s the kind of boss you’d want as your boss and she’s super friendly and nice to her assistant, Lucy.

So one last thing before I end this review. Although this book is very good with the romance and character development and the establishment of healthy romance, there was one line that made me uncomfortable. It’s a scene where Lucy goes to Josh’s apartment one day as a guest and compared to his spring clean flat, she finds her own “a Calcutta slum”. This made me very uncomfortable and slightly angry. America has tons of alleys and slum-like places on its own. She should not have made such a narrow minded comparison that only India and this subcontinent has such nasty slums. Also, Calcutta? Not Kolkata? How updated is she?

Anyway, I’ll leave on a positive note aside from that one part. This book is really good and made me giggle, chuckle, squeal and squirm (for good reasons) and I’m not a romance reader at all. But I enjoyed it thoroughly. If you are a fan of witty banters ending toward sweet romance, this is the book for you.

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My Review of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I was debating with myself if I should either review it immediately after finishing it or sit back for some days to stew over all I read and then take my time to write a review.

Honestly, both of them work. I chose the first one though.

Truth be told, no review of mine will do justice to this fantastically written masterpiece. I have thwarted reading it repeatedly since my first taste of circus themed books ended badly. But a recent read made me curious and I dove into this masterpiece, and realized what a gem I was putting off.

I have read never a book like this, though its magical words and ethereal descriptions made me realize there will never be a book as good as this. From the first chapters, I realized this so I sat back and let it mesmerize me.

Erin Morgenstern is a true storyteller, who weaved the story into such a beautiful way you cannot simplify the story without butchering its essences, what this book stands to accomplish, the same way if you describe a circus as nothing but a place to be entertained by some odd performers.

So without beating around the bush, I’ll dive straight into the dissection without butchering it.

01. Plot:

The story is, as you can guess from the title, about a mysterious circus which appears in a town without any notice, and leaves the same way. The circus begins to operate after sundown and closes before sunrise. The main plot is about two people, who are pitted against each other since young age by their master charmers. They are given no choice but to do this, and soon they are also tangled by the binding of love other than the binding their masters had them trapped in. Alongside this storyline is numerous others that somehow impact the main plot, but have their individual footing as well.

The story is told from multiple POV, and each POV adds to the story.

02. Characters:

Celia Bowen:

The female protagonist among the large cast, she is one of the two players. Her father, the famed magician, Hector Bowen, binds her into this game without her consent at the age of six. I loved the air of mysticism in her POV, and how the author both discloses her secrets only to introduce new ones to ponder and wonder about.

Marco Alisdair:

He is the other player, and the male protagonist of the story. As an orphan, he was plucked out of an orphanage with the false promise of security. His POV seemed more clearer to me than Celia.

Bailey:

Though not a main player of the story, he is integral to the plot and several times the chapters are from his POV. A black sheep and a disappointment to his parents and a victim to his older sister’s bullying, he is a dreamer who finds solace and solitude in the circus whenever it comes to his city.

Poppet:

Bailey’s love interest, she has lesser POV chapters, though she too plays an integral role in the book.

Widget:

He is Poppet’s fraternal twin and gets lesser POV chapters than Poppet, but like Bailey and Poppet, his role is important.

Tsukiko:

The mysterious contortionist of the circus, she is a Japanese woman who, though she never gets any POV chapters of her own, plays a shadowy player until the ending of the book.

Isobel Martin:

Initially Marco’s love interest only to be replaced later by Celia, Isobel is a fortune teller, and also crucial to the plot. She gets several POV chapters of her own and we see the heartache of unrequited love through them.

Chandresh:

He is the absentee proprietor of the circus. His brain child, the circus is his dream project that comes to fruition after he collaborates several exceptional individuals. He also is a key character to the plot.

Fredrick Thiessen:

An elderly European clockmaker, he later becomes besotted with the circus and begins the club of the circus’ devout fans worldwide. He is also close friends with Celia and his presence in the book later propels the plot.

Hector Bowen:

He is the main antagonist of the book, whose greedy and cruel manipulation of his daughter makes him a hateful, spiteful person throughout the book.

Mr. A.H—

He is the master of Marco Alisdair. Comparatively, he is the lesser antagonist, who though pits Marco in a game with a competitor he loves, later regrets his choices and somewhat has earned my forgiveness.

Mr. Ethan Barris:

An engineer who was roped into the project of the Night Circus, he is an integral player to the book, albeit he stops appearing in the book later.

