Terrible summer is here!: Sunday Musings #122

Terrible summer is here!: Sunday Musings #122

The dreadful summer is here. And I know I have been talking about it for a long time now. But here it is really now. And it has been horrible.

Here is a news article on how it is going to be the hottest summer(50+C or 122+F) in the Middle East. In the last two weeks, UAE had recorded 51C thrice.

Well, we are feeling it already, even though it is barely summer, which is usually around July – August. And even though the temperature says 35- 40C, the feel like has been 48-52C.

Thankfully I live in an apartment that has about 7-8 large trees around, so we don’t feel it all the time. But we have started switching on our air-cons during the day as well.

On other news, as I mentioned in my previous post I have been going on walks in the nights. And I have been posting on photos of my walks on Instagram stories. Do check them out if you want to have a glimpse of my city.

What I read this week

I have been The Cousins by Karen M McManus this week. And it is my last desperate attempt to kick away the reader’s slump. I can see barely working, though.

Fingers crossed.

What I watched this week

We caught up two new movies at the Cinemas this week and it has been almost a year since we went to such close and confined spaces.

But fortunately, the social distancing restrictions were pretty much well maintained and my nervousness eased up quickly.

  • Conjuring – 3 – it was a bit of disappointment when you compare it with the other movies in the franchise.
  • A quiet place 2 – I liked it. And it was more of a thriller than the Conjuring 3 movie.

On my blog

In case you missed the posts from my blog, last week.

8 Common grammar mistakes to avoid while writing

Common grammar mistakes in writing Featured

The Justice by Nikhil Khasnabish – A book review

Justice by Nikhil Khasnabish Book review featured

Hot girl summer and May’21 updates:: Sunday Musings #121 monthly wrap

I will be linking today’s post with Caffeinated reviewer’s Sunday post Meme.

Around the blogosphere

Some of the interesting posts I found recently.

From the Insta-world

Here is what I posted on Instagram during the week. Give me a follow, will you?

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Let us chat

How has your week been? What are you doing these summer days? Has the weather been kinder to you? Let’s talk.

Terrible summer is here!: Sunday Musings #122

8 Common grammar mistakes to avoid while writing

Does writing seem daunting to you? For most people, writing doesn’t comes naturally. Here are few most common grammar mistakes in writing that even writers miss. I hope the list help you to avoid them and help you write like a pro!

Common grammar mistakes in writing

As someone who grew up with a healthy dose of books as a part of her childhood, the love for the language and grammar came to me quite easily. But not everyone has the time or interest to do that. Even if you are a native speaker, sometimes these pesky English grammar might get the best of you.

So I put together this nifty list of common grammar mistakes we tend to make while writing to avoid that scenario and the embarrassment.

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1) Mixing up common words

Writing in English can be tough, especially if it is not your native language. And one of the most cruel inventions of the language would be the homophones.

I can hear your “the what now?” already.

Homophones are pair of words that sound the same, but have different spelling and different meanings. Some of them are:

  • Your or you’re
  • It’s or Its
  • Their or there or they’re
  • Lose or Loose
  • Bear or bare
  • Whether or weather
  • Principal or principle
  • Stationary or Stationery

And for obvious reasons, they are one of the most common mistakes people make while writing. All you have to remember which one goes where and you are set for life.

2) Using a wrong word

Not just similar sounding words, but there are few other notorious word pairs that people commonly substitute for.

  • I was or I were
  • Then or than
  • Few or Less
  • Accept or except
  • Could Of or Could Have
  • Who or Whom
  • Affect or effect

Take a minute to understand the differences between them and learn to using them appropriately could save some embarrassment in the future.

3) Misusing Commas

Slewing commas randomly in a sentence is not only annoying but also can make the sentence muddled. Neither does missing a comma.

Where do we commonly mess up when using a comma?

  • The notorious Oxford commas – just add one before the and when it is a series of items
  • Missing a comma when you address directly

Example: Let’s eat, Grandma! Vs Let’s eat Grandma!

  • Missing a comma before a conjunction (for, and, but etc) joining two independent clauses
  • Missing a comma in case of appositives

Example: Emma, Anna’s sister, just arrived.

The comma rules are, I agree, generally confusing. But if you avoid these most common mistakes, you are almost there.

4) More active, less passive

While it is not grammatically wrong to choose passive sentences in general, using too many of them is a sure shot way to lose the attention of your reader.

Let me give a very simple example:

Passive: It is a young adult book that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
Active: People of all ages can enjoy this young adult book.

Also passive voice sentence tend to be more confusing, especially when they are longer. An easy rule to remember is to avoid “is/was” and “by the subject” when framing sentences.

