Thursday, September 28, 2023

Sleepless in Dubai - Review

Sleepless in Dubai

By: Sajni Patel

Expected Publication: October 24, 2023 by Amulet Books

288 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Romance

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--From the author of My Sister's Big Fat Indian Wedding comes this hilarious, smart, and swoon-worthy rom-com about two teens traveling to Dubai for Diwali

In this hate-to-love teen rom-com from the author of My Sister's Big Fat Indian Wedding, Nikki, an aspiring photographer, accompanies her family on a trip to Dubai to celebrate the five days of Diwali in style. It should be the trip of a lifetime, if Yash, the boy next door--with whom Nikki has a rocky history--weren't on board. Oblivious to the tension, Nikki's matchmaking family encourages Nikki to get better acquainted with Yash. Turns out a lot can change on a 12-hour flight beyond just continents. But can betrayals and conflicting ambitions be set aside long enough for the two teens to discover the true meaning of the Festival of Lights?

I wrongly assumed, based on the title, this book would be a retelling of Sleepless in Seattle. Obviously, the book description should have told me all I needed to know, but my brain is quite overloaded these days, and I couldn't remember much about the description. Now that I go back and re-read the description, I can say that this is one time that it is all wrong or at least twisted to mislead.

Nikki and Yash have history. They have been best friends since diapers. Their moms were pregnant at the same time. They have been neighbors, and their parents have been best friends their whole lives. Nikki and Yash don't need to get acquainted...they need to get RE-acquainted after they fought over the summer. The gist is that Nikki started sneaking out and going to clubs. Yash was worried about her. They had a fight, and Nikki spelled out what was happening. Her parents overheard and asked them to repeat what was just said. Yash did just that. Which Nikki saw as a betrayal, and then in all self-admitted-pettiness betrayed Yash, also, by spilling the beans about some car damage he did while driving or something. Anyway, these two were former best friends who did everything together. But they've spent the entire summer not speaking.

Sleepless in Dubai starts off with Nikki setting up the perfect photograph she's been trying to get to submit for an internship. Yash runs over her camera, which is in the road for the shot she wanted. And we have another major conflict between these two. Their families are traveling together to Dubai for the Diwali festival to see some of Nikki's mother's family. And both sets of parents are pushing these two kids to make up. There may or may not be hints of matchmaking on the parents' parts, but romance doesn't really appear to be at the heart of their efforts since everyone besides Nikki's younger sister, Lily, seems surprised when it eventually heads in that direction.

I felt like Sleepless in Dubai was completely predictable. But I also felt like there's no way that Sajni Patel thought she was writing some epic plot twister that readers wouldn't pick up on. The clues were so glaringly obvious on all fronts that I can't believe anyone would have missed them. But I didn't mind it one single bit.

Nikki is indeed petty. She got hurt, and she sought to retaliate. It's human nature, but it isn't true love. She had a lot of growing up to do over the course of their trip and book. I liked that Yash was much more mature. He just wanted to talk to Nikki, and he seemed to handle all of his hurt and pain in a responsible way by turning to art. He was definitely the more mature of these two kiddos.

Of course, there was so much of the cultural aspects that I am clueless about. So I couldn't imagine what the food they were eating was like or the clothes they were wearing exactly. Or even the music they might hear or things they would smell. It would have been nice to have that knowledge, but that didn't stop me from knowing what it tastes like to eat a delicious meal, to wear clothes I feel nice in, to celebrate and fellowship with friends, family, and even new people. I've enjoyed vacations where the senses were overloaded. And I could easily connect to the meaning explained behind Diwali of releasing negativity and holding fast to the light and positivity that we want in our lives, refocusing on the important things and leaving behind the things that drag us down. And most of all, I can connect to the human emotions of hurt, betrayal, forgiveness, hope, love, and joy.

Favorite quote:

-"The point is to start fresh, to be clean and cleansed. Outer appearances are only so much. Our inner self has to mirror our outer self; otherwise, what is the point? May we all unload negative energy and the darkness that perpetually tries to consume us."

