Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy- A book review

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy- A book review

Dumplin’ has been on my book shelf forever now. And I can’t understand how I didn’t read it already, especially with all the praises the book and the movie got. Anyway, did it fare well on my reading scale? Read my book review of Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy right away.

About Dumplin’

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy book cover

Book Name: Dumplin’

Author: Julie Murphy

Genre: Fiction – RomanceYoung adult

Characters: Willowdean Dickson (Dumplin’), Ellen, Bo Larson, Mitch

Setting: Clover City, Texas, The USA

Plot Summary of Dumplin’

Willowdean is the “resident fat girl” (her own words) and is quite happy in her own body – mostly. With her best friend Ellen, a conventional beauty, by her side she doesn’t care much about others opinion her body, including her mother’s – a former beauty queen herself.

But she is more than surprised to find that her crush, Bo Larson, likes her back. She needs some validation as doubts about her body creep into her mind. Of course she has to do something Will would never dare to do, normally.

With some more unlikely candidates on tow, she signs up for the Miss Clover City beauty pageant to show herself and the others that she deserves to a spot as much as every other girl there.

Does she get the boy? More importantly, does she get her much deserved space in the beauty pageantry? You will have to read Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy to know more.

Book review of Dumplin’

First of all, I loved Willowdean, mostly. I loved that she is flawed yet strong and so well developed. Actually, none of the characters in the book are flawless or perfect. Most of them are dimensional and etched out.

I understand the insecurities that Will faces all through her life and why she reacts the way she does (a bit self centered) at times. And it totally worked for me, especially since “losing her weight” or “romance/a boy” were not prescribed as the solutions.

I loved the complicated mother-daughter relationship and how differently each person handles the grief over a losing someone beloved. I kept waiting for Will to shout at her mother for being so pushy about the diet and losing weight, though it would have been a bit cliché.

On the other hand, I didn’t like how she treats her friends and boy friends at all. She was being too mean and inconsiderate to her new friends, in general and it was not addressed in the book.

Secondly that the resolution was quite abrupt.
Spoiler I found it a little odd that Ellen and Will made up so easily at the pageant, out of nowhere. They could have done it any time. I wish it took more than a speech to solve that issue.

What worked for me

  • I loved the whole Dolly Parton fan theme. Many song references went over my head, but on the whole I enjoyed reading about it.
  • Most of the characters in Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy were flawed and fully fleshed out. And I really liked that.
  • I also liked the complicated mother daughter relationship dynamic.

What may have been better

  • I particularly disliked how Will treated others, especially her new friends.
  • This book has a triangular love story. So if you hate that trope, beware.

Content warning

Body shaming, bullying, Fat shaming, grieving the death of a beloved, forced diet and weight loss (mentioned)

Bottom line

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy is a light contemporary read which is (mostly) body positive and sends a powerful message. It is perfect for both young and adult readers.

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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy- A book review

Boy Who Steals Houses, The by CG Drew – A book review

I seriously don’t know why and how had I not read this book earlier. I loved the author’s debut book A Thousand Perfect Notes, and I absolutely adore Cait’s (the author) blog. So what’s my verdict on this one? Read my book review on The Boy Who Steals Houses by C G Drew to find out.

Boy Who Steals Houses book cover

About The Boy Who Steals Houses

Book Name: The Boy Who Steals Houses

Author: C G Drew

Genre: Fiction – RomanceYoung adult

Characters: Sam and Avery Lou, Moxie, Jack, Jeremy De Lainey

Plot Summary of The Boy Who Steals Houses

15 year old Sam Lou is a homeless teenager, who breaks into empty houses just to find somewhere safe to sleep. He and his older brother Avery have been on the run for sometime now.

All through his life, Sam has been the adult and takes care of Avery, who is on the Autism spectrum. When all the adults in their family fail, Sam had to grow up too quickly and all he ever wanted was a safe home where he belonged with Avery.

