Your Perfect Year by Charlotte Lucas

Book Review

Fiction | Romance | Hope | Emotional

Reading Your Perfect Year made me feel like I was watching a rom-com movie. It’s a feel-good, emotional, and inspirational kinda dreamy love story. Set in Hamburg, the story is centered around fate. The two protagonists in this book are Jonathan Grief and Hannah Marx. Hannah fills a New Year journal for her boyfriend with a list of things to do for every single day of the year. But Hannah’s boyfriend suddenly goes missing on New Year and her Filofax planner is found by Jonathan Grief on his bicycle handle.

Jonathan Grief is a rich man in his 40s who has inherited his dad’s famous publishing house called Grief and Sons. He is a lonely, uptight divorcee with only a drowning publishing house left to look after. He constantly complains about everything that doesn’t appeal to his sensibilities. He believes he is living a perfect, content life until he finds the Filofax and realises how much he has been missing out on life by not paying attention to the simple joys.

I’ll tell you one truth: if life’s taught me anything, it’s that you should only do what excites you. Everything else is a waste of time. No one should act against their heart and their own convictions.

Charlotte Lucas

Hannah Marx on the other hand is an optimistic, happy, and over-energetic person who runs a successful child care business called The Little Rascals with her friend. She makes a journal full of ideas for her boyfriend to bring hope and positivity in his life. However, she loses all her zest for life after she finds out that her boyfriend is never coming back.

Fate plays a major role in this book. It all starts with the Filofax finding Jonathan. He tries to find the owner of the Filofax but in vain. So, he decides to live his life by following the things planned in the diary which include tasks, motivational quotes, attending events, etc.

Make a break with your habits, test yourself, expand your horizons! If you usually hold the phone in your right hand, use your left. Do your shopping in a different supermarket and buy different brands..

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results – Albert Einstein.

Jonathan laughed and shook his head. He had never seen it like that, but it was so true. It was insanity!

Charlotte Lucas

Hannah inevitably finds out that some insane stranger has been religiously living according to the things that she had planned for her boyfriend. Finally, the day comes when they meet. Of course, the story doesn’t end there. There are more emotional ups and downs that they go through which you’ll have to read to find out.

Life was for living, regardless of how long you had left.

Charlotte Lucas

Not highly recommended but a good read. Your Perfect Year is about love, friendship and also some serious topics like dementia, death, and divorce. You can indulge in this light and breezy book if you’re in a marshmellow mood. Cozy up with your cat and enjoy reading this book on the weekend!

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become deeds. Watch your deeds; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become your character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. From the Talmud, or so it says here.

Charlotte Lucas

Your Perfect Year by Charlotte Lucas, translated from German by Alison Layland.

You can also find my book review here Discovery.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

#Book Review
Fantasy Fiction|Thrilling|War|Magic

This book was on my Want to Read list for really long, I finally decided to read it and I am glad I did. Uprooted by Naomi Novik is a fantasy novel that will take you on a magical journey through a homely village, a Dragon’s cold tower, warring kingdoms, and the corrupted Wood.

The protagonist of this story is Agnieszka, a 17-year old girl, who loves her village – Dvernik, her family, and her beautiful friend Kasia. The villagers of Dvernik always live in a certain kind of fear, the Wood surrounds the village and many of them have lost a loved one to the Wood. It is not that the people get lost in the forest, the Wood is pure evil and whoever enters the Wood encounters horror and death.

“There was a song in this forest, too, but it was a savage song, whispering of madness and tearing and rage.”

Naomi Novik

The Dragon, a powerful wizard, protects the villagers and keeps the corruption of the Wood under control. However, the people pay a terrible price for the Dragon’s help. Every ten years, the Dragon takes a young girl from the village to serve him. This year everyone was sure that Kasia would be chosen as she was an ideal choice – young, beautiful, well-mannered, and she could manage all the household tasks. Agnieszka on the other hand was a messy tomboy. Agnieszka knew the Dragon would never choose her but she feared for her dearest childhood friend, Kasia. When the day of choosing arrived, everyone was surprised with the Dragon’s choice.

Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true..

Naomi Novik

Now, this is not a story about a Dragon and a girl, it is a lot more! That was just the beginning, honestly I couldn’t believe that a book with around 450-pages could have such a dense plot line. Just when you start thinking, “Alright, now this is where the story is going to build up, bam, mystery solved!” I guess, this is something that makes the book all the more interesting to read. The story keeps you going, it isn’t boring, and it doesn’t feel rushed. In fact, the story is super descriptive. You can vividly imagine how it must feel like to be in the Dragon’s tower, Agnieszka’s room, Prince Marek’s mythical kingdom of Polnya, and the dark, creepy forest.

Every day I could watch the Spindle running riotous white with melted ice, and a band of open grass widening from the lowlands, chasing the snow up into the mountains on either side. Rain swept over the valley in silver curtains.

Naomi Novik

Uprooted is a story that has magic, magic spells – Vanastalem being one of my favorites. It is about a strong bond of friendship, romance, war between kingdoms, and the ultimate war with the evil Wood. The only part where I felt slightly let down was how the book ended, I found it way too convenient and more like a happy ending of a movie, but I still enjoyed reading it.