Sleepless in Dubai was nothing like I was picturing in a good way. I didn't want to put it down. I was enjoying the vacation these two families went on vicariously. And I enjoyed every second of Nikki and Yash reconnecting and discovering that their relationship has evolved into more. It was just what I needed, and I am not surprised since this makes my fourth Sajni Patel read. Sleepless in Dubai gets 4.5 Stars. I couldn't give it 5 because of the glaringly obvious plot "twists". Have you read Sleepless in Dubai? What did you think? Let me know!

Monday, September 25, 2023

2023 Series Enders Reading Challenge - September Wrap Up

Time for our Monthly Wrap Up for the 2023 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Sandy finished A Daring Proposal (Memorable Proposals, # 3) by Jennie Goutet.

Which series enders did you finish? Link the up below. Don't forget to include the title, your name, & your blog name (Ex: Requiem - Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know) Also, the September giveaway runs from September 25th - October 25th. On October 25th we will use and the linky entries to pull a grand prize winner.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Sunday Post - 09/24/23

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ The Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~this meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~ It's a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

This was a good week. Tuesday, we went to the library and to the park. We met some friends and hung out there. Then we did grocery pickup and school in the afternoon. Wednesday was a really good day. Little Boy was in rare form, and I loved it. He did his handwriting, unloaded the dryer and sorted clothes, and then folded his and put them away before I even got home from dropping Baby Boy off at mother's day out. Then he was ready to do school work and had his finished before we needed to get Baby Boy before lunch. Thursday we went on a field trip to the Alabama State Archives. They had a cool playroom for the younger kids with historical items the kids were allowed to play with. Old cameras, typewriters, telephones, kitchen items, dress up clothes. All kinds of stuff. We didn't get to be part of the guided tour this time, but we were able to walk through and see the displays. We'll certainly go back there in the future. After that we ran by my parent's house for lunch. They were leaving to go on vacation the next day so we wanted to say goodbye, and we'll be doing some things for their house while they're gone. Friday was a regular day, but a good one overall. Saturday, we drove to Gulf Shores, or close anyway, to go to my niece's birthday. She had it at Alligator Alley in Summerdale. We'd never been there before and it was really fun. Shoot it was even educational as well. Despite traveling sometimes being stressful with three little kids, it was a really good day.


Monday: Review of An Amiable Foe (Castles and Courtship, # 1) by Jennie Goutet (3.5 Stars)
Tuesday: Top Ten Fall 2023 TBR List
Friday: Homeschool Friday - # 3 (mini reviews)
Saturday: Review of A Fall from Grace (Clavering Chronicles, # 1) by Jennie Goutet (4 Stars)


Monday: 2023 Series Enders Reading Challenge - September Wrap Up
Tuesday: Top Ten Tuesday?
Wednesday: Can't Wait for Wednesday?
Thursday: Review of Sleepless in Dubai by Sajni Patel

Don’t forget to link up for the 2023 Series Enders Reading Challenge! You have until December 15th, 2023 to sign up. Each month there will be a giveaway for those participating with an end of the year giveaway too! Click on the picture below or the link above to find out more!


No new books this week.

That's it for my shelves and recaps of my past and upcoming week. What did you add to your shelves this week? Any bookish news you want to talk about? Let me know!

Saturday, September 23, 2023

A Fall from Grace - Review

A Fall from Grace (Clavering Chronicles, # 1)

By: Jennie Goutet

Publication: April 7, 2020

244 pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction, Clean Romance

Source: YouTube Audiobooks

( Goodreads | Amazon )

*Note: The above link to Amazon is an affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--She needs a champion. He needs one less person to worry about.

Selena Lockhart comes with neither fortune nor connections, and she knows better than to expect Society to give her a welcome—especially after her father gambled away his fortune, precipitating the family’s sudden fall from grace and Selena’s betrothed to break off the engagement. It therefore comes as no surprise that her new neighbor, Sir Lucius, treats her with disdain. Why should he look beyond appearances when her own promises so little?

Sir Lucius Clavering is not married, but he may as well be, considering he is expected to escort his widowed mother to watering holes, round out the numbers at his married sister’s dinners, and come to the aid of his scapegrace younger siblings. It doesn’t help that single women and matchmaking mamas jostle each other for his face, fortune, and title so that he’s left without a moment’s peace.

