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Book Review: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I have been told not to read any negative books any more! But here, I picked up 13 Reasons Why,  and why? Because the Netflix trailer looked enticing and for me, reading is always preferable to watching a TV series/ movie. In fact, I myself don’t like pessimistic books or series or movies, I mean why do you have to clutter your entertainment life with this when real life is a bitch most times! Well now-a-days it is usual/general norm to base a movie/series on books what with so much online content flooding the market.

So back to the book, the flow and narration of this book seems original. The start dialogue “And if you‘re listening to these tapesyou’re one of the reasons why” is marvelous. It sets exactly the right tempo of what is to come. But gosh, the character sketch of Hannah, it was pathetic, if not downright hilarious. I am not demeaning the propensity of a person to commit suicide but but but if you will find silly reasons to make up for the big day, really you are too immature to live! And that girl mentions one of the thirteen reasons as the guy who liked her a lot and never did anything to hurt her, but only because she wanted him to give full focus to her. What absolute rubbish!

I have found kids wanting to watch this series, peer pressure/ power you may say, but I would not recommend the book to simply anyone.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

About the author:
Jay Asher was born in Arcadia, California and grew up in a family that encouraged all of his interests, from playing the guitar to his writing. It was in college where he wrote his first two children’s books for a class called Children’s Literature Appreciation. Throughout his life he worked in various establishments, including as a salesman in a shoe store and in libraries and bookstores. Many of his work experiences had an impact on some aspect of his writing.

His debut YA novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, is a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestseller. In 2017, it was released as a Netflix original series. It has won several awards and has received five stars from Teen Book Review.His second YA novel, The Future of Us, was co-authored with Printz-honor winner Carolyn Mackler. His third YA novel, What Light, was released in 2016 and became an instant New York Times bestseller. His first graphic novel, Piper (co-author: Jessica Freeburg; illustrator: Jeff Stokely), was released on Halloween 2017. His books are published in over 40 languages.

Facebook: @jayasherwriter

Rating: 6/10
Genre: Young Adult
Book Name: 13 Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Pages: 352
Publication Year: 2007

Book Review: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Genre: Young Adult
Book Name: Anne of Green Gables
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Pages: 336
Publication Year: 1908
Publisher: Kindle

It so happened yesterday that one of my friends asked me to write for a poetry competition, but having lost that urge to write anymore, I was still sparked. And so, there goes my book review, this time in a poetic verse, short and sweet:

Pitter-patter comes the rain
And here comes Anna with an ‘e’ in all her vain
She imagines this and that
In all her dreams power packed

She makes the kids of her age laugh
And even the stoic old people smile
Everyone is so happy and gay
While she cares with all her might owning all her terrible slights

And this will make you as a reader smile
While reminding you of ah,
Those good old happy times
So pick up this one and start right away

And I think my poem more than summarizes the book review with a little imagination put into the mix which by the way is inspired by Ms. Anne of Green Gables.

P.S: Since it is available free of cost on Amazon Kindle version, shop and enjoy…

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Eleven-year-old orphan Anne Shirley has just arrived at Green Gables, and already her guardians want to send her back. First, she’s not the boy the Cuthberts expected. Second, she talks too much. And even with her generous spirit, the redhead’s a trouble magnet. She gets the neighbor drunk and nearly poisons the pastor!

Still, despite a rocky start, the fiery Anne wins over her guardians and her new community. She enjoys life at Green Gables, excels in school, and earns a coveted scholarship. But when tragedy hits, Anne must choose between her dreams and the only home she’s ever known.

In this beloved coming-of-age story, Lucy Maud Montgomery drew from her own experiences growing up in Canada during the nineteenth century to introduce generations of readers to one of literature’s most original and inspiring characters.

About the author:
The author of the famous Canadian novel Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery, was born at Clifton, Prince Edward Island. She came to live at Leaskdale, north of Uxbridge Ontario, in 1911 after her wedding with Rev. Ewen Macdonald in Prince Edward Island. Her three children were born at Leaskdale, and she wrote close to a dozen books.

