BOOK REVIEW: When Dimple Met Rishi

I’ve decided to take part in Diversity Bingo 2017, so to cut a long story short, I’ve started reading books way more carefully and dissecting everything for sensitivity issues.

I read this book for the “Indian MC (Own Voices)” square. Trust me, pick something else if you’re doing the challenge – this book has about a million problems. I’d list them now, but I think I’m going to just dissect every problem one by one. Ready?

So let’s start with our main problem: Dimple.

Dimple Shah is the most annoying, rude, and violent character I’ve ever seen in a book. Also, when I say violent, I mean violent when there’s no cause for it.

Let’s take this whole issue of her punching Rishi. I’ve lost track of the amount of times I came across the phrase “[Dimple] punched him in the ribs.”

*cue Kindle search in book*

Result: 5. And that’s not counting the parts where she considered punching him. Rishi had asked her to stop, but of course dear Dimple didn’t. So it got to the point where yes, I think we’ll say that Rishi was abused by Dimple.

And we mustn’t forget that iced coffee incident! When Rishi comes up to Dimple on the Stanford campus (she doesn’t know him) and says “Hello, future wife! I can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together!” Dimple throws her cup of iced coffee at him.

Okay, I’ll be a little more lenient, because admittedly if some strange boy came up to me on the street and said that, I’d probably be wondering what mental ward he escaped from. And I’m not trying to be funny – that’s a truth. I mean, picture yourself in Dimple’s situation!

But that doesn’t mean it’s okay for Dimple to have done that. First off, she wasted a perfectly good beverage. Next, coming back to putting-yourself-in-Dimple’s-shoes, it would have been far easier for Dimple to just walk/run away (depending on terror levels).

Also, if Dimple had wanted to report Rishi to the campus security, they wouldn’t have been looking to kindly in her favour because of the iced-coffee thing. So that situation was an all-round no.

Then, when Dimple met Rishi again;

“…before she’d even fully thought about it, Dimple had reached out and sliced him with the edge of the map.”

Second to be added to the Problems With Dimple essay is Dimple’s rudeness and disrespect. I’ll list a two clear examples:

(1) Even when Dimple has discovered the whole arranged-marriage-with-Rishi situation, she was extremely rude to Rishi.

Snapping at him, making generally rude remarks, ignoring him, etc. Okay, he may not be her number one choice for a friend, but she could at least be civil, and use her manners so as not to degrade herself!

(2) Dimple has absolutely no respect for her parents once she discovers that they’ve set her up with Rishi. I kid you not, this is an actual quote from the book:

“You mom sounds like she really cares for you.” When Dimple snorted, Rishi hurried to continue. “I mean, she’s calling you. She’s talking to you. She’s trying to be a part of your life.”

Dimple laughed. “Trying to be a part of my life? You know, the same could be said about head lice. Or termites. Or botulism. Those bacteria are trying to be a part of our lives!”

So Dimple has blatantly compared her mother with head lice.

I don’t know what was going on in Rishi’s head at the time, because the next line is

Rishi smiled and set his pencil down. “Okay, are you ready to see?”

If anything, what Dimple said really did it for me. To compare YOUR OWN MOTHER with HEAD LICE, no matter how angry you are, is quite simply, disgusting. I’m astonished that Sandhya Menon’s editor even considered leaving that part in the book, never mind getting it published.

I’m also very disappointed with Dimple, in the fact that she completely abandoned her ambitions for Insomnia Con after meeting Rishi. Well, not completely. But it became simply a backstory, and not the foundation of the book. I was very disappointed, as it had been nice to see a girl with academic ambitions.

ROMANCE.png

The romance was just… ugh. After that first kiss, it was smooching on every single damn page.

And Dimple had clearly lost track of her priorities – to think that at the start I thought she was an admirable, riven character! All her ambitions for Insomnia Con went out the window once she met Rishi. So all in all, I strongly disliked the plot.

