A Laugh, Cry and Love Guarantee // REVIEW: Once And For All by Sarah Dessen

Title: Once and For All
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publication Date: June 8th 2017
Publisher: PUFFIN Books
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: Penguin Random House India (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Amazon US || Amazon UK || Barnes and Noble || The Book Depository || Wordery || Flipkart || Infibeam || Foyles || Waterstones || WHSmith || Kobo || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.
Louna spends her summers helping brides plan their perfect day and handling every kind of crises: missing brides, scene-stealing bridesmaids and controlling grooms. Not surprising then, that she's deeply cynical about happy-ever-afters, especially since her own first love ended in tragedy.
When handsome girl magnet Ambrose enters her life, Louna won't take him seriously. But Ambrose hates not getting what he wants and Louna is the girl he's been waiting for.
Maybe it's not too late for a happy ending after all?
'When I read a Sarah Dessen novel, I'm sixteen again, in the flush of first love.' Jodi Picoult
I read my first Sarah Dessen book when I was twelve years old. A friend gifted me Along for the Ride for my birthday and the very next morning I was halfway into it. From twelve to almost nineteen, Sarah Dessen’s books are ones I’ve cried over and laughed and fallen in love with as I got to know, time and again, Auden, Eli, Remy, Dexter, Annabel, Owen, Macy, Wes, Ruby and all these other couples that taught me so much.

I remember myself over the last seven years through Sarah Dessen’s book, and it’s truly a magical feeling. Which is why, among the BOX FULL OF BOOKS that Penguin India sent me last week, the one I was most excited for was Once and for All.

To Sum It Up: Once and for All was the heart wrenching journey of a girl brought up by cynics who are waiting to be proven wrong and trying to figure out if putting your heart out there is worth the risk while managing chaotic weddings and bad first dates.

Long Story Short: I LOVED IT. This was definitely one of my top five Sarah Dessen books!

Let’s break it Down:

WRITING:

Sarah has this distinctive, subtle form of writing that I’ve loved since book one that all of a sudden throws these beautiful and true lines at you. I’ve loved this BRILLIANT author’s BRILLIANT writing since I was 12 and I don’t think it’ll ever change.

PLOT:

The one thing I love about Dessen’s books is that NONE of them are JUST Boy Meets Girl. There is always more to the story that just one romance, often involving a heart breaking personal journey from the girl’s side and it’s ALWAYS SO REAL. It makes me connect with all of her characters in a way I usually don’t and I love it.

CHARACTERS:

I loved Louna from chapter one. I’m probably like her, a cynic until proven otherwise, scared to let what I’m feeling show. I loved her narration, her story and her fears. I felt, by the first quarter of this book, like I really knew this girl. I also ADORED Jilly, Louna’s best friend, and her whole family. I feel like she deserves her own book.

Her story with Ethan broke my heart. It was this romance that just doesn’t happen anymore and BUT IT DID and it was so perfect while not being unreal and GOSH I ALMOST CRIED.

My one problem with this book was the romance between Ambrose and Louna. I LOVED THEM AS FRIENDS and also as people but their romance and the “love” between them seemed SO FORCED.

CONCLUSION:

This book is about Louna moving on from a broken heart and finding a way to give it to someone else AND it’s set with a wedding planning business in the background which gives off its own form of hilarity.

I LOVED THIS BOOK YOU GUYS. It will make you laugh and cry and fall in love like only Sarah Dessen can. 4 stars.
Sarah Dessen Sarah Dessen is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen novels for teens, which have received numerous awards and rave reviews. Her books have been published in over thirty countries and have sold millions of copies worldwide. She is the recipient of the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association for outstanding contribution to young adult literature for her novels: Keeping the Moon, Dreamland, This Lullaby, The Truth about Forever, Just Listen, Along for the Ride, and What Happened to Goodbye. Her newest novel, Once and for All, will be released in June 2017. An NC native, she currently lives in Chapel Hill with her family.
Have you read any Sarah Dessen books? Which was the first one you read? 
Which protagonist do you most relate with and which one is your favourite? 
I can't wait to hear your Sarah Dessen thoughts. 

Stacking The Shelves #31 - The One With A Box Of Books AND MORE.

Hi Everyone! Despite my attempts at doing this a Stacking the Shelves every week, it seems I'm doomed to fail and do one only every month. SIGHH. Also, I'm sorry, but hopefully I can make it up to you by showing y'all the HUGE PILE OF BOOKS I've managed to get in the last 20 days.