5) (Ab)using quotation marks to add emphasis or irony

I think this is one of my pet peeves.

It annoys me when people use quotation mark to emphasis a word. While It is one thing to use “air quotes” when you talk, using them in business writing context is just plain wrong.

It creates a sort of ambiguity in the reader’s mind about the intention of the writer. Would you “trust” someone who writes “so good”?

Use quotation marks where they are supposed to be – when you quote someone.

6) Improper use of the apostrophe

Apostrophe is one of my favorite punctuation marks. Yes, I have a favorite punctuation marks and it is not that weird given I am a writer!

And the rules regarding the apostrophes are not that difficult, but unfortunately they are one of the most common mistakes in writing.

An apostrophe mark is usually used to show possession (Gayathri’s notebook) or contraction (She’s read it already). There are other cases, but let’s not go into details.

Instead, let me tell you where an apostrophe is wrongly used

  • Never use it with a possessive pronoun like hers, his, theirs. (No more hers’ or who’s)
  • When it is a plural form, use it after the -s. (Example: Teachers’ lounge, dogs’ park)

7) Vague and ambiguous pronouns

Any good writer strives for clarity in his sentences. And nothing kills that clarity faster than a vague pronoun. A vague pronoun usually includes it, this, that and which.

Example: Emma told Anna that she would meet Carol.
Who is the “she” in the above sentence? Is it Emma or Anna that will be meeting Carol?

8) Parallelism

Parallelism refers to a matching or parallel grammatical structure within a sentence, much like its geometry namesake. Generally it means there is a repetition of elements, tenses and ideas.

Parallelism makes a sentence concise and easier to read.

Example: We drove through the desert, swam in the seas and living in a tent.
Correct: We drove through the desert, swam in the seas and lived in a tent. (tense has to match)

Example 2: The girls went to back to their respective house.
Correct: The girls went to back to their respective houses. (Plural form should match)

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Let’s talk

Which of these common grammar mistakes got the best of you? Do you love English grammar and writing like I do? Do you have a favorite punctuation mark? Let us chat.

Terrible summer is here!: Sunday Musings #122

The Justice by Nikhil Khasnabish – A book review

As soon as I had the chance, I jumped at the chance of reading The Justice when I heard it was a book based on a true survivor of rape and sexual abuse. Did it work for me? You have to read my book review of The Justice by Nikhil Khasnabish to know more.

About The Justice

The Justice by Nikhil Khasnabish book review

Book Name: The Justice

Author: Nikhil Khasnabish

Genre: Fiction – Romance

Characters: Ime Borah, Zumur, Pranati and Pinto, Uddipan

Setting: Assam, India

Disclaimer: The review was commissioned by the author and it has not changed my opinion on the book any manner.

Plot Summary of The Justice

Ime Borah has had a sheltered and happy life. A parents who loved her, supportive friends and a fiancé who can’t wait to marry her.

But her whole life changes when she is raped by two men. Her parents do not let her out of their sight or their house and her best friend broke up with her. Most importantly, Ime decides to call off her wedding because she knows “she is stained”.

Her area’s local vigilante group, Save Women Society, take it upon themselves to find her rapists. Does justice prevail? Do the culprits get captured? Does she get her life back forms the rest of The Justice by Nikhil Khasnabish.

Book review of The Justice

The Justice by Nikhil Khasnabish is a fast paced, short book that can be read in an hour or so. It is written in an Indianized English and is filled with phrases like “cut the call”.

To be honest, I spent a lot of time thinking if it was just me or it was normal to feel grated by that but I have been called a snob. So take my warning with a pinch of salt.

But one thing that actually annoyed me was Ime’s constant beratement of herself and considering herself stained because she is raped. While I understand that the rape victims may do that, I could feel that it was overdone.

I know I maybe overreacting (or underreacting, I have not decided which yet), but this has theme has been on the Indian mass media and literature for far too long. It is high time we put an end to it.

I liked some of the background stories of the side characters like Sirco-ji. But after a point, these became a white noise as there were too many to recount.

I wished I saw more of Uddipan, instead of just hearing from Ime to understand about their relationship better. Like most parts of the book, I had go by the author’s narrative telling, instead of him showing it.

What worked for me

  • I loved hearing about the stories of other side characters from Assam, a state that I have a soft corner for.
  • Many people I know, may love reading the localized/Indianized version of English.

What may have been better

  • There were many instances of telling instead of showing. And that bothered with the narrative.
  • I hated the victim shaming and treating being raped as a stain and considering the victim worthless after that.