Because after all, romance is another word for plot when it comes to this book. And if I may be honest, I do not feel a need to discuss Rishi. He’s a very two-dimensional character, and I find all that needs to be said about him was said.

sensitivity.png

Something I’d also like to address, that hasn’t really been touched on, is the issues around the words like “crazy” “psychotic” “deranged” and “insane” – Dimple uses these words freely to describe her parents and Rishi after discovering the situation.

“He was dressed pretty sanely for a psychotic attacker…”

“My parents are so deranged.”

“You’re driving me insane.”

“At the wedding? Or at Starbucks, when you randomly accosted me?”

“At first I thought you were just some destructive, crazy boy…”

It’s plain ableist. And it’s not only me who’s noticed this – check out Chelsea’s review to read more about the issues.

Also, we have this quote

About fifteen minutes later, Rishi pulled over. “This is it, Bernal Heights.” Across the street, an old homeless man was yelling at thin air in a flat Boston accent. Rishi wondered what his story was, how someone from Boston ended up there, a fifty-something-year-old street person. His story would probably make an interesting comic.

For some people, you may not see this as an issue, but to me, it’s the way that this homeless man has been portrayed that is horrible. The man is nothing more than a street curiosity – Rishi does not seem to feel any empathy or compassion for the old man. Instead he thinks that “his story would probably make an interesting comic!”

That is, quite simply, degrading to the man. End of.

GIRL HATE.png

Believe it or not, I was actually presented with this quote:

She looked so effortlessly “movie star” that Dimple wanted to hate her.

I mean, why? Why on earth would you WANT to hate someone?

I could probably fill another two or three pages with a rant, but I’ll settle for this: in today’s world, women and girls need to bring each other up, not tear each other down. So please, Sandhya Menon, never write a sentence like that again.

Back to girl hate in this book, though.

Dimple meets only two girls during her time at Insomnia Con – Celia, who is her roommate, and Isabelle, who is part of the high-school-clique-type group.

Celia – gah. She’s actually bisexual, which is mentioned in literally half a sentence, and then we hear no more. In the end, she ends of with a boy anyway, so Menon might as well have not wasted her time. I wish her sexuality could have been explored more, but it appears that Menon is a queen of Attempting To Explore Diverse Topics And Failing.

Isabelle is the typical “mean girl.” Must I say more? Either way, I would not call this book empowering for women.

MISOGYNY.png

Sandhya Menon attempts to have Dimple give good opinions and arguments about misogyny. I’m sorry, but this is Case #2 of Attempting To Explore Diverse Topics And Failing. I won’t waste my time saying any more.

iweufkbj

When Dimple Met Rishi could have been absolutely brilliant. I loved the Indian cultural aspect of it, but otherwise this book was full of side insults and offences.

Please note that I am not hating on this book, I am simply trying to point out the problematic aspects of it. If you liked it, good for you, but I cannot rest until I know people can be made aware of the issues in this book.

Of Pens & Paper (1)

Diversity Bingo 2017

#DiversityBingo2017.jpg

So I’m finally going with my goal to read more diverse books – I’ve decided to participate in the Diversity Bingo Challenge 2017!

For those of you who don’t know what this challenge is, basically you have to read 36 books over the course of 2017. Each book has to fall into a category from the card above.

I have a complete list of books lined up on my TBR – I’m not listing what square, because life is too short for that, but you can go across horizontally on the bingo card to see what square each book corresponds with.

