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Book Review Books

Book Review: Little Women

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a book that I have been meaning to read for a long time. And finally, this March I picked up the book for March prompt of Reading With Muffy challenge. Little Women is about four sisters and one of the most trying years of their lives where they learn to love, share and face the trials and tribulations of life together.

The story begins with the girls preparing for Christmas without their father, who has gone to the war. The girls, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy are amiable young ladies with the oldest 17 years of age. They discuss their hopes and dreams with each other and their mother. In the course of the year that progresses, the four girls learn to love and cherish each other and their home even more as they learn more about life through the various experiences.

The eldest, Meg dreams of living a lavish, comfortable life like they used to before their father lost all his money; Jo is a headstrong girl who writes stories and is highly passionate; Beth is the quietest of all who takes care of all and has a passion for music; Anne is the youngest and the most pampered.

As is common in reading a story written more than one and a half century ago, many decisions of the characters may not make sense to the readers of the 21st century. But, what I found in this book is that nowhere is it preachy or confines ladies to the domestic world. Jo is the biggest example who makes her decisions and is not shy to earn money by selling her written work. Little Women is a beautifully written story and I’m glad I read it.

My rating: 4.8/5

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Book Review Books

Book review: City of Bones & City of Ashes

Now, I know these are old books, an old series but I have started reading this 6-book series this year, so I’m writing about them now.

City of Bones is the first part of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and is the book enchanting or what. I started reading it because I had to reduce he size of my one-year-old TBR list and this one called to me. Once I started, I had to finish it at he earliest and move to the next part.

Clarissa or Clary is an average American teenage girl who has a fairly simple life. Going to school, going out with friends and defying her mom. She has never known her father but she has a father-figure in her life, Luke. All this changes one day when she meets a handsome and attractive boy, Jace and his friends Alec and Isabelle.

Soon after, Clary’s mother disappears and she is sucked into a world that she didn’t even know existed. She meets Shadowhunters, demons, werewolves, vampires and warlocks. In her pursuit to find her mother, she comes across many truths that were hidden from her and also falls in love with Jace.

At the end of the first part, Clary finds her mother but she is in a coma-like state and no medicine shows any effect on her. Clary also learns some shocking truth about herself and Jace which changes the dynamics of her blossoming relationship with Jace completely.

Part two of the series, City of Ashes carries on with Clary’s search for a cure for her mother and also her struggles with the reality of the life that was hidden from her so far. They are all under serious threat from Valentine, the great villain, as he is gaining more power with each passing day.

Talking of the characters, Clary is a likeable teenager who is suddenly thrust into the unknown with no clue of who to trust and how to protect herself. Jace is fearless warrior who comes across as arrogant at first but is quite charming when he wants to be. Simon, Clary’s best friend is a normal human boy who likes her and keeps trying to tell her this. His character shows the maximum change and is a delight to read.

I found Cassandra Clare’s writing fast and interesting. I am partial towards fantasy books and this series has delivered it for me. The first two parts are good, fast and with enough plot twists to keep you hooked. From first page to the last, I was completely engrossed and as soon as I finished the first part, I wanted to move to the next. There are four more to go in the series and I have no idea how the story will pan out ahead, but the beginning of the saga is promising enough.

My rating: 4.5/5 for City of Bones

4.5/5 for City of Ashes

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Books

Happy Women’s Day

Today is the International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is “Think equal, build smart, innovate for changeā€. Change cannot be brought about in a day and it is an ongoing process towards equality of women. I believe that our books are playing a very important role in bringing about this change. Whether you read biographies, autobiographies, memoirs or fiction, a strong woman leaves a mark on the psyche. And today, I have decided to look into four of my favourite fictional female characters and share with you my views on them.

The first character that comes to my mind is Hermione Granger. She is a brilliant student with a gifted mind and and when she befriends Harry & Ron, she never backs out. The dangers that the trio face through the seven years can break any friendship but never once does she deters from her path. Though, she cared about studies and grades, when Ron & Harry needed her help she never backs out; even if it meant breaking school rules. A constant support to Harry, she has been instrumental in their winning the battle against Voldemort. Kudos to the lady who as Ron had said early on, “needs to set her priorities straight”.

Another strong girl is Katniss Everdeen. She decides to volunteer and replaces her sister, Prim when she is chosen for the Hunger Games. What follows is Katniss’s fight for survival, first in the arena and later in the country against an oppressive ruler. What we see here is how strength of one girl can change the course of a regime. Kudos to Katniss for being the Mockingjay and fighting for what was right.

Lisbeth Salander is dark, twisted and has been through hell. The Millennium Trilogy is not for the weak heart and Lisbeth is no weak woman. Subjected to hardships for as long as she can remember, she has managed to stand up on her two feet, fighting for what’s her right and winning. Even when her heart breaks, she does not look back twice and moves ahead in life, forging her own way. I wish Steig Larsson had lived longer to write more about Lisbeth.

Vasilisa “Vasya” Petrovna. The Winternight Trilogy is another series that has left me mesmerised. The books, inspired by Russian mythology have been captivating from the first page. Vasya shows her grit and a certain defiance for rules from a very young age and she never once bows down to what she knows is wrong. As she grows up, she is forced to leave her home and she faces hardship which can break anyone but she doesn’t stop. She continues and keeps saving the world from monsters. I am yet to read the third part of the trilogy, which released in January but I am sure Vasya will save the day once again.

There are many female characters and if I start listing them, I will never manage to complete this post. I love these four the most because they are survivors. They have made tough choices in life and have gone against the current but they succeeded. It’s not like they didn’t lose anyone, all of them have lost a lot of people they loved. I cried when they lost, rejoiced when they won and I am so glad to have been a part of their life stories.

Did you also notice that three of these four characters have been created by women authors? Kudos to us women.

Happy Women’s Day again! Shine like you deserve to.