Happy Ever Afters, Shame, and Bollywood Affairs

You know that feeling you get where you know you’ve forgotten something that’s kinda important? Yeah, that one! In my case, it was forgetting to post the November reads until mid-frickin’ December. Ooopsie. Better late than never, right?

So, perusing November’s reading list, the most memorable reads for me last month were:

  1. Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha
  2. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  3. A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

Yep, a mixed bag for sure!

Beyond Shame coverBeyond Shame is a little hard for me to categorize — maybe erotic romance/futuristic/urban fantasy? Anyway, for me it had the flavor of an MC story, i.e. a kinda brutal society that’s stripped down to f*ck-it-or-kill-it mentality, where heroes walk the line between heroic and sliding down a slippery slope that makes them as bad as the bad guys *cough* Sons of Anarchy *cough*. But never fear, gentle readers ;-) Beyond Shame’s main men may be uber-dominant and over-protective, but they don’t cross that line that makes them as bad as the villains. So yup, if this book was made into a TV series, I’d be on board, baby! Whereas I haven’t watched the final season of SofA because… reasons, involving getting to the point where I didn’t feel the ‘hero’ could justify some of the things he did, so for me, he crossed the line and became a bad guy.

But back to Beyond Shame. I loved this book: the main characters, the secondary characters, the setting, the ZOMG! sexy-times…. Everything. Oh, and please don’t be put off by the mention of it being “futuristic” — think sectors run by those who prefer to exist outside the law and make their own rules, and you’ll be on the right track. However, if you’re not a fan of explicitly written and, er, adventurous bedroom scenes, then this book might not be for you.

(Click here to go to the author’s website and read an excerpt from Beyond Shame.)

In sharp contrast, Isla and the Happily Ever After is a sweet YA set mainly in Paris, that you could happily leave lying around the house for your mother to pick up. Hmmm. Re-reading the blurb, I wonder if the reason this book resonated so deeply with me is because DD is currently facing some of  the same issues as Isla and Josh, namely, uncertainty of the future. And facing the future is one of those things we can only encourage our kids to embrace with lame promises that it’ll be okay; it’s not something we can force them to do.

I think what I like about these books is that despite the exotic setting, the feeling that money is not a problem, and the somewhat convenient absence of adults when the school day ends (not to mention over weekends), for me the teens didn’t read as glossy, designer-clad, unlikable rich kids with rich-kid issues. They read like normal, average teens coping with normal, average teen issues, with the added complication of being a long way from home.

For me, Isla and the Happily Ever After was just as delightful to read as Anna and the French Kiss, so now I have to get my hands on Lola and the Boy Next Door — yep, I’ve read them out of order, and Lola and Cricket’s cameo makes me want to read their story, like, now :)

Here’s the blurb:

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart. 

Bollywood Affair coverAnd lastly, A Bollywood Affair.

It took me a couple of chapters to settle in to this book because for me, the start was a bit choppy and I felt compelled to re-read to make sure I wasn’t missing anything important. But it was most definitely worth the effort of getting everything straight in my head. Jayne over at Dear Author used the phrase “a glorious riot of emotion” when describing the ending of A Bollywood Affair, and I’d agree. In fact, it’s an apt description for the whole book, which is a delight so long as you can embrace the at times slightly over-the-top nature of the characters, and just hang on and enjoy the ride — kinda like when you watch a Bollywood movie :)

Here’s the blurb:

Mili Rathod hasn’t seen her husband in twenty years—not since she was promised to him at the age of four. Yet marriage has allowed Mili a freedom rarely given to girls in her village. Her grandmother has even allowed her to leave India and study in America for eight months, all to make her the perfect modern wife. Which is exactly what Mili longs to be—if her husband would just come and claim her.

Bollywood’s favorite director, Samir Rathod, has come to Michigan to secure a divorce for his older brother. Persuading a naïve village girl to sign the papers should be easy for someone with Samir’s tabloid-famous charm. But Mili is neither a fool nor a gold-digger. Open-hearted yet complex, she’s trying to reconcile her independence with cherished traditions. And before he can stop himself, Samir is immersed in Mili’s life—cooking her dal and rotis, escorting her to her roommate’s elaborate Indian wedding, and wondering where his loyalties and happiness lie. 

And here’s my full reading list for November 2014:

  • Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha
  • The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan
  • Talk Sweetly to Me by Courtney Milan
  • Cooking Up Trouble by Louisa Mack
  • Hush by Maree Green
  • A Heat of the Moment Thing by Maggie Le Page
  • Drawn by Lilliana Anderson
  • Pilot’s Choice: Local Custom by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
  • Bad Blood by Lucienne Diver
  • Blood Price by Tanya Huff
  • Pilot’s Choice: Scout’s Progress by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
  • The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  • The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen
  • Blonde Date by Sarina Bowen
  • A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

Happy reading!



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