I'm trying desperately to catch up (plus, my birthday is coming which means MORE BOOKS?) and I hope my TBR doesn't swallow me whole by then. 

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely bookish people over at Tyga's Reviews and is all about the physical or virtual books and bookish goodies you've added to your shelves. Let's begin:

From Usbourne: 

1. What's A Girl Gotta Do? by Holly BourneAfter falling in love with the first two book in this series, I knew I had to finally dive into the third book and the epilogue novella that came after it. I read this book in the midst of a gruelling round of exams and IT WAS SO COMPLETELY PERFECT. Strong friendships, cute boys and ALL THE FEMINISM and well, you should read my review here.

2. ... And A Happy New Year? by Holly Bourne: This is the epilogue novella to the wonderful Sprinster Club series. While the dust jacket and the embossed cover are my FAVORITES in the series, the book itself was a let down after the MARVEL that was What's A Girl Gotta Do? I'm, however, still happy I read it because the series itself was brilliant and if I hadn't, I would've felt like I was missing something. You can read my review here.


From Rock The Boat UK: 

1. City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie Anderson: City of Saints and Thieves is a murder mystery set in Africa that had be at the EDGE of my seat while I fell in love with the pure grit and determination of the main character and also the thrilling pace and plot of the story. I don't usually read much in this genre but this diverse book was ABSOLUTELY perfect. You can read my review here.

From Harper Collins India: 

1. This Is Where The World Ends by Amy Zhang: I read Amy's debut novel, Falling into Place as soon as it released in India and it was just SO GOOD. I loved her writing style and everything about it was only made better in her second novel, This is Where The World Ends. Filled with gorgeous illustrations, some amazing characters and a brilliantly plotted and written non-linear book, I can't wait for more from the author. You can read my review here.

From Bloomsbury India: 

1. Harry Potter 20th Anniversary Edition: Hufflepuff: The minute I received this SURPRISE parcel from Bloomsbury, it instantly changed my day. I freaked out and I LOVE LOVE LOVE all the new features in this 20th Anniversary edition because HARRY POTTER IS LIFE. I've done a post on Harry Potter and the special features in the new house editions here so click on the link and you can read all about it. Long Story Short: SO WORTH IT.

2. Party Girls Die In Pearls by Plum Sykes: If you don't know me, let me tell you that mystery isn't one of my favourite genres but this book (the other in the surprise parcel from Bloomsbury) COMPLETELY blew me away. It's set in Oxford in the 1980's, when they just started accepting female students and well, it's filled with a scandalous, twisted and backstabbing high society and all their unraveling in the midst of a murder of one of their own. It's hilarious and STILL manages to have a murder and YOU NEED THIS BOOK IN YOUR LIVES. Read all my thoughts here.

From HMH Teen: 


1. Your One and Only by Adrianne Finlay: If you haven't read it on here yet, I'm a co-host for the Sunday Street Team that was created by the ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT Nori from Read Write Love 28 and well, it's been a blast. It was through these that the AMAZING Publicist from HMH offered me an ARC of Adrianne Finlay's Your One And Only and I could not be more excited to dive. I absolutely adore futuristic books and also, this one releases Feb 2018 so add it to your TBRs

From PRH International: 

1. The Season by Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer: A soccer star in a southern debutante ball? Footballs meet stilettos and foundation? SIGN ME UP. I've been eyeing The Season ever since it released last year and now that the paperback has released, the AMAZING folks at PRH International sent me a copy of it. Honestly, I cannot wait to begin.

2. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston: A head cheerleader is pregnant after she is raped? And the aftermath? Books that deal with rape have always been important to be because of the victim questioning culture that is SO RAMPANT in my country and books like this one are ones I read to educate myself. I honestly cannot wait to start this book.

From JKS Communications: 

1. The Crowns of Croswald Box: The minute I got offered to read this beautiful book, I freaked out. The author and her publicity firm were willing to send a box of gorgeous things all the way to India for me to read this gorgeous book and I couldn't not accept. One of the most gorgeous things in the box (apart from the book) was this Galangerie bottle that is blue and shiny and lights up and it the perfect accessory to my #bookstagram pictures.

From Penguin India:

So the AMAZING (And I mean UTTERLY AMAZING) people at Penguin India have SPOILED ME COMPLETELY this week, sending me FOURTEEN book when I only asked for four of them. When I saw the carton they sent me I freaked out and I'm so excited to read ALL of these titles.