When Selena shows up at Lucius’s doorstep looking for help, he is sure it’s another ploy aimed at cutting up his prized bachelor existence. Although his prejudice does not last long, Lucius fears his first reaction might have ruined his chances with her. How can he save her from Society’s teeth when she continues to hold him at arm’s length?

Nearly 3 months have passed since I finished this book. I've been utterly terrible about writing book reviews this year, and I'm sure you guys are tired of me saying this nearly every review. Unfortunately, I don't remember a ton of the details when it comes to this book. Here's what I do remember.

Selena's family has fallen out of the good graces of the ton. Her family is no longer wealthy enough to be part of higher society. She has gone to live with her aunt, I believe, to work as a companion. I can't remember if she was only to be a companion to her elderly aunt or also working as a governess/companion to her aunt's charge/ward. And, of course, I can't remember the girl's name. Regardless, she is nearly wanton. She throws herself at Sir Lucius Clavering every chance she gets, but he isn't the only one. Selena is run almost ragged trying to balance both tasks set before her. And her aunt holds her responsible for what her charge does even when Selena is at her aunt's side helping her. How she can be in two places at once is beyond me, but it seems to be expected of her.

Also living with them is the new duke/earl (sheesh, I can't remember). He inherited when Selena's uncle passed away. He's a man who lives above his means and gambles away whatever funds he has left. And if he's not careful, what happened to Selena's family is going to happen to his also.

Debutantes and their mothers have been trying to lock Sir Lucius into a marriage for years. He hasn't been interested, but Selena shows herself to be different from all those who are trying to ensnare him. She doesn't seem to want anything from him beyond friendship, and even that is not something she's actively pursuing, given the difference in their social standings now. But he can't help but be pulled towards her.

The side characters were rich and came off the page. Lucius's sister Miranda with her snobbery, Philippa with her easygoing and sincere nature, George who still needed to grow up a bit. I would say I look forward to their stories, but I've already listened to them and have reviews to come for them as well.

Overall, A Fall from Grace was such an enjoyable listen. I wanted to smack Lucius in the head a few times. I felt so bad for Selena having to face her old life and society in their brutality. Plus Selena's aunt had unattainable expectations of her. But of course, I loved their happy ending. I really enjoy the narrator, Stevie Zimmerman. A Fall from Grace gets 4 Stars. Have you read (or listened to) A Fall from Grace by Jennie Goutet? What did you think? Let me know!

Friday, September 22, 2023

Homeschool Friday - # 3

Homeschool Friday is a feature here at Somewhere Only We Know that showcases books my family reads during homeschool and provides a mini-review for each.

Goodreads description--Glenn and his goat go everywhere together. That silly little goat simply provides Glenn friendship and laughter until, one day, the goat helps Glenn find “gold” hidden in plain sight. This whimsically illustrated Silver Tales Series story is just right for Level 2 readers who will grow in their appreciation of hard work, family, tradition, and nature’s gifts.

We happened to be studying maple syrup the week we read Glenn and His Goat. It was the perfect addition to our science lesson this week. Glenn wants so bad to help his family out that is struggling financially. Glenn also wants his own pair of boots. Instead of sitting by and doing nothing, Glenn finds maple sap when his faithful goat starts licking a tree. The story of Glenn, and his goat's determination is something I want my kids to grow up with.

Goodreads description--From the creator of Ready Rabbit Gets Ready! comes a hilarious photo-story of sisterhood and one-upmanship.

Philomena needs new glasses. Her sister Audrey wants them, too. And if Philomena and Audrey have them, shouldn't their sister Nora Jane also have them?

In this utterly amusing tale of sisterhood, glasses, purses, and dresses, these girls soon make an important discovery. Not everyone needs the same things !

Philomena's New Glasses is about how often times we see what others have and think we have to have the same. Philomena needs new glasses, so Audrey's wants some too. And since Audrey gets some too, Nora Jane doesn't want to be left out. Eventually all of the sisters want new things, and all end up getting the same things as each other even though they don't need them. I can't remember all of the items they got off the top of my head, but the lesson is simple. We don't have to always have the same things as everyone else. PREACH IT!

Goodreads description--When Peter finds out that his blue furniture is being painted pink for his new baby sister, he takes the last unpainted item, a chair, and runs away.

