Dance Like a Man by Mahesh Dattani | Review

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Name: Dance Like a Man


Author: Mahesh Dattani


Genre: Drama/Play


Pages: 75 pages


Format: Paperback


Publishing Details: 1st January 2006 by Penguin Books


Summary: Jairaj Parekh and his wife Ratna, aging Bharatnatyam dancers, are engaged in finding a substitute mridangam player to accompany their daughter Lata at her performance at a high-profile dance festival. Lata, in the meantime, nervously awaits the meeting between her parents and Viswas, the young man she wishes to marry. When the four meet, and in the conversations and discussions that follow, the fissures in the relationship between Jairaj and Ratna begin to explode into high-strung battles which lead back to their own youth and the tragedy that lies at the heart of their discord. The younger couple have their own issues to contend with: the obvious mismatch between the two sets of parents, the arguments over Lata’s career as a dancer after marriage and most unsettling of all, Lata’s attempt to balance her parents’ ambition with her own needs and desires. A brilliant study of human relationships and weaknesses framed by the age-old battle between tradition and youthful rebellion, Dance Like a Man has been hailed as one of the best works of the dramatic imagination in recent times.


Review: This play may seem very drab in the beginning but there are gems of conflict, repression, dedication, feminism, patriarchy, the love for art, prostitution, politics and much more underlying it.
The characters have different voices and opinions. They view the events unfolding in their own perspective.
Ratna, the mother has been through much grief in the past. But what stays prominent is the jealousy she harbors towards the success of her only daughter, wishing fruitlessly that she had the fame that her daughter was getting.
She not only loses something very important to her blinded by the need for fame, she also feels the same pull now. Its difficult being a mother as well as trying to make a name for yourself in that year in India. Even today, its something that not many achieve. Feminism creeps into the story without making an entrance.
Jairaj, the father has lost his will and desire to dance after the fateful events. Even so, unlike Ratna he is proud of his daughter and all that she has achieved. His relationship with his own father has molded him into the ever-supporting father and even though he hates his old man, he can’t help but remember him.
Lata, the daughter is walking down the path that her parents once set on, and then laid out for her to go on. She’s a strong independent woman who does nor back down from her opinions even if her fiance or anyone else for that matter objects to it.
Viswas played a small role. So no thoughts for him.
Overall, a great play.


Rating:  4

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson | Book Review

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Title: Second Chance Summer

Author: Morgan Matson

Publishing Details: Published May 8th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Pages: 482 pages

Format: Kobo e-reader


Summary: Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and over-scheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.


Review: This book is just so hyped, even now, after 4 years of publishing which led to me having very very high expectations for it. I’ve never read Morgan Matson books although pretty much all she writes is a big hit.

50% – I’m waiting for something to happen. ANYTHING!
The protagonist, Taylor has no healthy relationship with anyone in the world. We get it. Yet we’re reminded that OVER and OVER again of that and the fact that something really bad happened 5 years ago which changed her life! She was 12 years old. I don’t even remember how I was back then! I don’t understand what could possibly be so terrible to have happened at such a tender age that she just completely changed?! As far as I recalled there was no such traumatic event covered in the book like – suicide, rape, murder, depression? Nothing! Something traumatic does happen, but when she’s 17. Not the same incident.

We’re info dumped about the family and that they visit the Lake house together. But that’s all they do mostly. None of them seems interested in bonding with one another, ignoring each other most of the time, getting annoyed by them, etc. You’d believe that after whatever was happening, they’d do more than just get groceries twice.

I don’t get how Lisa and Henry are still pissed for whatever went down when they were 12. Honestly. Kids don’t hold grudges that long. Henry being her neighbor STILL doesn’t bump into her as often as a normal neighbor would. Its also really irritating how we’re reminded AGAIN and AGAIN that Taylor has no special skills at all and how everyone else is superior that way.

*le sigh*

100% – Now that I know what happened 5 years back, I just feel disappointed. Its so stupid I can’t even. You can’t hate someone for something like this so early in your life. It’s just not how childhood works. Even so, I was so glad things worked out between those three.
The only part I liked about the book was probably the fact that Warren, Taylor’s brother overcame his shyness and was brave enough to face his fears head on with smart decisions, unlike Taylor herself. I feel like her character didn’t much develop throughout, and just did in the last page all of a sudden.

Also, MURPHY! I love him. ❤

*awww*

The book deals with sickness and trauma too. How everyone has a different way of coping with sadness. I especially liked how even though she was not at all close to her mother, who seemed to prefer her sister, in the end it all worked out.

I really liked Henry, and I definitely believe that he deserves much better than Taylor. #NoHate
There’s friendship, loss, family, love, heartbreak. The entire mix needed for a good contemporary. Even so I did not enjoy it as much as other people do. Most of the time I’m not bothered by such tropes, but those were all I could think of during reading this.

I know I’m in the minority here, but I really hope Matson’s other books surprise me and end up on my favorites shelf.


Rating: 3

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2016 Reading Goals

Better late than never!

