Review shots: Little Boys in Classics

Review shots: Little Boys in Classics

Do you remember a while ago I made a decision to focus on reading more classics this year? Well, I am definitely sticking to it, more or less. I am happy to announce that there are 7 classics of the 28 books I have read as on date. It seems to me that reading them is a lot simpler than reviewing classics.

Classics with little boys in them

This month on review shots I have picked up three classics that have little boys as one of their main characters. So let us get on with it shall we?

Little Lord Fauntleroy

little boys classics

Author:  Frances Hodgson Burnett 

Genre: Fiction – Children Classics

No. of Pages: 164

This rags to riches children classics revolves around Cedric and his family. His mother and the seven year old Cedric are one of those nice, kind and goody good people who barely make their ends meet in New York City. He is found to the inheritor to earldom in England and his newly found grandfather invites them back home. The grumpy, stubborn Earl already dislikes them even before he meets them.

How the charming boy turns the misanthropic grandfather around forms the rest of the story. I read Little Lord Fauntleroy as a part of the children’s classics challenge and surprisingly have never read it before. 

It is always difficult to review a children’s book given that we are not the target audience. Despite that, I enjoyed this book and it would still be suitable for kids even in the current age. 

Final thought: Clean and charming children’s tale
Recommended to: Children of 4-7 years old. 

Turn of the Screw

little boys classics

Author:  Henry James

Genre: Fiction – Classics Horror

No. of Pages: 131

This is one of the classic horror stories with a twist. When a young governess is given a chance to run a forlorn estate and teach two young and lovely children she decides to do her best. Troubles begin when the young boy is expelled from the school and she starts seeing a shadow man. Smitten by the master of the house and in an attempt to appear competent she decides to solve things by herself.

It appears that there are two dark creatures that want her innocent students and the estate’s haunting past makes it difficult for her to believe it is all her imagination. To make matters worst, the children seem to enjoy these visits and do not seem as innocent as she thought they were. How does she escape the nightmare and does she win in safe keeping the kids form the rest of the story.

I loved the ending that left things for the reader to decide if indeed the haunting was true or it is just an attention seeking behavior of the lonely and lovesick governess. The Turn of the Screw might be tedious read and frankly I was happy that it was a short story, I might have given up if it were any longer.

Final thought: Despite the intriguing story the writing seemed too tedious to enjoy
Recommended to: Classic and horror lovers

The Giver 

little boys classics

Author:  Lois Lowry

Genre: Fiction – Classics, Fantasy

No. of Pages: 204

The Giver is set in a dystopian world where everyone is assigned a job that they are good at when they turn twelve. This perfect world is devoid of colors, emotions and free will. Except for Jonas, who is chosen as the Giver, the receiver of memories – basically the only one who can question anything in the society. 

But when he realizes what people are denied in seeking this apparent utopia, Jonas has a change of mind, He is ready to give up his assigned family and his prestigious role in the society to have a real life. What happens further and did he escape his society forms the rest of the book.

I read The Giver as a part of the Banned book club and I was surprised on why it was banned. While I liked the premise of the book I didn’t end up loving it, like many of my friends did. I understand that this is just the first part of the Giver Quartet and that might be a reason why it was such an underwhelming read for me. 

Final thought: Short novel with bits of sci-fi element to it.
Recommended to: Science fiction lovers 

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Have you read any of these books? What was the last classic you read recently? Do you push yourself to finish a classic even if you don’t enjoy it? Let us chat.

Review shots: Little Boys in Classics

Review shots: A comic, poetry and World War memoir

It has been a while since we spoke about Non Fiction books here, hasn’t it? In the May’s edition of review shots I am going to talk about three different kinds of non fiction – a poetry from a new age poet that I love, a comic about us, and a world war II memoir. Did I pique your interest? So let us get started! 

Disclaimer

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for sharing a copy for review and it no way affected my unbiased and honest opinion.

