My top ten most anticipated fictions of 2020

Hey guys so here’s a list of ten books that I’m really looking forward to to read in 2020, I’m not lucky enough to be sponsored by anyone and this is just my own option.

American dirt

This highly anticipated novel might be on every list you see online. It is the kind of contemporary fiction that feels very relevant. We keep on hearing stories about America and Mexico and their ‘wall and border issues’ this book is on that theme.

When drug cartels threaten her family, middle-class bookseller Lydia Perez joins the exodus heading north, hoping for safety and salvation in America. A migrant story set in present times, the book is already getting so much attention to it, I’m really looking forward to reading it.

A long petal of the sea

Also featuring migration, this historical fiction have a nonfiction feel to it. Violently uprooted by the Spanish Civil War, a pregnant widow is forced into a marriage of escape as she heads over the ocean to South America. Allende’s story proceeds from actual events and features the famous diplomat and poet Pablo Neruda.

Transcendent Kingdom

Author Yaa Gyasi got so much praise for her celebrated debut novel, Homegoing, this follow up novel is a new story following a family from Ghana as they struggle to adapt to life in small-town Alabama. The ambitious young student Gifty is studying to be a neuroscientist, but her brother has wandered into the American opioid crisis. This novel is definitely on my list.

Rose gold

Do you know about the blancrards story? This has the same feel.

Rose Gold Watts was a terribly sick child. Confined to a wheelchair and susceptible to every illness, she spent much of her childhood in hospitals and surgical centers. It turns out she didn’t have to. Fast-forward five years and Rose’s mom, Patty Watts, has just been released from prison for her unconscionable deceptions. Everyone is surprised when Rose takes her mom in. Not Rose, though. She’s waited a long time for this.

Ballad of the songbirds and snakes (Hunger games 0)

You may recall a modest little series from several years back called The Hunger Games.( Just kidding of course you do) Suzanne Collins returns to panlem this year with a prequel story—tagged as installment zero in the series. Details are being kept in secrecy, no blurb are released anywhere officially but the tea is that the story will begin on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games. I love Hunger games and I’m definitely not going to miss this

Dear Edward

Dear Edward

One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in New York headed for Los Angeles. Among them is a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured vet returning from Afghanistan, a business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. And then, tragically, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor.

When you’ve lost everything, how do find yourself? How do you discover your purpose? What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?

Also it has illustrations so take my money

The Lost diary of M

The Lost diary of M

In to historical fiction? Fascinated by the Kennedy’s? I’m definitely obsessed with the Kennedy’s, especially JFK

Ended up mysteriously dead an year after JFK, bohemian Georgetown socialite Mary Pinchot Meyer— a secret lover of JFK, ex-wife of a CIA chief, sexual adventurer, LSD explorer and early feminist living by her own rules. She had a secret diary which is found now, so here for the tea (& book of course)

Things in jars

Things in jars

Set in Victorian London, Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child who is reputed to have some supernatural powers. Gothic style mystery, sign me up.

Anxious People

Anxious People – a novel

A bank robber on the run locks himself in with an over-enthusiastic estate agent, two bitter IKEA-addicts, a pregnant woman, a suicidal multi-millionaire and a rabbit. In the end the robber gives up and lets everyone go, but when the police storm the apartment, strangely it’s completely empty.

In a series of dysfunctional testimonies after the event, the witnesses all tell their version of what really happened and it’s clear we have a classic locked-room mystery on our hands: How did the robber manage to escape?

The forgotten home child

The Forgotten Home Child

Inspired by true events,

1936

Fifteen-year-old Winny has never known a real home. After running away from an abusive stepfather, she falls in with Mary, Jack, and their ragtag group of friends roaming the streets of Liverpool. When the children are caught stealing food, Winny and Mary are left in Dr. Barnardo’s Barkingside Home for Girls, a local home for orphans and forgotten children found in the city’s slums. At Barkingside, Winny learns she will soon join other boys and girls in a faraway place called Canada, where families and better lives await them.

But Winny’s hopes are dashed when she is separated from her friends and sent to live with a family that has no use for another daughter. Instead, they have paid for an indentured servant to work on their farm. Faced with this harsh new reality, Winny clings to the belief that she will someday find her friends again.

2018

At ninety-seven years old, Winnifred Ellis knows she doesn’t have much time left, and it is almost a relief to realize that once she is gone, the truth about her shameful past will die with her. But when her great-grandson Jamie, the spitting image of her dear late husband, asks about his family tree, Winnifred can’t lie any longer, even if it means breaking a promise she made so long ago.

