Unfinished – Book by Priyanka Chopra Jonas

I am a huge admirer of Priyanka Chopra. I was eagerly awaiting the chance to read her memoir, Unfinished, and now that I did, I am more in awe of her.

The book starts with her childhood memories and what it was like growing up with parents who treated her as an individual who has an equal say. Priyanka recounts a story when she asked her father, why her name was not on the house name plate. Any other adult would have dismissed it as a child’s zid, but her father thought on it and said, “You are right. You live in this house too. Your name should be on it.”

She credits her career to her parents, who shuttled between their hospital commitments and moved around the world with her so that she could flourish. And her brother who kick-started the whole thing by sending her nomination to Miss India without even informing her.

Miss India World 2000

Priyanka says that she is an amalgamation of the East and the West. She grew up and lived in different cities in India, moved to the US for high school, came back and became a Bollywood star and eventually transitioned into Hollywood.

She believes that we shouldn’t strive to fit into a mold of society-approved-standards. That infact, our difference is our strength. It is what makes us stand out & more importantly, it is what makes us , “us”

She also believes that we should have a go at every opportunity that comes our way. And not just try it for fun, but invest our 100% in it. If it works, it will pay off dividends. If not, then what’s the worst that will happen? Whatever might be the failure, it will not be for lack of effort.

This has been her strategy for her entire career. She entered the Miss India contest, while studying for her XIIth boards. She took up film offers and prepped herself for every role that came along her way. Sometimes, some opportunities tanked, like her music career which didn’t really take off – but as she says, it wasn’t for lack of effort.

Priyanka also showcases how important it is to swallow the pride pill & not shy away from starting at the bottom; which is what she did when she established her career in the US.

Quantico billboard in the US

I enjoyed reading about how Nick “slided” into her DMs to their big fat Chopra Jonas wedding festivities and the infinite trains.

At Met Gala 2017
At their wedding 😍

I loved all the anecdotes about her parents – especially the one when her father painstakingly wrote and re-wrote the words for her tattoo even when he was unable to hold a pen in his hands.

The stories about her parents’ days in the Army & her own experiences as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador were heartening.

Priyanka being awarded the Padma Shri in 2016

Priyanka Chopra has always been an inspiration for me, and will continue to be, because, she’s not quite “finished” yet!!

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

Amy’s mom has moved to Connecticut. And now, she must follow suit. Her mother also needs her to drive their car. But Amy hasn’t sat behind the wheel since that fateful accident. So, her mother asks a family friend, Roger, to drive Amy home. She also has the entire itinerary planned for them to reach in 4 days but Amy & Roger decide to take a quick “little” detour which turns into this epic book!!

I loved reading this book!

When they say, it’s not about the destination but the journey, this book sort of proves it is true. On this road trip, Amy goes through an entire journey of re-discovering herself and coming to terms with grief, that when she finally pulls into that rest station at Connecticut, she is ready to move on.

As a central character, I liked Amy. The way she thinks – feels – it’s how any normal teen girl would. Her thoughts are very real and that makes her believable.

Amy has resented that her family’s life was always very “boringly settled.” It was only after her father’s death when they hit rock bottom, she realizes how blessed they were in their boring routine. She also talks about how much we take what we have for granted and always assume that things will stay that way.

Even when there is reflection, there is no gloom in the tone of this book and that is what works in this favor. There are emotions that are lightly dusted with good conversations and a game of 20 Questions.

I knew America was huge but I never realized how huge it exactly is. Starting from California, as Amy and Roger cross various borders to the East Coast, there is not only a change in scenery, the weather and the time zones but the culture changes too. Now, I may never get a chance to visit America, but this book sure gave me the opportunity to experience it.

The road trip isn’t described like a fancy ZNMD vacay. The author also talks about how uncomfortable it is to be sitting on your butt for 5-6 hours, the lonely stretches of road that can get scary if your car is to breakdown & of course the lodging and dining takes a hit if you are travelling on a tight budget.

One more thing I liked about this book was all the scrapbook pages in which Amy journals their trip & as someone who loves to do a bit of scrapbooking herself, I enjoyed reading her pages and picking up ideas.

