A Cute, Nerdy Romance // ARC Review: Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks

Title: Comics Will Break Your Heart
Author: Faith Erin Hicks
Publication Date: February 12th 2019
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: Macmillan INTL (Thank you!)
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Barnes and Noble || Wordery || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || 
Blurb Description: Miriam's family should be rich. After all, her grandfather was the co-creator of smash-hit comics series The TomorrowMen. But he sold his rights to the series to his co-creator in the 1960s for practically nothing, and now that's what Miriam has: practically nothing. And practically nothing to look forward to either-how can she afford college when her family can barely keep a roof above their heads? As if she didn't have enough to worry about, Miriam's life gets much more complicated when a cute boy shows up in town . . . and turns out to be the grandson of the man who defrauded Miriam's grandfather, and heir to the TomorrowMen fortune.

In her endearing debut novel, cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks pens a sensitive and funny Romeo and Juliet tale about modern romance, geek royalty, and what it takes to heal the long-festering scars of the past (Spoiler Alert: love). 


The minute I read the synopsis to this book, all the way last August, MY NERDY LITTLE HEART WAS OH SO CURIOUS. Two co-creators of a famous superhero comic series, whose families are stuck in years of rivalry and misunderstanding and now their GRANDCHILDREN ARE FALLING FOR EACH OTHER? Yeah, sign me up.

IN A NUTSHELL: Comics Will Break Your Heart was a feel-good PG-13 romance with a love for superheroes, comics and story-telling in the background, good secondary characters and actually present families (this actually shocked me)

THINGS I LIKED:

1.       NERDY COMICS AND SUPERHERO BACKGROUND: I mean. There was all this talk about Comic-con and the TomorrowMen Movie, original comics, trailers, art, new stories and I just felt like I BELONGED IN THIS WORLD?

2.       FAMILIES ARE ACTUALLY PRESENT: It’s become a pet peeve for me, when YA novels don’t have parents around so the plot line (AHEM: ROMANCE/ SUPERNATURAL STUFF) can advance, but I quite loved that parents were actually present in this book and were a major part of the decision-making/ motivation process between both our protagonists.


3.       UNDERSTATED ROMANCE: I liked the slow-burn romance between Miriam and Weldon. I was actually expecting it to be a hate-to-love type of romance but I ended up liking this better.

4.       DID I ALREADY SAY SUPERHEROES AND ALL THE NERDY THINGS?

THINGS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER:

1.       I had a little bit of a rocky start with Comics Will Break Your Heart especially in terms of character development. At first, for the first 50 pages or so, the characters seemed underdeveloped but they did grow through this 300-page book.

2.       THE BEST FRIEND: I did not like Miriam’s best friend much. I also hated that it was assumed that she would marry her high school boyfriend without any hesitation. I mean, shouldn’t she be allowed to explore? Especially since he was a grade A JERK?

3.       NOT ENOUGH DRAMA? OR RIVALRY? I guess I was really expecting some major family rivalry. I loved how Miriam’s mom reacted to the situation like a true grown-up, but I wish there was a TAD MORE DRAMA overall, especially since the blurb promises one.

Would I recommend this book? To all you nerdy souls looking for a feel-good romance, pick up Comics Will Break Your Heart. 

Faith Erin HicksBorn in the wilds of British Columbia, the young Faith frolicked among the Sasquatch native to the province before moving to Ontario at age five. There she was homeschooled with her three brothers, and developed an unnatural passion for galloping around on horseback, though never without a proper helmet (because you only get one skull). After twenty years of suffering through Ontario’s obscenely hot summers, she migrated east and now lives beside the other ocean in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She worked in animation for a bit and now draws comics full time. She’s not sure how that happened either.

Are you a comic person? Who is your favourite superhero?
Have you read Faith Erin Hicks' Comics Will Break Your Heart? I would love to hear from you!