If you read the whole thing,thank you so much. Also please do follow,it would mean the absolute world to me,lots of love and have a good day

Deadly Shadows

Publisher – Bloomsbury India
Genre – Action-Thriller in Fiction
Author – Rajinder Prabhakar
Pages – 308

The cover of the book

Blurb

When a series of deadly attacks carried out by a mysterious weapon strike remote parts of India, it takes the country to the edge of panic and chaos. To make matters worse, the government and its intelligence agencies fear that these attacks are building to something truly catastrophic – a final strike that would bring India to its knees and spell the end of its sovereignty.


As the clock runs down, Adit Ohri, an elite operative of the 53 SAG, a strike force buried deep inside the nation’s military infrastructure, is assigned to chase down a lead from his past and find those behind the attacks. But even as the needle of suspicion points towards India’s traditional enemies, the mission leads Adit on a trail of smoke screens and deceit, until he finds the final shocking truth.

My views

I could genuinely see this story as a ‘Uri’ styled Bollywood movie. The plot is filled with adventures, twist and turns. Good looking and righteous leads and Army setting. If you have loved ‘Calling Sehmat’ , this book might be right into your alley.

(Minor spoilers may be ahead from this point )

Adit Ohri is a yound army officer, who lost his father in the Kargil war, and is a divorcé. An army officer with exceptional track record in the NDA and army and now works for RAW.

Second major character is Alia, a smart IIT, MIT pass out helping with technical support on the mission.
I loved the character of Alia,may be even more than that of Adit’s. She shows a wonderful character arc, literally an arc from hot to weak to bad and it was nice to see a female villian,for a change.

The story setting is a series of deadly attacks fall upon remote sites of the country,and they completely wipe out the population,like nobody and nothing was ever there and the government in unable to know how and what happened. So they plan to show this situation as ‘relocation/migration’ to avoid the chaos the situation may cause & meanwhile form a team with the mission to figure out what has happened and how to stop it.

As the story moves forward the characters and readers both realise that this is not just a minor attack and it could lead to a serious catastrophe. Was this an inside job? Or some outside terrorist organisation?

I must say that the story kept me hooked and guessing till the end, and it’s a very interested plot but the problem is the book was a little ‘hat on hat’, when you add many bright things together, none of them get the chance to shine property, this was the case here

If you could read the ( lines in bracket) you’d know what I mean

Because the plot is so interesting and powerful, additional glamourous details like the car models and how hot a woman was looking don’t do anything other than watering down the strong story line. But I think many people would appreciate such details that’s why we keep on seeing them in works of so many authors.

Overall I enjoyed the book

Also I would like to thank Bloomsbury India for providing me with the of this book.

You can buy it at – Deadly Shadows https://www.amazon.in/dp/9389165075/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_fkTiEbSFTB3BD

The big book box October’s box Haul / Unboxing

Hey guys so I know the subscription boxes are all the rage nowadays but I’m a cheap person, also I’m scared of affluenza. I work really hard for my money like everyone but I don’t wanna spend it but I can spend it on books and plants and food may be! So I’m late to the book box party but now I’m here so let’s get started.

I ordered this October box from @tbb_box garage sale that happened recently and let’s see what and how was the stuff in the box

The best picture I could click with all the stuff

Don’t wanna read the whole thing? Just watch this Little video.

Video of the Haul

So I ordered the expresso box, which is the mid-range box from the four choices the brand offers, the contents according to the website ( thebigbookbox.com ) page are –

  • BoTM (Book of the Month) Paperback
  • Hardcover Book 1
  • Bookmark and Printable stuff.
  • 4-7 exclusive bookish merchandises.

So for this box of mine, the BoTM was Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahaurin, which is a very talked about fantasy novel of 2019, the book came in pretty good shape, The book also comes with a beautiful author letter

Hardcover was Jay Kristoff’s ,it’s the third book in the Never night chronicles series and lived by many, I have not read the series but I might start it now ( after buying the first 2 books. This book also comes with an author letter that I would cherish always.

Coming to the goodies

  • Enamel pins – it had very nice quality enamel pins, these were my favourite item from the Box
  • Pop socket – I started using this pop socket and it’s very cute
  • Scarf – This has an amazing fabric but the print kind of puts me off,but useful for the winters
  • Bookend – This is again a very pretty and useful item, it’s Alice in Wonderland themed, it’s one side of the book end though,the other part is in the November box ( I have also ordered that one)
  • Bookmarks – The box has bookmarks based of the books and theme of the box, it had a pair of magnetic and one usual bookmarks,I loved the the usual one more, it’s based on the Serpent & Dove, and gold lettering on it looks amazing.
  • Character Cards – A pair of character Cards,also based on two main characters of BoTM
  • A small notepad from paperquirks
  • Pride and Prejudice themed poster – This was slightly torn, I don’t know if I received a damaged piece or it got damaged in shipping but I still loved it, because it’s pride and prejudice and I love the book.
Goodies
The scarf based on marauders map
The book end

My over-all experience ? I liked it, I’m not a total die hard fan,and also I’m a cheap person, who spends very carefully, so I’ll be honest with you it was worth the price.