But when Avery falls into a bad crowd, Sam is left all alone to fend himself. When he breaks into an “empty house” he realizes what he has been missing all these days.

Does he have to choose between feeling belonged to a family and Avery? If yes, what would he choose? You might have to read The Boy Who Steals Houses by C G Drew to know more.

Book review of The Boy Who Steals Houses

This book will break your heart. Do not come at me when you are a mess trying not to cry – but in a good way.

I absolutely adored every character and I wanted to protect Sam and Avery from any harm ever. And there will be a warm and sunshine-y place for the DeLaineys in my heart forever.

I was a bit worried about how The Boy Who Steals Houses would ever stand up to the expectations that C G Drew had created after her fantastic debut A Thousand Perfect Notes. But the author has proved her worth and it does more than expected.

This book is not too long and I finished in two short sittings. I can understand that it was written for a younger audience but that fact didn’t reduce the pleasure I had reading the book.

What worked for me

  • The characters. I love how fleshed out each of them were and I loved them all.
  • I love the world building and the lyrical writing. C G Drew proves that she is YA writer we all have to watch out for.
  • Though written for a younger audience, The Boy Who Steals Houses will work for all ages well.
  • It is an own voice book and the author herself is on the Autism spectrum. And I think it shows.

What may have been better

  • NOTHING AT ALL.

Content warning

Child abuse and Parental negligence, death of parent, ablest terms

Bottom line

The Boy Who Steals Houses by C G Drew is easily one of the favorite books of the year. Pick it up if you are looking some heart warming characters right away.

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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy- A book review

Lies We Bury by Elle Marr – A book review

Do you trust blurbs that compare book titles? Do they work for you? Lies We Bury by Elle Marr was recommended for the readers of “Room”. Read my book review of Lies We Bury to Elle Marr to know if it worked for me.

About Lies We Bury

Lies We Bury by Elle Marr Book review

Book Name: Lies We Bury

Author: Elle Marr

Genre: Fiction – Thriller

Characters: Marissa Mo (Clariss Lou), Jenessa, Lily, Rosemary, Nora, Chet, Shia Tua

Setting: PortlandOregon, The USA

Thanks to Netgalley and Megan Beatie Communications for the free e-copy.

Plot Summary of Lies We Bury

It has been twenty years since Marissa escaped the only place she had known – a basement prison. She reinvented herself a couple of times and now with a new name, a new city and a job as a freelance photographer she moves back to Portland. She decides she has moved on from the trauma, finally.

But it is all happening again.

When she has to cover a series murders in the underground tunnels of Portland, it is too close to home. And to make matters worse, she keeps finding small trinkets from her distant past all over the crime scene.

Is someone trying to frame her as the murderer? Or is it a weird copycat who is commemorating the release of her imprisoner? Read Lies We Bury by Elle Marr to know more.

Book review of Lies We Bury

I started reading Lies We Bury by Elle Marr without much expectations and was pleasantly surprised.

With two alternating timelines (present day and from twenty years ago), Lies We Bury follows Claire trying to navigate her adult life while completely ignoring her past trauma.

Claire is not particularly likeable. Her actions were not well thought through, especially when it is apparent that she is wrong. Well, that could be off putting and annoying after a while.

I am a sucker for books with psycho/serial killers, Lies We Bury seems to have it all. It made me guess and then second guess every person. Trust me, there were many out there. Though the ending may have been duller than what I had in my mind, it made sense. No complaints there.

What worked for me

  • Reading the past based on a seven year old’s version made it all the more real.
  • I liked the broken and dysfunctional relationship that Claire has with each of her sisters and the love for all the mothers.

What may have been better

  • The main lead may get on the nerves with her bad decisions and may be off putting for a few.

Content warning

Physical and sexual abuse, imprisonment,

Bottom line

Lies We Bury by Elle Marr is fast paced thriller that will keep you hooked till the end. Yes, it is similar to “Room” but with a darker future. I will definitely be on the look out for the author’s other books.