I read 150 books in 2015, even though a lot were graphic novels. Since its my last year in college along with work, I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to read.

So I put my Goodreads Goal – 100 books.

I really want to finish a series per month, so 12 in total. If I don’t feel like continuing with the same, I might jump on to some other series. Here are the series I’ve chosen as of now:

  • Uglies (1/4 done)
  • A Song of Ice and Fire (hopefully) (1/5 done)
  • Eragon (1/4 done)
  • The Winner’s Curse (1/3 done)
  • The Infernal Devices (0/3 done)
  • Marked (re-read)
  • The Lunar Chronicles (1/5 done)
  • The Raven Boys Quartet (0/4 done)
  • The 5th wave (2/3 done)
  • Half Bad (0/3 done)
  • Daughter of smoke and bone (1/3 done)
  • Lux series (2/5 done)

I’d also like to read more Classics and Literary Fiction novels. I thought I’d do that with the next challenge, cause most of the books will include in both.

The Rory Gilmore Challenge

For those who don’t know what this is, the protagonist from Gilmore Girls is really into reading, and someone made a list of all the books mentioned or seen on the show. There are around 340 in total, but I picked out some I was interested in reading. I’d really like to read at least 15 out of the 25 I picked.

Ze List:

  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Carrie by Stephen King
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
  • Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
  • Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
  • The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum

 

That’s all folks! What are your goals this new year?

Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli | Book Review


Title:

Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda


Author:

Becky Albertalli


Publication Details:

April 7th 2015 by Penguin


Pages:

313 pages


Format:

Kobo


Genre:

YA / Contemporary / LGBTQ


Summary:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.


Review:

FOR THE LOVE OF OREOS, PICK THIS BOOK UP!

This book is just so cute and heart-warming, I completed the whole thing in one day.
Simon, is basically what every nerd wants to be best friends with.
He likes Harry Potter, Star Wars, and is gay.
Although he does not want to come out and make it a big deal, he’s blackmailed by a guy at school, who allegedly has screenshots of Simon’s email conversation with a sort of almost boyfriend, who calls himself Blue.

Simon and Blue get to know each other, without actually knowing who it is in real life. Life is a bitch, and through ups and downs with blackmail, friend-drama, coming out to the world and the suspense surrounding Blue’s real identity, Simon manages to keep up with so much happening all at once, with school work.

So I guessed Blue wrong, but trust me I WAS NOT DISAPPOINTED with who it turned out to be at all. In fact, I felt really happy.

Becky built the characters so well, I almost wished Simon and Blue were real. Sigh.

It was fast paced, cute, funny and well written. Maybe that’s the reason it received such a high rating!


Quotes:

“Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I’m just saying.”

“The way I feel about him is like a heartbeat — soft and persistent, underlying everything.”

“But I’m tired of coming out. All I ever do is come out. I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways. I get a girlfriend. I have a beer. And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.”

“He talked about the ocean between people. And how the whole point of everything is to find a shore worth swimming to.”


Rating:

5


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Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr

Title:
Radiant Shadows.


Author:
Melissa Marr.


Publisher:
Harper Collins.

April 24th 2010


Genre:
Fantasy.


Pages:
340 pages.


Format:

Paperback.


Series/Stand-out:

Book #4 in the Wicked Lovely series.


Why I picked it up:

To finish the series. Also I quite liked the 3rd book so I wanted this one to blow me away.


Summary:

Hunger for nourishment.
Hunger for touch.
Hunger to belong.

Half-human and half-faery, Ani is driven by her hungers.
Those same appetites also attract powerful enemies and uncertain allies, including Devlin. He was created as an assassin and is brother to the faeries’ coolly logical High Queen and to her chaotic twin, the embodiment of War. Devlin wants to keep Ani safe from his sisters, knowing that if he fails, he will be the instrument of Ani’s death.

Ani isn’t one to be guarded while others fight battles for her, though. She has the courage to protect herself and the ability to alter Devlin’s plans—and his life. The two are drawn together, each with reason to fear the other and to fear for one another. But as they grow closer, a larger threat imperils the whole of Faerie. Will saving the faery realm mean losing each other?


Review:

I had high expectations from this one since I loved the former book. Although it wasn’t as good as the third book, it still had its perks. I love that Devlin finally discovered who and what he truly is and stood up to it rather than just obey his sister.

I had one major problem with it though, that it didn’t once mention anything about characters who play such a huge role in the other books. Of course it doesn’t concern them but they are a pretty important part of the faerie world.

I didn’t  quite understand how the main characters fell in love the second time they met. Seemed unreal. Didn’t connect with that aspect. Don’t get me wrong, I do ship them. I just wish there were more sparks rather than love at first sight. Love the suspense of the impending war and the new decisions taken.


Characters:

  • Devlin: Great fighter, I love that he stood up to his bossy sister. Secretive and extremely caring about the people he loves.
  • Ani: Truly a daughter of the Gabriel. She’s ferocious, unique and brave, although can be childish at times.

