Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

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Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colours of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair.

But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When the Richardsons’ friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family – and Mia’s.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of long-held secrets and the ferocious pull of motherhood-and the danger of believing that planning and following the rules can avert disaster, or heartbreak.(goodreads)

My Thoughts

After reading Everything I Never Told You, too much curiosity got me to read this book immediately.

The book opened with its ending. Mia and Pearl leaving Shaker Heights, and Elena(or Mrs. Richardson) would, afterwards, be staring at her home burnt down and her youngest daughter nowhere to be found. From then, the story would started to dig on how the two different families come upon this happentance.

Mia-single mom striving for her own dreams as she does her best to raise her only child. Elena, a mother whose striving to maintain her perfect family and perfect community. Different women with different backgrounds, but has a common goal of loving and raising their children in the best way possible.

At first, I was finding it hard to find where the book might lead me. The begining was very intriguing. I had no idea what the book was about when I started reading it but the first few lines on the begining got me hooked. Maybe because the book started with a big question mark that would promt us to look for answers.

Though there are some parts that really kept me on the dark and it seems like I wasn’t getting the direction to where the novel is going. It was kind of overwhelming considering the number of point of views presented in the novel but as the secrets started to unravel, it started to shed a light for me.

From Mia to Elena,the novel tackled the different direction and decisions a mother would take just to provide for her children. Aside from motherhood, the book also touched a lot of controversial issues like racism and teenage pregnancy.

The difference between Mia and Elena not just as mothers but women in general, created the center to which the entirety of the novel would revolve. Elena’s upbringing led her to become the perfect housewife and mother she is in the present. This causes her to become intrigued by Mia’s way of life and parenting style. Mia, being a single mother and an artist, is the exact opposite of Mrs. Richardson’s idea of a perfect mother. Elena also sees it as something she has to look into in order to maintain the reputation of Shaker Heights’ perfect community which she’s very passionate about. Mia, on the other hand, just wanted to start anew in this perfect community. Seeing it’s promising reputation, she’s trying to place a stop from moving cities. As promised to Pearl, that ‘this time, they’ll stay’, she tried building realtionships with the community, a thing they always avoided before.

Their differences became more apparent when they became more than just a tennant and a landlord. Pearl, Mia’s daughter, started to become close with the Richardsons’ kids and build a relationship with them. On top of that, Mia started working for the family offseting the rent’s payment. This would soon led to Isabelle, the youngest of the Richardsons, to find comfort with Mia as she seems to understand Isabelle’s ‘troubled’ persona. Not apparent to Mia and Elena, a controversy would spark in Shaker Heights that would put their beliefs to the tests.Copy of Daisy jones & the six (17)

The book ended without a crystal clear resolution for everything that has happened to all it characters. We already knew that Mia and Pearl would leave, Isabelle has burned down her family home but does it really give the answers to our questions? The book has dug dipper into the characters’ background and revealed secrets that might helped in understanding their actions but the one clear thing it did was to raise more questions.

This Goodreads Choice 2017 winner deserves all the hype and the praise it recieves. But emotion-wise and narrative-wise, I woudn’t say that it was a better book than Everything I Never Told You. The premise of the book was really great, and maybe that’s why it has been hyped and even turned into a mini series. I admire this book for it’s diverse story telling of motherhood. But in general, the book didn’t gave me the emotional depth I was hoping to encounter reading it.

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Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Reviews

Have you ever heard of supernovas? They shine brighter than anything else in the sky and then fade out really quickly, a short burst of extraordinary energy. I like to think you and Ben were like that . . . in that short time, you had more passion than some people have in a lifetime.

Elsie Porter is an average twentysomething and yet what happens to her is anything but ordinary. On a rainy New Year’s Day, she heads out to pick up a pizza for one. She isn’t expecting to see anyone else in the shop, much less the adorable and charming Ben Ross. Their chemistry is instant and electric. Ben cannot even wait twenty-four hours before asking to see her again. Within weeks, the two are head over heels in love. By May, they’ve eloped.

