The Week Gone By – 8/8/22

I was missing for a while (again) but I’m excited to be back because it’s been a nice month of August in terms of reading so far and I’m hoping I can keep the momentum going. There are also many new lovely covers and my fellow blogger’s amazing posts to share, so let me get started right away.

While I can’t really articulate to you what this whole collection was about, I could feel some of the emotions behind it, especially the ones related to belonging, not being able to understand a language that’s supposed to one’s mother tongue, that feeling of displacement from the place where one belongs to etc. And the the descriptions of food and rain in particular were very exquisite. The one thing I will remember about this is the way the author plays with the Chinese language, using homonyms as a metaphor for the various emotions the narrator is going through, the wordplay giving so many different meanings than what’s being conveyed in English, and the interplay between the two languages leads to so much more conversation and depth.

I can’t deny that the writing is bewitching, the world created by the author is both atmospheric and horrifying, that we are excited to know more but also hate the parts we do get to know. Each chapter is preceded by an epigraph which are quotes from various fairytales and other books and a character’s journals and they do an amazing job of setting up the tone of the upcoming chapter, almost building up to the tension. Undoubtedly though, what’s stays after finishing the book or even while reading is the kinds of questions that arise in our head. The book eater world is very misogynistic and women are rare in their community and treated like “princesses”, but we quickly see that being a princess here also means having absolutely no agency over their lives or bodies, being confined to forced arranged marriages and being vessels for breeding children, and then also being separated from said children at the age of three. It was very hard not to think of the current scenario of abortion rights in the US and how laws are being made every day in states to force women to give birth with no consideration to what they want.

I’ve known about this book for a while and I even contemplated buying it many times but just never did. So I was quite excited to pick it up now for one of my readathon prompts. And the audiobook was a lot of fun to listen to. The questions in this are bizarre, the answers even more weird but also in great detail and pretty thoughtful most of the times – and while I don’t know how much of this I’ll remember, the experience was enlightening and witty with some wtf moments interspersed in between.

The book is definitely funny, especially with the author’s very witty and emotive narration but I can’t say the content was something that I felt either I connected to or that I needed to know. While I could empathize with the author’s experiences and understood what she was trying to convey about her idea of feminism, I just felt at a remove from everything. It was the two chapters about motherhood and abortion that really touched me. I really felt emotional at the author’s words about wanting women to make a choice about motherhood because they want it and not because they have to due to societal expectations. I also really felt she was very open about her abortion experience and completely agree with her that it should only be a person’s choice and while it can be a life altering decision, it’s unfair to assume that everyone finds it difficult to make that decision or that every person who decides to get an abortion is gonna regret it or feel bad about it forever. Everyone has their own reasons for doing it and how they process it is their own business. This one chapter felt particularly relevant and important because of the current horrific situation in the US and I was glad to know her thoughts about it.

The main emotion running through this sequel is grief – grief at losing family, grief at knowing that you’ll keep losing your family because that’s your family’s burden, and how this generational trauma shapes lives. The author makes this sadness palpable through her words but there’s also hope that our characters will succeed in their endeavor and finally break off from that cycle of trauma, and then there’s the adventure tale we get that I wasn’t exactly expecting. While we only got hints about the mythology in the first book, this one is brimming with it because we get to know more myths and meet fantastical creatures and gods themselves and go along with the characters on a quest that almost feels like a Cotton Malone adventure, but one I’m more invested in and full of sapphic goodness. The pacing is also pretty quick because there’s a deadline looming, but the author also manages to give us quiet moments of contemplation and so much family feels.

While the writing itself is good – a nice balance of romance, family drama, self-reflection and more – it’s Julia’s narration that steals the show, as well as the actual premise and it’s execution. As both our main characters are audiobook narrators in the book, the author does a wonderful job giving us a glimpse of the behind the scenes about what it takes to give us readers the best produced audiobooks which we so love. As it’s also a romance novel that our MCs are narrating, we get quite a bit of discussions about the romance genre, the HEA, the tropes, and ofcourse how it feels to be narrating all those sex scenes. I can definitely say that if you are a romance genre audiobook listener, you can’t give this a miss. And the way Brock McKnight’s voice is described, it really reminded me of my favorite male romance genre narrator and his absolutely sexy voice, making me realize that I haven’t heard his narration in a while.