1. Yama's Lieutenant and the Stone Witch by Anuja Chandramouli: This book is a modern spin of Indian Mythology told mostly from the point of view of a tortured main character and the gritty writing and dark sense of humor reminded me of Jay Kristoff's Nevernight. This book is what I've been looking for to encourage me to read more books by Indian authors because it was absolutely amazing. You can read my review here. 

2. Once and For All by Sarah Dessen: This is the book I'm currently reading and it is AMAZING. I've been reading Sarah Dessen books from the day I turned 12 and she is my FAVOURITE contemporary author of all time. I'm almost done with this book and honestly, I love the setting it was in so much. I'll be posting my review of it here tomorrow, hopefully. If you didn't already know, It's about a cynical wedding planner's daughter finding second love and it is SO BRILLIANT.

3. The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr: I first heard about the author when I went bookstore shopping with my best friend on her birthday and we stumbled across The One Memory of Flora Banks. I got her to buy it and I've been meaning to borrow it and read it bu, you know, TBR Problems. I am SO EXCITED that I have an ARC of this book, though. It sounds even better than Flora Banks and I can't wait to dive in.

4. Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn: The minute I read the back of this book, it gave me somePrincess Diaries vibes because I realised I HAVEN'T READ A BOOK WITH PRINCESSES FOR SO LONG. This book sounds kind of fun, and the cover is all kinds of beautiful (especially the purple part) and this is just another book I can't wait to start reading.
serious

5. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James: I've heard of this author, but I didn't even know she was releasing a new book until I saw this absolutely stunning ARC in the box of books I got. This is giving me some serious Passenger vibes and I LOVE EVERYTHING RELATED TO SPACE and I can't wait to read this one too. Also, isn't the cover PERFECT?

6. Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira
Fowley Doyle: THIS IS ABOUT MAGIC. MAGIC. It's been FOREVER (almost a year, actually) since I read a contemporary book that had magic in it (The Graces by Laure Eve) and this stunning cover that JUST HAS ME STARING AT IT only makes me want to read this more. It sounds amazing and I can't wait to dive into it. EEEK.

7. This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada: I've been seeing this book around the blogosphere and I was SO SO EXCITED to get an ARC that had SPRAYED EDGES.Also, a devastating virus with a key in one girl's DNA and a shady organisation dying for it makes this sounds like The Maze Runner and I'm SO EXCITED TO READ IT. Holy crap it sounds amazing.

8. Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index by Julie Israel: I have heard from everyone that the main character, Juniper, is this struggling sassy person and she's so loveable I knew I HAD to request this book. The UK cover is 1000X times more stunning that the US one, and I love the fact that I ACTUALLY have a finished copy for me to review. Maybe I'll read this one next?

9. Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead: This is another book I hadn't heard off before this book box came crashing into my life, but I am thrilled that I get the chance to read and review it. Goodbye Stranger is currently promising my quirky people (my favourite kind) and a cute love story (YAY) and I'm very excited to dive in.

10. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albetalli: My best friend has declared this book THE CUTEST EVER and who am I to claim that I know myself better than she knows me? I cannot wait to dive into my first Becky Albertalli book because of all the HYPE surrounding her and I HOPE IT'S JUST AS EPIC AS I'VE BEEN PROMISED. Also, the amazing Becky Albertalli sent me some gorgeous swag - a personalized bookmark and also stickers of Molly and Reid and I LOVE BOOKS WITH SWAG.

11. The Creakers by Tom Fletcher: It's been a while since I've read anything Middle Grade and I;m surprisingly excited about this book. It's about monsters and friendship. I LOVE reading middle grade books and then passing them on to my 8 year old cousin because he loves it more than I do it gives us something to connect over. Can't wait to read and then send this book to him.

12. Geekerella by Ashley Poston: I've actually already read this book but the lovely people at Penguin sent me this PERFECT PAPERBACK (that was honestly on my To Buy list) and I am so excited to own it. If you haven't read this book yet, it is a fangirl meets cinderella YA book with a geeky Prince Charming and YOU NEED THIS. Read my review here. 

13. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Southerland: THIS BOOK BROKE MY HEART LAST YEAR. It started off pretty normally but somewhere in the middle as everything unravelled, this book managed to capture my heart and then break it at the end. It was STUNNING, and I'm so excited for the author's next book, A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares. Read my review here.
What books have you recently Stacked onto your shelves? Have you already read some of the book I just got? 
What did you think of them? 
I can't wait to hear what all of you think!