TBR.png

If I Was Your Girl – Meredith Russo

Every Day – David Levithan

Six Of Crows – Leigh Bardugo  ✔

The Diary Of A Young Girl – Anne Frank  ✔

When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon ✔

Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi

Dumplin – Julie Murphy

History Is All You Left Me – Adam Silvera

And I Darken – Kiersten White  ✔

Queens Of Geek – Jen Wilde

Under Rose Tainted Skies – Louise Gornall

The Tidal Zone – Sarah Moss

Kindred – Octavia E. Butler

The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life – Benjamin Alire Saenz

Wintersong – S. Jae Jones  

Akata WitchNnedi Okorafor

Of Fire and Stars – Audrey Coulthurst

Ascension Jacqueline Koyanagi

The Forbidden Wish – Jessica Khoury

Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi

Push Girl – Chelsie Hill

Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Girl From Everywhere – Heidi Heilig

Seven Ways We Lie – Riley Redgate

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas  

Every Heart A Doorway – Seanan McGuire

Little & Lion  – Brandy Colbert

All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

The Lacuna – Barbara Kingsolver

A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini

Rain Is Not My Indian Name – Cynthia Leitich Smith

I Am Malala – Malala Yousafzai

Shadowshaper – Daniel José Older

Deaf Child Crossing – Marlee Matlin

The Sun Is Also A Star – Nicola Yoon

She Wore Red Trainers – Na’ima B. Robert

I’m pretty excited to read all of these – some I’ve already read, and you’ll be seeing reviews pretty soon. Also, to really up my game, I’ll be reading each book carefully and watching closely for any sensitivity issues.

Of Pens & Paper (1)

This post was a little short, but let me know in the comments if you too are taking the challenge, and your choices! Otherwise, I’ll see you tomorrow with a review for When Dimple Met Rishi. ❤

BOOK REVIEW: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

WARNING: This review contains spoilers for both ACOTAR and ACOMAF.

WIN_20170703_17_08_31_Pro_LI

ACOMAF was absolutely stunning. I read ACOTAR a couple of weeks ago, and it wasn’t great, to say in the least. But this.

This.

Sarah J Maas is going to blow your mind with sensational plots, incredible characters, and plot twists at every turn.

PlotWriting

The plot was quite simply, sensational (I know, I said that already). Here’s why:

  • We learn more about Feyre’s abilities, gained from being Made Under The Mountain.
  • Tamlin – woah. He kept Feyre a prisoner, basically, in her own home.
  • The wedding scene! Rhysand literally swooped in to save the day.
  • Although it would have been nice for Feyre to stand on her own two feet, given the circumstances Rhys was pretty awesome.
  • And then Feyre gets to meet Rhys’ friends and family. And I’m just like…

My babies ❤

In fact, let’s talk about them!

Feyre.png

Gah, Feyre was just queen in this book. In ACOTAR she was a little flat, and annoying, but she’s learned to be courageous, kind, and badass. So now I do like her!

I also love how she treats Rhys – they’re lietrally a match made in heaven ❤

Rhysand.png

Rhysand and Mor are my favourite characters in this series. Rhysand is so gentlemanly towards Feyre, and he understands what she’s gone through. He treats her so well, and my heart is just aching for them to stay together

#feysandismyship

Tamlin.png

I was thinking about the whole Tamlin-and-Feyre situation, and it’s pretty obvious Tamlin’s got a mental problem – probably from Under The Mountain. But then I thought, “How does being damaged allow for Tamlin keeping Feyre locked up?”

So now: I absolutely detest Tamlin. In ACOTAR it was nice to see the good guy get the girl, but now my claws are out and I want Feyre to get revenge.

Revenge = code word for murder-Tamlin

Lucien.png

And where Tamlin is concerned, Lucien comes in as well. While on one hand I’m so happy about the Elain-and-Lucien situation, I will never forgive Lucien for not helping Feyre. But he does seem genuinely sweet and kind, so I’ll see what happens in ACOWAR.

Cassian.png

Cassian – ehrm. Not entirely sure what to make of him just yet, so I’ll give further thoughts when I read ACOWAR.

Mor.png

YAAAASSSS FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS. In YA nowadays there’s so much bitching between girls, that whenever there’s a female friendship, the book is good. And Mor is absolutely brilliant. She’s kind, she’s ruthless, she doesn’t take sh*t, and she sticks up for women. #favcharacter

Azriel 2.png

Ah, I wish we had more of his story. Azriel is just precious. And Mor with him is perfection.

