Comic Con ’16: Where dreams meet reality

Nothing feels better than meeting people who share the same interests as you and nothing feels greater than like minded people gathering in the same place at the same time.

I’d never been to Comic Con before, but I’d always wanted to go. My biggest regret was not being able to go for Comic Con 2015 because the guest of honor was  Kristian Nairn who plays played Hodor in the Game of Thrones T.V show and as a huge GoT fan, I’ll surely carry this regret to my grave. But this does not mean I didn’t have fun in my first ever Comic Con experience!

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I love reading manga but I can count on one hand the amount of people I know who share that very same interest which if you think about it is a little disheartening. And all the manga I’ve ever come across is via the internet.

Hence, being able to physically feel and touch an actual manga with my very own hand was such a pleasure! I cant even describe how excited I was to see an entire stall filled with every kind of manga! I was literally in paradise!

Seeing so many people cosplaying as different characters was such a treat. I wanted to cosplay as well but unfortunately because my semester exams had gotten over just the previous day, there wasn’t much time to pull of a costume even though my friends and I wanted to dress up as GoT characters. img_20161230_134023

But I have to say, the highlight of Comic Con 2016 was the Jon Snow cosplayer. My friend and I were just walking around when our eyes landed on him. He looked immaculate in his on point costume.

I’m a very shy person and I dont usually approach strangers but getting a picture with him was super duper important. And at that moment, all my shyness had been forgotten and I walked up to him with my bestest smiles and asked him for a picture! Now that I think about it, I’m so surprised at myself. I like this split second bold version of myself!

My experience at Comic Con was truly one of a kind. Being able to see all the fandoms gathered together under one roof and just having the best time of their lives was amazing. I’ve always heard about how cool Comic Con is and now I can say it myself, Comic Con lives up to its hype. Actually, it’s even better than that.

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai

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Title and Author: Funny Boy by Shyam Selvadurai

Series: No, its a standalone

Shelves: Young Adult, LGBT, Coming of Age, South Asian Literature

Publisher: Harvest Books

Published: 19th June 1997

Ratings: 4 stars


Summary: In the world of his large family, affluent Tamils living in Colombo, Arjie is an oddity, a ‘funny boy’ who prefers dressing as a girl to playing cricket with his brother. In FUNNY BOY we follow the life of the family through Arjie’s eyes, as he comes to terms both with his own homo-sexuality and with the racism of the society in which he lives. In the north of Sri Lanka there is a war going on between the army and the Tamil Tigers, and gradually it begins to encroach on the family’s comfortable life. Sporadic acts of violence flare into full scale riots and lead, ultimately, to tragedy. Written in clear, simple prose, Shyam Selvadurai’s first novel is masterly in its mingling of the personal and political.

Review: I have a confession to make. I’m not very familiar with South Asian Literature which is very, very odd considering the fact that I’m from South Asia. And therefore, keeping in mind my ignorance, I was even more surprised when i found out that this is LGBT literature. I wouldn’t have known about this novel if it wasn’t part of my uni syllabus, but I’m really glad I discovered it because it happens to be one of the best books I’ve read as of late.

Set against the backdrop of the rising ethnic tension between the Sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka back in the 80’s, Funny Boy is told from the perspective of a young boy, Arjie. The novel explores the struggles of a Tamil boy growing up in a society divided by ethnic conflict while also attempting to come to terms with a growing awareness of his homosexuality.

“And then there would be the loneliness. I would be caught between the boy’s and the girl’s worlds, not belonging or wanted in either.”

As a seven year old, Arjie naturally gravitates towards the female territory. He would rather spend his time playing ‘cooking-cooking’ and ‘bride-bride’ with his cousin sisters instead of playing cricket, a symbol of masculinity, with his male cousins under the scorching heat of the sun. He also enjoys going into his mother room to watching her get dressed in a sari and put on her make-up. Hence, although Arjie is biologically male, he exhibits traits that are considered feminine.

