Monday, 29 February 2016

Monday Moods: Leap Day!


Hello! 

Can you believe February is over already? 

At least we got an extra day this year. 
I love Leap Years. There is something so special about having one extra day in February. :) It's my birthday month so I like having it a little longer. 

Leap Day is an extra day in the year and so it's a good day to do something special. 
Making it count. 

The last Leap Day, I had just moved back to Bombay from Bangalore and I spent my Leap Day unpacking three boxes of shoes. 
Managed to make all my shoes fit but my poor Baba (dad) was horrified with the amount of shoes I had/have. :) 

This time around my Leap Day included..

Watching the Oscars first thing in the morning and seeing Leonardo DiCaprio win. 


I made Saboodana khichdi for the first time ever and it turned out so nice. And it's so simple to make! 



Watched some more episodes of Fuller House--which I quite like. It's funny and sweet and soothing and it's nice visiting with the Tanner family again. I cried quite a few times during the first episode. The only way I could be more emotional if this were a FRIENDS reunion! 

For lunch I had a delicious bowl of Mixed Fruit Granola and Mango cornflakes with bananas and it was so good. A strange choice for lunch but it was just what I needed. 

Then it was time to do some chores around the house. 


And then it was time to binge watch another show that I've been hearing so many good things about--  American Crime Story- The People V. O.J. Simpson. I am hooked. Watched 3 episodes and I highly recommend it. It's gritty and gripping and takes a very close look at the infamous case. I studied the O.J. Simpson case in Social Psychology in college and I have always found it very interesting. 



Sunday, 28 February 2016

Stationery Sunday: Washi Tape Haul from Washi Wednesday

We recently ordered some Washi Tapes- for the uninitiated, washi tapes are decorative tapes made out of thin paper and are perfect for a variety of craft and journaling purposes- from a store called 'Washi Wednesday'.

For those of us in India, there are not too many options to buy Washi Tapes from and so, we usually tend to buy ours from Etsy. Washi Wednesday is based in Singapore and so, shipping to India is relatively cheap (compared to several Etsy stores that are based in the US) and the package is sent via Registered Mail, so you can track it. Peace of mind!

Here are some pictures of what we ordered.




Here are all of them. A mix of some pretty florals and stripes. The floral tapes are from the brand- Dailylike (a Korean stationery brand) and the stripes are from MT (the most prominent makes of washi tapes). 



A closer look at some of the floral tapes we got.. the topmost one is from MT and it has a lace and embroidered effect... while the other three are Dailylike. 



And here are two more Dailylike tapes. Love them! 





I wanted to get some subtle stripes and so, here they are- one pastel-y and one with bolder colours. Love them! 


Hope you enjoyed our little washi haul! 

Be back with book reviews next week. 

Have a good one, folks! 


Saturday, 27 February 2016

Project 365 2016: Week 7 & 8.

Hello! 

I couldn't manage to get up my post for last week on time and so this week I am clubbing together the two weeks worth of recapping. 

Week 7 was super special. 
It had: Saraswati Pujo.
Valentine's Day. 
And..
My Birthday! 
So I feel especially crummy for not being able to get the post up on time. 

But better late than never. 

Let's see what Week 7 of 2016 looked like in my world. 


Day 43 of 366/// Something sweet. Actually a lot of sweet things at Le Pain Quotidien. 
I had a delicious Chocolate Eclair. 



Day 44 of 366/// Maa Saraswati in all her glory. 
It was Saraswati Pujo, a day to celebrate The Goddess of Wisdom and Knowledge. 
There was a proper pujo and bhog at our home in the hometown. 
This is just the altar in our flat in Bombay. 



Day 45 of 366/// Valentine's Day.
And my Valentine of choice would always and forever be Sherlock..or if I being honest Benedict Cumberbatch. The man is a dreamboat! Ah! 


Day 46 of 366/// Birthday planning and list-making. I always get a little excited a few days prior to my birthday. It's the inner child I don't want to shut out. 
Had a dedicated page in my journal to list all the things I wanted to do in my birthday week. 




Day 47 of 366/// A dinner that I loved and it took very little effort to whip up.
Fusilli in cream sauce with spinach, mushrooms, carrots and tomato. Steamed broccoli. And some chicken nuggets. 
Yum! 
I love home cooked meals and I love when it turns out so good. 