Only nine days later, Ben is out riding his bike when he is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Elsie hears the sirens outside her apartment, but by the time she gets downstairs, he has already been whisked off to the emergency room. At the hospital, she must face Susan, the mother-in-law she has never met and who doesn’t even know Elsie exists.

Interweaving Elsie and Ben’s charmed romance with Elsie and Susan’s healing process, Forever, Interrupted will remind you that there’s more than one way to find a happy ending.(goodreads)

My Thoughts

After reading Daisy Jones and the Six,I fell in love with Taylor’s writing style.Daisy Jones  was much different from this book, but Taylor’s way of building up her characters was very present. It also reminded me slightly of P.S I Love You by Cecelia Ahern. But I think, this book is much deeper.

Ben and Elsie’s love story is whirlwind romance of sorts, two people met unexpectedly in a pizza parlor, ended up getting married four months after. But it was more than a week since they eloped that it came to an end. Ben died in an accident, and Elsie’s world seems to stop. How quickly they fell in love, decided their future of being together, only to be taken away by a truck driver. Then came Susan, Ben’s mother who knew nothing about her new daughter in-law, and shocked by the sudden death of her only son. Both women started to get into arguments regarding what is the best decision for Ben’s funeral. But suddenly, both of them realized that they need healing from what happened and started to get to know each other, a thing they never got a chance to do when Ben was still alive. As they progress in their healing process, we get to take a look back on how Ben and Elsie’s love story started.

This book’s narration has altenating timeline between the present, after Ben’s death and the beggining of his relationship with Elsie. Somehow, the book implies that in order for you to move on, you need to accept the past and live in the present. 

Every chapter of this book hits you emotionally by digging deeper on the wounds of each character. It’s like everytime Elsie wants to do something to move on, she was getting pulled back  by certain memories and moments she shared with Ben. It gives me more feels, knowing how sweet their romance was, and how regretful that it ended so fast. I love the way Taylor made an emotional stimuli on a pack of rotten hotdogs on the fridge, or a brand of cereal crisps. For a person who is grieving and wants to move on, Elsie saw everything as a reminder of her dead husband. So it made perfect sense that she wouldn’t want to throw away a pack of hotdogs from the fridge because it implies how much time had passed since she’d lost her husband. Susan, on the other hand, has a sadder story compared to Elsie. She lost her only son. Few years ago, she lost her husband. But what could be more hurting for her was the fact that his son got married without her consent, that her son would want to start a family without informing her. At first, she saw Elsie as a competition. Failing to acknowledge her was her way of denying that Ben has hidden something from her.

 

The book doesn’t just focus in the romance, but also on the relationship Susan and Elsie has built. About women coming together despite of struggles and misunderstandings, they had a common goal-of honoring Ben’s life in ways they knew. They started to acknowledge each other’s struggle, Spending time together as much as possible. It reminded me that women doesn’t have to pit against each other but rather, we should work together and help each other no matter what adversaries we are facing.

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This book is one of the most honest, most relatable books I’ve read. It was touching, heart-breaking but also inspiring. It taught me that love sometimes, are too quick and abrupt but it doesn’t mean that it’s not real. Letting go of material things that reminds you  of that love is not a way of forgetting about it because you might forget aboout those things but you would never forget how they made you feel.

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Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club April Pick: The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club, Reviews

 

When 11-year-old Ren’s master dies, he makes one last request of his Chinese houseboy: that Ren find his severed finger, lost years ago in an accident, and reunite it with his body. Ren has 49 days, or else his master’s soul will roam the earth, unable to rest in peace.