The fact that Arjie naturally gravitates towards the female space is unnatural or undesirable. And therefore, when he is caught dressed as a bride by his relatives, they all gaze at him in amusement. His mother is horrified at seeing her son draped in a sari while his father is too ashamed to look at him and keeps is eyes fixed on the paper.

“looks like you have a funny one here.”

Growing up with ‘funny tendencies’ in the 80’s must have been tough and moreover, by being a Tamil minority in a Sinhalese dominated Sri-Lanka along with his queerness, Arjie faces a double marginalization. Although his home offers him temporary refuge from racial discrimination, his same-sex desires remain problematic within the space of home. Arjie is an outcast in every sense of the word. 

I don’t want to say more because otherwise, i’d end up writing the entire plot of the novel and I would really like some of you to give this a read. This book is really heart-wrenching especially because it deals with identity and belonging not only because of his homosexuality but also because of the racial discrimination.

Final thoughts: I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading LGBT literature. And if you do decide to read this, I would urge you to first read into the background of Sri-Lanka and the ethnic riots between the Tamils and the Sinhalese in order to get a better understanding of the novel. 

Korean Cultural Festival 2016

It all started when I when I was walking down the corridors of my college and suddenly decided to check out the notice board. I don’t know why. I never look at the notice board but that day I just randomly looked at it. I think my heart was about to explode out of my chest when I my eyes landed on a poster. My first reaction was to take a picture of it and12697115_971976156212198_4365780142144847404_o then after that I grinned all the way while I was walking towards my class. I found myself wishing that 20th Feb would come soon.

I had missed the 2015 Korean Festival held in November because it was smack between my exams. But there was no way in hell I was going to miss this one! I told my friends about who are also K-pop fans and they were excited as well but when I asked them this friday if they were coming, they all backed out. I couldn’t fathom WHY anybody would want to not go!! But, god bless my ever available childhood friends who agreed to go with me in an instant. And thankfully one of my childhood friends is also a crazy k-pop fan like me.

Honestly I was surprised when I found out it was being organised by the Delhi University Korean Students Union. Like i had NO idea that there were Korean students here. But as I entered the college today, I heard someone IMG_20160220_193234answer there phone and go “Yeoboseyo” I cant even explain my reaction at hearing that. Like gosh I think i died. My friends were telling me to calm the fuck down. I thought I was in mini-korea with korean music blaring through the speakers, Korean people around and Korean food. I was literally in la-la land!

I had never had Korean food before so I was pretty excited to try it for the first time. I saw that they were selling Kimbap and that was the first thing I tried. Sadly, after the first bite I realized that Korean food was definitely NOT for me. I also ate kimchi, chicken pop, rice cakes (which i liked) and this Korean ice cream (I don’t remember what its called). I was really looking forward to the food but man, its just not for me.

I also got my name written in Korean! Aaaand best of all, I tried on a Hanbok!! That was soo exciting! And surprisingly, I didnt look that bad in it 😛

I had a really amazing time. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to attend the movie screening and the k-pop contest. But nonetheless, I was in my happy place. Hoping for more amazing days like this to come.

Never Never: Part Three by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

25454883 Title and Author: Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Series: Never Never #3

Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, 2016-Release

Publisher: Hoover Ink

Published: 19th January 2016

Ratings: download (1)


Summary: New York Times bestselling authors Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher are back with the much-anticipated final installment in the Never Never novella series.
Together, Silas Nash and Charlize Wynwood must look deeper into the past to find out who they were and who they want to be. With time ticking down, the couple are in a race to find the answers they need before they lose everything. Can they regain what they once had? And will it restore who they once were?

Review: This book should be renamed to- How to Disappoint by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher.

Never Never started out as a fresh and unique series. If you’ve read my review of Never Never Part 1, you’ll know how much i enjoyed the book. Even the blurb of Never Never had me all excited!