Day 48 of 366/// Birthday Eve. 
I ordered a Happy Meal from McDonald's and got this free toy. A Hello-Kitty-esque kitty.
She is so cute though. And it even fits me. :) Like I said, birthday is all about making your inner child happy. 
I also put on a fragrant hair mask to give some much needed TLC to my mane. 
This one from Lush Cosmetics is divine and I swear by it. Makes my hair silky smooth and makes it smell lovely. 




Day 49 of 366/// BIRTHDAY! 
I turned a year older and maybe a little wiser.
Went out with my sister.
Did some shopping. 
Ate yummy food.
Drank delicious coffee.
Wore a cute outfit.
Even went to a temple. 
Had lots of people wish me and make me feel very, very loved. 
A good day.
A great day in fact! 
:) 


~~~~~~

Now on to Week 8! 


Day 50 of 366/// Birthday flowers. 
Pink and perfect! 


Day 51 of 366/// Sunny and windy Saturday mornings at home. 
All I did on this day was sleep and read and sleep some more. 


Day 52 of 366/// Reading and living through it in 1911 New York. 
A review will be up later this week. 


Day 53 of 366/// Bag of the moment. Colour and print on this backpack is on point. 
:) 
Got this from Limeroad from the brand Shaun Design. 



Day 54 of 366/// Books and Ganpati.
Just some home details. 


Day 55 of 366/// Coffee by my window. 



Day 56 of 366/// Blue pottery turtles that are so beautiful and so cute! :0 
Love the colour pops in my house. 


Phew! 
This was a super long post.

Will see you again next week with another weekly recap.
Hope your week has been wonderful :) 


Friday Favourites: Pancakes + Journal Pages + Sunsets + Anchor + Flowers & Nostalgia.

Hello! 

This week has flown by me. 
This was one busy one. Full of grown-up chores and home needs. 
I've also read some wonderful books and had yummy meals. 

Now for some of me new/recent loves. 


1. Pages of my sister's journal/// My sister has been doing an amazing job journaling and art-journaling in her Hobonichi Techo 'Original' A6. She made this little quote page with some black and white Washi Tape and wrote a quote she loves. 




2. Strawberry Compote/// Simple as can be and delicious to boot. Perfect to layer over your pancakes and waffles and even over oats. 

All you need is

Strawberry and Sugar.
Add them to a pan over low heat and them reduce and form a thick and sweet syrup.

I had mine over some Banana pancakes I whipped up on a Sunday. 



3. Anchor Necklace/// I picked up this darling little pendant from Accessorize a few weeks ago. Love the colours and the anchor symbol. 


4. Flowers/// A constant love of mine. 
This last week I've had fresh flowers at home and I can't tell you how much that makes me happy.
My birthday bouquet arrived slightly bruised and near-death but I am happy to report that I managed to save and keep the flowers alive for a week. 
Threw them away yesterday since they were all withered. 



5. Spring Sunsets/// Ah! The evening sky sometimes puts up a magnificent show at sundown. 
The soothing pastel colours and the birds heading home.
I good time to stand at my window, getting gently breezed and drinking a cup of coffee. 




6. Fresh Fruits & Grocery Shopping/// Call me crazy but I love grocery shopping.
 Truth be told, I like most kinds of shopping. :) But grocery shopping is a special thing. I used to go grocery shopping with my Dad every Saturday morning as a child. My Baba (dad) loves grocery shopping too. We'd walk to our closest super market, just the two of us and load our shopping basket with things we needed. They were some of the happiest times in my childhood. Walking down the aisles and looking and picking out fruits and if I was lucky even candy would make it to our basket. 
As an adult this love continues. I feel especially grown-up when I am grocery shopping. It's pretty much my favourite adult chore. 

Have a wonderful weekend folks. 

I plan on reading.
Watching some old movies.
Organising some of bookshelves. 

:) 



Thursday, 25 February 2016

Review: Find Her by Lisa Gardner


Book: Find Her

Author: Lisa Gardner

Pages: 416

Read: On the Kindle

Read in: 2 days

Plot Summary: Flora Dane is a victim. 

Seven years ago, carefree college student Flora was kidnapped while on spring break. For 472 days, Flora learned just how much one person can endure.

Flora Dane is a survivor.

Miraculously alive after her ordeal, Flora has spent the past five years reacquainting herself with the rhythms of normal life, working with her FBI victim advocate, Samuel Keynes. She has a mother who’s never stopped loving her, a brother who is scared of the person she’s become, and a bedroom wall covered with photos of other girls who’ve never made it home.

Flora Dane is reckless. 

. . . or is she? When Boston detective D. D. Warren is called to the scene of a crime—a dead man and the bound, naked woman who killed him—she learns that Flora has tangled with three other suspects since her return to society. Is Flora a victim or a vigilante? And with her firsthand knowledge of criminal behavior, could she hold the key to rescuing a missing college student whose abduction has rocked Boston? When Flora herself disappears, D.D. realizes a far more sinister predator is out there. One who’s determined that this time, Flora Dane will never escape. And now it is all up to D. D. Warren to find her.