Rating: 9/10

Book Review: Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin

Genre: Young Adult
Book Name: Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
Author: Kate Douglas Wiggin
Pages: 380
Publication Year: 1903
Publisher: Kindle version

So here is the second book of my promised reading series this week – Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin.

Chirp chirp chirp cooed the birds, and there is Rebecca sparkling the driver in the opening scene. So you as a reader, you are attuned to what is going to happen in this book.

You may ask me why I necessarily picked this book out of all available options. But this one was simply recommended as one of those wonderful books a kiddo going to a hostel for the first time may like, by a person who simply excels in picking up books for every group age. How wonderful is that, right? I would want to live in her neighborhood, but here I am kilometres away, just wiling my time going through all her posts and blogs to find the right content for me.

Coming back to the book in hand, it is the story of an adventurous girl, but who is tied down by rules, relatives and societal pressures. An amazing book, no doubt, but it is so much compared with Anne of Green Gables that it loses a little context here and there. Not that it seems as if the author has picked up anything from the other book, but trying to tie down a unnecessary romantic angle in this book was not up to my linking, especially for a children’s book.

Point to note: The girl in the book has a flair of writing, not very potent, but she is shown chances of improvement. Oh how I wish I could also have been encouraged once!

P.S: Since it is available free of cost on Amazon Kindle version, shop and enjoy…

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
When ten-year-old Rebecca Randall leaves Sunnybrook Farm to go and live with her aunts, Miranda and Jane, in Riverboro neither she nor her aunts know quite what to expect. And with Rebecca around, it’s usually the unexpected that happens anyway. In fact it is this gift for the unexpected that means that life is never quite the same again for anyone with whom she comes into contact.

This classic story of a young girl growing up in the American state of Maine at the end of the l9th century follows Rebecca’s life, education and escapades through the next seven years until the day, as the new mistress of her aunts’ old brick house, she begins her adult life.

About the author:
Kate Douglas Wiggin was born in Philadelphia in 1856. The author of travel and educational books as well as children’s literature, she was a leading American kindergarten proponent. In San Francisco, she helped establish the first free kindergarten west of the Rocky Mountains. Her best known books are The Story of Pasty (1883), The Birds’ Christmas Carol (1887), Polly Oliver’s Problem (1893), A Cathedral Courtship (1893), The Village Watchtoer (1896), Marm Lisa (1897) and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1903).

Rating: 7/10

Book Review: The Youngest Girl in the Fifth by Angela Brazil

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Youngest Girl in the Fifth by Angela Brazil

Genre: Young Adult
Book Name: The Youngest Girl in the Fifth
Author: Angela Brazil
Pages: 288
Publication Year: 1914
Publisher: Kindle

From serious to light reading books, I have now moved to books for teenagers and those classic ones, which gives an altogether different taste of book reading. The next three books are going to be of those girls who are trying to adapt in an unlikely setting. And reading these one after the other reminded me of one series that I had loved reading – What Katy Did during my teenage years, even when the pages were torn from the sides and a few were missing probably because of years of mishandling at my grandparents’ home.

The first selection in this book series that I have started off is The Youngest Girl in the Fifth by Angela Brazil. The book explores how the well-meaning intention of teachers having kids jump one class makes it emotionally challenging for them to adjust. Don’t we all remember our neighborhood Sharma ji ka Beta during our childhood days, who always used to excel in school and skipped one class because of his exemplary performance? The same story is written here although the girl is really brilliant (probably so was that Sharmaji ka beta, but we were too naïve to acknowledge then) and smarts in adjusting to the hatred of her classmates. Now let’s not spoil the complete story for you, but it was a time where the stories were supposed to be all about teaching moral science lessons, so you can expect the end.

It’s an enjoyable read and I recommend this book for girls in the age of 7-12. And yes, I am going to read few other books written by Angela Brazil.

Watch out my blog this week for other books for this age group.