“I could spend every day getting to know you all over again, Charlie, and I don’t think I’d get sick of it.”

It told the story about how two high school students had lost their memories at the same time and together they try to put their lives into pieces whilst trying to figure out what was happening to them and why.

“‘What’s the one thing you’re the most scared of forgetting?’ he asks.
I open my eyes. ‘You.'”

I was really really excited to know how the series would end. Part 2 had us all guessing that it was probably something paranormal which had caused their memory loss. Atleast, that’s what we all thought it would be…or in my case hoped it would be.

But NO. All the suspense and anticipation was for nothing. The authors decided to give it the WORST and possibly the most cliched ending.

Are you kidding me?” Was the first thought that came into my mind after reading it. The idea of the book was interesting but I don’t think that the authors were able to properly execute it.  I have never ever felt so let down before. I had such high hopes for this one but well, seems like I was wrong yet again.

Final thoughts: This series had potential! I had a really good time reading the first two installments but the ending just kind of ruined it all for me.

The Western Portrayal of India and Other Concerns

The recent music video of Coldplay’s Hymn for the Weekend has sparked an online row for cultural appropriation and misrepresenting India’s culture. Hence, as an 18 year old living in India, I’ve decided to write down my thoughts about the video and all the other music video shot by white people in India.

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Growing up, I had often heard the phrase “India is a land of snake charmers”. I’ve never seen a snake charmer in my entire life and I’ve lived in the country since my mom gave birth to me. But India has always been called that: A land of snake charmers, poverty, culture and colors. I’m not denying the existence of anyone of them (well…I’ve never seen a snake charmer so I don’t know about that). Everything that is said certainly has a hint of truth in it.

When I heard that Coldplay was shooting a music video in India I was thrilled. I like stuff like that. Who wouldn’t? I even liked the music video of Lean On by DJ Snake. I wasn’t even thinking about cultural appropriation or stuff like that. I was just enjoying the music video and the catchy song.

I didn’t even realize Coldplay’s MV was out until I saw a long rant of one of my friends on Facebook, slamming the video for being too clichéd. As I was curious about it, I decided to check it out and that’s when I began to think about all the other videos and movies short by westerners in India.

“So clichéd” was the first thought that came to my mind while watching the video. It had every stereotype EVER used in ANY videos shot by white people in India. Kids running around playing Holi (why are they so obsessed with holi??), sadhus walking, holi, levitating sadhus, kathakali dancers, more holi, and kid dressed as Shiva. Other than that, there was also Coldplay playing holi as kids danced around them, a 3 second cameo by Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor in a ghagra choli dress, Beyonce as a Bollywood actress called Rani, Chris Martin enjoying a movie starring Beyonce as ‘Rani’ in an age old theatre (because India doesn’t have any modern day theatres, right?).

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I’m not denying the existence of anything that was shown in the video. They do exist. And it’s different from anything you’ve ever seen, which is probably what people find attractive and exotic about India. But here’s the thing. We have things other than what India is represented as by the westerners. You must think that’s a stupid statement to make. But let me tell you about something that I was asked by a friend of mine from Britain. I was once telling him about my dislike for Subway sandwiches when he asked me, “India has Subway?”  I was just stunned. That was SUCH a ridiculous statement to make. I began an angry rant about how India had everything. Marks and Spencer, Zara, Vero Moda, Burger King etc. I couldn’t believe I had to explain this to him. I was so angry but then I began thinking that if he believes there is literally nothing in India except poverty, surely there are others who believe that as well. The mere thought makes me cringe.

I’m no patriot. There are several things wrong about this county and I’m one of the first ones to point those out. But I do live in India and there are things I love about it as well. And I think Coldplay MV captures that. Setting aside my slight problem with the stereotypes, it’s a beautiful video. I love how it captures India so beautifully. I love the song as well. And I don’t have anything against the video. It represents a reality we all know exists. But there are other realities as well. It has poverty as well as riches, age old theatres as well as modern ones, people dancing on the streets as well as people dancing in nightclubs. In other words, India is a country where several realities co-exist.