Things I Liked: Quick list: 

1. The premise was very interesting. A victim turned vigilante! What is not to love?! Very Jessica Jones, if you ask me! The premise had me at hello, so to speak! 

2. This book is the eight in the Detective D.D. Warren series and even if one has not read all the preceding books, it does not matter. There is nothing much in the way of continuity that you'd miss if you've not read all seven previous books- I haven't and I didn't once feel like I was missing out on something. 

3. Flora is a very interesting character. We see her transformation from a happy-go-lucky college student to an abused, battered, torn-down and destroyed victim of physical, sexual and psychological abuse to a girl who was working hard to get her life back on track and by finding and stopping sexual predators. 

4. This book has some very incisive and well-researched insights into how sexual predators and psychopaths break down their victims. It is done so well and is so scary that it makes you shudder. Lisa Gardner has spoken to specialists in the FBI and the Boston Police Department to make her depiction of Flora's captivity and torture seem close to life. She has done such a great job. 

5. Flora's mother- Rosa- is also a wonderful character. She is strong and brave and never stops being worried and believing in her daughter even when Flora comes home broken and a total stranger. 

6. DD is also a great character. She is dedicated and determined and very sharp. Does not miss a thing and is always willing to go above and beyond to help victims and arrest the perps. 

7. The twist in this book is quite nice and not-very obvious. Always a good thing. The person who kidnaps Flora (in present day) is not the most obvious up until the ~67% mark of the book and that, for me, is always a wonderful thing! 

8. Even though this is a 400+ pages book, nothing is really superfluous or "just there". The narrative is gripping and the book moves pretty fast. 

Things I Didn't Like: Nothing as such. This is a good thriller to read. 

Rating: 4/5 

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Review: Alphabet Soup for Lovers by Anita Nair.


Book: Alphabet Soup for Lovers

Author: Anita Nair

Pages: 200

Read On: Hardback copy

How Long it Took Me To Read: 1 day

Plot Summary: Lena Abraham knows that love can end in only one way - disappointment. Her marriage to KK is perfect precisely because she is not in love with him, and their life on a tea plantation in the picturesque Anamalai hills is idyllic. Then, one rainy morning, a man arrives to take up temporary residence in the homestay they run. Shoola Pani is south Indian cinema's heartthrob, an actor in flight from his own superstardom, and the last thing he is looking for is emotional entanglement. But when Lena and he meet, something flares between them that neither could have anticipated. She becomes his Lee and he her Ship, and the place they inhabit Arcadia. Told partly from the point of view of Komathi, whose own relationship with Lena is fraught with buried truths from the past, this searing tale of unexpected passion and adultery reaffirms the magical power of love in all our lives.

General Thoughts: I love Anita Nair's writing and her story-telling styles and of course the stories she tells are always intense and wonderfully crafted. I've read a few books by her and I've liked all of them (mostly)--- Ladies Coupe, A Better Man, Cut Like Wound and Lessons in Forgetting. I saw this book on Amazon recently and wanted it immediately. I read it on a Sunday and it was a great way to spend a day immersed in this world.

Things I Liked: 

1. As always I loved Anita Nair's writing.

2. The book is told from three perspectives- the two lovers, Lena and Shoola Pani, and the old cook - Komathi,who is learning the English alphabet and is a quiet observer of this love affair. All three of these perspectives are interesting and add their own flavour to the narrative.

3. The book apart from focusing on a love affair, also deals with Komathi learning the English alphabet. She does so by giving each alphabet a food so as to help in her learning, her being a cook, this is the easiest way to memorise a foreign language. So each chapter comes with a food item or ingredient mentioned and illustrated. Ah! I loved this utterly charming detail.

4. Komathi and her story and her life and really her take on life was for me the best part of the book. I wanted to spend more time with her and find out her life story, which was being handed to us in small instalments. She was a delightful and insightful and wise character to get to know.

5. The love affair though a little rushed and some might say even 'insta-love' still rang true. The author did a fantastic job of making it seem real and genuine. The feelings Lena and Shoola Pani feel never seemed cheesy or vulgar.