Love Looks Pretty on You

Author: Lang Leav 

Genre: Non Fiction – Poetry 

No. of Pages: 224

I am sure Lang Leav is no stranger to any of us. And in her sixth book she has brought her magic back. I kept underlining her and highlighting so many of her lines, especially the ones about abuse in relationships and being a strong woman. 

When my best friend told me

she was in love

my first thought was,

‘I hope he is good to her.’

And it suddenly occurred to me,

what I held in my heart for her

was hope, when it should

have been expectation.

I love that her prose/poetry has always been easy to read and relate. I have felt in her earlier works she talks a little too much about heartbreak and being in love for my taste, and there is nothing wrong about that and it is just me, not her. But she has proved herself as a matured writer in this one. 

Final thought: Though monotonous at times, the author moved past from the heartbreaks to more mature subjects. 

Recommended to: If you liked her previous works, this should be on your list as well

Book love

Author: Debbie Tung 

Genre: Non Fiction – Comic

No. of Pages: 143

Have you ever thought about the crazy things that you been doing as a bookworm? Of course I would not blame you because I do them as well. And this book is for you. I can’t recommend this enough to anyone who loves books.

Book love kept me grinning throughout the book because it was all true. And it was as if someone took a peek into my life and just drew them but in a less clumsy way.

Though it would hardly take an hour to finish this one, I would suggest to go through this book slowly and enjoy taking a laugh at yourself. 

Final thought: Catch yourself smiling at the quirky bookworm habits 

Recommended to: Must read for book lovers!

The Zookeeper’s Wife

Author: Diane Ackerman 

Genre: Non Fiction – Historical

No. of Pages: 368

I read The Zookeeper’s Wife for the A-Z reading challenge last year and I have no idea why I had not reviewed it until now, other than the fact that I forgot to. And there is a well known movie as well adapted from this historical drama. 

The invasion of Germany into Poland and the consequent bombing affected not only the people but also the animals that were held in the Polish zoos. The zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski save Jews by letting the stay in the empty cages. The Zookeeper’s wife follows the life of a ‘sorta’ family that socializes with ‘guests’ after the dark and caring for the animals during the day. 

I love reading the Holocaust and WW II novels so I quickly jumped at the chance to read this one. But I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected to. There were more interesting parts, like where Jan tries to help the prisoners escape than the zoo life at home. 

Final thought: Interesting premise even if it is slow and dragging at places

Recommended to: History buffs.

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Have you read any of these books? Do you read poetry as much as you like to? What is your feedback ratio on Netgalley? Let us talk. 

Review shots: Little Boys in Classics

Adulting the right way!: Mini Reviews

As someone who loves to-do lists and makes a lists for making lists, in an attempt to control my chaotic life, I decided to read books that would help me doing that as the first books of the year. Yes I read three books already, and yes they were all non fiction. I am surprised too. 

All the three books are from Netgalley and I was waiting for the new year to begin with them. Now that is adulting right, right? Anyway let me get this pesky disclaimer done with, so that I can start with my monthly review shots!


Disclaimer

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for sharing a copy for review and it no way affected my unbiased and honest opinion.


Hear truths to be who you want to be

Adulting 2019 non fiction

Book Name: Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be

Author: Rachel Hollis 

Genre: Non Fiction – Self help

No. of Pages: 240

Let me start by saying that I have not heard or read about the author before I picked the book, and I did that only because of the hype it created in the blogosphere. 

In Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel talks about how the lies we tell ourselves hold us back and takes us through her own grief and trauma. ‘Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business’ is a quote we should all remember to tell ourselves. #GirlWashYourFace

I liked Rachel’s simple and no nonsense approach to the subject and her enthusiastic writing. And I never felt I was reading a memoir or a self book, the whole book gave a feeling like I was reading a blog and getting to know the blogger slowly and personally. 