Ji Lin always wanted to be a doctor, but as a girl in 1930s Malaysia, apprentice dressmaker is a more suitable occupation. Secretly, though, Ji Lin also moonlights as a dancehall girl to help pay off her beloved mother’s Mahjong debts. One night, Ji Lin’s dance partner leaves her with a gruesome souvenir: a severed finger. Convinced the finger is bad luck, Ji Lin enlists the help of her erstwhile stepbrother to return it to its rightful owner.

As the 49 days tick down, and a prowling tiger wreaks havoc on the town, Ji Lin and Ren’s lives intertwine in ways they could never have imagined. Propulsive and lushly written, The Night Tiger explores colonialism and independence, ancient superstition and modern ambition, sibling rivalry and first love. Braided through with Chinese folklore and a tantalizing mystery, this novel is a page-turner of the highest order.(goodreads)

My Thoughts
Full of mystery. The plot is very engaging and imaginative. The legends and the myths that is tackled in the book is very informative and intriguing. As an asian myself, it is very satisfying to read a book that is familiar and has similarities to my culture and belief. But there’s more to this book than magic, mystery and legends. The story was set in a country that didn’t escape the wrath of colonialism, an interesting setting for  magical-realism.The novel also explored misogyny throughout the story. Putting together those elements made this novel a must read.

Ji Lin was very remarkable for her story denotes how women are being objectified since the beginning of time. It was the 1930s, and women are expected to be married and bear children, and pursuing a higher education was like a far-fetch dream for a girl. In this case, Ji Lin’s mother decided to remarry again just because her husband passed away since she has nothing to offer to her daughter for she was just only a housewife. Ji Lin, early on as a child realized this and dreamed bigger for herself.
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Ren, the eleven year old errand boy was orphaned by his parents and twin brother. Despite showing a mature and dependable characteristic as child, his innocence can still be felt in throughout the story. His belief of the legends and the mystery of his master’s death drove him to become smarter and sensitive towards other people.
Other characters in the book also depicts a stong narrative. There’s Dr. Acton, Ren’s new master and Shin, Ji Lin’s stepbrother.  Their characters are notably as important as Ren and Ji Lin’s for they are one of the many driving force of this novel.
From start to finish, this book has kept me on the edge of my seat. Reading this book feels like reading history, fantasy, comedy and romance all at the same time. Putting those genre all together and isn’t a chaos but an explosion of different emotions and wisdom towards the readers.  Hop on the train see what journey The Night Tiger would lead you to.
Rating: 
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Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Reviews

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. 

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.(goodreads)

My Thoughts

My first Celeste Ng read. I thought at first that it would bore me, but the first line of the book got me hooked into reading further until I realized that I am only two chapters away from finishing.

James struggles with being different. Marilyn wants to be different. Lydia, the middle child, was trapped in this contrasting struggles of her parents which pushes her to her limits with the fear of having her family broken. The eldest child Nath, wanted to be free from his father’s shadows. And the youngest, Hannah, doesn’t seem to be seen at all by her family because of their own hidden issues.

The book started with the death of Lydia. Curiosity-piquing way of opening the story, I must say. You think that it will just revolve around  the story of Lydia’s death and all but the beauty of this book is that it was an  amalgamation of the story of all its characters. The death was just a culmination of keeping secrets and hidden sufferings each of the characters. There is this thing that everyone in the book wanted to say, but never told. This thing, that could cost everything they are trying to protect.

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Among other reasons why this book is monumental is the way it delivers the topic of racism and double standards in the society.  The book was set in the late seventies but still, it’s affection goes towards the millenials, the youth of this generation who became more awake with the several issues that was neglected and ignored in the past.

 

This book tells you to do not let the society make you keep secrets and grudges towards the people you love. You think your protecting them but by holding it for too long, the more painful it becomes, the more damage it could cause.

An eye-opening emotional read about family and broken dreams. Get yout tissues ready for this melancholic, debut novel of Celeste Ng.

Rating:

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Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Reviews

A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of a world-famous 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer–and the secret reasons behind their dramatic break up.

