Hungry Hearts Food Crawl – Rain, Sangu Mandanna

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Hello, everybody!! Welcome to my stop for the Hungry Hearts Food Crawl organised by the very amazing CW @ The Quiet Pond and Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads ! I’m so excited to be a part of this blog tour where #OwnVoices reviewers review a story that represents them. I’ve never been a part of something like this before so I’m really excited!! 😀

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From some of your favorite bestselling and critically acclaimed authors—including Sandhya Menon, Anna-Marie McLemore, and Rin Chupeco—comes a collection of interconnected short stories that explore the intersection of family, culture, and food in the lives of thirteen teens.

A shy teenager attempts to express how she really feels through the confections she makes at her family’s pasteleria. A tourist from Montenegro desperately seeks a magic soup dumpling that could cure his fear of death. An aspiring chef realizes that butter and soul are the key ingredients to win a cooking competition that could win him the money to save his mother’s life.

Welcome to Hungry Hearts Row, where the answers to most of life’s hard questions are kneaded, rolled, baked. Where a typical greeting is, “Have you had anything to eat?” Where magic and food and love are sometimes one and the same.

Told in interconnected short stories, Hungry Hearts explores the many meanings food can take on beyond mere nourishment. It can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home.

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Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune, Roselle Lim – Blog Tour

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42051103At the news of her mother’s death, Natalie Tan returns home. The two women hadn’t spoken since Natalie left in anger seven years ago, when her mother refused to support her chosen career as a chef. Natalie is shocked to discover the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco’s Chinatown that she remembers from her childhood is fading, with businesses failing and families moving out. She’s even more surprised to learn she has inherited her grandmother’s restaurant.

The neighborhood seer reads the restaurant’s fortune in the leaves: Natalie must cook three recipes from her grandmother’s cookbook to aid her struggling neighbors before the restaurant will succeed. Unfortunately, Natalie has no desire to help them try to turn things around–she resents the local shopkeepers for leaving her alone to take care of her agoraphobic mother when she was growing up. But with the support of a surprising new friend and a budding romance, Natalie starts to realize that maybe her neighbors really have been there for her all along.

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An Interview With Sukanya Venkatraghavan

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Hey y’all! Big day today! I invited Sukanya Venkatraghavan to do an interview with me on the blog a week ago, and she graciously agreed! It was an absolutely amazing experience for me and I’m really excited to share it with you! So, without further ado, here we go!

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The Takeover Effect, Nisha Sharma – ARC Review

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36544616Hemdeep Singh knows exactly what he wants. With his intelligence and determination, he has what it takes to build his own legacy away from Bharat, Inc. and the empire his father created. But when his brother calls him home, Hem puts his dreams on hold once again to help save the company he walked away from. That’s when he encounters the devastating Mina Kohli in the Bharat boardroom, and he realizes he’s in for more than he had bargained.

Mina will do whatever it takes to regain control of her mother’s law firm, even if it means agreeing to an arranged marriage. Her newest case assignment is to assist Bharat in the midst of a potential takeover. It could be the key to finally achieving her goal while preventing her marriage to a man she doesn’t love—as long as her explosive attraction to Hem doesn’t get in the way.

As Mina and Hem work to save Bharat, they not only uncover secrets that could threaten the existence of the company, but they also learn that in a winner-takes-all game, love always comes out on top.

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*ARC provided by Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts are entirely my own and in no way biased.*

The Takeover Effect is a fast paced, intriguing, and sexy story that centers around our two protags – Hemdeep “Hem” Singh and Mina Kohli, in the background of corporate espionage, hostile takeovers and mergers, and corporate politics thrown in with a bunch of family issues and angst. It was an amazing read and I finished it in one sitting. Once I started reading, it was almost impossible to stop because it was just so good. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. So very, very, very much.

