Crazy Rich Asians – Movie

Hey booklovers!

Its been a while I have reviewed a movie and thats usually because I want to review only books adapted to movie/series. One such movie is Crazy Rich Asians based on the novel of the same name. I had seen the trailer long ago and just like ‘To all the boys I have loved before’, I kept seeing this all over my feeds and wanted to check it out. The trailer was amazing and I definitely wanted to see the movie. So finally I saw it last night.

The plot is pretty straightforward and almost Bollywood like story wise sans the music. I think it would have been a great musical but they probably didn’t want to take too much risk what with an entire Asian cast.

Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) is an American Chinese. She teaches economics at the NYU and is dating Nick Young (Henry Golding). They have been together for an year yet somewhat puzzling is that she didn’t know his background. Apparently he is a multi billionaire heir to his family business in Singapore. She finds this out only on the flight to Singapore to attend Nicks best friends wedding where he’s the best man.

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The plot is without a doubt hilarious. How everyone knows everyone in Singapore wasn’t lost on me while we too here in India are always nosing around in other peoples business. I think it’s an Asian trait. Nicks mom played by Michelle Yeoh is absolutely gorgeous both in her grace and performance, which is really not a surprise. So what happens when a billionaire mother meets her sons not so rich potential wife? Well you can guess, am sure. At least to me nothing was a cliche. Except for Rachel’s friend played by Awkwafina who was a tad bit annoying.

There were subplots weaved in the story which enriched the storyline further rather than takeaway from it, especially the focus on Nick’s cousin Astrid ( Gemma Chan ) and her marriage. Sometimes I did feel like there was drama for the sake of drama like how everyone belittled Rachel at the bachelorette party, though in some ways necessary.

Constance Wu performed her part exceptionally well while I found Henry Golding to be a bit reluctant to shine – maybe cause his role was not as sketched as hers, it was mostly one dimensional. Despite caricaturish parts everyone brought freshness to it and didn’t stick out like a sore thumb.

I haven’t read the book and I don’t know if theres any deliberate changes made to the movie but what I loved about the movie was that I found it complete without having read it either. We know a movie can never compare with the book – it almost never matches up but I think if we are satisfied with the movie on its own then somethings been done right.

Bibliogyan rating – A highly enjoyable movie that you can even watch with your family. My IMDb rating – 7

Artemis #18

Hey booklovers!

The weekend is here and I hope you are cozying up with lots of books! So after a considerably long time I was finally able to finish this book. Ta da!

The plot is pretty simple. Jasmine Bashara (Jazz for short) is a citizen of the only city on moon – Artemis. She is highly talented but works as a porter (a menial job on Artemis) and has had a fallout with her father. She wants to be rich and quick. So she makes a deal with a powerful man to do something daring and illegal for a million slugs (moon currency!). But obviously things take a different turn and now it’s up to her to make things right.

First of all the character Jazz was really weird. It was like a guys voice and not a girls. Sure I understand she has lived there, her morals are different, I can even agree she’s tomboyish but she is not convincing as a female to me. She is also from Saudi Arabia. I loved that the protagonist is ethnic but it sure as hell sounded like a white man.

And the science. Oh my god. In ever nook and corner of the book it’s inserted like a template which reminds me meet the new Dan Brown of Science and Space. It was so typical of the way he writes. Inserting trivia all over as much as possible. I get it that we are reading something out of our usual stuff but so much explanation of the science part was annoying.

I couldn’t connect with the characters. They were “alien” haha. Of course they are not citizens of the earth far into the future so that makes sense but then the crime part was like – who cares. Why should I invest myself in this character who is so lost and uncaring herself. I don’t know how to put it in words but Jazz wasn’t relatable. The worst part was that it just went on and on rambling about space-y stuff. To the authors credit he does try hard to create an original story and it works but it didn’t feel right to me.

Bibliogyan rating – for “space” buffs.

Athena’s Champion by David Hair, Cath Mayo

Hey booklovers!

I love books that are grand and have a heavy world building and there’s nothing better than the master of it all – the Greek mythology. I remember the first time I heard stories based on it – the famous Labours of Hercules. It was my uncle who narrated it to me as a bed time story. I was pretty young … less than eight I would guess but it made a pretty big impact on me. The sad part was that he forgot the last few labours and I clearly remember been sleepless wanting to know the rest of it. Time passed but I remained a fan of the mythology and as I grew up I read up on it and that’s when Rick Riordans book fell on my lap. No, not the Percy Jackson series but he had written a handbook on Greek Mythology and I read it voraciously among other encyclopaedic books on the same but even that’s been a long time and since then I have only seen movies based on the same… The clash of the titans, the immortals, Percy Jackson, Troy, Hercules ( including the series) to name a few.

For some time now I have been looking to sink myself in a good Greek Mythology book (I chanced upon Circe late but I do want to read it) and that’s when I came across Athena’s Champion. The blurb looked interesting and when I began reading I was glad I made the right choice.

