Waiting On Wednesday: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine where you showcase which books you’re looking forward to being released.


Hello! So I haven’t done a Waiting on Wednesday in a while and I thought it’s time I updated you on one of the books I’m eagerly awaiting.

Recently, I’ve been trying to find more diverse and #ownvoices books, and the novel I’ve picked for this week definitely hits both targets: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon.


UK Release Date: 30th May 2017

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the Ideal Indian Husband. Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him wherein he’ll have to woo her he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this suggested arrangement so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

I think this sounds like such an interesting book. In the Western world, the idea of an ‘arranged marriage’ sounds archaic and controlling to most. However, we have to understand that other cultures do things differently; and just because it’s different it doesn’t mean it’s inherently wrong. After all, we were arranging marriages not that long ago in the 1800s.

It’s also a subject I’d love to educate myself more on. I remember when I was younger, I had a friend called Kavita who was Sikh. Her parents’ marriage had been arranged and at first that totally baffled me as a 10 year old. But it had worked out great for them – they got on really well and clearly loved each other, so I remember learning about Kavita’s culture in a really positive light.

Also, Dimple Shah reminds me of my friend. She’s Indian but living abroad, her surname is Shah and she’s always moaning about how her mum wants her to find a nice Indian boy. I imagine Dimple is going to be a lot like my friend and I am determined to make her read this book and for this to be the first book she’ll actually finish and enjoy.

So yes, I’m pretty excited for When Dimple Met Rishi. 

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Are you looking forward to this book? Any other diverse 2017 releases you can recommend? Let me know in the comments below!



Let’s Discuss: Reading Outside of Your Comfort Zone


So it’s been a very busy few months for me. I’ve barely had time to read and, when I have read, I’ve noticed I’ve gone for the same couple of genres: Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

Why’s that? Well, I do have a few books in my pile that aren’t my usual “thing” and I do make an effort to read a range of genres, but when you’re having a bit of a shitty time or you’re rushed off your feet, you want to do something you know you’re guaranteed to enjoy when you finally get some down time. For me, that’s reading. However, when it comes to books, there are a few genres I prefer; like Sci-Fi and Fantasy, but also sub-genres of Apocalyptic and Dystopian. So these last few busy and also sad months have meant I’ve retreated into my genre comfort zone.

But before I delve any further into my comfort zone and whether reading exclusively within it is a good or limiting thing, let’s look at the definition for ‘comfort zone’:


There are two slightly differing definitions, but I feel that both of them apply when it comes to reading.

But let’s not lie, we all do it. It’s okay to have a favourite genre, of course it is! Don’t think I’m saying there’s anything wrong with that. However, the idea that your favourite genre becomes so much of a ‘comfort zone’ that you don’t read beyond it – that you get too ‘settled’ and don’t need to make an ‘effort’ or ‘yield… results’ – is an idea that throws up a few questions.

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Let’s start with the pros and cons of reading within your comfort zone.


  • You’re more likely to enjoy a book within your preferred genre
  • Therefore, less likely to be a waste of time and money
  • Becoming familiar with certain authors and reading your favourite ones
  • More likely to read faster – good for reading challenges


  • You miss out on good books simply because they’re not in your favourite genre
  • You miss out on different writing styles – definite con for those looking to write or study English literature

As you can see, there are more Pros. However, I am actually a firm believer that you should read outside of your comfort zone.

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I never used to read outside of my comfort zone, at least not in my early teens. I would exclusively read YA and more often than not it would be Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I’d read the odd Historical one, but only if it were set during either of the World Wars, and also the odd Contemporary, like the Georgia Nicolson books by Louise Rennison, but only because everyone was reading them and they were quite funny.

Like I’ve said previously in this post, there is nothing wrong with reading only in your comfort zone, such as only reading YA, or only reading YA contemporary, etc. etc. However, I’m here to convince you that reading something a little different to your usual taste really is a good thing.