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The writing and plot in this story are very intense and gripping. I mean, there is so much happening with the takeover attempt and everyone seems to have their own agenda and then you just don’t know what is going to happen in the end, as regards to the takeover (I mean, it is a romance so the HEA/HFN is guaranteed, but I WAS SO INVESTED IN FINDING OUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO THE COMPANY!) Frankly, I have never really been interested in the background as something more than tools to move the story forward. But in this one, I was genuinely into the whole backdrop scenario and what would happen. So, points for that.

It also blended into the story perfectly and it was like an entity of its own in the story, like the characters. It was really so well done and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 😀

Complete brownie points for the punjabi dialogue littered throughout the story because it was so amazing to read it! I absolutely love it so, so, so much!!

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Mina, the female lead in the story, is a lawyer who wants to oust her uncles and take control of the law firm her mother built from scratch and which had been taken over by said uncles when she was just a teenager. She’s absolutely amazing. Her sheer determination to get back what was stolen from her is so nice to see and I absolutely rooted for her the minute she came on page. Her quick wit and snarky comebacks are just as brilliant. I loved her banter with Hem.

She loves her mother so much and it is so prevalent in everything she does. She wants to make her proud and be the daughter she thinks her mother would want her to be. And despite her go getter attitude, she has her own insecurities like any other person. I love how she’s portrayed as a whole. Absolutely phenomenal!

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And then there’s Hem. Quiet, complex, and understanding Hem who comes home at the first sign of trouble for his father despite their disagreements not too long ago. It is established right from the start that even though he doesn’t see eye to eye with his parents and they have all this shit between them, he cares a lot about his family and there isn’t anything he wouldn’t not do for them.

He is a fierce entrepreneur and lawyer and has the power to shut a room down with his presence and command over the room. But, he is also soft and understanding and supportive – for his brothers and Mina. He is also determined and doesn’t give up easily.

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I adore the progression of Mina & Hem’s relationship throughout the book. It starts off as a mutual attraction they both deny at first but then it slowly buds into dating and then love and it’s just done so beautifully. I love how they both bond over their mutual love of Indian food and their mother tongue – Punjabi. They’re both very different in some aspects, yet so similar in others and they just fit together so well. They are both so in tune with each other and are always supportive which I like. Of course there are bumps along the way and then Hem does behave like a dick at times, but at the end of the day, they make each other happy and it was so good to read about!

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All the characters were absolutely amaze and I loved them all. Hem’s family and Mina’s vapid uncles were all great characters and I loved them so much! They were well fleshed out and that was really nice to read. I think my favourite side characters were Hem’s brothers, Ajay & Zail. Their family had their issues, like any other family, but I loved the dynamic of this trio. They clearly admired and respected each other a lot and that was very visible throughout the story.

Over all, this was definitely a book I would recommend to every romance reader out there! ❤

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Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Avon

 

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Nisha Sharma is the author of the critically acclaimed YA novel My So-Called Bollywood Life, and the adult contemporary romance The Takeover Effect. Her writing has been praised by NPR, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Teen Vogue, Buzzfeed, Hypable and more.

Nisha credits her father for her multiple graduate degrees, and her mother for her love of Shah Rukh Khan and Jane Austen. She lives in New Jersey with her Alaskan husband, her cat Lizzie Bennett and her dog Nancey Drew. You can find her online at Nisha-sharma.com or on Twitter and Instagram @nishawrites.

Website | Twitter | Instagram

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Have you read any of Nisha Sharma’s books? Did you enjoy them? Are you excited for The Takeover Effect? Have you already read it? Did you enjoy it?

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Small Town Hearts, Lillie Vale – Blog Tour

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36192190Rule #1 – Never fall for a summer boy. 

Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.

And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had – to never fall for a summer boy?

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From Twinkle, With Love, Sandhya Menon – Book Review

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36373464Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.

Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.

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#DesiRepDiscussions – Representation Matters

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Hey guys!

Over the past couple years, the #DiverseReads movement has gained momentum and people have become aware of reading books that are different from cis straight white characters. Because, this world is a huge place and there are many different people here that are not straight or white. They have been poorly represented in media for a long time and that has taken its toll.