Utterly Spellbinding // REVIEW: The Binding by Bridget Collins

Title: The Binding
Author: Bridget Collins
Publication Date: January 10th, 2019
Publisher: Borough Press
Part of a Series?: No, A Publisher
I Got A Copy Through: HarperCollins India (THANK YOU!)
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Wordery || Foyles || Waterstones || WHSmith || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: Imagine you could erase grief.Imagine you could remove pain.Imagine you could hide the darkest, most horrifying secret.Forever.
Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives summoning him away from his family. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder—a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice among their small community but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.
For as long as he can recall, Emmett has been drawn to books, even though they are strictly forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born. Under the old woman’s watchful eye, Emmett learns to hand-craft the elegant leather-bound volumes. Within each one they will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there’s something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed and the past is locked away. In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, rows upon rows of books are meticulously stored.
But while Seredith is an artisan, there are others of their kind, avaricious and amoral tradesman who use their talents for dark ends—and just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it. Soon, everything he thought he understood about his life will be dramatically rewritten. 
The Binding is probably the most beautiful book I’ve ever seen, both outside and under the dust jacket, and probably one of the most spellbinding books I’ve ever read.

I read this book over four flights I took over the last three days, and hated every minute that I couldn’t be reading The Binding in the middle.

ALL THE THINGS I LOVED:

1.       I loved almost every part of this book, despite its slow beginning. It took me a while to get into the story, especially before Seredith started explaining the art of binding, but there was a point where I looked up (probably in the middle of the first flight) and realized that I was invested in the story, waiting for the unraveling of secrets, hoping for the best possible ending and everyone to just be… happy.  

2.       I am OBSESSED with Bridget Collins’ writing style. I loved how she created her characters,
her descriptions, and her world-building. I loved the chemistry between two certain characters (no spoilers though) and how she created their relationships. It was wonderful, immersive writing.

3.       I loved the art of binding and the world that Bridget Collins’ created in The Binding. It’s very hard to describe what it all felt like without giving away spoilers but suffice it to say that reading this book was like reading magic on a page.

4.       I loved that this wasn’t told in linear form, because it raised the ‘I’m intrigued and invested’ factor SO MUCH.

THE ONE THING I WISHED WAS BETTER:

1.       As Emmett moves from his farm to the marshes to the big city, The Binding touches upon the social implication of giving people the power to wipe someone else’s memory. It was especially interesting because I thought that Emmett and Lucian, as a binder and rich person whose family employs the services of a binder respectively, were going to take on the systemic abuse of power and money and exploitation that had come with binding for money which would have made this book unforgettable, but they didn’t. I LOVE THE STORY AS IS, but I also wish it had more in terms of a social crusade.


Would I recommend this book? ABSOLUTELY. The Binding is magical, spellbinding and captivating with fluid, immersive writing and stunning worldbuilding. I loved it and I hope you will too. 
Bridget Collins is a graduate of both university and drama school. Her first novel The Traitor Game was published to much acclaim and was both winner of the Branford Boase Award 2009 and longlisted for the 2009 Carnegie Medal. Bridget lives in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. The Binding is her first novel for adults. 

What are some of the books that pulled you into the world completely?
Send me ALL THE RECOMMENDATIONS! 
 

I Wish This Had Been Better // ARC Review: Enchantee by Gita Trelease

Title: Enchantee (Enchantee #1)
Author: Gita Trelease
Publication Date: February 21st 2019
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Part of a Series?: Yes, Book 1/3 of the Enchantee Trilogy
I Got A Copy Through: Pan Macmillan India
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Wordery || Foyles || Waterstones || WHSmith || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians...
When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.
But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she's playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…
I’ve been reading this book for WEEKS now and despite finishing it yesterday, I honestly don’t know what I read.

I was promised a glittering fantasy novel set against the backdrop of the French Revolution and a poor girl fighting against the aristocracy with the help of forbidden magic.

Instead, I got a 400+ page trove on gambling addiction, cheating while gambling through magic and a cast of characters that were honestly not well developed at all.  

In A Nutshell: This book could have been so much more, but it failed on all counts. 

MY (MORE ELABORATE) THOUGHTS:

1.       I AM DISAPPOINTED. I honestly thought this book would be a brilliant fantasy novel, especially after I fell in love with Roshani Chokshi’s The Gilded Wolves, set a century later in Paris but I found the characters in Enchantee irritating, the purpose of the novel lost by the half-mark and the plot flimsy at best. The main character’s logic as she threw herself into situations was so half-baked that I was actually SHAKING THE BOOK as I read it as a substitute to shaking her.
 
2.       What started off as two sisters trying to make it out of poverty by using petty magic turned into a note on gambling addiction, a conspiracy that was kind of petty and not sinister because the plot of it was just so flimsy (AND THE READER DIDN’T EVEN REALLY LEARN ABOUT IT UNTIL THE LAST CHAPTER) and magic that was said to have consequences… but didn’t at the end of it all.