I only started reading wider when I was planning to do an English degree at university. That was from about 16 onwards. But still, that was only one or two slightly different books in my spare time, and whilst they weren’t YA they were adult apocalyptic fiction or WWI/II fiction. So, still not that wide, but I knew that you couldn’t go to an interview with a university and not at least be able to mention one Dickens book.

It wasn’t until I got to university that I really realised the benefits of reading outside of my comfort zone.

Getting my reading list for each course in first year, I looked up the books and would groan when I read the synopsis of many, or even just looked at the cover. They all looked so old and boring.

But then something miraculous happened: I actually enjoyed a lot of them. I was even enjoying books written in the 1600s. Hey, I couldn’t always understand what in God’s name was going on, but what I did understand was actually interesting. Things like Roxana by Daniel Defoe and The Monk by Matthew Lewis. Roxana was a somewhat feminist text that shocked the nation, and The Monk was just really weird and deranged but a lot of fun.

Then second year happened, then third year, and I discovered even more books I was surprised to find myself enjoying. I discovered a real love for Modernist Literature, and found my new favourite author in Virginia Woolf.

These were books I never would have even glanced at if it hadn’t been for the fact I had to read them for my degree. Of course, there were a number of books I thought were horrendous, but there were many more that I actually liked.

Do I still read outside of my comfort zone now that I’ve finished my degree? Not as much, I’ll admit, but I couldn’t read what I wanted for three years so I’m making the most of that at the moment. However, there are quite a few books on my radar that I now want to read because of the broad scope of genres and time periods my degree introduced me to.

I feel that you are definitely missing out on so many good books if you only read a few genres, especially if they’re quite limited genres, like only reading Dystopian novels, or only reading YA Dystopian. Being ‘widely read’ is so often seen as a snobbish phrase, that you’re being looked down on if you haven’t read all of the classics and Chaucer to boot. But if you love reading and you love books, why limit yourself? 

I do agree that you need to be ‘widely read’ if you want to write for a living or want to study English at university. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still read your favourite genres, especially YA. I still read it. YA is too often frowned upon as being ‘kiddy’ but, as I just said, if you love reading then why limit yourself? People who think YA is only for young adults are mistaken. Yes, it should have the intention of entertaining and educating young adults, but it can also do the same for adults. You’ll miss out on some very good stories if you skip out on YA, just like you’ll miss out on some very good stories if you only read YA.

This also relates to reading diversely. There is a lot of support for reading diversely at the moment and I think it’s amazing. Not only because it means that there is better representation for people of colour, or other sexualities, or people who have disabilities, but also because it means that it opens up the scope of novels, allowing people to read and learn about things they may not have previously heard of or understood.


After all my persuasion to read outside of your comfort zone, how do you do it? Here are some handy tips:

  • Look at critics reviews – has a new book just come out that’s getting widely praised by reputable newspapers, magazines, etc. and/or winning awards? Then that’s probably a good book to try.
  • Same goes for the classics – there are many ‘classics’ and they’re called that for a reason. It doesn’t just mean Dickens. Victorians not your thing? Try Modernist Literature and the likes of Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley, Evelyn Waugh, Henry Green, Patrick Hamilton and James Joyce.
  • But what if nothing is really catching your eye in the other genres? Well then, read diversely! Like YA Contemporary? Then why not try reading about characters of other ethnicities? Or other sexualities? Or with disabilities? There’ll be lots in your preferred genre that you haven’t found yet.
  • Enjoy Fantasy but running out of good books? Try YA Fantasy! Or vice versa. Go up or down in ‘age groups’ within your favourite genre.

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So, discussion time! Do you try and read outside of your comfort zone? Do you agree that you should make an effort to do so? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


Diversity Spotlight Thursday #1


This is my first time participating in Diversity Spotlight Thursday, a meme created by Aimal @ Bookshelves and Paperbacks, and I think it’s a great idea. Each week you come up with a book for these three categories:

  1. A diverse book you have read and enjoyed
  2. A diverse book that has already been released but you have not yet read
  3. A diverse book that has not yet been released

So this week, my books are:


1. A diverse book I have read and enjoyed: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

This was the very first novel I studied at university and it definitely got things off to a good start. It’s an amazing book, beautifully written, with twists and turns, truths and ambiguity, and an excellent protagonist.