You could say that I might find the books for some lower price on a Flipkart sale ? Maybe ! I’m not betting you on that. But I loved the whole concept of the box, I would never buy these goodies seperately, I don’t know where to find them, when I get them they are too expensive, so the over-all package you get is surely worth the price. Things are of good quality, useful things, because I have pretty stuff that’s not useful, I’m a minimalist and I don’t like hoarding useless stuff.

Also I have ordered the mocha edition of the November box,which is shipped,so it might reach me soon, and it’s the most expensive option on the shop, so stay tuned for that, I would do a post on it too.

Have you been subscribed to any Book Boxes? Do share your thoughts and experiences with me in the comments.

Sending you lots of love – Geet

Children of Virtue and Vengeance

Series – Orïsha triology, book ii

Author – Tomi Adeyemi

Publisher – Panmacmillan

Genre – Fantasy

Look at the beautiful cover

Blurb-
After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.

Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari’s right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy’s wrath.

With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.

My views –

I loved the first book, children of blood and bones. It was one of my favourite books of 2018 and I stand by my choice. I was eagerly waiting for the second book,but I felt i was suffering from ‘ sequel syndrome’

So far even with the ritual gone wrong, Zelié manages to bring the magic back not only to the Magi but also to the nobles.

Now a new stronger ‘titans’ are posing a threat to magis and they don’t even need the incantations like magis to ‘activate’ their powers & Even though the nobles were earlier all about removing the magic from the kingdom, now are more than happy to use it themselves against the Magi.

Both the sides are filled with rage and hatred towards each other and seems like they will stop at nothing,to get Orïsha and now with the new magical power, it’s all too dangerous.

I loved how much the characters of Amari, Inan and Zelié has grown. They are trying to fit-in in their new found ‘adult roles’.

Inan( yes !! he is alive) and his mother has declared him the king,he is trying to keep up the promise he made to Zelié but the snowball effect of hatred and misunderstandings keeps on bringing out the worst.

Amari and Zelié on the other hand are now stuck up with the guilt to making things worse for Orïsha. They both want to fix things they broke but choose very different paths.

“My name is Amari Asiwaju,” I declare to my reflection in the cracked mirror. “Daughter of King Saran. Sister to the late crown prince.”

Amari before claiming the throne

Amari has grown into this strong queen who is willing to bring peace to Orïsha and Zelié has taken a bit of backseat now,Though I’m very happy that they continued with their amazing sisterhood goals equations and keep on standing for each other. But do we really needed a monarch/noble to save the magis in Orïsha? I thought the whole point of the series was that the magis have been wronged by the monarchs for years and now they rise.

They killed my mother. They took our magic. They tried to bury us.Now we rise.

Quote from the book cover

Also as now being responsible for their sides they cannot just take any decisions, it’s not only their lives at stake now but their whole clans so there is a lot of politics and advisors involved and I genuinely enjoyed it.

The writing is same the magical style of Tomi and I love it,I love the cultural references. It has the similar writing style of different POV from that slowly converge together to form the storyline. Some half-baked romances are present but don’t get alot of time.

Some pointers –
No, you can’t read and get with this book if you haven’t read the first one, infact even if you have read the first book when it came out,may be dust your memory of it alittle.

My final words

There was so much build up in this book and also carry forward from the first one but the payoff was not satisfactory for me, May be I care too much about this book, but I do because I love this series soo much and I hoped for a better book.

Have you read this book or plan to pick this up soon? Do share your thoughts with me in the comments!

Permanent Record by Edward Snowden

Book – Permanent Record

Author – Edward Snowden

Genre – Non-fiction

Publisher – Panmacmillan

A paperback copy at CCD

Edward Snowden is one of the most interesting people of our generation and the reason why I put tape on the camera of my computer.

He was born a decade before me across the globe in America, but I could relate to so many moments of his life, when the first computer came home, the era of Mario, Pacman and endless video-game sessions and spending endless nights on the internet searching all the questions that came to my mind, all the questions that I was too scared to ask to anyone else but my new friend internet was there for me, answering all my questions at anytime I wanted.

