Harlequin Blog Tours-ARC Review: The Henna Artist- Alka Joshi

Title: The Henna Artist

Author: Alka Joshi

Publisher: Mira Books

Pages: 368

Rating: 5/5

I never knew a book could take on such a magical journey. Everything about this book made me enamored for it. Taken place in the 1950’s in India, Lakshmi escaped her abusive marriage when she was a teenager. She headed to the city of Jaipur where she made a huge name for herself has a Henna artist. While other henna artist used basic lines, dots, and triangles, Lakshmi’s art spoke volumes and told stories about the women. The wealthy clients believed her art could bring back straying husbands and make the women have babies.

With her newfound stable income Lakshmi was able to afford her first home. Then the unthinkable happens and her ex-husbnd pops back into her life….and with a special guest. Her 13 year old sister Radha whom she had no idea even existed. This book takes you on a incredible journey of family traditions, secrets, revenge, and forgiveness. I loved how the author used her writing to give you a glimpse into the Indian Culture. I will admit, just like everyone has said in their reviews, the character list is quite intimidating at first. But, I had no problem keeping up. Oh, the author also provided an index in the back of all the words used in the book that were italicized.

I really enjoyed it and if you’re looking for an adventure to another world and country without having to fly in a airplane…this book is for you. Huge thanks to NetGalley, Mira Books, and Alka Joshi for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Queenie- Candice Party-Williams

Title: Queenie

Author: Candice Carty- Williams

Publisher: Gallery/ Scout Books

Pages: 330

Rating: 5/5

CW/TW: Racism, “N” word, Harassment, rough sexual intercourse

I’ve never read Bridget Jone’s Diary but, I’ve seen so many people compare the two. I can get an idea why they would though. Queen is a hilarious, witty, and emotional novel that follows the life of Queenie, her bf’s (The Corgi’s), and her old school grandparents.
Queenie is dealing with a breakup with her white boyfriend Tom, as a result she’s been doing awful at work, she’s living in a crappy flat with weird roommates, and she’s sleeping around without using protection. Just overall destructive behavior. After being taken back into time in the book before Queenie’s and Tom’s breakup you see all the things that lead up to that moment. Many of the moments including his family being casually racist all the time. Tom never stood up for Queenie. He would just tell her how problematic she was. It seems all her relationships with white men were just a fantasy for them. They treat her like garbage and just used her.
Cart-Williams did an amazing job with speaking on mental health issues especially with Queenie’s grandparents naivety towards getting help when you aren’t yourself. I really got annoyed with a lot of the times. It’s like just let the girl breathe will ya? especially after all the panic attacks that she was having. Sometimes the elderly forget that times are a changing. Queenie may have been a hot mess, but in a way she was a feminist and a advocate as well. There may be a lot of times you want to judge Queenie, but you have to really read the book in depth to see where she’s coming from, the events that happened to her to get her to this level in her life.
Queenie will make you laugh, will make you think, and surely will get you very mad, but you will enjoy it.