It depicts the life of Changez, a Pakistani man who moves to America to study, hoping to make a better life for himself. Then 9/11 happens and, suddenly, the place Changez has always associated with freedom and riches shuns him. People no longer see a successful young man, but a potential terrorist.

It’s a really brilliant book and was also made into a film starring the excellent Riz Ahmed. He’s also been in some other great things centred around racism, such as the amazingly witty and sharp Four Lions, and is currently the star of US drama The Night Of. Definitely check the two films and the TV series out, they’re great.

2. A diverse book that has already been released but I haven’t yet read: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

This one is sitting in my TBR pile and I’m so excited to read it. From what I’ve heard, it deals with many diverse aspects, including race and disability. I’m not sure if it deals with any topics around sexuality so, if someone wants to enlighten me, please do! Just no spoilers!

3. A diverse book that has not yet been released: The Last Beginning by Lauren James

This is the sequel to The Next Together which I reviewed here. The sequel features a lesbian romance and I think different races too, but don’t quote me on that one. The first book wasn’t without a few faults, but it was still really enjoyable so I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next.


Have you read any of these books, or hoping to read them? Let me know in the comments below!


Why Diversity Is A Good Thing

Why Diversity Is A Good Thing

Recently, there has been a lot of talk around the notion of ‘diversity’. There have been some good arguments, some bad arguments, and then some really ugly arguments, especially after that video.

I’ve managed to steer clear of any arguments because I wanted to see what everyone had to say on both sides. Now I feel it’s time I weighed in with my own opinion.

If you’re looking for some other great posts on diversity, then check out these:

Puput @ Sparkling Letters

Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews

Anyway, here’s why I think diversity is a good thing.


I am a middle class, heterosexual white girl. I am everywhere. I can read any book, watch any TV programme or any film, and I will see myself reflected back at me time and time again. I don’t need to look for someone like me in books because I am everywhere. 

And I hadn’t quite realised that until this debate on diversity appeared, when suddenly it was so apparent to me that I did not read diversely until recently. I still don’t read extremely diversely, although I’m really trying to change that, but my degree in English at least opened up a wide array of books to me, and I’ll be recommending some at the end of this post.

It’s not that I go out and actively seek books with only white protagonists; I buy a book because it sounds good and, more often that not, I’ll open it and discover the character is white. This is not good. 

In my opinion, there is no excuse not to represent different races and religions within a book, because they are everywhere. Whites are not the dominant race, nor is Christianity the dominant religion. Of course, you will find more white people in certain countries, such as the USA and the majority of Europe, but white people aren’t everywhere. Africa isn’t a white continent, neither are India or Iraq or Korea or Argentina white countries. There are so many different skin colours and races. Yes, certain skin colours will be prevalent in certain countries, but in our age of globalisation races and cultures are mixing. A Muslim may be a minority in America, but they are not in Pakistan. They are not lesser because there are fewer of them in one country.

In addition, homosexuality is still just as important and deserves the same representation. Just because there might be more heterosexual people doesn’t mean that LGBTQ+ people are not as important.

I find it worrying and laughable when I see some white people complaining about how POC are trying to eradicate whites. No one is asking for that. If you suddenly got rid of white people in books, then again books would not be diverse. It works both ways.

Okay, let’s say suddenly there are no more books being published with white characters. You might see one or two, but they’re on the sidelines and they’re pretty 2D, essentially just plot points rather than people. You, as a white person, start to become confused. You wonder, where are all the people like me? Where is my race? Why are we not included? There are lots of us!

Now, that’s exactly how POC feel a lot of the time. They feel marginalised. They can’t find themselves in books even when, in reality, they are just as numerous as any other race. I have no problem connecting with a POC character. In fact, I enjoy learning about other races and cultures. At the end of the day, everyone is human; how can you not connect to another human because their skin colour is different to yours?