The opening sequence is dramatic and makes for a good movie screenplay. I don’t know why but I always imagine scenes in a book playing out like a movie. Do you guys do that? Anyhoo back to the plot, Odysseus, Prince of Ithaca discovers that his true parentage comes from the infamous Prometheus lineage who is the God punished for sharing fire with mankind. He is hence brandished as a bastard and exiled. But the Goddess Athena gives him refuge and turns him into a Theoi as well as requires him to play a part in a mission that was propelled by the prophecy that revealed Odysseus’s true lineage at Pytho.

The story is a lot to take in especially for one who is not well versed in Greek mythology. Even I did find quiet a few names new, but having seen the above mentioned movies and my little knowledge of the myths helped me figure out who’s who as I kept reading. Its a tale for the times and the writers make it look so easy. Despite such a heavy content they make it look so effortless and even those who have no patience to read such fantasies can do it. I was admittedly apprehensive going in wondering if I will be able to complete it as my patience is unpredictable but I truly emerged satisfied at the other end.

Odysseus is a complex character but his motives are simple. He discovers so much in his course of redeeming himself and is a point of reference for us as we too learn everything anew from his view point. His journey is absolutely enriching as well as exciting. Never has a protagonist made me feel so calm and in the moment like he has. The research the authors have made is extensive and it shows.

If you are like me and like your mythology high and grand you will love this. Its absolutely breathtaking.

Thanks to NetGalley and Canelo publishers for the advanced copy.

Publication date: 8th November, 2018

Bibliogyan rating – Mythology/Fantasy lovers don’t miss it.

Love You Gone by Rona Halsall

Hey booklovers!

I have to say it’s a relief when I finish a book. Any book. Cause sometimes I feel like I just can’t read anymore. Does that ever happen to you? And the weirdest part is I try to read more so I don’t lose that feeling of wanting to read. And it doesn’t help if the book is not interesting either.

After reading rave reviews of Love you gone I really thought I was in for a treat and had high hopes going in. Have you ever read a book with great anticipation only to be disappointed? The major factor in favour of the book was the fast pace. It’s the fastest book I have read in recent times. Around six hours, more or less. Here’s the plotline:

Luke is a widower with two kids. He is at loss for living his life after the death of his wife. He is estranged from his parents and haven’t a clue how to bring up his children.

Mel is in her late thirties and a successful business woman. But she desperately wants a child. So when Luke comes in her life she sees the perfect opportunity to step into the role of a mum as well as try to have a child of her own.

After a series of problems they decide to go on a holiday to sort things with each other only to find Luke and the kids missing once Mel arrives. What happened to them? How can they just disappear?

I found the characters to be so frustrating. In the beginning you are all for Mel and I realised this was just a push and pull tactic. As the book goes on and more things are revealed you understand where this is going. I didn’t realise I had read the book so fast and that’s a credit to the writer to make it seem so effortless.

I was impressed with the characters arcs and the plot itself was different but I was frustrated with Luke as a parent. It’s definitely not a regular plotline and that’s good. Maybe it’s the stereotype that frustrated me but even though I understand Luke it was just too much.

Its got great writing, interesting plot structure and is fast paced that is going for it but the plotline despite been different wasn’t something I “enjoyed”.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for giving me this advanced copy.

Publication Date: 15th November, 2018

Bibliogyan rating – For fans of thriller/mystery.

The Perfect Family by Shalini Boland

Hey Booklovers!

Happy Halloween! This is my final review for October 2018. Wow. What an year its been and I cant stop smiling thinking about all the good books I got to read this year including this one – The Perfect Family by Shalini Boland. Frankly am surprised theres no noise been made over this book yet. If there is one book I seriously recommend reading – its this one. Make no mistake, in one way or another I would love for you to read the books I have reviewed on my site but rarely would I say – READ THIS. So far I have felt that only for three other books this year, I guess.

I decided to write a review right after I finished, which I usually don’t, in order to get over the fatigue of reading for so long. I like taking my time to read, savour the books especially if I like it. But this one was unstoppable. I started it on Monday and finished it last night. Thankfully it was a fast paced and the mystery gets deeper and deeper. Ok before I go on heres the gist of it:

Gemma Ballantine is a working mum with two adorable daughters, six and ten. She has a loving and devoted husband, Robert, but her work life is driving her bonkers and her husband doesn’t make much. No. She is the main breadwinner of the family. Naturally, her family life takes a backseat. So when she is coaxed to hiring a nanny cum tutor she feels everything is going to be perfect. The blurb is what got my attention – her younger daughter Katie goes missing in the beginning of the book and is soon found but things take a U-turn therein. I was curious as to what could be worser than that?

Soon things begin to go awry, missing keys, missing memory, horrible experiences and all this culminates to hiring a nanny that turns out to be life altering. What started great begins to feel like a mistake and soon Gemma finds herself in a devastating situation, but is it all real? – for a lack of better word. For sometime I really wondered if Gemma is crazy but later on I seriously wanted to punch the person behind all this – which brings me to the best part. You would never guess who – not from miles away. Thats what I loved about this book.