Dark Humor & Mythological Twists // REVIEW: Yama's Lieutenant and the Stone Witch by Anuja Chandramouli

Title: Yama's Lieutenant and the Stone Witch
Author: Anuja Chandramouli
Publication Date: July 24th 2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House India
Part of a Series?: Yes, Book 2 of the Yama's Lieutenant Series
I Got A Copy Through: Penguin Random House India
Buy Links:  Amazon IN ||  Flipkart || Snapdeal || Infibeam
Blurb Description: As Yama's Lieutenant, Agni Prakash, has diligently been tracking down demons and spirits that threaten peace on earth and dispatching them to his lord's thousand hells. Danger is a constant in his job, but this time an apocalypse threatens his entire world. Agni must go up against a terrifying sorceress-adept in the ancient art of stone magic-and her bestial army of demoniacal creatures who used to be humans before they were transformed into willing killing machines. The witch has a nightmarish vision for a new world that involves large scale culling of the humans-and it falls to Agni to stop her. He must find the Samayakalas, the mysterious keepers of time and reset the clock before all life is destroyed. However, any contact with the Samayakalas is forbidden to mortal and immortal alike and those who flout the ancient decree risk incurring punishment far worse than death. The price asked of him is an impossible one, but Yama's Lieutenant does not have a choice. Enlisting the help of old friends, he must submit to being borne across an ocean of death and destruction to find the Samayakalas before darkness engulfs them all.
As I always say during the beginning of my reviews of books by Indian authors, I don’t read a lot of them. Maybe because the first books I was exposed to were such commercialized fiction that they barely had a story but REGARDLESS, I haven’t read much Indian fantasy. Or Indian anything, really.

And yet, after reading this book, I feel like I should be re-evaluating my decisions.

Yama’s Lieutenant and the Stone Witch was this gorgeous modern spin on an Indian myth that was dark, gripping and had this morbid sense of humour that reminded me of Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight and I LOVED IT.

Let’s break this down:

WRITING:

This was my first book by the author, Anuja Chandramouli, and I loved her style of writing and the way she brought a character as jaded and hurting as Agni Prakash to life through it so much that the minute I reached the end and found out that she is a bestselling Indian author, I wasn’t even surprised. Yama’s Lieutenant had some brilliant writing, whether it was being told from the main character’s point of view or also the stories in between that made all the pieces come together.

PLOT:

It took me a while to get used to how this book was plotted – one chapter from our main character’s point of view and one from another person that was somehow used to give us more insight into the story. It threw me a little in the beginning, especially because I hadn’t read book one and didn’t know if this was how that was plotted out too.


Very soon, I found myself opened to not getting the story from not only Agni Pakash’s viewpoint but also from a lot of others and it really pulled the whole story together. The plot itself was so well thought out but no spoilers so you’ll just have to read it for yourself.

CHARACTERS:

I wasn’t expecting to love Agni Prakash as much as I did. He was a rough sweetheart and I understood him immediately. While the whole dark nature of the book and the writing reminded me of Nevernight, Agni himself initially came of a little like The Hound from Game of Thrones, but with a polar opposite relationship to his sibling.

He was a deep, complex character to get to know and I loved every minute I was in his head, looking at the visions from his eyes and fighting with him.

CONCLUSION:

If you’re looking for a richly told book with Indian mythology, dark humour and a main character flawed and yet, perfect, look no further than Yama’s Lieutenant and the Stone Witch. 
Anuja Chandramouli is a bestselling Indian author and New Age Indian Classicist. Her highly 
acclaimed debut novel, Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior-Prince, was named by Amazon India as one of the top 5 books in the Indian Writing category for the year 2013. Kamadeva: The God of Desire and Shakti: The Divine Feminine are her other bestsellers. Currently all three books are being translated into Hindi, Marathi, Gujarathi and Bengali, a real achievement for one so young. Her brand new book, an epic fantasy called Yama’s Lieutenant has received an overwhelming response.



An accomplished orator, she regularly conducts workshops on Creative Writing, Story Telling and Mythology in schools, colleges and various other platforms. Her motivational speeches have also been well received. According to Chandramouli, her work with youngsters in the rural belt helping them improve their Spoken English and Writing skills has been woama
nderfully satisfying and enriching. 