Elain.png

Elain is pretty sweet, but her character seems quite one-dimensional, so I’m not offering much opinion. But I’m so excited for her and Lucien! 😀

Nesta.png

Oddly enough, Nesta reminds me of myself sometimes – the eldest in the family, with responsibility for everyone’s safety falling to her. And she can be a bit catty, but her and Cassian are goals. Again, I can’t wait to see what happens to them in ACOWAR.

iweufkbj

An absolutely sensational (my favourite word) book.

4.5 stars.png

Of Pens & Paper (1)

Make sure to leave all your fangirly thoughts below! I need to gush about this with people 😉

UPDATES: blog schedule + giveaway + store?!

A few things are happening right now, so I thought I’d update you all on things to come.

But first! Have you entered the giveaway for The Fault In Our Stars yet? My email subscribers will all be automatically entered, but if you’re not subscribed, check the sidebar! You can also get bonus entries for following me on Pinterest and Goodreads. Click here for more information!

Next of all: August is midway through, which means that I’ll be back at school in a couple of weeks. So I’ve decided that I need some sort of a blogging schedule to post consistently.

As of now, here’s what stands:

  • Sunday: book review
  • Tuesday: minimalism post
  • Thursday: bookish post (not necessarily a book review)

The schedule is taking effect this week (I know we’re already halfway through, but whatever).

I was actually going to keep this next update secret, but I’m terrible at keeping secrets (lol).

I’m thinking of opening an online store!

And no, I’m not becoming a money-grabber. I’m simply looking for a way to start earning a little cash to buy books!

I’ve started drafting a few things, and I have a site address reserved. There are just a couple of bits I need to check, and then of course I have to make things.

Which brings to the next point: I’ll be selling ebooks (and possibly ecourses).

I wanted to find a way to give back to the blogging community, and help other bookworms like myself set up a brilliant book blog. I have one big ebook planned for complete bookblogging beginners. Although when I say big, I mean about twenty to forty pages long! There are some other small ebooks that I’m planning, but I’m not giving too much away just yet.

And here’s where you come in…

In the comments, I want you to tell me your biggest struggle when it comes to blogging. Is it promotion? Design? Writing good posts? Let me know, and I’ll try to tailor my products for the biggest problems.

See you tomorrow!

Of Pens & Paper (1)

BOOK REVIEW: Now I Rise (The Conqueror’s Saga #2)

Lada Dracul has no allies. No throne. All she has is what she’s always had: herself. After failing to secure the Wallachian throne, Lada is out to punish anyone who dares to cross her blood-strewn path. Filled with a white-hot rage, she storms the countryside with her men, accompanied by her childhood friend Bogdan, terrorizing the land. But brute force isn’t getting Lada what she wants. And thinking of Mehmed brings little comfort to her thorny heart. There’s no time to wonder whether he still thinks about her, even loves her. She left him before he could leave her.

What Lada needs is her younger brother Radu’s subtlety and skill. But Mehmed has sent him to Constantinople—and it’s no diplomatic mission. Mehmed wants control of the city, and Radu has earned an unwanted place as a double-crossing spy behind enemy lines. Radu longs for his sister’s fierce confidence—but for the first time in his life, he rejects her unexpected plea for help. Torn between loyalties to faith, to the Ottomans, and to Mehmed, he knows he owes Lada nothing. If she dies, he could never forgive himself—but if he fails in Constantinople, will Mehmed ever forgive him?

As nations fall around them, the Dracul siblings must decide: what will they sacrifice to fulfill their destinies? Empires will topple, thrones will be won . . . and souls will be lost.

4 stars

WIN_20170703_17_08_31_Pro_LI

And that, my friends, is a classic case of Second Book Syndrome™.

