Yesterday when I opened the door to my home after work, the place was quiet. I was alone: my husband was still commuting home and my daughters were at university. I am still not used to being the only one at home by 5pm on a Monday. With my daughter no longer at high school, I think it is going to take a while for me to get used to these moments alone.
You may be wondering what did with my silent time. Yes, of course! I made myself a coffee, grabbed a new read, and put my feet up on the sofa. I had been wanting to start Pressure Point by Jessie Kwak since I had received it last week.
I haven’t read much of the novel yet so I will share a teaser with you from the prologue:
“Manu’s found that nothing helps a negotiation along quite so well as your enemy knowing just how close you can get to them.” (p 9)
(2019, Jessie Kwak)
I look forward to reading the third novel in Jessie Kwak’s Bulari saga. Guess what I will be doing when I get home today!
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne was one of those books that I loved when I first read it. This romantic comedy was such a lot of fun to read: there were moments when I could not help but laugh out loud.
“I have a theory. Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them. I’ve had a lot of time to compare love and hate, and these are my observations.”
Sally Thorne The Hating Game (2016, Harper Collins)
I haven’t re-read this story yet – but this novel is one of those stories that I will enjoy, I am sure, with the second reading.
Today I am sharing an extract from Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik. I bought this novel on Amazon about three years ago because I was intrigued by the blurb. At that time, I had not read any diverse novels and I was curious about a story based on the dating experience of a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.
In this novel Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men when her sort-of boyfriend/possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves to be a little too close to his parents – until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all exposé on the Muslim dating scene and she makes a foray into online dating.
I am sharing an extract from when she is describing her first experience of dating on the internet.
“You know what the problem is?” I continued. “There are the men who’ll marry a hijabi – but then expect her to move in with a hole-in-the-wall, or think she’s going to be this weird paragon of traditional values.” I sighed. “And then there are the men who are all, “You’re living in the west – what’s with the hijab?’”(p43)
(2015, Twenty7 Books, UK)
Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged by Ayesha Malik is a story that had me chuckling throughout. This diverse rom-com was published in 2015 and was my first diverse read.
I was intrigued by the synopsis of The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary and had read good things about it on social media. The school year was over and I needed some light reading to relax. A romantic comedy seemed to be the perfect solution.
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
Tiffy and Leon share a flat Tiffy and Leon share a bed Tiffy and Leon have never met…
Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.
But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…
Imagine sharing a bed with someone – and yet never seeing them! I loved this unique story that in no way felt forced. The friendship between the two flatmates evolves slowly as they get to know one another by notes and through their habits. The magic between the two characters happens even before they meet.
The Flatshare not only has a unique story line, but also characters that grow and evolve as the story progresses. Both Tiffy and Leon, the flatmates, need to come to some realisations about themselves and what they want to do with their lives before they can move forward in committing to a healthy relationship. While reading the story, I could definitely see a message from the writer: finish with your current relationship and work out why it is not working before moving forward into one that is more beneficial to you.
O”Leary has written a lighthearted and heartwarming read that will have you curious and smiling. The writing is fluid and the author has cleverly shown us the basics of getting to know a person. The Flatshare is a rom-com that I will surely read again in a few years when I am looking for an uplifting read that I can peruse in an afternoon.
I have been encouraging my friend to read a retelling of Pride and Prejudice: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin. The novel has been written by a Canadian author who lives here in Toronto and showcases a culture that my friend and I do not know too much of.
My friend has begun the novel and would love to discuss it with me. I read the book over a year ago and have forgotten the finer details. Currently I am re-reading this rom-com and tagging it with points I would like to discuss.
Have you re-read a book in order to discuss it with friends?
While at the OLA Super Conference in February, I picked up an ARC of The Object of Your Affections by Falguni Kothari at the Harper Collins booth. The story intrigued me as it is a little different to what one would expect of a romance – it is definitely a story that pushes the social boundaries.