The perfect end statement to this would be the one I heard made by a girl in the Buzzfeed video about the Coldplay’s MV- “It’s like a Facebook picture that you’re tagged in. You don’t like it cause it’s not your best angle but it’s still you”.

My Can’t Wait Booklist of 2016

7. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

25486998My first Kasie West book was The Distance Between Us. But the book that I really loved was The Fill-In Boyfriend. I love reading fluffy cute YA romance books and Kasie West writes exactly that. So I’m definitely looking forward for this one. Plus, after reading the blurb I know that this book is going to be filled with adorableness!

Publisher: Point

Expected Publication: 26th July 

 

 

 

6. Heartless by Marissa Meyer

18584855A story from the villain’s point of view? Hell yes, I’m in!

Marissa Meyer proved how amazing she is with the Lunar Chronicles hence, I’m really confident that this book is going to be awesome. I just know in my gut that this book is going to be bloody extraordinary. And i can hardly wait to read it.

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

Expected Publication: 8th November 

5. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

25558608I had a great time reading An Ember in the Ashes and I have no doubt it sequel will be as good as the first book.

The cover hasn’t been unveiled yet but Im pretty excited for its release anyway!

Publisher: Razorbill

Expected Publication: 30th August

 

 

 

4. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

17927395I’ll read anything by Sarah J Maas. However, after reading the blurb I can clearly see there is a love triangle in development and I don’t know how to react to that.

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Expected Publication: 3rd May

 

 

 

 

3. The Last Star by Rick Yancey

16131489.jpgI LOVE the 5th wave series. I love this series so much and I literally can’t wait to see how its going to end.

Publisher: G.P Putnam

Expected Publication: 24th May

 

 

 

 

 

2. Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

23174274The amount of lies and betrayal in the Red Queen was off the charts! I had such a good time reading it that I have really high expectations from the sequel. Hope it doesn’t disappoint!

Publisher: Harper Teen

Expected Publication: 9th February

1. The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

23308084Its no secret that im a HUGE fan of The Wrath and the Dawn. I loved that book so much that I’ve already re-read it a couple of time. I wish May would come already so that I that can finally get my hands on this book!

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Expected Publication: 3rd May

 

 

Dragon’s Loyalty Blog Award

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I’d like to thank Clemence @Word&Dreams for this award! It means a lot and I really, really appreciate it! 🙂

The rules:

  • Display the award on your blog.
  • Announce your win with a post link the blogger who awarded you.
  • Present 6 deserving bloggers with the award.
  • Link your awardees in the post and let them know of their being awarded.
  • Write seven interesting things about you.

7 Facts About Me:

  1. EXO’s Call Me Baby is the song that got me into K-pop 😀
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I’m a proud EXO-L!!

2. My favourite YA series is The Hunger Games

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Fire is catching and if we burn, you burn with us.

3. My favourite Kdrama is and always will be Pinocchio ❤

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HOW. ARE. YOU. EVEN. REAL.

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aaaand another one because one is never enough!

 

4. Back in 8th grade I was so obsessed with Cristiano Ronaldo the football player that whenever there was an article about him in the newspaper, I used to cut it out and stick it in a scrapbook (LOL) aaand on top of that, my classmates used to bring newspaper cuttings of him and give it to me. 😛

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I was kinda crazy back then 😛

5. Don’t Stop Believing by Journey begins to play I WILL begin to dance. Its automatic.

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Its a great song and I get reallly pumped up when i hear it!

6. Bubbles was my favourite Powerpuff Girl when i was a child. Infact, I used to love her so much that my cousins began referring to me as Bubbles. Some of them still call me that XD

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I still hold a soft spot for her

7. My favourite anime is Hana Yori Dango. It has a special place in my heart and nothing can EVER replace it.

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Infact, it’s soo good that it has been adapted into several live-action dramas!