The first thing I realized while reading this was that promoting this majorly as a heist novel was a mistake. Yes we have a crew of friends and yes they plan and execute multiple heists, but frankly those are a minuscule part of this book. This story is so much more – it’s about friendship and family, it’s about grief and loss, uncertainty and fear, home and belonging, country and culture, past and future – and how each person is shaped by each of these things. This story is less about the actual heists and more about the motivation behind it, why the characters agree to it, what drives them, what they hope to achieve and if they actually end up getting what they want. I haven’t felt this difficult to write a review in a long while, for a book which had so many elements I loved, living breathing characters who felt so close to me, a full cast audio narration which was amazing, and ultimately full of heart and feelings which were too relatable.

I don’t know what exactly I was expecting from this. The author did mention that this features a stoner lesbian protagonist and that’s exactly what we got. Lana loves flirting with every beautiful woman she encounters, is not interested at all in the scribing job she has been forced into, makes friends with a grumpy fairy and loves getting stoned. The story on the other hand is probably a satire on governments in general where politicians keep arguing with each other and not doing anything productive even when the country gets destroyed due to their inaction. I had fun while reading it but neither the characters nor the world are fleshed out too much, so it just ultimately doesn’t leave much of an impression after we finish reading it.

I don’t know how exactly it was marketed but that cover is very deceptive. It promises a quirky funny book and it is in parts, but the book is much more intense and bleak and sad at other parts and I’m sure some readers might be thrown off by that whiplash. But the author does a good job balancing all the emotions throughout, making for a very engaging read. We have random POV switches which come at unexpected times, and get perspectives of those I didn’t see coming, which makes for a surprising narrative. And Miranda Raison does a superb job capturing the nuances of every single person (and not person) she is narrating, which makes for an unputdownable listening experience. The pacing can feel slow and dragging in parts and the book maybe a tad bit long, but I think the rest of the story made up for these little shortcomings. And it’s the themes the author explores that stay with you long after you are finished – misogyny, patriarchy, gender discrimination in the work place, motherhood, family, ambition, faith and more. 

Very timely collection of essays, poems, plays and more which gives voice to the myriad of perspectives surrounding reproductive choice and abortion – the various reasons for it, regrets ot sighs of relief, a choice thought through or coerced by people and circumstances, something forgotten by the passage of time or a feeling that haunts you forever – every kind of emotion is captured in these pages, across countries and cultures and decades and I was completely moved by these stories and experiences. It only reinforces my conviction to always advocate for reproductive freedom, especially when we find it more in danger every single day.

I finally finished watching A Dream of Splendor. While the last few episodes weren’t up to the mark, the drama overall was amazing and I was completely into the love story and female friendships.

YES!!!!! My husband and I binged Nirvana in Fire in a week in between all his work and I’m ecstatic that he loved it too. And what delights me is that he had a very similar reaction after as I did – he started watching it again, albeit very slowly, maybe an episode a day because he wants to experience it again and remember stuff better. My job is done..!!!!

I haven’t read any of the Sandman comics but I just started watching this series and still in the middle of it, but I have to agree with everyone – it looks stunning. I’m really enjoying it but going a bit slow coz it’s too intense.

A dark comedy about domestic abuse, this movie gave me all kinds of feelings. Just go and give it a watch (do mind the triggers) because the three actors give stunning performances and I’ll probably watch it again.

A desi American romcom… what more could I have asked for? This was cute and fun and very relatable and gorgeous overall. Do check it out if you just wanna have a good time.

New Covers

These are some amazing covers and there are so many here I’m excited to read.

Readathons Update

I give all credit to Tropeical Readathon for this awesome reading week I’ve had and as you can see, almost all books I read were for the readathon. I’m excited that it’s going so well and I can only hope that I will keep the momentum going and read a lot more this month.

Posts from around the Blogverse

As a huge fan of The Jasmine Throne, I’m very excited to read The Oleander Sword and Kat @ KB Book Reviews has already read it and thinks it’s amazing – Link.

As I finished the brilliant The Book Eaters this past week, I had to share this super awesome review of it by Daniel @ Reading 1000 LivesLink.

To be honest, I’ve not read any TJR books but Carrie Soto is Back is the first one that seems appealing to me, so I loved reading this review of it by Kat @ Life and Other Disasters Link.