6. The setting of this book-- a tea plantation in the hills-- is something I love. My family owns Tea Gardens near Darjeeling and it is a world I know well and understand and more than that it's a  world I love and reading about it always makes me happy.

7. The world building and atmosphere building in this book is fantastic.

8. I also liked that the marriage between Lena and KK wasn't demonised in any way. They were moderately happy yet not in love or brimming with passion. In so many ways it was like marriages we see around us.

9. Throughout the book Komathi's life is shrouded in mystery and we hear of her great love and we know it didn't work out but we don't know why, this was a mystery (so to speak) I wanted to find out and I kept turing pages in hope of finding out what happened but feared we wouldn't find out. Thankfully, all questions were answered and we weren't left hanging.

10. This was a wonderful little book that I happily read over a course of a Sunday and wanted to eat some South Indian food as a result. :) Be warned this book will make you crave some South Indian grubs.

Things I Didn't Like: 

1. Shoola Pani is not the best developed character. We know so little about him and his life and his history.

2. Ditto with KK. He remains a very minor player in this book.

3. There are so many Tamil words used in this book and yet there isn't a glossary to be found. I was stumped in so many places in this book and would have really appreciated a glossary.

4. The love affair is so instantaneous and intense it seemed a bit much when I look back on the story.

5. The book ends a little abruptly. And some might have an issue with it.

Rating: 3.5/5




Monday, 22 February 2016

Monday Moods: Birthday Bits + Birthday Haul.

Hello! 

My birthday was last Thursday and I thought I'd share a little bit of my day and some of the goodies I got/acquired on my birthday. I think it's a good way to kick off the week with some of my birthday shenanigans. 

Also thank-you everyone who wished me on my birthday, both here and on my Instagram. 

Let's get started. 



Birthday Outfit and Shoes.
Both from Forever 21.


Birthday jewels-- all silver and some of my favourite pieces.
The necklace is an old favourite which I wear only rarely since it's so big and statement-y.
Love it to pieces. It's from Fabindia.
The rings are new editions to my wardrobe and are from a silver shop in Colaba called Amber.



Bag of the day- a tartan satchel from Accessorize. Love it. It's super soft to the touch and fits a reasonable amount of things. This was a pre-birthday buy and I intended to use it on my birthday and I did. :)

And now for some things I bought on my birthday..


Some essentials, I was in need of a new foundation and I've heard really good things about the L'oreal Paris Infallible 24H foundation. I love L'oreal products and I hope this works as well.
I also needed a concealer and I go the Maybelline New York Fit Me concealer to hide away the dark circles and spots.



I can never resists an Owl themed anything and this little pouch thing from Accessorize was too darling to pass up.


2 new Teas.
I've tried and loved the Lemon Tea from Tetley before and I wanted to try the Green Tea, I hope I like it.


A gorgeously package from Gaatha. I've talked about this brand on the blog before and finally got some goodies from the store.
Isn't the packaging just darling? Also so eco-friendly.


My cousin brother surprised me with a few presents in the mail and some beautiful flowers.
This Ganesh idol was a part of my presents too. I love Ganpu and as a child I once begged and begged my grandmother to give me a small marble Ganesh idol that lived in her Puja ghar. Everyone in the family knows this story and of my affection for Ganpu. I love how beautiful this murti is.

I also got some other things and had a lot of people in my life wish me and make me feel very special and loved.

It was a very good birthday and a good way to turn a year older.

:) 

Man Booker Shortlist 2015/// Review: The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma.


Book: The Fishermen

Author: Chigozie Obioma

Pages: 300

Read On: Paperback copy

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2-3 days

Plot Summary: In a Nigerian town in the mid 1990's, four brothers encounter a madman whose mystic prophecy of violence threatens the core of their close-knit family. Told from the point of view of nine year old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fishermen is the story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990s Nigeria, in the small town of Akure. 

When their strict father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the ominous, forbidden nearby river, they meet a dangerous local madman who persuades the oldest of the boys that he is destined to be killed by one of his siblings. What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact-both tragic and redemptive-will transcend the lives and imaginations of its characters and its readers. 