Content warning

Brutal rape, mentions of stalking and raping the victims, Victim shaming and considering being raped an indelible stain, cases of “men writing women”.

Bottom line

The Justice by Nikhil Khasnabish is a short book that you can finish in a sitting. Read it if you are looking for an “Indian writing in English” book.

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Have you read The Justice by Nikhil Khasnabish? What other books can you suggest that are written by survivors of rape and sexual assault? Let us talk.

Terrible summer is here!: Sunday Musings #122

Hot girl summer and May’21 updates:: Sunday Musings #121 monthly wrap

Everyone is talking about the ultimate “hot girl summer” plans but here, I am dreading the summer. Well, that is sorta usual if you stay in a hot desert like I do.

Long story short, the summer is almost here and we are perfectly ready to “be roasted if you step out” during the day. But the nights are fairly pleasant, still.

And I am utilizing those few cooler nights to go on a walk (with masks on and socially distancing) these days.

Quick May’21 updates

What was your May’21 like?

  • We are all trying to enjoy the last few days before scorching hot summer. So we found the parking full and crowded where we go. And obviously I hate it.
  • There is still a ban on flying into UAE, and many other countries, from India, due to COVID. So I have a couple of friends who are still stranded there and trying to come back to their family and work in here.
  • I had a full on reader slump and I barely read two books. And I am so behind on my reading challenges.

What I read this month

I read just two books in May’21 and they were quite short ones. But in my defense I had a terrible case of slump and didnt feel like reading anything. Hopefully June would be better.

What I watched this month

I watched quite a bit of TV in May, thanks to all these time I saved not reading anything. Sigh. But here we are.

  • Line of duty S6
  • Rewatched The boys S1 & 2
  • Rewatched Superstore all seasons

Currently watching Mom S5 on Prime

On my blog

Book Reviews from May’21

Sunday personal posts from the month

Other posts from the month

I will be linking today’s post with Caffeinated reviewer’s Sunday post Meme.

From the Insta-world

Here is what I posted on Instagram during the month. Give me a follow, will you?

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Let us chat

What has your May’21 been like? Do you like weather wherever you live at? What are your hot girl summer plans? Let’s talk.

Terrible summer is here!: Sunday Musings #122

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index- A book review

I came across this book when I was scouting a book for the letter J for my A to Z 2020 challenge. Unfortunately, I ended up reading The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner then. But I finally got to read this on quite recently. Ready to read my book review of Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel?

About Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index

Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index- A book review

Book Name: Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index

Author: Julie Israel

Genre: Fiction – RomanceYoung adult

Characters: Juniper and Camilla Lemon, Kody, Brand Sayers, Nate, Angela

Setting: OregonThe USA

Plot Summary of Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index

Juniper Lemon recently lost her sister Camilla. She and her family are trying to cope up with the loss and grief, but not so well. To make it worse, her best friend would not talk to her either.

The only thing that is holding Juniper up was continuing her Camilla’s ritual of writing down positive things for each day. And then she loses an index card. The index card that has a memory that the world can’t know about.

Juniper knows she has to find it right away. Also she comes to know that her sister had a special someone, someone Juniper knew nothing about.

Does Juniper lemon find her happiness index card? Who was this “You” in Camilla’s life? Did Juniper ever meet them? You will have to read Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel to find out.

Book review of Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel talks a lot about grief and loss of a beloved. And they way they deal (or not deal) with it. And I loved how Juniper/Julie Israel talks of grief and resonated with me personally. I really wanted to hug her tightly for a minute.

The book also has some cliché young adult drama. But they somehow felt right, to me. Watch out for the character development of the female lead, Juniper. From someone annoying and nosy she does grow up fast.

I loved how Juniper ended being friends with people she normally won’t have spoken to. The dialogues and banter between the friends were witty and I enjoyed reading. I flew through the book in a sitting.

What worked for me

  • This is YA book that focuses on grief over the loss of a beloved and unexpected friendships.
  • I loved the banter and witty dialogues between the friends.
  • Perfect character development for Juniper and other characters were also fully fleshed.

What may have been better

  • I wished I learned more about her family and their bonding.
  • I think the romance angle could have been avoided. But I understand that it is inevitable.

Content warning

Loss and grief over the loss of a sibling, Teacher-student relationship (hinted), Car accident, parental abuse and negligence

Bottom line

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel is a typical coming of age book that handles heavier topic like grief and loss of a sibling. For a book dealing over so much grief, it didn’t end up to be a sad book. And that is win for me!

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Have you read Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel? Can you suggest other young adult books that deal with grief and loss of a sibling? Let us talk.