3.       I also felt like this book didn’t fully use the potential of being in the French Revolution. I was expecting something more with Camille and Sophie – the sisters and two main characters in the book – specifically, becoming a part of the revolution as paupers with magic who see the aristocracy for what they really are but from having nothing at all, in the next chapter they magically HAD ENOUGH MONEY TO MOVE INTO A MUCH FANCIER NEIGHBOURHOOD, PAY THREE MONTHS RENT AND IT. WAS. JUST. SO. IRRITATING. Where did economics and logic go out of the window?

4.       Let’s not forget that hot air ballooning and fundraising suddenly became a part of the novel?? I honestly did not understand it at all.


5.       All in all, I wished this book was just… better. 

Gita Trelease
Born in Sweden to Indian and Swedish parents, Gita Trelease has lived in lots of places, including New York, Paris, and a tiny town in central Italy. She attended Yale College and New York University, where she earned a Ph.D. in British literature. Before becoming a novelist, she taught classes on writing and fairy tales—some of which have seeped into this story. 

Along with her husband and son, Gita divides her time between a spooky old village in Massachusetts and the coast of Maine, where she’s still searching for a secret portal that will take her back to Versailles. 


Have you read Enchantee? What did you think of it?
What are some of your favourite historical fantasy books?
I'm always looking for more!

A Feel-Good Must Read // ARC Review: The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bathena

Title: The Beauty of the Moment
Author: Tanaz Bathena
Publication Date: February
Publisher: 26th 2018
Part of a Series?: No, A Standalone
I Got A Copy Through: Macmillan INTL
Buy Links: Amazon IN || Barnes and Noble || Wordery || Foyles || Waterstones || WHSmith || Books A Million || Chapters Indigo || Google Books
Blurb Description: Susan is the new girl—she’s sharp and driven, and strives to meet her parents’ expectations of excellence. Malcolm is the bad boy—he started raising hell at age fifteen, after his mom died of cancer, and has had a reputation ever since.
Susan’s parents are on the verge of divorce. Malcolm’s dad is a known adulterer.
Susan hasn’t told anyone, but she wants to be an artist. Malcolm doesn’t know what he wants—until he meets her.
Love is messy and families are messier, but in spite of their burdens, Susan and Malcolm fall for each other. The ways they drift apart and come back together are testaments to family, culture, and being true to who you are.
In a nutshell: The Beauty of the Moment was a touching, light-hearted contemporary novel on first loves, family pressure, forgiveness and the future.

Tanaz Bathena’s debut novel, A Girl Like That was one of my favourite books of 2018. It was poignant and it broke my heart and so, when I got the chance to read The Beauty of the Moment a little early, I JUMPED. I could see the evolution in Tanaz’s writing, especially in terms of how well-defined her interpersonal relationships were and it was such a joy to read.


MY THOUGHTS:

1.       I loved how Tanaz Bathena managed to capture the quintessential Indian family, with their nuances, flaws and all. It felt REAL to me, as someone living in India with slightly overbearing Indian parents. Even Susan’s mom’s reaction when she showed up drunk for the first time was QUITE HILARIOUSLY ACCURATE.
2.       Slow, well-done romance: I quite liked the romance between Susan and Malcom, their awkwardness and also all the kissing.
3.       The Syrian refugees: It was really touching to see that even though this was a feel good, contemporary novel, that there was so much social responsibility in the characters and empathy.
4.       The art: Susan’s descriptions of her own art and also the art on the cover and also at the start of each chapter.
5.       IT WAS A JUST NICE BOOK, OKAY? It made me feel happy inside after reading a whole string of fantasies that were dark and twisty and I quite loved it.


Would I recommend this book? YES! I’ve read and loved both of Tanaz Bathena’s books so far and I CANNOT RECOMMEND IT ENOUGH. 

Tanaz Bhathena
Tanaz Bhathena was born in Mumbai and raised in Riyadh, Jeddah and Toronto. Her short stories have appeared in various journals, including Blackbird, Witness and Room Magazine. A Girl Like That is her first novel and The Beauty of the Moment her sophomore novel. 
What are some of your favourite conteomprary books?
I'd absolutely love to hear from you!