I recommend that you definitely read, Uprooted, if you want to escape reality and enter into a realm of fantasy. Somehow, it even feels real and believable. It’s easy to get absorbed into the story, I loved the character growth of Agnieszka, and the fantastic world-building. The underlying theme of being uprooted affects not only the protagonist but also the other important characters involved in the story.

I was a glaring blot on the perfection. But I didn’t care: I didn’t feel I owed him beauty.

Naomi Novik

They come and go like seasons, the winter that gives no thought to the spring.

Noami Novik

The Girl in the Tree by Şebnem İşigüzel

Book Review

Fiction|Trauma|Family Strife|Love

A Girl in the Tree written by Şebnem İşigüzel is a story of a girl who has given up on the world and decides to live in the trees. It is an emotional tale of a teenage girl who talks about Gezi protests in Turkey, constant war in Istanbul, bombing attacks, political realities, and violence in society. The harsh realities and the tragic events leave her with no hope of a better world. So, she runs away and climbs one of the tallest trees in Istanbul’s Gülhane Park. Here she reveals multiple reasons that have led her to take this drastic step of spending the rest of her life in the trees. But, a kind and helpful soul comes around like a glistening ray of hope and an unexpected love story unfolds.

The girl is disappointed and frustrated and does not want to reveal her identity. It all starts with the death of her favorite singer. As the story progresses she shares how she loses her two best friends in a bombing attack. Like her mind, which is in a state of disorder, the girl narrates the events in a disorderly fashion, transitioning from the past to the present.

The girl talks about her dysfunctional family and how she has grown up seeing her mother living a sad and lonely life. She is passionate about writing but is brutally criticized by her school teacher much to her despair. The girl shares all these memories while being perched in a stork’s nest. She hops, skips, and jumps from one branch to another, from one tree to another to avoid being seen by the people in the park.

A bell boy, Yunus, who works in a hotel near the park notices the girl and helps by bringing food, water, and warm clothes. He regularly checks up on her and protects her. They get close and share stories of their past. Yunus showers her with love and care, and even ends up losing his job while trying to protect her. He offers her to run away with him and start a new life but The Girl in the Tree is determined to live the rest of her life away from the emotional miseries of the world.

The Girl in the Tree is a Turkish fictional novel translated by Mark David Wyers. It deals with the struggles of the common people in Istanbul where there is no freedom of speech or women’s rights. All there’s left is grief, political strife and violence. Hence, the girl believes that living in the trees is the only way to attain spiritual freedom. This book has a unique and bold tone where the girl is directly interacting with the readers. The rage and unrest that she is going through is captured extremely well.

I recommend that you give this book a read if you’re intrigued by the offbeat story that is set in a violent political background.

All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

War|History|Fiction|Heartfelt

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Book Review

All the Light We Cannot See is a book about the tragedies of war written by Anthony Doerr. The tone of the book is melancholic yet hopeful. It is centered around two protagonists, a six-year old French girl, Marie Laurie, and an eight-year old German boy, Werner Pfennig.

It is a deeply moving story where the author wonderfully captures the difficult circumstances of war and its effects on the people involved. This book is not about what happened during World War II, nor is it about Hitler or the Jews. This book is about how war affects the lives of ordinary people by uprooting them from their homes. It is about people who do not wish to participate in the war and have no choice but to bare the consequences of it. At the same time, it highlights the strength of humanity where we can live through unimaginable situations. In the end, we can always find a reason to live and survive.

All the Light We Cannot See is a fictional war novel about many things. It is about the strength of a blind girl that survives through war. A confused yet an intelligent orphan boy who loves to learn but is captured in a terrible period of war. A father, trying to do his best for his daughter. A sister who is worried that her brother will get influenced by Nazi ideologies. A soldier from World War I who loses his brother and is haunted by the ghosts of war. A friend who loses his life because he is considered too weak to serve the country. This book highlights how individual choices and freedom do not belong to you, but to your country. Only by serving the country, can you survive. Moments of weakness, betrayal, shock, horror, and hope are what makes this book so special and real.

“Wherever her great-uncle is, could he have survived this?
Could anyone?
Has she?”

“Walk the path of logic. Every outcome has its cause, and every predicament has its solution. Every key its lock.  You can go back to Paris or you can stay here or you can go on.”


*Spoiler Alert* Below is a detailed summary of the book which reveals some of the plot points.


Marie Laurie is a blind girl who loses her eyesight due to cataract at a very young age. She lives in Paris with her father, who loves her dearly and works at the Museum of National History. Her father builds a miniature version of the neighborhood for his daughter so she can navigate through the area independently when the need arises. Marie regularly accompanies her father to the museum and this is where she learns about a valuable blue diamond, the Sea of Flames, and its legendary curse. When the German army invades France, Marie Laurie and her father flee from Paris and arrive at Saint-Malo to live with her great uncle Etienne.