The author doesn’t offer great advices or groundbreaking insights, yet I am glad this was my first book of the year. Yes it was inspirational as it was supposed to be, but this is more of a ‘things that worked for me’ kinda list so take it with a grain of salt. 

Final thought: Cheerful and motivational. Take it with a grain of salt.

Recommended to: Twenty something women entrepreneurs especially in a non traditional job.

Warning: May come off as spiritual and religious tone.


Plan your goals and keep at it

Adulting 2019 non fiction

Book Name: You Goal, Girl: A Goal-Setting Workbook (The Totally Approachable, Not-Scary Guides) 

Author: Elise Williams, Meleah Bowles

Genre: Non Fiction – Self help

No. of Pages: 188

You might have read my struggles with being organized and how hard I have been working to make this year and myself better organized. I am glad that Netgalley granted my request to read You Goal, Girl. 

The book is marketed as a workbook, and is rightly so. The writing is definitely motivating and the book itself is very colorful. I finished reading the book itself in less than an hour, but it is the worksheets that will need more than a cursory reading. 

The principles are fairly well known and pretty basic, and the book puts them in a clear perspective, thus makes working on them easier.

If you have a goal setting spreadsheet or a planner, incorporating these ideas into them will be easy. Or you can use these sheets for working them directly, if you have a physical print. 

Final thought: Basic goal planner that works if you want it to

Recommended to: Those who are beginners to goal setting and planning


Knowing why we do what we do

Adulting 2019 non fiction

Book Name:  Mastering Adulthood: Go Beyond Adulting to Become an Emotional Grown-Up 

Author: Lara E. Fielding

Genre: Non Fiction – Self help

No. of Pages: 224

While most of the books in the self help category tell what to do, Mastering Adulthood talks about why and how we do the things we do. It talks about identifying patterns in our behavior, emotions and reactions. 

Mastering Adulthood comes with exercises and QR links to videos which are interesting and will be helpful in the long run. The writing is cheerful yet a bit long winded at places. Some may feel it be patronizing. 

Final thought: Do not let the title fool you. It goes well beyond the adulting that we rant about.

Recommended to: Anyone who is into mindfulness, yoga and CBT


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Do you read non fiction? Have you read any of these books? What was your first book of the year? Let us talk

Review shots: Little Boys in Classics

Review shots: Self help books for those who don’t read non fiction AKA the ultimate self help books starter pack

In this December’s edition of the review shots, I will be reviewing books that got me started with self help. Yes I went through a phase for reading those dreaded self help when I was in my high school.

I just couldn’t get enough of them and they were hard come by because, let us face it, high school libraries were not exactly filled with self help books then. 

All the books I will be reviewing today are short and powerful. They would be the ultimate starter pack for your venture into the self help book world, as they did it for me. 


Self help Starter pack

Book Name: Who Moved My Cheese?

Author: Spencer Johnson

Genre: Non Fiction – Self help

No. of Pages: 96

You can read Who Moved My Cheese? in an hour or lesser.  

It took me a while to understand the impact of the simple yet powerful message, given that I was in high school and I didn’t believe that short books could be important and I was skeptic about the whole self help genre. But the message somehow stayed with me and kept me thinking. 

The book is divided into two parts, a short story and then the relevant message. The basic theme of the books is how to deal with change and the importance of the right attitude in life.

While it is usually classified as a business subject, it is equally possible for anyone if us, including the high school me, to implement them in our life. Currently there is a talk of a possible sequel to this one!

Final thought: Simple and relevant message
Recommended to: Self help book noobs

Self help Starter pack

Book Name: Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

Author: Brian Tracy

Genre: Non Fiction – Self help

No. of Pages: 128

I wish I could say this book changed my life. Well, it didn’t. I am still me and handling priorities and following a schedule are not my forte. But this one came so close. 

I carry a copy of this one everywhere I go because I re-read this once in a while. This book is another 60 minute wonder and the message is not gonna blow your mind or nothing that you haven’t heard of earlier. 