Now I Rise was one of my most anticipated books of the summer. After reading And I Darken in June, I couldn’t find a copy of Now I Rise, so I got an ebook. That turned out to be a flop, so as part of a birthday book haul (ignore the fact it’s ten days early or so) I got a gorgeous hardback of this (as featured in the header image for this post).

Now I Rise was a good book, I will give it that. But it had that horrible case of SBS where it focused primarily on politics. This also happened with Rebel Of The Sands – I was so pumped for Traitor To The Throne, but I didn’t even finish it.

To put it simply: it was all talk and no action.

Radu’s chapters were frankly quite dull. It was pretty much eat, sleep, worry about Cyprian, long for Mehmed, wonder about Lada, worry for Nazira, fight Mehmed’s army, repeat.

Although my girl Lada was awesome.

Image result for smile gif

Well, there was a bit of talk and boredom in her chapters, but she was mostly out there doing things. Fighting for the throne, murdering people, forging alliances, dealing with her monthly courses, thinking about Mehmed… the usual “Lada things.”

In Now I Rise Lada’s feminity was featured a lot. Monthly courses, pregnancy worries, and Lada also made a few alliances with women.

Related image

The Conqueror’s Saga is ultimately a brilliant, feministic (is that even a word?) book. There are strong friendships as well as romances, not to mention Lada and Radu’s close bond.

Kiersten White’s writing was as perfect as ever. Brilliant jokes + quips, well-written scenes, not to mention how well everything joined up.

One other thing that I was a little disappointed with was that Lada and Radu weren’t shown very close in this book. In their letters, Lada rebuffs Radu, but then again, he doesn’t make much of an effort to contact her. So here’s one thing for the next book: get Lada and Radu closer again!

I also enjoyed reading more about Nazira – I love the friendship she shares with Radu, and they’re really sweet with each other. ❤

iweufkbj

Now I Rise had too much of the political stuff. Lada was just as badass as ever, but I’m hoping that she finally gets to settle down and rule Wallachia in the next book. The other characters felt a little flat, but I still enjoyed this.

Of Pens & Paper (1)

I hope you enjoyed reading my review! Leave your thoughts down in the comments:

  • Have you read Now I Rise?
  • If so, did you enjoy it?
  • Who are your personal preferences in the pairings?
  • (e.g. Lada + Mehemed, Radu + Cyprian – I just gave mine away!)
  • Any speculation as to the name of the nextbook?
  • Or what’ll happen?

See you soon! ❤

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my book giveaway for The Fault In Our Stars! Get your entries in while it’s still open!

GIVEAWAY: “The Fault In Our Stars” [open]

Win This!.png

HTE.png

  • Subscribe to my blog via the widget on the sidebar – mandatory to enter
  • Follow me on Pinterest (profile is here) – optional
  • Follow me on Goodreads (profile is here) – optional

The optional follows are a way for you to get more entries! To let me know that you’ve entered, leave a comment below telling me what you did.

(it’s also probably a good idea to tell me the names of your accounts if you follow me)

Ts&Cs.png

  • This giveaway is open internationally.
  • The giveaway is will close at midday on Saturday 26th August 2017.
  • The winner will be chosen randomly.
  • I will use Wheel Decide to determine a winner.
  • If you are the Chosen One (muggle-speak: winner) I’ll have to have some way of contacting you.
  • For bloggers, I’ll use your Contact page, but if you’re not a blogger, leave your email below in a comment.
  • If you do not respond to my email within 7 days, I will have to select a new winner.

(if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your email publicly email me at risingxwithin@gmail.com with your details)

GL.png

BOOK REVIEW: Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea

It’s early 1945 and a group of people trek across East Prussia, bound together by their desperation to reach the ship that can take them away from the war-ravaged land. Four young people, each haunted by their own dark secret, narrate their unforgettable stories. Fans of The Book Thief or Helen Dunmore’s The Siege will be totally absorbed.