Quotes:

“Love makes you foolish. It makes you throw every bit of logic away, do stupid things, dangerous things.”

“Some things are more important than safety.”

“Like chaos in a glass cage.”

“Pride goeth before the fall….but you’ve already fallen, haven’t you?”


Rating:

3 HALF

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Fragile Eternity by Melissa Marr

Title:

Fragile Eternity.


Author:

Melissa Marr.


Publisher:

Harper Collins,

1st January 2009.


Pages:

389 pages.


Format:

Paperback.


Series/Stand-out:

Book #3 in the Wicked Lovely series.


Why I picked it up:

I wanted to complete the series since the books were improving gradually and I absolutely loved the cover!


Summary:

Seth never expected he would want to settle down with anyone – but that was before Aislinn. She is everything he’d ever dreamed of, and he wants to be with her forever. Forever takes on new meaning, though, when your girlfriend is an immortal faery queen.

Aislinn never expected to rule the very creatures who’d always terrified her – but that was before Keenan. He stole her mortality to make her a monarch, and now she faces challenges and enticements beyond any she’d ever imagined.


Review:

Definitely the best book from all the Wicked Lovely series books before it. This book followed Seth, who was struggling to fit in the faerie world being a mortal himself. He was certain it wouldn’t help her relation with Aislinn and so he seeks to be a faerie himself. Declined by all his friends, he decides to go to the High Queen Sorcha. He finds a whole different aspect of being a member of Sorcha’s fey. So when he returns, becoming a powerful faerie, he knows he has some things to do, decisions to make.

I loved the focus on Seth as a main character.


Characters:

  • Seth: Artistic, calm yet impulsive, very much in love, intelligent.
  • Sorcha: Motherly, true and full of logic. Respected and feared among the fey.

Quotes:

“Choose to be happy. It is what we have all done.”

“As if fixing the little errors would made the big stuff manageable.”

“Loving someone meant letting them be who they were, not caging them.”

“Love and desire aren’t the same.”


Rating:

4

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Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr

Title:

Ink Exchange.


Author:

Melissa Marr.


Publisher:

Harper Collins.

April 24, 2008.


Pages:

352.


Format:

Paperback.


Series/Stand-out:

Book #2 in the Wicked Lovely Series.


Why I picked it up:

I read the first book in the series and although it wasn’t as compelling and wonderful as I thought it would be, I knew I just HAD to complete the series before judging it harshly. Also, the cover was absolutely gorgeous.


Summary:

Images cluttered the page, but one tattoo set her nerves on edge: inky-black eyes surrounded by wings like shadows coalescing.

Mine. The need was overpowering. Leslie looked up.

“This one”, she said. :I need this one.”

But the image was more than just tempting art, and it draws Leslie into a world of shadows and desire – into the world of Faerie.


Review:

The second book in the series follows a different protagonist, Leslie who was mentioned quite a lot in the first book as she’s the Summer Queen’s friend. With a troubled past and an equally disturbing family, Leslie was desperate to do something – anything which would help her get away from them. She decides to get a tattoo, unaware of the consequences that particular tattoo would bring in her life.

She stumbles unsuspecting into the world of the fey – faeries and creatures she would’ve never imagined in her life. As the novel progresses there are a few scenes where character development is portrayed beautifully. As Leslie fights back for her mortality and Niall understands where he truly belongs.

This novel dwells into the darker side of the fey and also revolves around Niall, who was a member of the Dark Court and who changed over to the Summer Court. His feelings towards Leslie grow almost irresistible and he struggles controlling his lust and shies away from the fact that he might just not belong in the Summer Court.

I do like it better than the first book, just like many others. I enjoyed devouring the facts and snippets of the Dark fey Marissa provided and was intrigued by the state of Niall. The ending was a bit unexpected and that was pretty amazing.


Characters:

  • Leslie – A troubled teen looking for a change. I love her character. Melissa Marr showed her full of courage and strong. Strong enough to survive all the wrong people as well as faeries did to her. She starts her life afresh and does not let her ties with faeries come in the way to a shot at happiness.
  • Niall – I feel sorry for him. He’s the one character I related the most with. He loves someone he’s forbidden to be with. His choices and decisions affect a lot of people and he knows it. He’s smart, possessive, lethal and gentle at heart along with being reasonable. (only when it doesn’t concern Leslie) 
  • Irial – The Dark Court King strives to protect his fey from starving. He first takes Leslie in with the sole purpose of helping his fey survive, but he ends up loving her which he didn’t know was even possible. He only cares for two people in his life, both of whom decided to leave and this gives him a lot to think about and make some serious decisions.

Quotes:

“Sometimes love means letting go when you want to hold on tighter.”

“He was an answer to a question she’d forgotten to ask.”

“Going backwards is never an option.”

“And sometimes you meet someone who doesn’t see you differently if you tell them. That is everything.”

“What does it mean when nightmares dream of peace and when shadows wish for light?”


Rating:

3 HALF