The heading is self explanatory and the basic idea is tackling the hardest task first thing in the morning and your day would be much easier. The book is obviously  not going to work for you if you were going to skim through it and not try to practise it in your life (like I do). 

Final thought: Powerful if you practise it religiously
Recommended to: Self help book noobs

Self help Starter pack

Book Name: Alchemist, The

Author: Paulo Coelho

Genre: Fiction – Self help

No. of Pages: 197

Okay technically the Alchemist is not a non fiction or self help book but it works on the same level. 

Someone said ‘The mark of a good book is it changes every time you read it’ and this is one of those books that worked for me like that. The first time I read it, while still in school, I dismissed it as a kiddish fable. But with the second and third time my views changed. Maybe that it helped that I was in a different phase of life than my earlier attempts.

The book maybe kinda slow and evenly paced. But the philosophical theme that ‘the universe conspires to help us achieve things we want’ is well written and shines through. Yes it may get a bit preachy. Yes you may not agree with the message. But it still is a good book. 

Final thought: philosophical with preachy undertones. 
Recommended to: Self help book noobs

Self help Starter pack

Book Name: Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Author: Richard Bach

Genre: Fiction – Self help

No. of Pages: 112

If you are looking for something motivational to inspire you back to action when nothing works in your favor, this is the one for you.

This book will make you question every one of you belief and that may or not sit will with all the readers, but it is worth keeping our minds open, doesn’t it? Published in early 1970s, the concept is still relevant today as it talks about peer pressure and questioning faith.

While I personally didn’t like this one much, it has been called a classic no less. So it should not hurt to give it a try, right?

Final thought: A classic that didn’t work for me, but it may for you. 
Recommended to: Self help book noobs

Do you read self help book? How many of these books have you read? What is your favorite self book? Let us chat. 

Self help starter pack

Review shots: Little Boys in Classics

Review Shots: Three hyped up books that didn’t turn out well

You know I usually say I never read a book when everyone is talking about it, right? But I am here to show you that I have read some books at the right time. And of course, I forgot to review them right then, which is quite like me of course. 

So in our new episode of review shots, let me tell you about books that were not on my TBR and I read them only because of the hype. Well, that never turns out quite well, does it?


Books that I read only for the hype


Book Name: Everything, Everything

Author: Nicola Yoon

Genre: Fiction – Romance, Young Adult

Hype

Characters: Madeline “Maddy” Furukawa Whittier, Oliver “Olly” Bright, Pauline Furukawa Whittier, Carla Flores

Setting: Los Angeles, California, The USA

This YA took the Twitter world by a storm and I got the book almost immediately to read it. 

Maddy led a very sheltered life all through her life due to her illness. She has never stepped out of her house in years and her mother and her nurse are the only one she interacts with. Them and her book blog. Until a new family moves to their next house. 

I liked the book and would have loved it even until for the twist at the end, which I didn’t see coming at all. I normally would love to be thrown off, but this twist was kinda ‘trying too hard’. I also didn’t like the theme that ‘love conquers all, even illness’ that kept surfacing. 

I loved reading the story, for the cutesy cheesy love story but it didn’t win my approval. 


Book Name: Turtles All the Way Down

Author: John Green

Genre: Fiction – Romance, Young Adult

Hype

Characters: Aza Holmes, Davis Pickett, Daisy Ramirez, Mychal Turner, Noah Pickett

Setting: Indianapolis, Indiana, The USA

You all  know my beef with John Green.

This book had everything that the book world is talking about and needs now. Turtles All the Way Down has #Ownvoice leads, one of whom suffers from mental illness and a mystery the leads had to solve in relation to their parents. Sounds all good to me.

Yet I could not relate to the characters at all, nor did I buy their ‘love story’. Did I mention this book had an absentee parent as well? I know lots of people loved this book but for me it ended as a so-so read because of these reasons and more. 