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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy- A book review

Beach Read by Emily Henry – A book review

I hoped I will like Beach Read by Emily Henry, especially after hearing raving reviews from all over the blogosphere. But when I found out that it was about two writers, I knew I was going to love it. Did that happen so for me?

Read my book review of Beach Read by Emily Henry to know more.

About Beach Read

Beach Read by Emily Henry Book cover

Book Name: Beach Read

Author: Emily Henry

Genre: Fiction – Romance

Characters: Augustus Everett, January Andrews, Peet,

Setting: MichiganThe USA

Plot Summary of Beach Read

January Andrews, a romance writer, gives up her belief in love when she hears some life shattering news at her father’s funeral. And that pushes her into a writer’s slump and a financial crunch.

What happens when a romance writer stops believing in love and romance? Ask January Andrews. Her father is dead and she comes to know that her parents’ marriage was not a fairy tale romance as she grew up believing.

Now she is in a writing slump, her mother is not speaking to her and she has to go to her father’s cabin for the summer, because that is all she can afford to, anymore.

To make matters worst, her neighbor is her college nemesis, someone who ridiculed her women centric romance novels.

Does the summer get any better for January? Can she win over her toughest critic? You have to read Beach Read by Emily Henry to know more.

Book review of Beach Read

As a bibliophile, I love reading about writers, and a romance with two writers was just a perfect way to spend my afternoon.

Despite that Beach Read was a bit hard to get into. Of course, it could have been a totally “me” situation. But it is not exactly a fun read that the book cover or the blurb made it out to be.

I loved the witty banter between the main characters and Beach Read was more than a rom-com or just a romance. It deals with many intense topics like grief, loss and infidelity.

The best part about reading Beach Read is getting to know the working process of two different writers and understanding what goes inside their brains. I enjoyed that entirely.

What worked for me

  • I loved the witty banter and lively romance of the lead pair.
  • Beach Read deals with intense topics like grief and infidelity and is more than just a romance book.
  • If you want to see what goes behind your favorite author’s brain, Beach Read might show a glimpse of their writing process.

What may have been better

  • If you are looking for a breezy read, Beach Read may prove a bit beyond that. But that may not be a bad thing.

Content warning

Mention of a cult, past mentions of child abuse and domestic abuse, mentions of breast cancer and chemo, adultery, death of a parent.

Bottom line

Beach Read by Emily Henry is a well written romance book that deals with grief and loss. If you wanna read a book about writers writing your favorite book, this might be a great choice.

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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy- A book review

Before the Coffee Gets Cold – A book review

Yet another time travel book this year. If you had a chance to travel back (or forward) in time, whom would you meet and what will you ask them? Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi runs around this theme and let us get on to my book review right away.

About Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Book Name: Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Author: Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Genre: Fiction – Drama,

Characters: Kazu, Nagare and Kei, Fusagi and Kohtake

Setting: Tokyo, Japan

Plot Summary of Before the Coffee Gets Cold

The Funiculi Funicula is a basement cafe that has an ambient temperature whatever be the time of the day or season outside, despite no apparent air conditioning. Urban legend holds that its patrons can travel in time by following some rules and certain ritual.

But the catch is that, the trip would bear no impact to the present or future. And the opportunity to travel in time is also rare – only when a particular seat is vacant.

Four different patrons take their chances to time travel even though they know they cannot change their history. Did they make it back safely? What did they want to do so important that they risk getting stuck in a forever loop?

Read Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi to know more.

Book review of Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi consists of four interlinked short stories of four patrons of the cafe who want to travel in time, and seek someone special.

The premise is quite interesting and simple. But it works well because of the characters, despite the straight forward plot.

I loved the three café workers and their relationships with these patrons. While they are not traveling in time, they understand why it is important for these four to do so and they almost hold their breath until they return from their trip (or not.)