This inspirational novel is based on a true story from the Second World War. When the German ship the Wilhelm Gustloff was sunk in port in early 1945 it had over 9000 civilian refugees, including children, on board. Nearly all were drowned. Ruta Sepetys, acclaimed author of Between Shades of Grey, brilliantly imagines their story.

WIN_20170703_17_08_31_Pro_LI

Salt to the Sea was a tragic story of four people: Joana, Florian, Emilia, and Alfred.

WARNING: Unmarked spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution.

Joana.png

“Your daughter, your sister. She is salt to the sea.”

Joana was one of the best characters is this book. She was carefully created with equal parts of both compassion, love, and grief. Her nursing skills are also a prominent feature throughout the story, and I love how she is so willing to help anyone in need.

I will admit, though: I’m disappointed that she was the girl who got a happy ending. Not that she didn’t deserve it, per se, but I think Emilia deserved it more.

Emilia.png

Emilia is my favourite character by far. She has faced so much throughout her life – rape, birth, hardship, grief and yet here and there small acts of kindness. Her strength and perseverance are most admiring, and I was rooting for her throughout the entire book.

Her homesickness was a big part of her character – we can see how much she longs to be in Poland again, and show her baby the wonders of her country.

I pulled her close and whispered in Polish: “There were no ghettos, no armbands. I often fell asleep to a breeze floating through my window. It’s true. It was like that once.”

Of all the characters, she was the one who I wanted to have a happy ending and find peace. Sadly, the book ended on a tragic note, but I like that she died with peace in her heart, knowing that her family were waiting for her.

I also liked the alliance between her and Florian – I wish Ruta Sepetys had developed it more.

Florian.png

I became good at pretending. I became so good that after a while the lines blurred between my truth and fiction. And sometimes, when I did a really good job of pretending, I even fooled myself.

Florian was a bit of an undeveloped character. I was still confused about his role with Dr Lange by the end of the book, and disappointed that nothing came of his mission. The one thing I do like about him, though, was that he showed so much kindness to Emilia and her baby.

Alfred.png

Alfred is a horrible, horrible, character. Not in the sense that he wasn’t written well – no, it was his actual personality that made me hate him so much. I know that during World War II there were obviously Nazi/Hitler supporters, and I think it was good that Ruta Sepetys had one in her book.

But that didn’t stop me from hating him. And he ratted out his “dear Hannelore.”

Other characters.png

There wasn’t much elaboration on the other characters. Eva was gone by the 60% mark, I think. But the shoe poet and the boy…

It was so nice to see a parent (figure)-child reltionship in the book, and the shoe poet was simply wonderful.

“The old man spoke of nothing but shoes. He spoke of them with such love and emotion that a woman in our group had crowned him “the shoe poet.” The woman disappeared a day later but the nickname survived.

“The shoes always tell the story,” said the shoe poet.

“Not always,” I countered.

“Yes, always. Your boots, they are expensive, well made. That tells me that you come from a wealthy family. But the style is one made for an older woman. That tells me they probably belonged to your mother. A mother sacrificed her boots for her daughter. That tells me you are loved, my dear. And your mother is not here, so that tells me that you are sad, my dear. The shoes tell the story.”

I paused in the center of the frozen road and watched the stubby old cobbler shuffle ahead of me. The shoe poet was right. Mother had sacrificed for me.” 

Plot%2FWriting.png

Ruta Sepetys did a wonderful job of writing this book. Each character has a distinct voice, feelings, and situation, making them much more real.

The plot was quite good. Well, Florian could’ve been done better, but nothing is ever perfect. And when people die, you can see that they died for a reason. And death is part of war, after all.

iweufkbj

A well-written historical fiction novel, with equal parts joy and grief. Depicts the horrors of World War II very well – clearly a lot of research was put into this.

4 stars

Of Pens & Paper (1)

I hope you enjoyed reading my review! You can also find it on my Goodreads profile here.

See you on Saturday! 🙂