Now Id like to nominate some of my favourite blogs for this award!

 

Book Review: See How They Run by Ally Carter

24644814Title and Author: See How They Run (Embassy Row #2) by Ally Carter

Series: Embassy Row #2 

Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, 2015 Release

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Published: 22nd December 2015

Ratings: download (1)


 

Summary:

Inside every secret, there’s a world of trouble. Get ready for the second book in this new series of global proportions–from master of intrigue, New York Times bestselling author Ally Carter.

Grace’s past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down. 

The twists get twistier and the turns get even more shocking in the second thrilling installment of Embassy Row.

Review: I was really looking forward to this book because All Fall Down was the first book I reviewed when I started this blog and also because I love Ally Carter. Her books never seem to disappoint me so I had high expectations for the sequel. Sadly, I ended up really disappointed.

“This is my big brother, the boy who slayed all my monsters. But just as soon as I’m back on the ground, I remember: The monster is me.”

In this book, we finally get to meet Grace’s brother Jamie who is on leave from his military academy back in the US and as come to spend some time in Adria. Grace, however isn’t too happy to see her brother because she feels that now that she knows the truth about what happened three years back, nothing would ever be the same again. Not even her relationship with her brother.

Keeping that in mind, Grace spends more than half of the book whining and hating herself for what happened. I mean, I get it. I understand anyone would feel horrible but I don’t need to be reminded about it on every single page.

“history almost always repeats itself. And it is almost always written by men.”

Then half way through the book, Ally Carter introduces a 1000 year old secret society which has been and continues to influence all events that take place in Adria. This was just too ridiculous and yet I continued to read the book. But then Ally Carter went ahead and did the unforgivable. She introduces to the plot, a story of the baby princess of Adria who got lost (in a way) during a coup which took place 200 years ago. Naturally, even after 200 years have past, people are still curious to know what happened to the lost princess. Or better yet, whatever happened to her descendants. And ofcourse this curiosity turned out to be the reason behind why a few had lost their lives.

As much as I love Ally Carter, this book was too ridiculous. And the lost baby princess plot was the last straw. The only reprieve was that we get to see a lot more of Alexei and both Grace and Alexei seem to be a lot more closer to each other than before.

Final thoughts: I don’t know whats going to happen in the next series and frankly I don’t even want to know. I feel like the author herself doesn’t know what to do with the series anymore and frankly, I’d rather read a sequel to the Heist Society than a sequel to this.

 

 

 

My New Love- Korean Dramas

keep-calm-and-watch-kdrama-14I haven’t read a YA book in a while. Well..i have but none that made me go “WOAH! I NEED MORE”

What I HAVE been doing for the past 5-6 months (If anyone out there is interested to know :P) is watch K-dramas like my life depends on it.

Let me give you a little back story.

It all started with this anime i watched last summer called Hana Yori Dango. After watching the first episode, i knew i was a goner. It was love at first site!! I knew nothing would EVER be the same again. Why? Well, you really have to watch that anime to find out for yourself. Usually, the main female lead in an anime is a submissive, weak, clueless girl. But this chick Makino Tsukushi was absolutely BADASS. She didn’t shy away from screaming, hitting and putting Doumyouji Tsukasa, the insensitive rich jerk who bullied the weak in his rightful place.

After the series had ended, i felt a deep void. I had no idea what to do next. Naturally i watched more anime but I just couldn’t get Hana Yori Dango out of my head.

After joining college, a new mate of mine told me that Hana yori dango had a Korean live action adaptation called Boys Over Flowers which I was aware of since I was a huge fan of the anime. But according to her, this show was “filled with awesomeness” and “boys to drool over”.

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Look how gorgeous they all are!!! ❤

After much deliberation, i decided to give it a try and dear lord, she was absolutely right. Watching Boys over Flowers was an absolute joy ride. I was so happy to see my most beloved characters come to life and Lee Min Ho’s portrayal of Tsukasa was on point.