The thrillers I had read this year, most of them were mildly predictable. Maybe cause I hadn’t expected the obvious here but it was a pleasant surprise. The twist makes it even more delicious. I seriously love a book that leaves me conflicted yet satisfied. Shalini Boland has delivered a master stroke and I definitely want to check her other books.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for giving me this reader copy!

Publication date: 6th November, 2018.

Bibliogyan rating -> Mind = blown👍

The Outsider #17

Hey booklovers!!

Am back with another book review. Am so excited to share this cause the book am reviewing is by none other than Stephen King. Admittedly this is my first king book, though I have seen quite a few movies based on his books. I never realised I could actually like his work since am not really a fan of reading horror. That’s the same reason am always stuck with Dean Koontz books. Maybe someday I might read his books too.the outsider by stephen king

Anyhoo, after careful consideration I decided to read The Outsider as part of my Halloween special books. Mainly because with just a few words Stephen king had hooked me. How can a man be in two places? Did the man really commit a gruesome murder or is it something else?

The book starts with corroborating witnesses on account of a murder committed couple of days back in Flint city. Our protagonist Ralph Anderson, chief detective sets out to arrest the perpetrator of the crime and does so in a grand manner which later in the book causes him a lot of trouble.

Terry Maitland is the accused, he is a football coach for boys and the allegations on him is that he murdered and raped an 11 eleven year old boy.

Despite evidence against Terry, including eye witnesses and fingerprints and a pending DNA test, Ralph realises there’s something missing but the angst of such a gruesome murder prevents him from thinking rationally and goes ahead with a public arrest. Later on we find many things missing and a baffling mystery as to Terry’s alibi. How can he have been at two places when the murder was committed?

I found king’s writing to be so effortless. Unlike other murder mysteries he dwells on the characters and creates something extra ordinary from the mundane. It’s hard to believe that the book goes on for 475 pages without making us feel like it’s dragging or that certain parts were unnecessary. Everything just fits. I was truly impressed and completely in awe.

Of course this is not a regular thriller murder mystery. Stephen king’s books are always doused with certain amount of the supernatural, and this is where “the outsider” comes in and he makes it look so natural. Like how could we not imagine it, right?

I definitely felt a bit creepy mid way through the book and started watching my back and having restless sleep till I completed the book and an extra day to boot. But this was unputdownable after the first two chapters and I can definitely add myself in the countless million admirers of Kings. Looking forward to reading another book of his.

Bibliogyan rating – what are you waiting for? Grab your copy and start reading!

Secrets Between Us by Valerie Keogh

Hey booklovers!!

Am back with another book review. Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for giving me this reader copy. I find myself reading a lot of thrillers and maybe that is my specialty genre. But sometimes I do need to lighten up and read other genres too and am looking forward to the next one on my TBR list in Goodreads.

Coming to the plot: Ellie and Tia are identical twins but other than their appearance nothing else is identical. Ellie is ambitious and headstrong and married to Will where as Tia is a little slow, gentle and lives alone in an institution for the differently abled. They haven’t seen each other for fifteen years but Ellie writes Tia a letter every week where she pours her heart out about everything in her life, to the minutest details. Soon it’s time for Tia to move and both Ellie and Will agree to let Tia stay with them till they can find another place for her. But once Tia stays with them something happens and that something changes their lives forever.

I felt all the three characters are horrible. The worst was Ellie. What a horrible sister. Unless there are concrete reasons to stay away from your sibling like death threat or drastic sibling rivalry there’s no reason for one to stay away. Especially when their father had begged her to look after Tia, she was the vulnerable one after all. She stayed away cause they are identical – what a load of bull.

Of course am not a twin and I don’t know what it’s like to be one. But how can someone be so heartless. Will on the other hand is so selfish like he can’t see anything beyond what he desperately wants. What’s wrong with you?

And Tia. I don’t know where to begin. She suffered a lot without any complaints so when it was time to have something for herself I am really confused if she is in the wrong.

By the way I saw this happening miles away. Yet I wasn’t sure if the writer was going in that direction specifically. I found Ellie to be so contradicting. One second she cares about her sister, feels guilty for not been there for her and the next she can’t wait to get rid of her. Horrible horrible sister.

I didn’t feel like I was reading a thriller and the pacing too didn’t feel like one. Maybe a suspense in the mild form but when you already have an idea of where this is going there is little that surprises you.

The writing is definitely good for an author I have never read before and hence had low expectations going in. But she doesn’t disappoint where as the plot is nothing great ( I also wonder if the title is slightly misleading?) I don’t care about any of them but yes, Tia just was in the wrong place but I can’t decide who’s right or wrong here. So the author must have done something right, huh?

Publication Date: 14th November 2018

Bibliogyan rating – Read it if you can bear unbearable characters but good writing 🤷