The same goes for straight people who say they just can’t connect with homosexual romances. Well, how do you think homosexual people feel reading heterosexual romances? Also, at the end of the day, a romance is about love. Love is not exclusive. Do you think it’s weird when someone says they love their dog or their cat? No. So why should it be weird if a man says he loves another man, or a woman says she loves another woman? Of course, loving an animal is very different to loving another human, but why is it okay to profess your “love” for your pet but it’s then “uncomfortable” if a man says he loves his boyfriend? Love is universal and should be open to all, no matter your gender or sexuality, and if a woman loves another woman or a man loves another man then I don’t see how that’s any of your business.


However, there are going to be some instances where books cannot have truly diverse characters. This is mainly in historical novels. For example, if you want to write about a tribe of Celts in the remote Irish wilderness, then your characters are going to be white. Yet just because a character is white doesn’t mean they have to be straight. Of course, homosexuality may not have been accepted in the community, but that doesn’t mean everyone would have been 100% heterosexual and totally not harbouring any other feelings.

The same goes for if you’re writing a book in Medieval Japan. Pretty much everyone is going to be Japanese. This is diverse in that it’s a race other than white, but it’s still only one race. However, that’s because the time period was not like ours; they didn’t have globalisation to allow this substantial mixing of races and cultures and religions. Diversity of race is a product mainly of modernity. There have always been other races, but they were unable to mix like they do today. However, diversity of sexuality is not a product of modernity. I mean, look at the Ancient Greeks!

No one is saying you need to make all of your characters diverse. As I said, the historical setting may not allow it, but that doesn’t mean you always have to write about a white country. Ye Olde England wasn’t the only place out there! However, if you’re writing a Contemporary novel, is it really an accurate portrayal of the times we live in if all your characters are white, middle-class and heterosexual? Take London as an example: it’s a hub of multiculturalism. You cannot walk down any street in London without seeing a plethora of skin colours, or without seeing hijabs or turbans, or without hearing Polish or Punjabi. If you want to set your book in London, you have to be prepared to not only do research on the city itself, but also on its inhabitants. And there are many.

Of course, don’t force it; don’t make all your characters diverse just for the sake of it or because you feel pressured. No one is asking that all your novels have to have different races and different sexualities. However, by writing a book you are attempting to capture life. Life is diverse. No one person is the same. Even in Fantasy, there is the scope for so much diversity. Fantasy is just another potential reality; it still needs to represent the diversity of life.


Now, here are some diverse books I’ve read and which you should definitely check out if you want to read about different races or religions or sexualities, or just want a book that has someone like you:

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid: Depicts a Pakistani man’s struggle to adjust to his life in America post-9/11. (Also a great film).

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson: A semi-autobiographical novel about a young lesbian girl growing up in a 1960s Northern England industrial town amidst a strong Christian community.

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers: The life of a young tomboyish girl, her cross-dressing male cousin and her African American maid in a Southern American town during WWII. The novel tackles the themes of sexuality, race and gender.

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell: The novel spans a number of different timelines and characters, from the slave trade in the South Pacific to post-apocalyptic tribes in Hawaii. The characters are all very diverse in terms of race and sexuality.

The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston: The memoirs of a Chinese-American growing up in 20th century USA. It depicts the struggles between Chinese culture and American culture.

The Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix: Not only is this an amazing Fantasy series, but it also features a group of clairvoyant women living in a glacier who have dark skin and are generally just badass. The main protagonists are white, but that’s more to do with their deathly paleness from constantly entering the river of Death than a specific race.

Half Way Home by Hugh Howey: Features a gay protagonist struggling with his sexuality. It’s written from a very unique viewpoint as the characters are teenagers but have only just been ‘born’ from their test tube state. The protagonist is forced to understand his sexuality in a world where such things are not already clearly outlined.

Rebel of the Sands: A Fantasy series set in a Middle Eastern land and culture. It’s also strongly feminist.

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So, what’s your view on diversity? I’m happy to discuss it in the comments as long as everyone is respectful! Do you agree with me or disagree?