“Throughout all thirty-two levels, Mario exists in front of what in gaming parlance is called “an invisible wall,” which doesn’t allow him to go backward. There is no turning back, only going forward—for Mario and Luigi, for me, and for you.” – except from the book.

I felt it when Snowden said ‘raised by the internet’ because in a way I also am and I also felt it when talked about how scary our old friend internet has become now, from privacy breeches to online bullying. This generation saw the boundaries between real and the virtual world slowly diffuse together.

People either think he is a hero or a traitor, whichever side are you on I’m not here to convince you otherwise because honestly I don’t know. But I know that he wrote a book that came out in fall 2019, and as soon I knew about it, I had to read it.

So coming to he book, it has a very minimalist design,that I really like. It is divided in three parts, which is more or less about his life before he worked for the American government,during his time there and whistleblowing and exile respectively.

I loved the part one, it was filled with memories of videogames that I loved growing up, Snowden grew up in America a decade before I grew up in India, but I felt so many similarities between the times, the first computer coming home, videogames, using the internet till late night, ofcourse I was not at all as cool as he was but I was very emotionally invested in his story.

you aren’t really an adult until you bury a parent or become one yourself. But what no one ever mentions is that for kids of a certain age, divorce is like both of those happening simultaneously” –
Edward Snowden, Permanent Record

The part where he talks about his parents seperating and his sister moving out to collage, his untimely exit from the military and how he met his future wife are mostly covered here. And I loved this part, read it on a bus journey of around two hours.

The second part is how he started in the CIA and things he leaned there, also his postings in Geneva (which he didn’t wanted, common man it’s Switzerland) and Tokyo, which he spends mostly working, ofcourse he was a spy not a travel blogger, also he explain aton of technicalities of how internet and stuff like that works,and he uses the best analogies,that even me, the last person possible,got some knowledge out of it.

Especially the TOR /the Onion router. Also at this point he slowly starts to doubt his side and the intentions of the agency he is working for and the very internet that he believed ‘raised him’.

“The Internet I’d grown up with, the Internet that had raised me, was disappearing. And with it, so was my youth. The very act of going online, which had once seemed like a marvelous adventure, now seemed like a fraught ordeal.

And around this time, all this stress started to manifest as physical symptoms too

“I felt defeated. The two great institutions of my life had been betrayed and are betraying me : my country and the internet. And now my body was following the suit. My brain had ,quite literally, short-circuited”

The third part starts with Edward and Lindsay moving to Hawaii,in hopes that the better climate and lesser work burden would help with Edward’s health.

Lindsay and Edward
Pc – Lindsay’s Instagram

But as we move forward the inner turmoil inside the authors mind just become bigger and bigger, and there are details of how he managed to get the data of the NSA’s system ( I would suggest reading the book for it) and the rest is history.

But the part that hit me the most was Edward Snowden was so young when all this happened,he had a high paying job, nice house,love of his life and everything most people dream of, and whichever side you take, you’ll have to acknowledge that he burned down everything for a cause he believes in and that’s what makes him and this book so interesting.

Snowden giving an interview to Trevor Noah for his book from an undisclosed location

Also I loved how understanding Lindsay is,she had to go through a ton of stuff when the whole thing came out and I’m so happy that they are now married.

If you like informative non-fiction books, definitely read this, you don’t need to be interested in technology. And if you end up reading it,or have red it already do share you thoughts with me in the comments.

Lessons Life Taught Me Unknowingly- An Autobiography 

Length : 432
Genre : Autobiography

Written by : Anupam Kher
Publisher : Hay House India

My click of the book cover

This books starts with his childhood days and what I loved is how happy a joint family was even with a lack of finances, a Kashmiri pandit family out of their home state trying to make ends meet but they all are together, the three generations of the Khers living harmoniously in the house of two rooms in beautiful Shimla,the book starts with a hopeful note of  “Life Me Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai”

Anupam Kher and his father,with an excerpt from the book

The memories of little things that brought him (Anupam Kher) joy as a young boy such as his first suit and shoes are just so heartwarming.

I especially loved the whole equation between Kher and his grandfather because I genuinely believe that our previous generations were so much cooler and there is so much we can learn from them, it constantly reminded me of my late grandfather who was a news paper journalist and super cool guy.

Also this book has an amazing array of photographs from Kher’s early years and also movie sets

One of the photography page in the book

The narration of his later life after becoming an actor from his experiences in his early days, which is kind of a rags to riches story but it’s more of a memory scrapbook style rather than following a balanced narravtive. Most of the book from this point is movies he did, multiple refrences of Saransh (amazing movie btw) but it is mentioned too much, his twitter tiff with Amir is also addressed here and his Hollywood projects.