The book is quintessentially Japanese, or East Asian. When I learnt that Before the Coffee Gets Cold was initially written as a play, it made more sense about why everything was overexplained and had minimal descriptions.

What worked for me

  • Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a character driven book and if you are not one for them, this book might bore you soon enough.
  • I loved Kazu, Kei and Nagare and I really hope to seeing more of them in the next part of the book.
  • The book is hopeful and bittersweet. And if you are particularly emotional type, this book might overwhelm you (in a good way).

What may have been better

  • There are times when the writing gets sloppy and repetitive. I am not sure if it is an issue with the translation or the writing itself.

Bottom line

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi might be the next bittersweet book you might be looking for. If you are looking Asian or Japanese books to read, Before the Coffee Gets Cold should be next pick.

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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy- A book review

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – A book review

I had been putting aside Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, who is one of my favorite authors, for a while, even when I was almost sure that I will like it. I just wanted savor it but when the dreadful slump threatened, I had to bring in the big gun.

So did Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn work well for me? Was it worth the hype and will I be watching the Amy Adams starring HBO series? You will have to read my book review of Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn to know more.

About Sharp Objects

Book Name: Sharp Objects

Author: Gillian Flynn

Genre: Fiction – Psychological Thriller

Characters: Camille Preaker, Amma, Adora, Alan and Marian Crellin, Chief Bill Vickery, Frank Curry, Richard Willis, Natalie and John Keene

Setting: Wind Gap, MissouriThe USA

Plot Summary of Sharp Objects

Camille Preaker has been offered a chance to redeem her career as a journalist and her position with her chief, who has been always by her side even during her recent stint at the psych ward.

All she has to do is return to her hometown and cover the unsolved murder of a pre-teen girl and the recent disappearance of another.

While Camille is no way ready for visiting her hometown, but she does it anyway. She hasn’t spoken to her obsessive mother (Adora) in years and barely knows her half sister Amma.

With an uncooperative local Sheriff and handsom Kansas City detective on tow, Camille finds herself not just covering the story but finding the murderer who removes the teeth from his victims.

Will Camille be able to dig through the mystery, without awakening her demons from the past? What’s the deal with her family and her past? Grab a copy of Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and read it right away.

Book review of Sharp Objects

I should start with a huge disclaimer: I am a huge fan of Gillian Flynn and I have read all her books including her novella. She is one of those authors that I would recommend to anyone looking for a fast psychological thriller or a new reader.

And I am glad to announce that Flynn didn’t disappoint me at all with Sharp Objects. Yes, it is apparent that it is not as nuanced as her later works, but it is still as dark as her books are usually. Fans of dark pasts and dysfunctional families, you won’t be disappointed.

I guessed the killer at about 70% of the book but I think Sharp Objects was more than just finding the murderer. It has always been about the characters themselves for me, which were fully developed and intriguing in their own ways.

If you have read Gone girl and/or Dark places, you know what you are in for and you will love it.

What worked for me

  • No one writes dark and damaged characters like Flynn and I have come to expect them in all her novels.
  • I love how motherhood was a subtle theme all through the book. Even the last article that Camille was working on before returning home was about a mother who abandons her kids for some drugs to her own mother who hugged her “ferociously”.
  • Sharp Objects is set in a small town (I am a huge fan of those) that is creepy and closed in equal parts.

What may have been better

  • You may not like the protagonist at all. And Camille just makes it hard to root for her and her actions gets only desperate and irrational after a while. (I like such characters, but just a warning for those of you who don’t like books with unlikeable protagonists.)
  • The whodunnit part can be figured out or at least guessed before it happens. So if you are in just for the mystery part of it, Sharp Objects might seem predictable.

Content warningy

Self harm (cutting), parental neglect and abuse, mentions of underage sex and rape, recreational drugs.

Bottom line

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn is an engrossing thriller that will stay with you for a long time if you like twisted and dark characters and dysfunctional families. Flynn doesn’t disappoint her fans with Sharp Objects at all.

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