This happily married, mother of two little girls, lives in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu. She is a student of classical dance and Yoga. Currently, she is hard at work on an awesome new adventure with Yama’s Lieutenant.

Stay in touch with her on: Facebook and Twitter 
Have you read any books by Anuja Chandramouli? What are some of your favourite books with Indian characters? 
I can't wait to hear from all you!

Glitz, Glamour and Murder // REVIEW: Party Girls Die In Pearls by Plum Sykes

Title: Party Girl Die In Pearls: An Oxford Girl Mystery
Author: Plum Sykes
Publication Date: June 1st 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Part of a Series?: Yes, Book One of the Oxford Girl Mystery Series
I Got A Copy Through: Bloomsbury India (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Amazon US || Amazon UK || Barnes and Noble || The Book Depository || Wordery || Flipkart || Snapdeal || Infibeam || Foyles || Waterstones || WHSmith || Kobo || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: The New York Times bestselling author of Bergdorf Blondes takes us back to the decadent 1980s in this comic murder mystery.
Brideshead, bon-bons, cucumber sandwiches – and now a murder
Pimm’s, punting and ball gowns are de rigeur. Ursula Flowerbutton, a studious country girl, arrives for her first term anticipating nothing more sinister than days spent poring over history books – and, perhaps, an invitation to a ball. But when she discovers a ghastly crime, she is catapulted into a murder investigation.
Determined to unravel the case – and bag her first scoop for the famous student newspaper Cherwell – Ursula enlists the help of her fellow Fresher, the glamorous American Nancy Feingold. While navigating a whirl of black-tie parties and secret dining societies, the girls discover a surfeit of suspects. From broken-hearted boyfriends to snobby Sloanes, lovelorn librarians to dishy dons, none can be presumed innocent.
Clueless meets Agatha Christie in this wickedly funny tale of high society, low morals and a middle-class girl, the first book in Plum Sykes’s irresistible new series.
I don’t usually dive into the mystery genre – I do like reading it but I prefer anything rom-com or fantasy to it. When I flipped to the back of Party Girls Die In Pearls, however, I was instantly intrigued. This was a murder set in the 1980’s in Oxford (who had only started accepting female students) and it was also compared to Sex and The City, Clueless and Agatha Christie and I just HAD TO DIVE IN.

What’s the verdict? Party Girls Die In Pearls was a hilarious, over the top British murder mystery that had me laughing at the drama and still sitting at the edge of my seat, waiting to find out whodunit.

WRITING:

This is my first book by the Sunday Times bestselling author, Plum Sykes, and I adored the writing. Everything about it screamed posh British society – from the manner of speaking, to the parties and cucumber sandwiches. She really brought to life the drama in an undergrad’s life while always keeping the murder plot running and interesting. I ADORED the way this book was written.

PLOT:

Like I said above, the plot was PERFECT. I was so invested in the personal lives of all the characters – Ursula, Nancy, Wenty, Otto, Claire, India, Dr Dave, Isobel and every other character who pretended they were friends, conspired and cheated and still managed to look perfect while throwing an extremely lavish party. At the same time, it kept me invested in the murder solving of a character and it was SUCH A FUN book to spend time in. It totally managed to transport me out on Indian in 2017 and into Oxford in the 1980’s.


CHARACTERS:

While the plot was perfect and the writing style made everything come to life, the complex natures of the characters, and their true motivations and schemes were THE BEST THING IN THIS BOOK. As the book went on, the lives of these Oxford Aristocrats, these Ladies and Earls unravelled showing us their secrets and their rivalries and it was such an amazing thing to witness.

CONCLUSION:

Even though Murder-Mystery isn’t my favourite genre, I thoroughly COMPLETELY enjoyed this book. Party Girls Die In Pearls will keep you on your toes, at the edge of your seat, laughing at the antics of these Oxford goers while waiting to see which one of them is a murderer. 

Plum Sykes
 Plum Sykes was born in London and educated at Oxford. She has written two internationally bestselling novels, Bergdorf Blondes and The Debutante DivorcĂ©e. Plum is a Contributing Editor at American Voguewhere she writes about fashion, celebrity and society. She lives on a Cotswold farm with her husband and two children.
Have you read any of Plum Skye's Books yet? Have you read this one? What did you think of it?
Which Sex and the City lady are you most like?
Who are some of your favourite murder-mystery writers? I can't wait to hear from all of you.