P.S: Since it is available free of cost on Amazon Kindle version, shop and enjoy…

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Gwen! Gwen Gascoyne! Gwen! Anybody seen her? I say, have you all gone deaf? Don’t you hear me? Where’s Gwen? I-want-Gwen-Gascoyne! The speaker-Ida Bridge-a small, perky, spindle-legged Junior, jumped on to the nearest seat, and raising her shrill voice to its topmost pitch, twice shouted the “Gwen Gascoyne,” with an aggressive energy calculated to make herself heard above the babel of general chatter that pervaded the schoolroom. Her effort, though far from musical, at any rate secured her the notice she desired. “Hello, there! Stop that noise! It’s like a dog howling!” irately commanded a girl in spectacles who was cleaning the blackboard.

About the author:
Angela Brazil is often described by readers as “the first author of modern girls’ school stories,” and her publisher Blackie once claimed, in a bit of promotional hyperbole, that she had originated the genre! While not actually true – the genre predates her by some time, and other authors of modern girls school stories were publishing before she was – Brazil was certainly immensely influential, in the genre’s move away from a didactic, moralistic model, towards one aimed more at entertainment. Her books are told from the perspective of her girl characters themselves, and were immensely popular with young readers, both in her own lifetime, and afterward. All told, she published close to sixty children’s novels, most of them girls’ school stories.

Rating: 9/10

Book Review: Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster

Genre: Young Adult
Book Name: Daddy Long Legs
Daddy Long Legs #1
Author: Jean Webster
Pages: 249
Publication Year: 1912
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

What happens when you complete a book but don’t write a review immediately after? Certain things that have impressed upon you while reading is lost forever. And if you don’t write, how are you going to review it later if some day you want to re-read only happy books?

With this thought, I have started writing this post as soon as I completed Daddy Long Legs and rated it on Goodreads. The book is comprised all of letters written across the college years of an orphan girl having a benefactor (referred to as Daddy Long Legs) to send her to college. Reading the letters written by Judy reminded me of mails I used to send to a friend in college on a regular basis without even knowing him in person. Oh what days were they, so innocent!

The book has a humorous take on daily nilly-willies of a teenage girl and will make you smile even if you could not reminisce about your own college life that way. There is some blabbering here and there, but it is just to give a touch of how a girl’s mind work since letters are all that is there to progress the story. And to top it, Judy wanting to get a book of hers published is all I still keep dreaming of, only if those personal mails were still available!

Especially recommended for girls who are going to stay in hostel for the first time in their life.

P.S: Since it is available free of cost on Amazon Kindle version, shop and enjoy…

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
When Jerusha Abbott, an eighteen-year-old girl living in an orphan asylum, was told that a mysterious millionaire had agreed to pay for her education, it was like a dream come true. For the first time in her life, she had someone she could pretend was “family.” But everything was not perfect, for he chose to remain anonymous and asked that she only write to him concerning her progress in school. Who was this mysterious gentleman and would Jerusha ever meet him?

About the author:
Jean Webster (pseudonym for Alice Jane Chandler Webster) was an American writer and author of many books including Daddy-Long-Legs and Dear Enemy. Her most well-known books feature lively and likeable young female protagonists who come of age intellectually, morally, and socially, but with enough humor, snappy dialogue, and gently biting social commentary to make her books palatable and enjoyable to contemporary readers.

Rating: 9/10

Book Review: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Genre: Young Adult
Book Name: Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Pages: 286
Publication Year: 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Sophie Kinsella’s books have always reminded me of the above poem. When I had first read one of her books a few years back – the first of Shopoholic series, I was totally hooked to such simplistic writing. Especially, when simplistic writing is not so easy and many writers have floundered there. I again picked one of her books today – Finding Audrey and found the first few pages absolutely delightful where the mom is crazy and ready to throw her son’s desktop from the window. Totally laughable! And then enters Audrey, and from there, the story goes downhill.

The book had its cute lovey-dovey moments. But these were dwarfed by typical characterization of a family – workaholic dad who never listens to his wife, anxious mother who has her own notions of career that her kids should have, rebellious teenager son obsessed with gaming, mentally ill daughter and a laughing kiddo. In between, I had a feeling that hey, this is an Indian family being described.