Meanwhile, Werner Pfennig lives in an orphanage with his sister Jutta in a town called Zollverein in Germany. He is a brilliant kid with an exceptional skill in fixing radios. His talents and expertise with electronics capture attention. Soon, Werner is presented with an opportunity to study in a specialized training school in Berlin. Werner with a hope for a better future and thirst for knowledge decides to attend the school by leaving behind his sister. Only upon his arrival, he realizes that the fears of his sister were right all along – the boarding school is a place that teaches Nazi values. All the while at the boarding school, Werner does everything that he is expected to do but deep inside he is guilty and knows that he has made a wrong decision.

While the city is being bombed and attacked, Marie Laurie holds onto hope and ends up saving Werner’s life with her radio broadcasts. In turn, Werner saves Marie who is trapped in her house with a German officer. This story is about their journey, experiences and how their lives intersect during war.

“He says, “You are very brave.” She lowers the bucket. “What is your name?” He tells her. She says, “When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave. When my father left, people said I was brave. But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?” He says, “Not in years. But today. Today maybe I did.”

Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

My dear girls, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.

I have been a silent observer of your marvelous life story. How much I adore each one of you, I feel I know you all oh-so immensely. For this, I thank Louisa May Alcott for bestowing upon the world this wonderful, sweet story.

Many moral lessons have been wrapped around each one of my little sisters. How splendidly you’ve all grown to become women of high praise and beauty.

Meg, a girl with many dreams settles with a man who loves her true and deep. You make a wise decision of choosing love over rich fantasies. Regardless, Meg, your two beautiful souls, Daisy and Demi, are worth more than all the riches of the world.

Jo, my love. You are a diamond in the rough. Your strong will, challenging nature, talent, wit, and kindness inspire all the women, one of them being me, to be better than they can ever be. How could you be lonely, when you are surrounded by us who love you so dearly, just the way you are. 

Beth, a delicate beauty with a compassionate soul. How the hearts cried to see you in pain and misery. Yet sweet Beth calmed the crumbled hearts like a gentle autumn rain, like a little bird with its many soothing melodies.

Amy, a mischievous little girl grows up to be a charming beauty. How the worldly travels and experiences have turned you into a fine artistic lady. A keeper of Laurie’s heart, you have gotten the best of all, a lifetime of love, happiness, and memories.

Laurie, my sweet lad. You chose Jo for which I will always love you so. It hurt to see your heart break. Guess, it was all for the best. For eventually, you chose happiness and gave me hope that you would not end up being miserable and lonely. You and Amy were meant to be. 

No matter the hardships, life has taught the March family, dearest Laurie, and the readers to find happiness in little things and to face difficulties with a smile. This book creates a wonderful imagery by taking you back into the good old world where life was simple and beautiful. The Little Women is about family, love, friendship, and togetherness. This book will always hold a special place in my heart.

Yours Lovingly!

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Dustful Dreams

Yesterday, he called me in my dreams

Strolling in the dark green meadows

I turned around to look at him

Then walked away.

Next thing I know,

He is by my side

Giggling and questioning me with his eyes.

So I stop and ask, “Who are you?”

To which he replied “Your daemon.”

My Sister, the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite

Crime|Dramedy|Unsettling|Family

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My Sister, the Serial Killer, is a story of two sisters, Korede and Ayoola. Ayoola kills and Korede protects. This pretty much sums up the entire story.

What makes it interesting to read is the unique narration by Oyinkan Braithwaite, where a dark theme is narrated with a comic element. Though a short novel, you cannot help but get involved with the characters.

Korede, the elder sister is a nurse by profession. She is reliable, hard-working, and fiercely protective of her younger sister. At the same time she is also resentful of her sister’s flawless beauty.

Ayoola is a carefree, happy-go-lucky soul who always gets what she wants and she is used to men falling in love with her beauty almost instantly. She is extremely close to her sister and shares all her secrets with Korede, including the murders of her boyfriends.

Every time, Ayoola kills a man, she summons her sister by saying, “Korede, I killed him.” As always, Korede goes running to save Ayoola and tries her best to clean up her mess. But, what happens when Korede’s long love interest, Tade, falls for Ayoola’s beauty too? Will she save her sister or Tade?

My Sister, the Serial Killer, is Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel. It is a dark comic fictional story which is easy to read and the story flows really well. At first, you feel the storyline does not progress beyond Ayoola’s beauty, how she is the favorite child, and Korede though being smart always feels worthless. But soon, the story picks up pace, a lot more characters come into the picture and the story evolves.

When Korede finds out that, “More than three murders makes you a serial killer”, she is clearly frightened and worried for her sister. Ayoola’s merry disposition after committing the crimes makes it all the more weird. Introducing another character in the story, Muhtar – a coma patient, who is Korede’s only source of comfort and companion with whom she shares all her secrets and thoughts.

My Sister, the Serial Killer, deals with crime, loyalty, love, an abusive father, and gender roles. This tale also has undertones of self-worth, dependency and frustration with Korede always feeling that she is a step behind Ayoola. It is about family-ties, where both the sisters feed off each other and are equally guilty of their crimes. Ayoola for committing them and Korede for hiding them. Like the author herself says, “They are two sides of the same coin.” This book is a quick, fun, and interesting read.