Dazzling and viscerally powerful, The Fishermen never leaves Akure but the story it tells has enormous universal appeal. Seen through the prism of one family's destiny, this is an essential novel about Africa with all of its contradictions—economic, political, and religious—and the epic beauty of its own culture. With this bold debut, Chigozie Obioma emerges as one of the most original new voices of modern African literature, echoing its older generation's masterful storytelling with a contemporary fearlessness and purpose. 

General Thoughts: This was another book on the Man Booker Shortlist from 2015 that I wanted to read. I love stories about families and African literature. This is the 5th book I've read that is set in Nigeria and I loved all of the books set in this country.

Things I Liked: 

1. The writing was wonderful, evocative and and smooth and thoroughly engaging. I loved it! The writer does a fantastic job of making Nigeria in the 1990s come alive and the people and places and home seemed real and genuine.

2. Family stories are hands down my favourite things to read about. Families in all shapes and sizes and forms are always make for an intriguing read. This family was going through a few bumps when this book starts- the father gets a transfer and the family now has to learn to live without him. A seemingly small change, leads to big life-altering turns. Also we see this family go through so much more through the length of this book and it was always an engaging reading experience.

3. I love reading about siblings as well. The often complex world of siblings, the rivalry, the friendship and often competitiveness is something I always enjoy. I've read quite a few books about sisters and their bond but I don't quite remember reading about brothers. So this was a nice relationship to read about.

4. The book talks a lot of prophecy. The power of prophecy and what seemed to me a lot about the self-fulfilling prophecy. You can look at it in two ways. One, yes the madman was a prophet of some kind. Wise and with an ability to make astute predictions about the future. Or you could see that once someone predicts something sinister, the person about whom the prediction is made can either choose to believe it or not. Or you could dwell on it and sink on it. I loved reading about this. I also enjoy books that make you think and wonder which side (of any given situation) you want to pick.

5. The brother bond is shown so well. Not overly sentimental or cloying. Boisterous yet caring and full of affection.

6. I loved that the people in this book try so hard to set things right. In so many books, there is something going on and instead of just talking about it or intervening. This annoys me so much. But I loved that in this book, once the mother finds out about the prophecy she works so hard at trying to talk some sense into her eldest. As do the brothers, all of them try to talk and sort things out.

7. The book is almost like a fable. A cautionary tale. With elements of Greek tragedy. And all of this is done so well.

8. The story is told by Ben, the youngest of the four brothers. He tells the story both as a young child when the events happen and also when he is looking back when he is older. This adds a nice element to the story telling.

9. My favourite thing about the book has to be the theme of consequences and really how seemingly small and inconsequential things take on mammoth proportions due to our own actions and decisions.

10. This book will break your heart and even though it's fable-like quality might on occasion feel a little out there, overall all of it, the story and what happens could happen just as easily.

Things I Didn't Like: 

1. Even though Ben is our narrator and we see this world through his eyes, he remains a fairly hollow character. I felt like inspite of spending so much time with him, I didn't really get to know him at all.

2. Somewhere in the middle of the book, I felt my interest slipping a tiny bit. A lot of things were said and shown over and over again. Like the eldest two siblings fighting and bickering and hurting each other was shown far too many times.

3. There are also two instances of the brothers, all four of them, doing something notable and making it to the News. These two events were a little exaggerated and slightly OTT.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Book Haul: Books of February 2016, Part- II.

Hello! 

I got of these books in the mail lately from Amazon. I got books online after ages and honestly I was a little out of practice. 
:) 
It had been so long since I bought books online that I had forgotten how to browse and do the online book buying thing :) 

I got 10 books in total.
But I am sharing only 8 here.
One book was very damaged and I sent it back. 
Another came a day or two later so I didn't photograph it.

I got all of these because I genuinely want to read all of these and I wanted some of them for very long. 

Let's look at new books on my shelves. 



Books Bought: 

Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin- I have never read Baldwin before and this being Black History month, it's  good time as any to amend that.  