Of course, there are people who have liked this book. In fact, this one was recommended to me by my colleague who shared her book. However, for me, it was a tale very loosely framed where the reason for mental illness (the accident which changed it all) is never stated and the story-line very superficial. The writing in this book, is more like Audrey’s diary entry. It reminded me of my badly worded, self-obsessed diary entries I used to make at one point in time.

Read this just for timepass and nothing more.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Audrey can’t leave the house. she can’t even take off her dark glasses inside the house.

Then her brother’s friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again – well, Starbucks is a start. And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she’d thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.

Be prepared to laugh, dream and hope with Audrey as she learns that even when you feel like you have lost yourself, love can still find you . . .

About the author:
Madeleine Wickham is a bestselling British author under her pseudonym, Sophie Kinsella. Educated at New College, Oxford, she worked as a financial journalist before turning to fiction. She is best known for writing a popular series of chick-lit novels. The Shopaholic novels series focuses on the misadventures of Becky Bloomwood, a financial journalist who cannot manage her own finances. Throughout the entire series, her obsession with shopping and the complications that imparts on her life are central themes.

Twitter: @KinsellaSophie
Facebook: @SophieKinsellaOfficial

Rating: 6/10

Read reviews of Sophie Kinsella’s other books on this blog – Cocktails for Three and The Undomestic Goddess.

Book Review: Wonder by R.J.Palacio

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Wonder by R.J.Palacio

Genre: Young Adult, Children Book
Book Name: Wonder
Author: R.J.Palacio
Pages: 316
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Knopf

Have you seen a movie trailer and it seemed so promising that even when it was 10pm in the night (oh by the way, I sleep at 10:30pm daily), you got an intense urge to get the book on which the movie is based on? I am referring to the trailer of a yet-to-be-released movie Wonder starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay. Do watch it! But even better, read this book. I was so impressed with the storyline and narration that if given a choice, I would have given this book a rating of more than ten on a scale of ten. The book does not have any flowery writing to make reading complicated, the storyline is just perfect and has a simple message to not make others so conscious of anything that they themselves do not have control on. And oh, I am eagerly waiting to see the movie adaptation as well.

The story is of Auggie and the people around him for whom Auggie is the Sun and others are the planets which revolve around him. Still, the book explores each and every character aptly. The best part is that this is not a book of only one person, but of others too who come into contact with him. A rare masterpiece and a debut book at that, which binds the threads and prints of the book so masterfully! It is a book which teaches its readers too a lesson or two in empathy and behavioral aesthetics.

The book is a must read for children and adults like. The quotes mentioned in the book are amazing as well, for example: “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind”, “Why blend in when you were born to stand out” or “I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”

Post completing this book, I am on the lookout of similar books. Have any suggestions? Please share in the comments below.

Book blurb:
August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid–but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. Wonder, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” –indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

#1 New York Times bestseller
USA Today bestseller
Time Magazine‘s 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time
New York Times Book Review Notable Book
Washington Post Best Kids’ Book

About the author:
R.J. Palacio lives in NYC with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. For more than twenty years, she was an art director and graphic designer, designing book jackets for other people while waiting for the perfect time in her life to start writing her own novel. But one day several years ago, a chance encounter with an extraordinary child in front of an ice cream store made R. J. realize that the perfect time to write that novel had finally come. Wonder is her first novel. Since then, she has written several books – Auggie & Me (combined The Julian Chapter, Pluto: A Wonder Story, and Shingaling: A Wonder Story), 365 Days of Wonder, and We’re All Wonders.

Raquel J. Palacio / R. J. Palacio is a pseudonym of: Raquel Jaramillo.