Tara and Lainie Burgess:

Sisters, they play crucial albeit smaller roles in the book. They are also founder of the circus alongside Chandresh, Mr. Ethan Barris and Mr. A.H—.

Mme. Padva:

She is the last of the six founders and investors of the circus. Her role comparatively smallest, she plays a matronly role in the book and to Celia.

03. The setting:

Maybe I’m wrong but I think this book was the one which reintroduced circus and carnival back in trend. The book treats the setting as a separate entity. And there are often chapters where the reader is taken on a vivid detailed tour of the circus. I loved those chapters and I could picture myself in the place. The setting isn’t just a backdrop. It’s crucial to the plot of the book itself.

04. Romance:

The romance in this book reminds me of the romance in the book The Time Traveller’s Wife. After halfway through the book, we get to the part where Marco and Celia have fallen for each other but the first half isn’t a waste. We can guess and sense they’ll be intense, passionate lovers in future. The anticipatory rhythm the first half of the story builds for the romantic crescendo found later in the book is self satisfying. Every single time Celia and Marco are in the same room and in the same pages, the reader’s heartbeat picks up. If that is not slow building romance I dunno what is. Every stolen touch, every covert glances make your heart pound in anticipation. So Erin Morgenstern is a master of slow building romance.

Overall, this book deserves more than just five stars and this review. I can gush all day about it and still won’t run dry of its deserved praises. This book is a dream come true, literally and connotatively. It’s a timeless masterpiece I’d pick up again and again and never feel bored.

My Review of Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I love this book so much! This is my first time trying out books by the author and I’m so into this. I was not a circus/carnival book fan but Ms. Foody changed my mind. Now I’m becoming a huge fan of circus/carnival books and I devoured this book in two days.

Now let’s come to the plot summary. The story takes place in the moving city of Gomorrah, where the sky is forever burning and all the staff and performers are someway a “freak” according to the wording of those who are “civil”. Called the Down-Mountaniers, they travel from one Up-Mountain city to another. The protagonist, Sorina, is the only illusionist in the circus, whose illusions not only come to life but can also be touched, seen, heard and vice versa. She regards them as family and together they perform the Freak Show. So the story begins when someone starts to murder her illusion family. And the kick is that they are merely illusions so they can’t be killed. Yet somehow the killer does. So Sorina starts the investigation of finding out the killer and in the process, seeks help from a newcomer in the city, Luca.

I really loved the uniqueness of this book. It isn’t some fantasy where the hero goes on a bravado adventure to saves the world. Sorina is simply trying to both save her family and be the proprietor her adopted father, the current proprietor, wants her to be.

Now the points:

01. Plot:

I was super invested in the plot. Tinged with mystery and suspense, the plot moves seamlessly. Unlike some standalone fantasy where the complexity confused me and derailed me from the story, this plot was simple yet complexly woven. I loved the way it moved, weaving in bigger stakes with smaller ones. Also a big round of applause to Ms. Foody for doing amazing foreshadowing.

02. Characters:

Sorina:

I loved and adored her as a protagonist. I loved how vocal she was and how clearly she thought everything. Her thoughts weren’t jumbled, and she reacted the exact way she should whenever any calamity befalls. Despite that, she shows plenty of surprise for the readers and shows applauding tenacity and strength.

Luca:

I loved his character. From some of the GR reviews, I was worried he might become just another hero with a tragic past and cocky smiles. He wasn’t. He was well behaved and yet made you laugh, and I loved every scene with him. He also wasn’t there to become Sorina’s love interest. He rather played a pivotal part in the turning points of the plot, and careened the course of the plot to a different direction every time he came up.

The family:

Nicoleta:

She’s one of Sorina’s illusions and plays the responsible big sister part. She is dutiful and yet sometimes become daring. And often she holds the family together.

Venera:

She’s a contortionist and her role in the family was being the little sister Sorina wanted. I loved her scenes, especially with the one where she shows interest in Sorina’s times with Luca.

Unu and Du:

Siamese twins with the same body, their roles was to be the annoying younger brother.

Crown:

He was made covered in fingernails instead of body hair and was the softhearted grandfather in the family.

Tree:

A tree man in life, he’s somewhere around a big brother or an uncle, I’m tad confused.

Hawk:

I loved this girl, she’s another little sister to Sorina. She has wings and loves to eat anything raw, mostly worms.

Blister:

A one year old baby who was a fireworker and could walk on his own legs, I loved this child so much!

