The Friday 56: My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

WINNIE: We need to talk, Raj
WINNIE: I don’t know why you’re avoiding me, but if we’re going to work together. . .

WINNIE: Seriously, what the hell, Raj????”

I’m late to this week’s Friday 56! This week I am spotlighting my currently read, Nisha Sharma’s My So-Called Bollywood Life. I’m really enjoying this contemporary. The narration is so funny and I love that it embraces this dramatic tone, which fits really well with the story. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soulmate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her 18th birthday, and Raj meets all of the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Worse, Raj is crowned chair of the student film festival, a spot Winnie was counting on for her film school applications. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.
      Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek, and one of the few people Winnie can count on to help her reclaim control of her story. Dev is smart, charming, and challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope to find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy, and her chance to live happily ever after? To get her Bollywood-like life on track, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star.”

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Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Resigns I Like

Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. and is currently being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is “Cover Redesigns I Loved/Hated (submitted by Rachelle @ Shell’s Stories).” It’s tempting to go with cover redesigns I hated, but I thought I’d stay positive for this Top Ten Tuesday topic. And since I am horrible at remembering which covers got redesigned, I only have a few to share with you this week. Covers are linked to Goodreads.

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1. His Fair Assassin by Robin LaFevers – I have the hardcover editions of the original trilogy, so won’t be doling out more cash for the paperback redesigns, but they are so pretty. I have the hardback of Courting Darkness and that thing is so gorgeous. I can only imagine what these books would look like if they were hardbacks. I might be tempted to buy them.

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2. Vicious by V.E. Schwab – Here I was thinking I got my edition of Vicious early, so I wouldn’t have to worry about them running out or anything. Then they go and redesign the covers. I really like the new covers and now it’s inevitable that if I end up loving Vicious, I’m going to end up with a mismatched series on my shelf. **shakes fist at the universe**

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3. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – I actually don’t mind either of these designs. I really like the original ones, especially with the gorgeous endpapers inside, but there is just something really eye-catching about these latest paperback editions. I think it’s the colors, I’m just really drawn to them.

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4. Brooklyn Brujas by Zoraida Cordova – I have the original hardcover edition of Labyrinth Lost, but then they changed the covers and the sequel Bruja Born only matches the redesign. I don’t mind so much, I just kind of wish Labyrinth Lost was available in hardcover with the redesigned cover, so I could own both.

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5. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao – I really liked the original design for this duology, but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t something really lovely about these cover redesigns. Also, does the original feature the snake every cover has been rocking lately? This one did it first!

What’s your favorite cover redesign? Which of these do you like best? Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your own TTT post, so I can visit!

Snapshot (ARC) Review: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Title: House of Salt and Sorrows
Author: Erin A. Craig
Series: N/A
Pages: 426
Publisher: Delacorte
Release Date: August 6th 2019

*I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley which does not influence my review*

TW: mention of suicide, stillbirth

      “In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.
      Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.
      Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?
      When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.”

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  • Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling – There are multiple Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Snow White retellings, but I’ve always been partial to the Twelve Dancing Princesses. Erin A. Craig’s interpretation of the tale is familiar enough for those who enjoy the original, but takes plenty of liberties that will keep readers on their toes.
  • The mysteryHouse of Salt and Sorrows is more plot-based than character-driven and while I usually gravitate toward the latter, I became really invested in the mystery surrounding the deaths of the Thaumas’s daughters.
  • Horror elements – I did not expect this one to get so dark, but the lead character Annaleigh has strange nightmares, is troubled by the chilling things her younger sister shares with her about their dead sisters, and eventually begins to see apparitions with nefarious intentions.
  • The world-building (for the most part) – While I would argue that the novel could have delved deeper when it came to world-building, there were several elements that I really enjoyed including the mythology of this world.

  • Character development – I really wanted to see the characters in the novel grow more, but it never really felt like any of them necessarily changed throughout the course of the novel.
  •  The first half – I ended up liking the second-half of the novel a whole lot more than the first. It’s not a slow start, but nothing in the first half made it stand out for me and I kept comparing it to the masterpiece that is Juliet Marillier’s Wildwood Dancing, my personal favorite Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling.
  • Annaleigh’s romance arc – I go back and forth between whether I liked where the author took this storyline or whether it just fell flat for me. On one hand, it felt very fairytale-esque with Annaleigh’s first meeting her love interest and eventually finding out there’s more to him than meets the eye, but on the other hand, I’m not sure this part of his story completely made sense to the narrative.
  • Didn’t always feel consistent – I mentioned both the horror elements and the mythology of this world. The problem was these two didn’t always feel like they were part of the same world. With a few changes, I think this would have worked better as a horror novel rather than leaning into the fantastical aspects.


Erin A. Craig’s House of Salt and Sorrow is a solid retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, but it is the dark and morose elements rather than the fantastical that had me wishing it hadn’t tried so hard to straddle two genres.

★★★
(3/5)

The Friday 56: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Friday 56 is a weekly blog meme hosted by Freda’s Voice. Join us every Friday and share an excerpt from a book you’ve been reading.

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
*Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. It’s that simple.

**Be sure to leave a link to your Friday 56 post in the comments!**

“Vucub-Kamé had been smart, he had scattered his brother’s organs across the land. He’d also built something. Far in the north, in Baja California, there awaited a tomb fit for a god.

Gods may not be killed, but Vucub-Kamé had found a way, just as he had found a way to imprison his brother in the first pace, a feat that few would have ever dared to contemplate.”

I’m back from hiatus! I’m so glad that this is the book I get to share with everyone today. Silvia Moreno-Garcia continues to impress with her latest novel Gods of Jade and Shadow. If you like exploring ancient myths and like fairy-tale like stories that feel rooted more in the real world, this is the one you should check out. Read my review here. Cover is linked to Goodreads.

From the Goodreads Synopsis:

      “The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.
      The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own.
      Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.
      In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.”