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Paris Kahn Fraser has it all—a successful career as an assistant district attorney, a beautiful home in New York City, and a handsome, passionate husband who chose her over having a family of his own. Neal’s dream of fatherhood might have been the only shadow in their otherwise happy life…until Paris’s best friend comes to town.
Naira Dalmia never thought she’d be a widow before thirty. Left reeling in the aftermath of her husband’s death, all she wants is to start over. She trades Mumbai for New York, and rigid family expectations for the open acceptance of her best friend. After all, there isn’t anything she and Paris wouldn’t do for each other.
But when Paris asks Naira to be their surrogate, they’ll learn if their friendship has what it takes to defy society, their families and even their own biology as these two best friends embark on a journey that will change their lives forever.
I liked this story because it centres around an unusual concept – the main character asks her best friend to be her surrogate even though she is able to bear children. It is interesting to see how the people in her life respond to her out-of-the-box thinking. As the reader, I was asked to think of my own prejudices and consider the unusual arrangement Paris wishes to embrace – and think about whether this sort of arrangement would actually work in reality.
Paris is a character who does not embody my favourite type of person. She is self-centred, selfish and arrogant. She focuses on what she wants and how she c attain in it. She does, however, come to a few realisations in the novel about herself. She does not, however, become a selfless woman who abandons her desires. Instead, her self-realisation softens her arrogance a little and helps her to consider other important aspects in her life. Naira, on the other hand, is a woman who allows things to be done to her and does not fight for what she wants. That is, until she is physically away from her domineering family. She, too, grows in the story and blossoms into a more modern woman.
The Object of Your Affections is a novel that show the antithesis between two types of two women. While showing a culture in which women are expected to behave in a certain way, it highlights how women are starting to find ways to achieve what it is they want in modern society. Kothari wrote a romance novel but she put a different spin on it. It is romance in modern society; romance that breaks all the expected moulds.
I was in the mood for reading a romance and while browsing the tables at my local book store, I came across The Matchmaker’s List by Sonya Lalli. The story interested me as it centres around a culture so different to mine. The bonus is that the novel was written by a Canadian.
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
One devoted modern girl + a meddlesome, traditional grandmother = a heartwarming multicultural romantic comedy about finding love where you least expect it.
Raina Anand may have finally given in to family pressure and agreed to let her grandmother play matchmaker, but that doesn’t mean she has to like it–or that she has to play by the rules. Nani always took Raina’s side when she tried to push past the traditional expectations of their tight-knit Indian-immigrant community, but now she’s ambushing Raina with a list of suitable bachelors. Is it too much to ask for a little space? Besides, what Nani doesn’t know won’t hurt her…
As Raina’s life spirals into a parade of Nani-approved bachelors and disastrous blind dates, she must find a way out of this modern-day arranged-marriage trap without shattering her beloved grandmother’s dreams.
This book was so interesting to read because it is set within a culture so different to mine. I grew up knowing that the choice of my life-partner would be mine – and yet in this book I read of a community that encourages matchmaking and pseudo arranged marriages. The dates that Raina, the protagonist, goes on made me smile – as did her response. The novel definitely embraces the humour of the situation that she finds herself in. It was interesting to see how she negotiated her way around the matchmaking practices of her grandmother.
The Matchmaker’s List is not just a ‘fluffy’ read. Instead it comments on matchmaking and why it may, or may not be, suitable for a modern woman. It also suggests that the desire to match-make comes from a place of love. We see a strong relationship between Raina and her grandmother – and soon realise why she would accept to go on the dates her beloved Nani has organised.
During the novel, the reader sees a growth in the main protagonist as she comes to understand what it is that she wants in a relationship – and what type of man with whom she would like to spend the rest of her life. It is the personal growth of Raina that makes this novel more than just a forgettable story. Her struggles and her realisations are so similar to many young women dating and falling in love in the modern world. In addition, her experience is one that is not seen often in mainstream literature and film.
Lalli has written a wonderful romantic comedy that embraces the experience of a modern woman living in a modern city (Toronto) who embraces her culture. I enjoyed reading this romantic comedy and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading romance.