Kher in Saransh
This picture because Bradley Cooper is my longtime crush

I wish this book was more than this, I wish he told us more about how he felt rather than what he did, the book has it’s vulnerable moments but I wish there was more of that, because when I read an autobiography I already know your moments of height and fame, I want to know what makes you more like a commoner(if that makes any sense)

The feeling of connection with Anupam Kher as a person rather than a actor is basically what I looking for, which was scanty here but apart from all of it this book is definitely worth a read, especially if you are into bollywood or want to be an actor this would be good book.

I am very grateful to the team of lessons life taught me unknowingly for providing me a review copy of the book in exchange for a honest review

Reading with Muffy- The 2020 Monthly Reading Challenge

I have been following muffy on Instagram for a while now, being a dog mom myself I have a special love for muffys account.

My baby with harry potter series
Muffy with his book 🤩

You know books and dogs …what more a girl can ask so when they announced their reading challenge I knew I was going to do it.

How it Works

  1. Reading with Muffy is a Monthly Reading Challenge that runs from 01 Jan 2020
  2. There are 20 book prompts to this Reading Challenge. 12 monthly and 8 extra

So muffy my boy, I’m going to try my best to complete my monthly reading prompts, I do love a good reading challenge, it kind of gives me a goal and also I know there are many others like me who are going to be doing this challenge so it will be fun way to ‘virtually meet’ other book lovers

If you want to know the book challenge in detail check out Shalini’s post link here –

Reading With Muffy – The 2020 Monthly Reading Challenge

Black Warrant

Hours before he was to be hanged till death, he was sipping tea. And then he started singing from the 1960’s movie Badal, “Apne liye jiye to kya jiye, tu ji ae dil zamane ke liye.” A few officials of Tihar jail, tasked with carrying out the hanging, sang along.

He then demanded another cup of tea. The man, who served tea in the prison, had left and Afzal Guru, convicted in the 2001 Parliament attack, went to the gallows without his last wish fulfilled – a cup of tea.

Triggered? Proceed with caution but if you are in to it I have got a pretty good book recommendation for you .

Black Warrant
Authors – Sunil Gupta and Sunetra Choudhury
Genre – Non fiction /memoir
Publisher – Roli Books
Pages – 178

Tihar is a maximum security prison, currently housing over 10K inmates,also it is the largest complex of prisons in South Asia. Styled as correctional facility it is famous for the rehabilitation of the inmates as on completing their sentence the prisoners can appear for the placements as well as higher studies as much as it is famous for its ‘famous inmates’ including Kanhaiya Kumar, Lalu Yadav,chhota Rajan, Charles Shobraj and the author was it’s jailer for 35 years and so ofcourse he’s got stories to tell and this got me very intrigued from the introduction only.

Food made by inmates of Tihar Jail

Many of the Convicts discussed in the book are people and cases we have followed via news outlets but once a convict is sent to jail, nobody think much about the case, because most of the people don’t know what goes behind the bar.

The jail food,the beatings the subhuman living conditions are a few things that I have seen in movies and pop culture, and once in a while we get the news that a mobile phone or a television is found from an inmates belonging but rather than that jail is not a place alot of people know about and I don’t think alot of people would like to know to be honest.

The book starts up with a map to explain the layout of the prison and a hierarchy chart. The story opens up in 1981, when a young man (our author) resigns from his railway job and reports to his new job at Tihar.As it all unfolds the book does a good job at humanizing the inmates and also the jail staff. Sunil also addressed the personal problems he faced because of being in such an unconventional job,& the impact this unusual job had on Sunil and his the family, as he lived with his wife and kids in the Jail complex.

Also the book has some funny moments that sound straight out of a movie screen like how once an inmate dosed off a officer while giving massages and walked off straight from the gate in his uniform to the infamous jail break by Charles Shobraj to bizzare incidents like the once in 1980s, over a hundred, walked out of the prison with the visitors, without being stopped at the gates because they had managed to copy on their own the seals that are marked on visitors’ hands ( saay whaat)

The book also has a lot of things that could be controversial like the accounts of corruption by officers and the power of money even behind bars. What I really liked here is the authors honesty, and the ability of the narration to humanize the inmates and the jail staff. They have also penned down accounts of the eight death sentences which were executed in his watch in Tihar Jail (I said proceed with caution in the beginning) including that of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat.

This book would have been a bummer if he’d say it’s all good and disciplined, but they don’t, infact they accepts how difficult it is to change things, the omnipresent corruption in the hierarchy of inmates, jail staffs and police and how do the rich and powerful manage to get a decent life even behind bars.