Desis are an example of such oppressed voices. We have not been represented in a good light in the western media, but, thankfully, that has changed in the last few years and with emerging authors such as Roshani Chokshi, Sandhya Menon, Tara Sim, Dhonielle Clayton, Sabaa Tahir etc, hopefully, people will see us in a better light.

The purpose of this discussion event is to make others aware of the lush, beautiful desi culture and to tell them more about us. So, for the next few days, my absolutely amazing friend, Aditi from A Thousand Words A Million Books and I will be sharing various essays by desi book people – bloggers, bookstagrammers, twitterati etc for you guys.

I hope that you learn something new by reading what we have in store for you here and that you enjoy it. Thank you for stopping by!

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Representation Matters

– Aimal

Desis are one of the largest population groups in the world, with over 1.7 billion people and a diaspora that’s spread across all continents. But even then, desis are among some of the least represented groups in publishing, especially when you consider Bangladeshis and Pakistanis.

There are only a handful of desi books released in publishing every year – a number that’s, fortunately, increasing every year but still very low. Even fewer are books written by desis about desis, and those that aren’t written by desis often fall prey to stereotypes and gross conflation of the various rich subcultures within the “desi” culture into a monolithic, single dimension. It’s something I’ve noticed rather often what sort of desi stories are pushed by publishing (and movies, or anything – actually), and those are overwhelmingly what I call “oppression narratives.”

For desi teens to pick up books that promise them representation and only read how horrible their cultures are, how oppressed desis are as a product of their own cultures and countries is a concern. For example, Bollywood is a booming industry with hundreds of movies released every year, from every different genre imaginable, yet when you think about an Indian movie, what do you picture? Slumdog Millionaire, about poverty and violence. Pakistan has a huge fashion and entertainment industry with music that’s adored all over the world, but what media is hailed by the West?

Oppression narratives about terrorism and violence. These are, unfortunately, realities of desi countries – undisputedly, but they aren’t the only realities. And it’s concerning to me that mainstream publishing only likes to push narratives that tell desis of their oppression, and that focus on our “Othering,” while largely avoiding and/or not resourcing narratives that tell mainstream audiences that desis have their own identities, their own cultures, sure, but we are a diverse, large group of people who are people first and foremost.

There are, of course, exceptions. Some of the recommendations I have are Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed, and Fire Boy by Sami Shah – both very unique novels by desi writers. The first tackles what it’s like growing up desi (Indian) and Muslim in the United States, while the second is an elaborate fantasy about a Pakistani boy who finds out he’s half-jinn.

I treasure these stories with my heart and soul because they provide me with some semblance of representation that I so rarely see in any form of media. And I sincerely hope that with this new push towards diversifying publishing, desis aren’t left behind and we get more books about our lives, our experiences and our beautiful culture(s) without being told how backwards and oppressed we are.

Connect With The Author:

Twitter | CuriousCat

#DesiRepDicsussions – A Love Letter to Sandhya Menon

Hey guys!

Over the past couple years, the #DiverseReads movement has gained momentum and people have become aware of reading books that are different from cis straight white characters. Because, this world is a huge place and there are many different people here that are not straight or white. They have been poorly represented in media for a long time and that has taken its toll.

Desis are an example of such oppressed voices. We have not been represented in a good light in the western media, but, thankfully, that has changed in the last few years and with emerging authors such as Roshani Chokshi, Sandhya Menon, Tara Sim, Dhonielle Clayton, Sabaa Tahir etc, hopefully, people will see us in a better light.

The purpose of this discussion event is to make others aware of the lush, beautiful desi culture and to tell them more about us. So, for the next few days, my absolutely amazing friend, Aditi from A Thousand Words A Million Books and I will be sharing various essays by desi book people – bloggers, bookstagrammers, twitterati etc for you guys.

I hope that you learn something new by reading what we have in store for you here and that you enjoy it. Thank you for stopping by!