Naturally, I couldn’t just leave it at that. I watched some of the more popular Korean Dramas such as Goong, You’re Beautiful, The Heirs just to name a few and then moved on to more recent dramas like Pinocchio, She Was Pretty, Reply 1988 etc.

I had been aware of how K-pop and Kdramas were gaining popularity outside of Korea but i never understood why until i began watching dramas and listening to K-pop. Apart from having adorable men and women as main leads, the stories themselves are such that you will inadvertently be able to relate to them. As an Indian teenager, i realized that i was able to connect with with the Korean teenager I was watching on my screen because the problems that we were facing weren’t very different. Korean shows also have a 16 to 20 episode format. It doesn’t have season and after season so its almost like a book. It has a definitive beginning, middle and an end. So basically you obsess with the show for 3-4 months and then you move on to another.

You would think that the language barrier would be a problem but there are dedicated people out there who work hard to make English subtitles so that people like me could watch the shows religiously without worrying about language problems.

My parents, brother and a lot of people don’t understand why I love Korean music and dramas so much. They think that its strange that i like it so much but these are the same people who love watching western TV shows and movies. One would argue that there is no language problem but the truth is that in our obsession with Western TV shows, movies and music, we tend to overlook what Asia has to offer. I was one of these people but im glad that I’ve begun to branch out. Overlooking the language barrier, one would realize that we aren’t very different from each other. We go through similar problems and have similar experiences regardless of which part of the world we live in.

So, my love for K-dramas will never fade but I’m going to try and read some YA books too. Cause i started this blog so I better see it through. So cheers to that and happy reading!

 

 

Book Review: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

22929578Title and Author: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series: The Fixer #1

Shelves: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller 

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Published: 7th July 2015

Ratings: download


Summary: This thriller YA is Scandal meets Veronica Mars. 

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather’s ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess’s classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.


Review: After being swamped by my university books for so long, I finally had time for leisure reading and I’m glad I chose this because I was sucked into the world created by Jennifer Barnes from page one.

“You’re telling me that my sister is a professional problem solver?” I asked tightly. “She just goes around, solving other people’s problems? How is that even an occupation?”
“Supply and demand?” Vivvie suggested. “Around here, we call them fixers.”

The Fixer tell us the story of Tess Kendrick who after living a quite life at her grandfather’s ranch is left with no choice but to move to D.C with her sister Ivy who she hasn’t seen or spoken to in three years. In DC, Ivy works as a professional problem solver for important political figures and when Tess joins Hardwicke, an elite school for the children of the rich and powerful, she soon realizes that the same is expected of her as well. Tess is an absolute badass. Shes strong, independent, incredibly smart and has a zero tolerance for bullying. She doesn’t intend to become a fixer but it soon becomes apparent that problem solving runs in the veins of the Kendrick sisters.

“Go away, Asher.”
“You say go away, I hear be my bosom buddy.”

Apart from Tess, even the other characters are very well rounded. Each and every character had an important part to play in shaping of the story and what I liked most was that all the characters had very different personalities. Tess’ group of friends included Vivie, who she becomes instant friends with at the very beginning, Asher, a troublemaker who seems to be everyone’s best friend, Emelia, Asher’s smart and resourceful twin and Henry, who doesn’t seem to like the Kendrick sisters very much.

The plot was absolutely terrific and intriguing!  Although it was a political thriller, a large theme of the book was centered around family and the relationship between Tess and Ivy. There were certain twist and turns that which would come as a shocker but unfortunately, I had already been suspecting them way before they were revealed. However, I’m sure I would have been completely blown away if i hadn’t been paying attention to little details. Another thing that I quite appreciated was the lack of romance. I like how the author felt that there was no need to throw romance into the mix as the mystery in itself was very engaging.

Final thoughts: The Fixer is an absolute page-turner. I really did enjoy reading it and I am definitely looking forward to book two!