Also it gave a different spin to many headlines as they turn in to real life work place situations for the staff at Tihar like when Anna Hazare was arrested from Ram-Leela Maidan.

Also I learnt a bunch of things like there is a free jail system,in which you can go out of jail for the day and comeback in the evening,manu Sharma (Jessica Lal case) use it to run his business and once a big business man converted his cell into his office.Also there strories of Charles Shobraj and Ranga-Billa who have kind of acquired a status of Urban’s legends

So if you have made it up till here on my blog post and you want to know more about Tihar,go ahead you’ll definitely like the book, it’s much better written than this article I promise.

The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag

Releasing – February,2020,Genre – dark fantasy

Once upon a time, a demon who desired earthly domination fathered an army of dark daughters to help him corrupt humanity . . .

As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld: a nightscape of mists and fog, perpetually falling leaves and hungry ivy, lit by an unwavering moon. Here, in this shadowland of Everwhere, the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, began to nurture their elemental powers together. But at thirteen, the sisters were ripped from Everwhere and separated. Now, five years later, they search for one another and yearn to rediscover their unique and supernatural strengths. Goldie can manipulates plants and gives life. Liyana controls rivers and rain. Scarlet has electricity at her fingertips. Bea can fly.

To realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams. But Everwhere can only be accessed through certain gates at 3:33 A.M. on the night of a new moon. As Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea are beset with the challenges of their earthly lives, they must prepare for a battle that lies ahead. On their eighteenth birthday, they will be subjected to a gladiatorial fight with their father’s soldiers. If they survive, they will face their father who will let them live only if they turn dark. Which would be fair, if only the sisters knew what was coming.

So, they have thirty-three days to discover who they truly are and what they can truly do, before they must fight to save themselves and those they love.

(The quote is from an advanced review copy so is subject to change)

All souls are special. Son or daughter, Grimm or not, Life touches her spirit to every one of her creations. But the conception of a daughter is a particularly mystical event, requiring certain alchemical influences. For, to conceive a being who can bear and birth life herself needs a little something . . . extra.

Every daughter is born of an element, infused with its own particular powers. Some are born of earth: fertile as soil, strong as stone, steady as the ancient oak. Others of fire: explosive as gunpowder, seductive as light, fierce as an unbound flame. Others of water: calm as a lake, relentless as a wave, unfathomable as an ocean. The Sisters Grimm are daughters of air, born of dreams and prayer, faith and imagination, bright-white wishing and black-edged desire”

(Minor spoilers may be ahead from now)

I would love to call this book a dark fairy tale for grown up girls, I loved how the female leads are portrayed ,each are given their pov along with leo,another key player with the sisters. So that we see their world’s from their perspective and as different their lives are ,they are treated very cautiously, the stories around them slowly evolves and kept me interested in it till the end. Also the novel has an alternative timeline from a decade ago in ‘everwhere’ where the four girls have met before and shared their life as sisters but in the current timeline they are unaware of ‘everwhere’ and the sinister fate that awaits them and they have 33 days to face it.

The four characters are somewhat built upon the classic fairy tales but they are done very subtlety with an added darkness

Goldie (Goldilocks) is linked with Earth,can manipulate nature, she had a pet plant named juniper as a child which which kind of signifies her ‘mother nature’ characteristic, also she is the mother figure to her younger brother teddy and do whatever it takes to keep him happy. She is the one narrative starts with and her character follows the most dramatic character Arc I felt, we see her go from a petty thief to the most powerful being,
Also she has a romantic story line with the soilder Leo,whose whole life mission is to kill Grimm girls for his father, his commander,which he does very well but when he meets Goldie, he goes through a whole lot of inner turmoil himself.

Next sister is liyana,she has the power element of water and initially I thouth she would be like the little mermaid but hers is more of a Cinderella story in queer, she lives with her aunt and they are not doing well financially so her aunt is pressuring her in to marrying a rich guy for the financial security but she is a lesbian with a long term relationship with her girlfriend Koko. She constantly feels burdened and need to oblige her aunt,as she kind of raised her . We watch her grow as person immensely,from quite a self doubting young woman she turns around to be quite a self accepting confident person.

Bea (Beauty),Bea’s element is air, she can fly and manipulate it.
She is portrayed  as careless and independent and takes pleasure in her abilities to get what she wants, she is also the most aware of sinister future,as her mother kinds of nurtures it but she tries to put it off for as long as possible, this light and dark battle is constant in her mind till the novel ends and her character is the most unpredictable one.