Alphabet Soup For Lovers by Anita Nair- Currently reading this now and loving it. I love Anita Nair's writing and this is a slow and languid love story. Really enjoying it and savouring it.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling - With the movie coming out later this year and another visit to the Harry Potter world this is reason enough to pick out this book. I am looking forward to reading this and of course the movie looks so good!

The Book of Golden Leaves by Mirza Waheed - I won't lie the cover of this book drew me in long before the plot did. Set in Kashmir and taking of it's turmoil and lovers caught in the middle of it all. I am interested in reading more from Kashmir and this seemed like a nice place to start.

My Life in My Words by Rabindranath Tagore - I have said before on the blog that I am having a Tagore moment this year. I am Bengali and this was bound to happen at some point I guess :) For me this year is the year of delving more into Tagore. And apart from his fiction and poems, I find his life equally interesting too. So I wanted to read more about his life. And this book is a good place to start.
The other two books in my haul were also Tagore books, one was The Return of Khokababu- which I sent back because it came very damaged. The other is a collection of short stories which I will show later on.

An Evening in Calcutta by K.A. Abbas - a random pick. Stories set in Calcutta, a city I love.

Don't Let Him Know by Sandip Roy - I spotted this book in Crossword a while back and it comes highly recommend from several authors whose work I've read and loved. It's about marriage and secrets and has a LGBTQ angle as well. I am very, very excited to read this.

The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende - My sister is a huge fan of Allende and I primarily picked up this book for her. About lovers who meet and separate over the years, this promises to be an intense and heartfelt read. We already own 4 other books by Allende and I really need to get my act together and read her. :) 









I am happy to have these books and I wonder which one of these I should read next?! 

:) 

Happy Reading guys :) 


Saturday, 20 February 2016

Review: Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica



Book: Pretty Baby

Author: Mary Kubica

Pages: 380

Read: On Kindle

Read in: 2-3 hours

Plot Summary: She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can't get the girl out of her head...

Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family's objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.

Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow's past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she's willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.


Things I Liked: This was a book I recently bought as a part of my ebooks haul for February.  There were a few things I liked about it, here goes:

1. The premise of the book sounded interesting, which is why we bought it in the first place. A do-gooder who takes in a stranger and her baby and then there are interesting things that follow. The first half of this book was interesting. It makes you winder who Willow is and why is she here.. is there some link between Willow, her baby and Heidi's husband- Chris? Is there some link between Heidi's daughter and this girl- Willow? Or was Willow sent into Heidi's life on purpose? You get the idea- so many questions were raised by the premise of this book, which is always a good thing!

2. I liked that there were chapters from multiple peoples' perspectives- Heidi, Chris and Willow. We go to see some situations from multiple perspectives, which was nice.

3. Willow was an interesting character. The only one in this book who evokes empathy.

Things I Didn't Like: Quite a few things:

1.This book was blurbed as a 'psychological thriller' and, unfortunately, it was anything but that! This was not really a thriller at all.. nothing psychological about it either. This book is, at best, a mystery... that also an eminently guessable one once you hit the 20% mark of the book. So, that was a huge let down.

2. The characters lacked substance. The author did very little and basic character development. None of the characters seemed 'real'- they seemed very superficial. It is like you knew a few superficial things about them but not what really drives them or what their wounds, motivations are... The very cardboard-like characters made it difficult to muster up empathy or sympathy for what happened to them.

3. The big reveal in this book is very, very predictable. {I actually yawned when I wrote that line!} You can pretty much guess once you learn, very early on in the book, that Willow's parents died when she was a kid and she is taken in by a distant uncle and his wife. From there on, it is pretty simplistic to guess what happened and, even, who the baby she has with her is. Disappointing. I was hoping for a slightly more complicated narrative with some unexpected twists etc. but, alas, that was not to be.

4. Heidi is so annoying. She is well-meaning and a do-gooder but you can see why her family is a bit fed up with her! I found her voice in the book very off-putting!

Rating: 2/5