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review 2017-01-07 02:28
Forgotten Boxes/Becki Willis
Forgotten Boxes - Becki Willis

Named sole heir to her aunt's estate, Charity Gannon arrives in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, hoping to find a link to her past. She's not looking for lost treasures; she is searching for a connection to the aunt she barely knew.

What she finds is a thirty-something-year-old mystery and questions with no answers. A sad, secluded cottage, all but hidden amid the vines. A man's suit of clothes, tainted with dried blood and a bullet hole. Four forgotten boxes, stuffed into a large bag and buried in the far corners of the shed.

These are not just any boxes. These are unopened, undelivered boxes, left behind by the now-defunct Kingdom Parcel. All four boxes are marked March 14, 1984... the very day her uncle, president and driver for the delivery service, was said to have committed suicide. Four forgotten boxes, whose owners might still be out there, waiting for a delivery that never arrived.

The undelivered boxes haunt Charity, tugging at her conscience. Hadn’t someone noticed them missing? Hadn’t anyone wondered about the failed delivery? Thinking it might be fun to surprise the recipients after all these years, Charity sets out to deliver the packages to their rightful owners.

Along the way, one of the love stories she discovers is her own. Fate throws her into the sturdy arms of Tarn Danbury, a burly sugarmaker with eyes as beautiful as the mountain pond from which he was named, and a voice as smooth and rich as the dark syrup he produces.

The story behind one box is delightful. Another is heartbreaking.

And one might very well be the death of her.


Although I was excited to read this book, it feel short of my expectations for a variety of reasons.


This book is not a mystery/thriller. It is a romance. It may be a romance with mystery/thriller elements, yes, but while the blurb led me to believe that there would be a romantic subplot to this, the story revolved around the romance far too much for a book selling itself as a mystery.


Let's start with my biggest issue. This book perpetuates the idea that suicide is a bad thing. Charity's uncle is thought to have committed suicide, and Charity wants to "clear his name." One should not be ashamed of someone who had committed suicide; depression and mental illnesses that lead to suicide are REAL illnesses, and I was extremely bothered by the complete disregard Charity had towards this. Okay, her uncle didn't commit suicide, but why would it have been a problem if he had? Suicide is a terrible, terrible action that takes many lives and this book completely disrespects that. And I'm not okay with that.


Charity is taking care of her deceased aunt's cottage... but it takes 13% of the book before Charity mentions that her aunt's cottage is in Vermont. She makes such a big deal about the small town vibe, but I'm not sure if we're in Texas, where the author is from, or somewhere more South, or where, and then all of a sudden we're in Vermont. After that, we don't forget it. But I literally had to go back through and skim reread because I was so confused as to where the setting was. And then, the setting becomes entirely about maple syrup. I do believe there is more to Vermont than maple syrup, as Charity should know, as she could list of about ten random facts about it.


My biggest issue with this book was the instalove. Charity and Tarn both claim that they've had very few previous relationships, yet during their first encounter they're both attempting to flirt in a way that feels completely unnatural and formulaic. They kiss (no spoiler alert because it's obvious that it'll happen) when they just barely know each others' names. I just don't get it. For someone who is supposedly so pragmatic, why does Charity go crazy so fast for him? Do they ever talk? Why do they like each other? There is absolutely zero substance other than lust and physical attraction.


And I haven't even started on the premise. I like the premise. I was really excited about the premise and greedy to read this. But it's not believable. There are several plot holes where I wondered how it got to the point that Charity was even involved. The timing of it all is far too coincidental, and I'm really not sure why the case wasn't resolved thirty years ago and why the bad guys didn't just get away with it.


I also couldn't enjoy the way that this was written. There is a dream scene in this book, which is a completely tired trope when, as in this case, it contributes nothing to the book. That scene could have been deleted completely. Charity talks to herself often, until one time she seems to realise just how much she talks to herself. Yes, Charity, I was judging you. Or at least, I was judging you as a character for needing to convey information in that manner.


There are also flashbacks in the past that could have been useful, but they are too infrequent and random that they instead just distract. If all relevant scenes had been in the past this might have worked, but instead I feel like I know information that Charity doesn't until the end when she magically figures things out. Even the one character that could shed light couldn't have known everything that happened in flashbacks.


Finally, this girl puts her entire self worth on the one guy's attraction. She runs her own business as a graphic designer (though I don't know how she was working during this book??) and is pretty darn self sufficient. Yet she is a total damsel in distress, and it takes a man getting an erection in response to her for her to finally gain some confidence. I would have loved to have seen her being validated in some other way--maybe an award for her business or something that she showed pride in. But the only time she shows confidence is when a man is attracted to her.


Also, I wish she received more affirmation for her weight. She talks about being "big" because she is 5'7". Well, I am 5'6", and now I feel like I, too, am a whale. Maybe I'm not petite as she desires to be, but I generally feel pretty confident until this book tells me that unless I find a giant mountain man, I will be big, and the only way I'll get affirmation is in his attentions. Great. Thanks.


I'm sorry, but there are just too many issues with this book for me to recommend it at all.


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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text 2016-09-01 07:45
I Entered the DWL Short Story Contest & the Short that I Wrote for Booksy


The Desi Writers Lounge (DWL) is holding a short story contest. I submitted an entry that is almost 2k words long. The results will be announced in October, so I will wait until then to share it on the blog.