The last sister is Scarlet (Red Riding Hood) who,as her name suggests is linked with fire and electricity, Scarlet for me was the most relatable girl of today, independent, hardworking and brave,trying to make the ends meet while running her cafe with her grandmother. Even during the drowning market,She is unwilling to sell out to Mr Wolfe’s offers to buy the cafe, due to her grandmother’s emotional attachment to the place. She is usually good at controlling her power but sometimes her anger comes out in explosive ways. Her over all tough outer shell kind of changes when we see her with grandmother(Esme),she is aware of her grandmother’s deteriorating health but is still unable to come to terms with it and constantly tries to make Esme happy.

I loved this book because how relatable the characters were, so many times I see women feel the need to oblige people and care for them and be accomodating to needs of others that we sometimes forget ourselves and our needs and happiness in the constant ‘is she okay? Is he okay ?’ the characters do the same. Also even in the fantasy world when I see the protagonists struggle to make the ends meet or liyana’s difficulty in coming out of closet it instantly makes me sympathetic towards the characters because me or people I love, have been there, also there are topics such as self harm, abusive parents, these characters,became people I cared for, I wanted them to come out victorious.And with such a diverse range of characters,from their ethnicity ,financial status and sexualities and with such diverse situations something or the other becomes relatable to every one.

The storyline is inspired by a few classic fairy tale elements but it is very submerged and does not go as I expected, kept me on the hook till the very end. The ending is just the one that stays with you after you finish the book, because I cared about the characters (infact the whole book is beautiful and kind of stayed with me even after I finished it)

**I was provided with an free advanced review copy of the book on request in exchange of an honest review, all the opinions are my own & honest all the pictures in the post are clicked by me and are copyrighted **

Children of blood and bone series

This book was definitely one of the best fantasies I’ve read past year and I’m so excited for the sequel.

Adeyemi’s debut novel was so highly rated even before it was released it gathered alot of attention,

The first book the children of blood and bone, follows heroine Zélie as she attempts to restore magic to the kingdom of Orïsha, following the ruling class kosidáns’ brutal suppression of the class of magic practitioners Zélie belongs to, the maji.

Summary

The novel introduces the land of Orïsha, where King Saran rules over two conflicting cultures: the maji, who have unique magical abilities, have always been oppressed by the elite kosidán, the nobles.

Most of Saran’s family was killed by maji to take revenge Saran ordered raids that killed the maji, rid the land of magic, and cemented kosidán rule. 

The Children of Blood and Bone takes place eleven years later, following Zélie Adebola a divîner(one who has magical blood) she is also one of three point-of-view characters.

Her mother was a maji killed in the raid and her father is a kosidán. Zélie is not a maji because magic no longer exists,however her white hair still marks her as a divîner & she is introduced as someone who could become a maji, and is being trained by a hidden divîner, Mama Agba.

Following an incursion by some guards demanding payment, Zélie and her family become afraid that she might be sent to the stocks, where maji who are unable to pay the taxes placed on them are sent to work in a kind of indentured servitude, sometimes to death.

Zélie and her older brother Tzain, an accomplished player in a popular sport called agbön, go to the capital, Lagos, to raise money to pay the taxes.

While there, Zélie sees a girl, Amari (second point-of-view character). She is Saran’s daughter but has fled the palace following the killing of her friend and servant, Binta, a divîner.

The trio of Zélie, Tzain, and Amari are encouraged by Baba, Zélie’s father, to seek out the temple of the maji, Chândomblé.

Though pursued by Inan (third POV character and Saran’s first born son), Kaea, and a contingent of guards, the group successfully finds their way to the temple. There they learn that a ritual must be performed once every hundred years to renew the connection between the maji and Sky Mother, the mother of all the other gods. In addition to the scroll, the group needs two other key artifacts in order to perform this ritual: a sunstone, connecting Sky Mother to the earth and the maji holding it, and the blood dagger, which the last remaining priest of Chândomblé gives to the group. He performs a rite on Zélie so she will be able to complete the connection, and then he sacrifices himself to hold off the guards as the trio escapes.