If you are planning on taking a summer trip, this book is something you should pack along!!

Once Upon A Con

The only other fairy tale re-telling I have read is Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles. Ashley Poston’s take on the beloved fairy tales is more rom-comy and very adorable.

All three books in the series revolve around ExcelsiCon – a convention for sci-fi shows – and the fictional world of Starfield. As a fangirl of many fantasy shows myself, I was truly drawn into the allure.

In the Con series, Starfield is this cult famous tv show based on a book, that is now getting a movie re-boot. As readers, we are getting introduced to the Starfield franchise as a novice but every time the author spoke about it– the Prospero streaking across the never ending expanse of an universe spangled with stars and planets, Princess Amara in a gown swirling like the nebula with stardust softly falling of it, the look on Prince Carmindor’s face as Amara sacrifices herself into the Black Nebula – I strangely felt like I have experienced it and I am one of its life-long-die-hard-fan too.

There are many references to shows and movies that we all have watched and loved and fangirled all over – there’s Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Twilight – even my favorite Nathan Fillion is mentioned. And the fandom is depicted so well – the merchandise, the fan-fiction and this craze or obsession that we fans tend to have. Absolutely, delightfully, relatable!!

The first book is a very cute modern-day version of Cinderella. I am just smitten by Elle and Darien!!

Elle Wittimer lives with her step-mother and twin step-sisters. Elle and her father are passionate lovers of Starfield and her father even founded the ExcelsiCon. After her father’s death, however, Elle is reduced to being at the beck and call of the step-monsters. When a Cosplay contest is announced for the new Starfield movie, Elle is determined to enter and win it – for herself and her parents.

Darien Freeman is the actor playing Prince Carmindor (in a too blue uniform) in the movie. Even though he grew up as a fan of the show, his PR advises him to act otherwise and he is getting a lot of backlash on his casting.

Cinderella is one of my favorite fairy tales and all its dreamy elements are all there – the evil step-mother, the step-sisters, how the step-sisters ruin her dream of entering the contest, the clock striking midnight, the Prince fitting the glass slipper to her foot and best of all – the very vegan Magic Pumpkin foodtruck which an amusing take on the pumpkin carriage.

In the second book, Jessica Stone, the actress who plays Amara in the movie, wants nothing more than to leave Princess Amara forever squished in the Black Nebula so she can finally be free of her Starfield contract. Meanwhile, her look-alike, Imogen Lovelace has started a #SaveAmara campaign to get her Princess back in the sequel.

A case of mistaken identity leads to Jess and Imogen crossing paths and now they both must exchange their lives for the con weekend à la The Prince and the Pauper style, to stop the script of the sequel from being leaked online.

I have not read The Prince and the Pauper but I get the moral of the story and I loved reading about how Jess finds Imogen’s life “normal” and how Imogen is drawn to the glamour of Jess’s life.

Every good story has a villain – Starfield’s is General Ambrose Sond. And the actor who plays him, Vance Reigns, is akin to his character. He is the bad boy who destroys everything he touches. When his parents “exile” him in a town out of nowhere, he meets Rosie, the Beauty who tears off his Beast mask and sees him as he is.

I have never read Beauty and the Beast either but I watched Emma Watson’s movie. And the one thing I remember from it is the library. And I liked how the library is described by Rosie. Many people ask me why I love to read, well, Rosie’s answer to that is the exact reply to why I do it – “I love words and how they’re strung together into stories. How books are not really just books at all but portals into places I’ve never been and people I’ll never be. In them, I am not a simple going nowhere girl.”

I love how Rosie and Elle both draw strength from Princess Amara and how Rosie also uses her role model to push herself up. (Amara Up!!)

This series is so feel good and lovely. Just a world of possibilities and dreams and love!!

About the Author

Ashley Poston is a part-time author and a full-time fangirl. When she’s not inventing new recipes with peanut butter or having dance-offs with her cat, Pepper, she writes books. She lives in small-town South Carolina, where you can see the stars impossibly well.