Book Review – Rea and the Blood of the Nectar

Rea and the
Blood of the Nectar
by Payal Doshi

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar by Payal Doshi

Note: All of the book links will take you directly to Goodreads.
I do not use affiliate links, if that’s of concern.
Please consider purchasing any books you like from
your local independent books store.

Book Description:

It all begins on the night Rea turns twelve. After a big fight with her twin brother Rohan on their birthday, Rea’s life in the small village of Darjeeling, India, gets turned on its head. It’s four in the morning and Rohan is nowhere to be found.

It hasn’t even been a day and Amma acts like Rohan’s gone forever. Her grandmother, too, is behaving strangely. Unwilling to give up on her brother, Rea and her friend Leela meet Mishti Daadi, a wrinkly old fortune-teller whose powers of divination set them off on a thrilling and secret quest. In the shade of night, they portal into an otherworldly realm and travel to Astranthia, a land full of magic and whimsy. There with the help of Xeranther, an Astranthian barrow boy, and Flula, a pari, Rea battles serpent-lilies and blood-sucking banshees, encounters a butterfly-faced woman and blue lizard-men, and learns that Rohan has been captured. Rea also discovers that she is a princess with magic. Only she has no idea how to use it.

Struggling with the truth her Amma has kept hidden from her, Rea must solve clues that lead to Rohan, find a way to rescue him and save Astranthia from a potentially deadly fate. But the clock is ticking. Can she rescue Rohan, save Astranthia, and live to see it all?

My Take:

I received a digital copy of this book from Mango and Marigold Press.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book.
All thoughts and opinions are my own.

In the same category as Percy Jackson, Aru Shah, and so many other amazing books and series under the Rick Riordan Imprint umbrella, Rea and the Blood of the Nectar is an incredible story bringing to life culture, traditions, and experiences of a main character through the course of a fantastic journey.

There were several themes throughout the book that I loved:

1. The author created a truly believable 12-year-old girl. In my reading career, often an author will glamorize the main character and write them as “mature for their age” or “not your average [insert age] student,” etc.
Payal Doshi has done an amazing job writing Rea in a way that reminds me of being 12-years-old myself. She loves her family, but also doesn’t understand why they do the things they do. She says she doesn’t care that her brother would rather spend time with his friends than with her, but secretly feels hurt and left behind when he does. She doesn’t think it’s fair that she has to help her mother out when her brother’s chores are much less strenuous. That balance between still somewhat a child, almost a teen, learning life isn’t fair, but having hope for the future is brilliantly struck in this book and I thoroughly loved watching Rea grow.

2. The idea and definition of friendship are questioned in a way that I really enjoyed. In the beginning of the story, Rea doesn’t really think she has anyone she would consider a friend. Her plucky sidekick opens her eyes to the value and benefit of opening up yourself to someone and their support.

3. Set in India (and Astranthia), the author used the correct words for items and didn’t bend over backwards to make sure the reader got the Anglicized definition. This book would be a great tool for parents or teachers who are working with their middle-grade reader on reading from context, as well as learning the vocabulary of a potentially new culture.

I highly recommend this book.

The Final Verdict

SK Book Rating Scale

My rating: 5 stars

Would I recommend? Yes

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Book Review – Becoming

Becoming
by Michele Obama

Becoming by Michelle Obama book cover

Becoming by Michele Obama

Note: All of the book links will take you directly to Goodreads.
I do not use affiliate links, if that’s of concern.
Please consider purchasing any books you like from
your local independent books store.

Book Description:

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

My Take:

This is a review I’ve procrastinated for a long time. I finished the book and just thought, “What can I say that hasn’t already been said?”

I don’t know that there is anything groundbreaking to say because this book is just amazing.

It took me a long time to read this book. Not because of the length; not because of lack of interest; not because of anything in the book. I read this book slowly so as not to miss anything. There is so many excellent stories, anecdotes, and lessons throughout the book, I wanted to make sure I took it all in.

Admittedly, this book is right up my alley – I love learning the behind the scenes of everything.

Film producer Robert Evans said,
“There are three sides to every story –
yours, mine, and the truth.”

This book shows us the other side to things we think we already know about the former First Lady. Having been in the public eye for over a decade, I’m sure we all think we know Mrs. Obama, but this book shares more of those things that made her the woman she became and help us understand even more her ideas and goals.

Divided into three sections: Becoming Me, Becoming Us, Becoming More, my favorite section was Becoming Me. I loved learning about Mrs. Obama’s childhood – the amazing figures of her mother and father, the impact her neighborhood had on her development, and the friends she made along the way. Don’t get me wrong – learning about a young Barak Obama and her first impression of him was great, too.

Overall, I LOVED reading this book!

Favorite Lines

If you could lay your hands on middle C, everything else falls place.
The balance of my life was elegant only from a distance, and only if you squinted, but there was at least something there that resembled balance.
I felt my patience slipping away until finally, at some point, it just fell off a cliff.
Even if you don’t know the context, context exists.

The Final Verdict

SK Book Rating Scale

My rating: 5 stars

Would I recommend? Yes

Extras

Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice by Michelle Obama
Becoming: Adapted for Younger Readers by Michelle Obama
The Michelle Obama Podcast

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