Using his newfound magical abilities as a connector (a maji who can explore feelings and memories), Inan enters a dreamscape and make a connection with Zélie, allowing him to track the progress of the trio. Kaea catches Inan using these abilities and in the confrontation which follows, Inan accidentally uses his magic to kill her before leaving to track the group to Ibeji. In Ibeji the sunstone is being used as a prize for slave games in a colosseum, so Zélie agrees to compete, leading a ship of slaves against 19 other ships. Tzain takes control of leading the ship, while Zélie uses her power as a reaper, or a divîner of the dead, to give them an advantage. Amari, who previously refused to participate in sparring matches staged by Saran pitting her against Inan, helps seal the victory by killing the last captain before he can kill Zélie. Now in possession of all three artifacts, the group continues on their way until Inan catches up to the group. In the chaos that follows, Tzain and Amari are captured in the forest by an unknown group. Inan agrees to help Zélie rescue their siblings. During the rescue, the pair learn that the group is really a settlement of divîner, some of whom have had their powers reawakened when they were exposed to the scroll before it was recaptured, including their leader Zu, a healer. Upon hearing of the group’s mission, they decide to hold a festival for the Sky Mother where the remaining divîner will be able to touch the scroll. By this time, Inan, who has developed romantic feelings for Zélie, has agreed to help restore magic, having come to value divîner, who are known by many kosidán as maggots. For Inan, this offers a way to unite his future kingdom and eases his self-hatred over being a divîner. When Tzain sees Inan and Zélie kissing, he leaves the camp in anger along with Amari, the two having developed their own romantic connection.

Saran’s guards find and destroy the camp, also capturing Zélie. During the fight between the guards and the divîner, Kwame, a burner, or divîner who can control fire, uses blood magic, a powerful but dangerous way for divîner to increase the power of their magic, to self-immolate and take out some guards with him. This display of unchecked magic scares Inan, who back in the palace with his father, once again goes to efforts to contain and repress his magic, knowing that his father would kill him should he ever reveal that he is a maji. Inan, to Zélie’s surprise, tries to get Zélie to reveal how to destroy the scroll and to find out its location. This session is interrupted by Saran, who orders Zélie tortured by having “Maggot” carved on her back.

Inan, disgusted by this and having lingering feelings for Zélie despite his overall distrust of magic, finds an opportunity to break her out of the palace; by chance this coincides with an attack lead by Tzain, Amari, and some divîner Tzain knew through agbön, who awaken their own powers using the scroll. Zélie, now free, finds that she can no longer use her powers, but does not share this with anyone else. Still believing it is possible to restore magic, this larger group heads to the free but lawless city of Jimeta where they hire a group of mercenaries, lead by Roën, a pickpocket from the divîner camp.

Through the mercenaries’ skill, they are able to infiltrate the island and temple to perform the ceremony. Once there, however, Zélie, Tzain, and the rest are ambushed by Saran and Inan, who are holding Baba hostage and have killed Mama Agba. Feeling helpless as she cannot use any magic, Zélie agrees to give the artifacts up in exchange for her and her father’s life. As Zélie leaves temple, Saran orders her father killed anyway. The spirit and blood magic of her father reawakens Zélie’s magic and she uses her restored powers to attack the kosidán. Inan uses her rage and magic to his advantage, as he provokes an attack which is able to destroy the scroll. But in the ensuing battle, Inan sees a mercenary who is about to kill his father and without thinking, Inan uses his magic to stop this. This causes Saran to turn on and kill his son. Furious, Amari then turns and kills her father.

Unable to repair the scroll, and thus complete the ritual to restore the connection with magic, Zélie uses blood magic and an incantation of her own devising to complete the ritual and which apparently kills her in the process. Zélie is then able to speak with her mother, speaking on behalf of the gods in the afterlife, who praises her and sends her back. The book concludes as Zélie learns that Amari now has magic.


While reading the novel and while researching about it both I felt the theme of the novel somewhat came from the spate of police violence against black Americans, in author’s own words “it had a large impact on her”; she wanted to escape the helplessness and fear she felt: “What is the point if my life ends at the barrel of a police officer’s gun?”

Also In the author’s note at the end of the novel, Adeyemi makes a call to emotion, telling the reader that “if cried for Zulaikha … cry for innocent children like Jordan Edwards, Tamir Rice, and Aiyana Stanley-Jones.”

Where the inspiration came from? Tomi Adeyemi graduated from Harvard before receiving a fellowship to study West African mythology and culture in Salvador, Brazil where she discovered Orïsha—deities belonging to the Yoruban people of southwest Nigeria—which became the inspiration for her breakout series,

My views ! I personally loved it , I love the fantasy genre, I loved how the book was told from four separate view points and they slowly intersect with each other.

I loved the physicality of the book too, the map, the fight sequences,deaths,torture sequence to the sceneries and dresses all are beautifully addressed,but i understand that all of this also can be seen as drawbacks like the four view points can be disorienting sometimes and the physicality demands a lot of imaginative capabilities from the reader .

Now coming to the sequel,the series will continue December 3, 2019 with Children of Virtue and Vengeance.

In this next instalment, Zélie has finally succeeded in returning magic to the land of Orïsha, but the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.

Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.

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