A sweet book about a little boy who realizes that things he's outgrown are being revamped for his baby sister. At first, Peter is resistant. He doesn't want his things to be changed. And he doesn't want to give up his things. But he comes to realize that even if he doesn't want to outgrow his things (his chair or his bed), he truly can't use them anymore. And he changes his mind to be excited about giving his things to his new sister. A cute book with a good message.

Goodreads description--Charlie and friend Marv are in search of strange and tricky creatures. And they would like to search without Lola bothering and interrupting. But Lola knows EXACTLY how to catch strange and tricky creatures, and enlists a little bit of help from her invisible friend, Soren Lorensen, and, of course, one or three drops of pink milk. "Child is as visually inventive and verbally dexterous as ever ...classic." - Guardian "The Child recipe at its fresh, playful best." - Observer "A typically exuberant, imaginative whirl of a story." - Angels and Urchins "Child is second to none when it comes to capturing the imagination of young children." - Daily Express "A witty book that reminds us why we fell in love with Charlie and Lola in the first place." - Junior

This was a funny one. Charlie and Marv want to play without Charlie's little sister, Lola. Totally relatable. I had an older sister, and I always hung out with her and her friends. Every now and then she would tell me that it was time for me to leave and let them hang out together. And I wouldn't always be happy about it, but I understood her point. Now that I have children, I'm seeing my oldest want to play with her friends without her little brother bothering them. And I hate him being left out, but I understand it all at the same time. Well Lola had a great strategy to be involved in the play. She suggested her invisible friend, Soren Lorensen, could find the creature Charlie and Marv were trying to find. Lola is brillant. And I kind of wish my two would take a page out of her book.

There was no description on Goodreads. This was included in my daughter's level 2 language arts curriculum. This is a reader meant to be read with both parent/teacher and student. I can't say that my daughter always looked forward to reading this book. As a matter of fact, she often huffed and puffed when it was time to pull this out. However, there were also chapter breaks where she was excited to find out what was going to happen next. Wesley and the Wolves is essentially a boy-who-cried-wolf story. Wesley literally cries wolf, but instead of having multiple instances of lying, Wesley really only lied one time, but this book shows that once trust is lost it can be really difficult to win back. But I loved how Wesley did in fact work to earn trust back with every single person that he broke trust with. A great message in this story.

Goodreads description--The Sour Grape holds grudges for every reason under the sun. Lime never returned a scarf they borrowed? Grudge! Orange never called back? Grudge! But when a friend holds a grudge against the Sour Grape without listening to an explanation, the Sour Grape realizes how unfair grudges can be. Could a bunch of forgiveness and compassion be enough to turn a sour grape sweet?

Jory John and Pete Oswald serve up another heaping plate of laughs and lessons with this empowering, witty, and charming addition to their #1 New York Times bestselling series!

This book is really, really good! I wasn't expecting it to be so good. Honestly, I could have used this book growing up. And I certainly have one child that naturally veers toward being a "sour grape". The concepts in this book were so clear. Seeing how easily and how quickly we can turn into a grudge-holding, bitter, angry person in an illustration was really impactful. I recommend this book to EVERYONE!

Goodreads description--How can we give our children an understanding of the value of love, kindness, empathy, and compassion?

It's challenging to explain the importance of giving and receiving love. Why do some people behave hurtfully? How can we respond with kindness and compassion?

I liked this book. I actually got a copy of this book for review from the publisher via NetGalley, but all of my thoughts are my own. The Love Tank is a really good concept in a way that children can understand. I liked the specific difference mentioned between your love tank and being hungry and how trying to fill your love tank with food or shopping will only leave you still feeling empty. I asked my daughter (7 years old) what she thought of this book. She said it was good, and she liked it, but that it was too similar to another book she read. And that made me think of Have You Filled A Bucket Today?, and she verified that was the book she was thinking of. I agree with her. I didn't get both books out to compare one to the other (since we own Have You Filled a Bucket...), but I feel like it went more in depth. If you had to buy one of them only, I would recommend Have You Filled a Bucket Today?, but I like that they both address a similar concept, and this can be great for repition that children need. And having both to use in teaching your kids would be a great way to address their emotional needs and teach them about how to treat others.