Currently Reading: The Henna Artist

My family and I are in our second week of social distancing. It has not been easy but we are doing it for the greater good of our community and to flatten the curve of the Covoid-19 spread.

This morning while I enjoyed my bowl of fruit, I opened The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi. Reading has been one of my pleasures during this time period and I look forward to embracing the story of seventeen year old Lakshmi who escapes from an arranged and abusive marriage. She becomes a henna artist – and confidante – to the wealthy women of the upper class. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is confronted one day by her husband who has tracked her down.

This novel contains so much of what I look for in a good read: the description of a culture different to mine, a story set in a different time period, the pursuit of women’s empowerment. I look forward to immersing myself in the unfolding story.

What do you look for in a good read?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

Book Review: How To Hack A Heartbreak by Kristen Rockaway

At one of the Harper Collins events, I received an sampler containing the first few chapters of 5 romantic comedies to be released in 2019. I had not yet read How To Hack A Heartbreak by Kristen Rockaway by November so I decided to pick up a copy of the novel from the library.

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Blurb:

By day, Mel Strickland is an underemployed helpdesk tech at a startup incubator, Hatch, where she helps entitled brogrammers—”Hatchlings”—who can’t even fix their own laptops, but are apparently the next wave of startup geniuses. And by night, she goes on bad dates with misbehaving dudes she’s matched with on the ubiquitous dating app, Fluttr.

But after one dick pic too many, Mel has had it. Using her brilliant coding skills, she designs an app of her own, one that allows users to log harrassers and abusers in online dating space. It’s called JerkAlert, and it goes viral overnight.

Mel is suddenly in way over her head. Worse still, her almost-boyfriend, the dreamy Alex Hernandez—the only non-douchey guy at Hatch—has no idea she’s the brains behind the app. Soon, Mel is faced with a terrible choice: one that could destroy her career, love life, and friendships, or change her life forever.

My thoughts:

The novel highlights a woman’s working experience in the male dominated world of coding. In addition, it is a commentary on the online dating experience. How To Hack A Heartbreak is the story of a woman’s journey towards self fulfilment in both the workplace and her personal life.

The novel is not a romance following the template as you would expect – instead the romantic aspect of the novel is minimal. This type of story seems to be the new template for the modern romance and I am loving it! After all, a woman’s life is not merely centred around romance; instead romance is only a part of what makes a woman happy and fulfilled.

Mel responds to an experience many women have with online dating – and her response leads her to ultimately make a change in her life. She is faced with some decisions which lead her to make choices that reflect what type of person she is. Mel is a character that grows in the story: her self-reflection does lead to a response that becomes life-changing. She grows as a person – and this growth is not dependent on the love of a man. Instead the acceptance of a man in her life is portrayed as secondary.

I enjoyed reading Rockaway’s novel: I loved the main character as well as the insight into online dating (which I personally have never experienced). The novel is well paced and kept my interest until the end. It was the perfect read for this time of year as it can be set aside for a moment and them picked up again to enjoy.

I give this novel ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 114th in my book pledge for 2019)