Gill:

Last member of the family is Gill, who is half fish and wears a water filled helmet and lives in a tank. He’s the serious uncle and the voice of conscience.

03. Diversity:

I loved how seamlessly and simply Ms. Foody laced diversity in the characters regarding sexuality. Sorina is a bisexual, Luca is demisexual, and Nicoleta lesbian. I loved how simply their sexualities were shown and how they weaved into their characters’ personality.

So overall, I loved this book, mostly because it made me fall back in love with circus/carnival books. I’d definitely pick up the author’s next book, Ace of Shades, and look for other circus/carnival books. I’d definitely recommend this book if you are a fan of standalone fantasy and the setting.

My Review of A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses #4)

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Disclaimer: This review heavily contains spoilers. Please refrain from reading it if you haven’t read the book)

O M G !!!

I was so eagerly waiting for this book and now I’ve finally read it and I WANT THE NEXT BOOK IN MY HANDS RIGHT NOW!!

OMG, SJM stepped up her game and instead of making this book an action packed one like before, she’d made it more nuanced and subtle and hit the marks about the leftover lingering feelings and traumas of the large epic wars we see in climactic scenes in high fantasies. In the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, the author had made a mistake portraying how the good guys winning a war makes the fairy tale happily ever after.

SJM showed us how gray the aftereffects of a war is. The whole novella (was it a novella? The book was 272 pages long ffs), she showed us the numerous shades of the aftereffects of the devastating war at the end of ACOWAR and I just loved it.

So I’m gonna tell you about all the important characters and how their traumas were portrayed.

Feyre:

She had the most POV portions throughout this book. Compared to the beginning of ACOMAF, she was less traumatized and more willing to help those who sought it (or not sought it but needed it). She went back to painting and slowly learned and accepted her role as the High Lady of the Night Court. Honestly, her POV was bland to me.

Rhysand:

I don’t know why but his POV sucked the most to me. The weakest among the four and a half POV in this book. Like the perfect high lord he was, he seemed the least traumatized by the outcome of the war. I couldn’t relate to him.

Cassian:

Oh yes, he got a POV in this book, albeit from third person. I loved peeking into his mind, what with him being shown as a prick of a male in the last two books. I loved his softer, caring sides, his secrets and stories and this made me feel more sad for him. I loved the little POV portions he got.

Mor:

Oh Mor, my heart breaks for her every time (only twice) her POV came up. She is suffering so much and not showing it and it pisses me off how much the others don’t try to understand her or ask her more often “How are you? Doing okay? Need a hug?” An insight into her mind (also from third POV) gave me so much sympathy and empathy for her. I think one book is going to be about her post-war journey

Poor poor thing.

Elain:

Tbh, I hated her in this book. She has grown more vocal and assertive of herself, but also lost her kindness. The way she treated Lucien coldly every time she met him (only once though) made my blood boil and I stopped caring for her and often skipped her parts to jump into others.

Nesta:

Of all the Archeron sisters, I relate to Nesta the most no matter how much people call her a bitch and cold and unfeeling. Oh no, she isn’t unfeeling. She feels more than others and it drains her of any reactions and emotions to feel anything else. Her feelings are too intense and passionate and deep and only Cassian and Amren are bold enough to tackle them.

And oh boy oh boy, the next book is gonna be Nesta and Cassian only (dream come true!) And she’d be sent to the Illyrian mountain camps with Cassian. So expect plenty of banters and sexual tensions, and steamy smut scenes more hotter and scalding smutty from them 😉😏

Amren:

She, like Elain, got on my nerve so much. I used to enjoy her scenes previously but not anymore. She has lost her charm.

Lucien:

Out of all the characters my poor baby Lucien is suffering the most. An outcast made twice, he was first cast away by his “dad” and now by Tamlin. Poor baby. Even his mate can’t stand him. If Elain doesn’t treat him properly in the upcoming book I swear I’m gonna put her to my list of characters I hate which includes Umbridge and Keris from AEITA series.

Tamlin:

You know, I can’t make up my mind about whether to hate him or feel sorry for him. He was going through so much in this book and I feel bad for him. His life is in shambles and I can’t help but feel sad. But at the same time, I’m angry at him for the way he treated Lucien even after Lucien reached out and hunted food for him.

So overall, you can see the book has been somewhat the muted nuanced bridge to introduce the next book, which will center around Nesta and Cassian *swoons*

Can’t wait for 2019!