Until then, I will be sharing the shortest of shorts that I wrote for the Booksy subscription. It was included in the boxes with the other goodies. Here it is:

Karachi, One Summer Night…

Not into a bulb! Anything but that…”, the Ifrit begged but it was to no avail. What her hellions wanted, they almost always got. Fawj smiled as her daughter, Sid, morphed into a golem as big as a house. She looked down at the trembling Ifrit and lifted her behemoth foot, threatening to squash him. The Ifrit shook his head and vowed to murder his boss who had sent him into this madhouse in the first place. “It will be easy, they had said. They’re just a bunch of kids and their mother. You will be out of the house before they even realize you were in”, the Ifrit muttered as he transformed into a bulb in a room full of an octet of kids and their mom.


The golem bent down and picked up the bulb with surprisingly nimble bamboo-sized fingers. She hung him on an overhead beam and clapped like a little girl. She was a little girl, no older than five, realized the Ifrit as it gave her the evil eye, even as a bulb.

Girl Golem

The Thief of Thieves, he had been apprehended by a five-year-old as he sneaked inside her house to rob her! It did not matter that she had morphed into his personal nightmare at that time. Which was why, his guise had slipped, and the girl had snared him with a tentacle of an arm. It was too painful for him to remember what happened afterwards. He had been forced to turn into everything, from a cat’s chew toy to this last humiliation, a light bulb.

My Kinda Ifrit

Brighter!” Sid growled now and he shined as bright as he could.  “Is that bright enough, mommy?” The girl asked, snuggling against her mother. Fawj nodded, watching her other children get started on their homework.


As if!
Find out how to get your Booksy box here. If you liked this short story, there's another one that you can read -- that one is about a little girl and Death!
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text 2016-07-24 17:10
9 Reasons Why You Never Forget Your First Subscription Box, Especially If It Happens To Be Booksy!
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
Leave it to P Smith - P.G. Wodehouse


When I found out that subscription books were available in Pakistan, I was ecstatic. This is something that so many readers have endlessly waited for. Add to that they are also affordably priced and I was in heaven.


Booksy happens to be the first book subscription that I signed up for. I have waited until now to rave about it because I wanted to be sure that they could deliver a second time. I also wanted to see if how I felt about it was not partially based on the fact that it was my first. It isn't!


Here are some reasons why I have fallen in love with this service and will continue to order:


  1. It is not only affordable, it happens to be one of the most reasonably priced boxes out there. It costs you 1500PKR. You will find other services that cost anywhere from between 2000-3500.
  2. It focuses on the book as all book subscription boxes rightly should. The copy that you get is not only good quality but,
  3. They also offer you choices between genres to choose from. To my knowledge, they are the only box service that currently offers that option. For June, they offered a choice between not two but five genres!


    They do not limit the books to the YA genre and I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate this.
  4. I chose the dystopian and ended up with something that I absolutely loved. The book also features on so many lists on feminist literature and is one of the popular ones.


    I simply lost it when I saw the book they chose! Here is a picture of my copy:



6. The accessories are fun, of sufficiently good quality, and fun to collect. I especially loved the coloring book since I am a sucker when it comes to them. Here is what else I got in the June box:




7. They come up with ways to keep things fresh. One of the attractions for the July box were the genres:

Then there was this other little attractive offer:


Hey any book services that pushes classics is alright with me! lol


Finally, there was also this:



8. Once you sign up with them, you do not have to keep signing up for every month. There are no complications and you will get your order every month unless you unsubscribe.

9. The service will text you on the day your box will be arriving, so that you know when to expect it.


Needless to say, I ordered the July box and this is what I was sent:




I also got a sort of a journal and loved the hard work that was put into it. Each page contains a writing prompt that can be used to get the creative juices a-flowing. This is what it looks like:




The other thing that I absolutely went gaga over was the choice of book. Since I had chosen comedy, this is what I ended up with:



Like I told a friend, you cannot go wrong with P.G.Wodehouse!


Lastly, there were the writings that were chosen by Booksy to be a part of their boxes:



I am going to cheat and only put up pictures of the one that I wrote lol


What the service can improve:


a. The box itself. For now, it looks quite drab and understated. If they are going to compete with the other fancy brands out there, they will need to work on the packaging.

b. Notebooks. I have received notebooks for two months now and would like something different included in the box next month. It does not matter what it is as long as it is not a notebook!


Looks like I have gone Booksy and am staying that way. They haven't started taking orders for August yet, so you might want to keep an eye out for when they do. Trust me, you won't regret it. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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review 2015-10-09 21:53
M.C. Escher Book of Boxes by M.C. Escher
M.C. Escher Book of Boxes - M.C. Escher
bookshelves: autumn-2015, art-forms, how-to, palate-cleanser, nonfiction, tbr-busting-2015
Read from April 15, 2014 to October 09, 2015


Description: This book helps you finalize physically, how the drawings, theory and constructions of MC Escher can come alive. As I have loved his works through my life, I didn't have the mathematical orientation to bring to life the constructions brought to you in these printed pages. The book supplies the precut printed iterations of the artist and illustrates how they can be assembled into beautiful little "works of art". They demonstrate not any particular items Escher constructed, but how his art can seamlessly cover a isometric object. I believe anyone curious about how his surface plane coverings work will enjoy this book.

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