Twitter: @rjpalacio

Rating: 10/10

Book Review: Nancy Drew Mardi Gras Masquerade by Carolyn Keene

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Nancy Drew Mardi Gras Masquerade by Carolyn Keene

Genre: Mystery
Book Name: Nancy Drew #28
Mardi Gras Masquerade
Author: Carolyn Keene
Pages: 144
Publication Year: 1988
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

My early teenage years were spent in reading Nancy Drew series from which I gradually grew up into Hercule Poirot series by Agatha Christie. Those were the days when there wasn’t a Nancy Drew book in my school library that I had not devoured in our weekly book pickings. And on a trip, when I got hold of this book, it was like visiting a paradise – coming home again.

Nancy Drew series is not that complicated a read. However, any teenage girl would love the character of Nancy who can practically solve any problem which even grown-ups cannot or would simply prefer ignoring. With the theme of the visited place that night on the basis of Masquerade, getting hold of this book prior to start of the event seemed a perfect match. And I was surprised when someone I knew mentioned that Carolyn Keene is not actually an author but a pen name with which many other writers have written. It’s like breaking the childhood dream brick by brick. Just kidding!

As for the review for this particular book,  I somehow still liked the plot for its predictable storyline, with the only constraint being that it took me not less than an hour to complete. I will of course not prefer to read more of these now, since it has not much to ponder over once completed. Not even anything relatable in life! However, I will recommend it as a book series for beginners – to later grow into Sherlock Holmes category.

Book blurb:
What could be more fun than a masked Mardi Gras ball at a so-called haunted mansion? George brings her digital camera, insisting that she’s going to bust some ghosts. I’m just looking forward to a night of dressing up and dancing with Ned and my friends.

Soon the fun turns freaking, though — things go haywire and everyone starts to wonder if the ghost stories could actually be true. But when Deirdre Shannon’s antique tiara is snatched, I’m certain the crook is a guest, not a ghoul.

About the author:
Carolyn Keene is the pseudonym of the authors of the Nancy Drew mystery stories and The Dana Girls mystery stories, both produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. In addition, the Keene pen name is credited with the Nancy Drew spin-off, River Heights and the Nancy Drew Notebooks.

Rating: 9/10

Book Review: I was a Bitch by Emily Ruben

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | I was a Bitch by Emily Reuben

Genre: YA
Book Name: I was a Bitch
Author: Emily Ruben
Pages: 508
Publication Year: 2016
Notable: Winner of the Grand Novel Contest at Inkitt

Love Young Adult (YA) genre? Or, have too much free time at hand? Or, got bored with reading making-sense books and just want to dip into totally non-serious chick lit genre of books? Well, here is the one for you!

I was a Bitch, written by Emily Ruben, has all the recipe of what teenagers feel like, to expand any seemingly innocuous thing into drama and movie like panorama. Here, the main protagonist loses two years of her memory. Will she get it back? Or the story will be like the K-series drama that unfolds on melodramatic Indian television?

The book is very very easy to read, which one can read, sleep, wake up, and the story will still be pacing around at almost the same slow pace. But this book finds its innocence in its characters, and the seemingly fluttering romance where monkeys jump. Slangs are kept at the minimal, however the book trying to explain a lot of stuff (with a sense that it went through censorship) was quite exhausting.

Ok as a one time go. And again, repeating, read my first para to understand who does this book really cater to!

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
What if you forgot the last two years of your life?

After a horrific accident Lacey Jones wakes up from a two month long coma only to realize she’s lost all memory of the last two years. In that time, she turned from a wallflower into the Queen Bee of her high school: Gorgeous, popular, girlfriend of the hottest jock, wanted by every guy, and feared by every girl.

She became The Bitch, but has no memory of it.

Together with the mysterious and attractive Finn, she starts to put together the pieces of the puzzle that was her life.
Will she go back to being a bitch or will she turn her life around?

About the author:
Emily Ruben, a 20-year old French writer, have been writing since she could hold a pen. She loves to write the stories people wouldn’t automatically expect, with twisted plots or unhappily ever afters. As of right now, she is a student at the Panthéon Sorbonne University, a music lover and an avid eater of sweets.

Twitter: @emiisotherside

Rating: 6/10
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