MUST READ NOVELLA: Love at First Fight Review 

Summary (from the publisher): 

love-at-first-fight-9781534482524_lgFrom New York Times bestselling author Sandhya Menon comes a delightful enovella sequel to When Dimple Met Rishi and There’s Something about Sweetie, about a Valentine’s Day group date gone hilariously, disastrously awry. Ashish Patel has never considered himself a hopeless romantic. But now that he’s found his other half, Sweetie Nair, there’s nothing he wants more than to celebrate love in all its forms. So when Valentine’s Day rolls around and he hears about a romance-themed escape room, he knows it’s the perfect opportunity to bring together Sweetie along with his newly engaged brother and sister-in-law-to-be, Rishi Patel and Dimple Shah. On their way to the escape room, the group runs into Pinky Kumar and Samir Jha—both friends to Ashish but nemeses to each other. Despite Pinky’s kneejerk reaction to the cheesy theme (which gets her a high-five from Dimple), the two of them agree to join the group. The escape room is as insufferably saccharine as Pinky feared, but even she is surprised when she and Samir actually…work well together. Samir embodies everything Pinky despises—following rules, having no fun, consuming single-use plastics. Getting along with someone like him—a shiny Volvo when she’s so used to junkers—sends Pinky into a tailspin. Sparks are definitely flying, but it’s unclear if that’s a good thing. Could this be love at first fight?

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Sometimes I question the purpose of novellas … but that’s never the case when it comes to Sandhya Menon. After loving the first When Dimple Met Rishi/Dimpleverse novella, As Kismet Would Have It, I knew I had to read Love at First Fight. 

Let me take some time to explain the Dimpleverse. The Dimpleverse is composed of When Dimple Met Rishi, There’s Something About Sweetie, and 10 Things I Hate About Pinky, and the two novellas. I do recommend reading As Kismet Would Have It AFTER reading There’s Something About Sweetie, but BEFORE Love at First Fight. Sandhya Menon has also stated that you do not need to read Love at First Fight before reading 10 Things I Hate About Pinky. However, I did read the novella before reading the upcoming book, which comes out on July 21, 2020. I really wanted to revisit the Dimpleverse, and yes, I also wanted to read everything in chronological order. 

Ultimately, I do not think you have to read the novellas to fully understand the Dimpleverse, but I do recommend reading them. They’re such cute compliments to the books and offer a where-are-they-now glimpse at the characters since their books. Both As Kismet Would Have It and Love at First Fight are currently available for free on rivetedlit.com. 

Love at First Fight takes places on a Valentine’s Day couples date, in which Rishi & Dimple and Sweetie & Ashish decide to go to a romance-themed escape room. Along the way, they meet us with friends and polar opposites, Samir & Pinky, who are NOT a couple – Pinky makes that clear to everyone and anyone. 

I really loved getting to check in with Dimple & Rishi and Sweetie & Ashish. Dimple & Rishi are just so classic, and I love how they’ve really stayed true to themselves since their book. Rishi is ever the romantic, while Dimple still disputes a lot of stereotypes surrounding relationships. I’m interested to see if there’s any talk about marriage in 10 Things I Hate About Pinky. Maybe Sweetie’s name is some form of foreshadowing, but Ashish and Sweetie are just so sweet! I think I enjoyed their chapter working together to find clues the most. 

And last, but not least, Pinky and Samir’s dynamic sets up for their book. As much as Sam and Pinky clash about nearly everything, there’s no denying that they have feelings for one another. Like Dimple, Pinky is such a headstrong character, but even within the novella, we get to experience her softer side. I think their book is going to explore much about Sam’s family life and why Pinky puts on such a hard exterior. I also hope there’s some sort of reference to their escape-room photo. 

Overall, Love at First Fight was such a cute compliment to the Dimpleverse and will makes readers even more excited to get their hands on 10 Things I Hate About Pinky -and reread the first two companion books! 

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Have you read Love at First Fight? Have you read any books in the Dimpleverse? Is 10 Things I Hate about Pinky on your TBR? Share in the comments! 

There’s Something About Sandhya Menon’s Books: There’s Something About Sweetie & As Kismet Would Have It Review

Summary (from the publisher): 

51PEpjfmsLL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After being dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Between her past three books, Sandhya Menon is becoming one of my go-to YA contemporary authors. For some reason, I’ve picked up her latest release every year in June, so this year I saved There’s Something About Sweetie for that month. In short, There’s Something About Sweetie is my new favorite Sandhya Menon novel! I just fell head over heels in love with Ashish and Sweetie as a couple and as individual characters.

“But with Sweetie time passed in gentle waves. A conversation with her was like a warm hug and a cup of hot coca on a cold day – comforting, familiar, a place you never wanted to leave” (175).

There’s Something About Sweetie is such a sweet  YA rom-com. If Ashish’s father said ‘hanky-panky’ one more time, even I would have expected Sweetie to lose it! The book takes a comedic sort of turns in one of the main protagonist’s lives, as the charming Ashish’s heartbreak over his breakup with his girlfriend Celia drives him to allow his mother and father to choose a girl for him. It seemed to work with Dimple and Rishi, right? When Ashish’s parents try to set him up with Sweetie, Sweetie’s mother declines the relationship because of her daughter’s weight.

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Review: When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Summary: Dimple Shah can’t wait to get away from her mother’s obsession with finding her the “Ideal Indian Husband” when she goes to Stanford University in the fall. She starts to think that her parents are on the same page as their career-first daughter when they allow her to attend Insomnia Con, a summer program for aspiring coders and web developers. Rishi Patel, on the other hand, greatly appreciates his Indian upbringing, including his parents’ wish for him to have an arranged marriage. With his future wife attending Insomnia Con as well, the hopeful romantic Rishi doesn’t think anything can go wrong– until he meets Dimple.

My Rating: 4.5/ 5 Stars

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Cover Lust? : GIVE ME A POSTER OF THIS BEAUTY PLEASE

My Thoughts:

When Dimple Met Rishi was one of my most anticipated releases of 2017, completely jealous of anyone who was able to receive an ARC back in January, and Sandhya Menon delivered in this young-adult romantic comedy. Besides its summer contemporary vibes, what drew me into this novel was its diversity, as Dimple and Rishi are both Indian Americans, whose families value tradition and in their case, arranged marriages. It was interesting to get a glimpse of their home lives (kudos to Dimple for sitting through tea time with her mom and auntie Ritu) and their culture. While Rishi definitely incorporates his family’s traditions more than Dimple into his daily life, I still enjoyed Dimple’s nods to her culture- wearing kurtas, performing a Bollywood dance at the summer program, etc.

One of the many things that I appreciated about When Dimple Met Rishi was Dimple’s confidence in accomplishing her goals. While she does develop feelings for Rishi and builds a strong relationship with him, I loved how she was determined to have a career and work on her app before the idea of marriage and having children even entered her mind. Her determination makes her a great role model not only for women entering the tech industry, but for all girls. Another aspect of the novel that I enjoyed was the ‘role reversal’ between Dimple and Rishi in the beginning of the novel. Dimple is furious that her parents would press an arranged marriage on her at this point in her life, contrary to Rishi’s excitement in getting to know his hopefully future wife. In some contemporary reads, often the female protagonists tend to be the head-over-heels characters , and I just loved this reversal.

Overall, I really enjoyed When Dimple Met Rishi. Even though it was a tad predictable, this was the perfect YA rom-com because of its characters and diversity, and I’m excited to see what Sandhya Menon has next.

Have you read When Dimple Met Rishi? Share your thoughts and feels in the comments!