I wanted to like it more than it deserved any way. And probably will stay away from John Green hereon. 


Book Name: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry 

Author: Fredrik Backman

Genre: Fiction – Drama

Hype

Characters:  Elsa, Granny, Alf, Britt-Marie, Kent, Ulrika, Lissete, George

Setting: Sweden

Oh I loved Backman’s other book A Man Called Ove and I started reading this one almost immediately. But it took me more than a month to finish this 350 and odd pages and I will tell you why.

The precocious ‘almost eight’ years old Elsa has just lost her grandmother to cancer. Her grandmother was also her best and only friend, who kept her safe at night with the tales of the Land of Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas. 

Now she is set with the task of handing over apology notes to the wacky characters in their apartment for her grandmother’s past and getting to know more about them and her family as well. 

I liked the concept of the book and how the little girl learnt to deal with all the changes and new people in her life. I loved many of these characters and their sub plots. But the book totally went over my head when it came to the imaginary land and its people. 

Maybe there is a reason to why I don’t read fantasy much. 


Bottom – line

Of course I don’t regret reading them at all. But I wish I hadn’t tried as hard to like them and gave up when I should have. Well, lesson learnt. Maybe.

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Hype

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Do you read books because everyone is reading them? Are there books that you have read only because of the hype and that didn’t turn out as expected? Let us talk.

hype

Review shots: Little Boys in Classics

Review Shots: It is all about family and friendships

It has been a while since I posted these review shots but here I am. I will be posting these mini reviews on the first Monday of every month, as per my old schedule. And I have a huge review backlog so I will utilizing this chance perfectly. 

This week I have three books that everyone, well almost everyone, I know has read already and everything that is to be said about them has been said. So I am gonna make them short and quick, a.k.a bite sized mine reviews. 


Book Name: Simon and the homo sapiens agenda

Series: Creekwood #1

Author:  Becky Albertalli

Genre: Fiction – Romance, LGBTQAYoung Adult

Characters: Simon Spier, Martin Addison, Abby Suso, Nick Eisner, Leah Burke

Setting: Shady Creek, Georgia, The USA

This book put a smile on my face. I started to read the book just before I watched the movie, as per my usual rule. And I didn’t want to end at all.

Every character was freaking adorable and well adorable. It is a simple boy meets boy story with a hint of mystery angle in it. The writing was so perfect that I read another one of the author’s books. Everyone should read this one. 

I loved that the book asked the correct questions about LGBTQA, without being too preachy about it. It also spoke about friendship and family support.


Book Name: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Author: Jenny Han

Genre: Fiction – Romance, Young Adult

Characters: Lara Jean, Peter Kavinsky, Kitty, Margot, Josh

Setting: Charlottesville, Virginia, The USA

I will be reviewing the whole series than each book, as I read them in one shot without stopping between them. I usually don’t love book series but this one bowled me over.

The story revolves around Lara Jean, an introvert who writes letters to her crushes to get it out of her system. Unexpectedly those get delivered to all those boys and hilarity ensues. The leads are so relatable and again family relationships and friendships form a big role in the series. 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a a cute story that was converted to a Netflix film just a while ago due to the hype it created. And I assure you the film does not disappoint as well.


Book Name: Nordic King

Author: Karina Halle

Genre: Fiction – Romance, Contemporary

Characters: Aurora, King Askel, Clara and Freja

Setting: Copenhagen, Denmark

Aurora is selected to be the new nanny for the Nordic royal family. She is from the Australian outbacks and is no way considered fit to be teaching the royal princess or to be the King’s new girl friend – or is she? 

Even though the plot is kinda predictable I enjoyed reading this one. I liked the family dynamics and the friendship between the kids and their nanny. Perfect for a cold afternoon read with cup of coffee. 

So how did you like these books? Do you do mini reviews on your blog? Do you like reading them? Let us talk about it.

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