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A Love Letter to Sandhya Menon

– Kav

Discussing diversity in media is a prominent part of my mission as a booktuber. More importantly, I want to support and promote diverse content, particularly diverse YA novels. Last year, I had the honor of beginning my journey of supporting Sandhya Menon, an unbelievably talented YA author who writes about Indian-American teens as an Indian author herself. To this day, I can still remember the moment I discovered her and how that changed my world forever.

In the first half of 2017, Menon’s first novel, When Dimple Met Rishi, was released and I had the privilege of receiving an ARC of this novel. When Dimple Met Rishi was the first novel I ever read featuring a main character of my skin color. I still have an inability to express how my world changed and the happiness this brought me.

Since the release of When Dimple Met Rishi, Menon has announced two other novels, From Twinkle, With Love (out May 22nd, 2018) and When Ashish Met Sweetie, the sequel to When Dimple Met Rishi, two more YA novels featuring Indian-American teens. Each of these novels has the potential to change yet another Indian-American teen’s life the way When Dimple Met Rishi changed my life.

By writing about characters that look like her, Menon has revolutionized the YA world in terms of its Indian representation. When Dimple Met Rishi is the first mainstream #ownvoices YA novel with an Indian-American main character. This is thanks to the endless work of so many activists in the publishing world, but is also thanks to the endless work and talent of Sandhya Menon.

South Asian representation is rarely considered in the discussion diversity, as though places like India and Pakistan do not exist and people from there do not deserve to see themselves in media. Menon has begun dismantling this ideology by being brave enough to write what she does. Everyday when she writes, she is changing the world with her work.

I implore you to support Sandhya Menon in any way you can because the desi community needs your support. Support the woman who has changed countless Indian-American teens’ lives and will continue to do so in the future.

Connect With The Author:

Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

#DesiRepDiscussions – Humanizing Desi Characters

Desi Rep Discussions

Hey guys!

Over the past couple years, the #DiverseReads movement has gained momentum and people have become aware of reading books that are different from cis straight white characters. Because, this world is a huge place and there are many different people here that are not straight or white. They have been poorly represented in media for a long time and that has taken its toll.

Desis are an example of such oppressed voices. We have not been represented in a good light in the western media, but, thankfully, that has changed in the last few years and with emerging authors such as Roshani Chokshi, Sandhya Menon, Tara Sim, Dhonielle Clayton, Sabaa Tahir etc, hopefully, people will see us in a better light.

The purpose of this discussion event is to make others aware of the lush, beautiful desi culture and to tell them more about us. So, for the next few days, my absolutely amazing friend, Aditi from A Thousand Words A Million Books and I will be sharing various essays by desi book people – bloggers, bookstagrammers, twitterati etc for you guys.

I hope that you learn something new by reading what we have in store for you here and that you enjoy it. Thank you for stopping by!

Continue reading

#DesiRepDiscussions – Importance of Desi Rep

Desi Rep Discussions

Hey guys!

Over the past couple years, the #DiverseReads movement has gained momentum and people have become aware of reading books that are different from cis straight white characters. Because, this world is a huge place and there are many different people here that are not straight or white. They have been poorly represented in media for a long time and that has taken its toll.

Desis are an example of such oppressed voices. We have not been represented in a good light in the western media, but, thankfully, that has changed in the last few years and with emerging authors such as Roshani Chokshi, Sandhya Menon, Tara Sim, Dhonielle Clayton, Sabaa Tahir etc, hopefully, people will see us in a better light.

The purpose of this discussion event is to make others aware of the lush, beautiful desi culture and to tell them more about us. So, for the next few days, my absolutely amazing friend, Aditi from A Thousand Words A Million Books and I will be sharing various essays by desi book people – bloggers, bookstagrammers, twitterati etc for you guys.

I hope that you learn something new by reading what we have in store for you here and that you enjoy it. Thank you for stopping by!

Continue reading