Half a Soul is one of my recent favorite fantasy romance books, so it’s always awesome to see more bloggers like Sophie @ Beware of the Reader and Jordyn @ Birdie’s Book Nook love it as much as I did – Link1, Link2.

I’m yet to read the companion novel of Half a Soul, Ten Thousand Stitches but my dear friend Caitlin @ Realms of my Mind has adored it even more than the first – Link.

Another book I loved this week is This Wicked Fate, and I’m glad that Julia @ Owls Reads also enjoyed it – Link.

Kal @ Reader Voracious is one of my most supportive bloggers out there and I had to share this post of hers about managing the stress of ARCs, a problem which I’m sure many of us have – Link.

The Art of Prophecy is one I’m eagerly anticipating, so it’s always nice to see a glowing review of it, like this one by Ariel @ Armed with a BookLink.

I don’t watch much Thai drama stuff but it was hard to miss all the hype about the BL drama KinnPorsche across social media. I haven’t yet decided if I wanna watch it because mafia romance subgenre is usually not my thing, if anyone wants to be convinced to watch it, you just have to read this absolutely amazing post about it by Lady Divine @ Subtitle DreamsLink.

And that’s all for my weekly update. How have you all been doing? What lovely books and blogs have you been reading and have you found any new favorites? Any new dramas to checkout ? Do share all your thoughts in the comments below.

10 thoughts on “The Week Gone By – 8/8/22

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  1. SOBBING! Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing my post, Sahi! I’m glad the post resonated with you and hopefully we can all conquer our arc stresses.

    I am excited to see final thoughts on Book Eaters — that book looks so interesting! Happy reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Had to share your post Kal… it’s like one universal stress we all have and need something like your post to feel better 😊😊
      I did post my review of the Book Eaters last week… that was an experience.. very fascinating book…


  2. Thank you so much for linking to my review!! I really hope you enjoy Oleander Sword!! I’m hoping to start Sandman soon – I have heard lots of good things! Amazing post, looks like you had a lot of great reads and shows you watched – Hope August is filled with more excellent media for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I watched Wedding Season and the Sandman last week and had such a good time with the both of them (for different reasons obviously, but still glad me keeping my Netflix subscription for now is paying off).
    Thank you for including my review for Carrie Soto Is Back!! I really didn’t expect to love the book as much as I did, but if you choose it as an intro to TJRs writing, I’m hopeful you’ll really enjoy it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed those too. Netflix is definitely paying off this month… let’s hope the wave of good content continues but that’s probably wishful thinking 😂😂
      Awesome to know you think so.. I definitely wanna see what all the TJR hype is about, but no book felt compelling enough to try.. maybe I should give this a chance 😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This week the final season of Locke & Key as well as Never Have I Ever will release, so I’m definitely looking forward to those.
        Carrie Soto Is Back ties into Malibu Rising, but you don’t have to read them in order. It’s just a couple references that will go over your head.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Omg I can’t believe how much progress you’ve already made for Trope-ical Readathon!!! I am so jealous. I haven’t even finished a single book yet haha. I’ve seen What If floating around foreverrrr…sounds like an amusing read. And Lessons in Chemistry…I don’t know how I missed this, but it only popped up on my radar a few months ago. I think I maybe ignored it because of the cover as it makes me think more of romance books with cartoonish illustrations, which I’m not known to read. BUT the synopsis and your description make it sound like something I’d definitely pick up. What a great week you had!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Celeste.. thank you !!! This week really has been something.. I suddenly got this energy and many audiobooks from my library, so I’ve just been going at it… and as I keep seeing the number of pages I’m reading, it keeps making me more happy and excited to continue.. I only hope I’ll keep this going 😊😊😊

      Same thing about Lessons in Chemistry with me too.. I didn’t even know about it until I saw a friend’s review and was surprised I hadn’t even seen the cover or title.. and the book was just so much.. kept me thinking and thinking, even after I was done. I think you’ll like it too 👍👍


  5. Thanks for the link! I’ve only watched the first episode of Sandman so far, and honestly the reason is because I loved it so much I wanted to just sit with that episode for a beat instead of rushing to the next one. But definitely continuing on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally understand… I’m watching together with my husband, so we’ve been going with 2 episodes per day.. it’s really something which deserves that contemplation..

      Liked by 1 person

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