Daisy Jones is a beautiful, broken girl growing up in L.A. with rich parents who barely know she exists. . . . But when she sings in a crowded, smoky club, you can hear a pin drop. All she wants is to write her own songs, but the record studio has its own ideas. It’s the early 1970s and free love and drugs are everywhere, and Daisy wants to experience it all.

Billy Dunne and his brother have a band called The Six that won’t be playing weddings for long. They are ambitious, hard-rocking, hard-partying. When they land a record deal, Billy’s girlfriend follows them to the west coast and life begins. But she finds out she’s pregnant on the eve of their first tour, and the pressure of fatherhood and incipient fame make Billy go a little crazy on the road.

Daisy and Billy’s paths cross when a manager realizes that the key to skyrocketing success is to put them together. But oil and water don’t even begin to describe how they mix. . . . And what happens next will become the stuff of legend. 

Written in the style of an “as-told-to” rock autobiography, Daisy Jones & The Six is an unforgettable ride.(penguinrandomhouse)

 

If you love music, you’ll surely fall in love with this book. I first discovered it  when it was picked for Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine for March. Since then, I’ve been hearing so much about this book and I decided to give it a try and discover the reason why Daisy Jones and The Six is a must read.

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My Thoughts

This book is truly worth the hype. For a while, I didn’t know how can I describe the book after finishing it because it render a number of emotions and left me in awe.  From the very first page, this book would trick you into thinking that Daisy Jones & The Six is a truly-exising band and after reading it, you’ll wish it does. For the entirety of the novel, the author made me feel that I was reading a true story. It made me wish that the songs and the band  was all real (there is an official Daisy Jones & The Six Playlist at Spotify created by it’s publisher, Random House Books, listening to it while writing this review!) I also reccomend the audiobook version of this book. As lively as it was to read, it is more enticing and engaging to listen to all the character’s voices. It was like listening to a podcast about the biggest rock band in the world.

Daisy Jones is a mess, but is a savage and strong woman. She gave a susbtantial element to the book just like how her character became an exceptional part of the band. With her beauty and voice, she is born superstar. She wouldn’t let anyone dictate what she needs to do.  She’s a beautiful disaster to her bandmates and other people around her. I give a big round of applause to her character for being a ferocious, untamed woman of prowess despite being messed-up by her upbringing and her vices.  Billy Dune on the other hand, is a man in a mission. While fulfilling his dreams with his band, he struggles to become a better man for his family. Considering the world of chaos that the music industry is, it was hard for him maintaining a sober life specially because of Dasiy’s misdemeanor.

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Aside from Billy and Daisy, all characters are rich, full of story. The voices are very evocative. I’d like to commend how all the female character of this book has their own shining moment and a powerful backdrop. Without those strong female characters, the story might not hit the mark. On the whole, this book is such an amazing roller-coaster of love, drugs and music. A book you’ll devour from start to finish. Unputdownable and engrossing. Start bangin’ your heads to this beautiful and dramatic music of Daisy Jones & The Six.

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Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Reviews

The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot—searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion—along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow. 

Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.(goodreads)

My Thoughts

One of the best books I’ve read this year. Another gem I found in the sea of booksale bargain books !!

Italy, 1962. In a remote island of Porto Vergogna, a lone pension house stands by the sea. A dreamy young man met an american actress for the first time.  A beauty he thought would change the island where he grew up, would fulfill the dreams of his deceased father for the community, is the beauty who would change his life forever. From Italy, the story jumped into Hollywood of the present. Into the business of selling stories and bringing them to life via bigscreen, we were introduced to people of dreams and power. People who will take their greediness and ambition even in their deathbed. One of these people is an instrument to the scandalous love and career of Burton and Taylor. Transcending into the world of Hollywood in the 1960s, the stories of these people are interwoven by fate, by dreams and by love.

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The book is beautifully real. A masterpiece Jess Walter has created a lovely story set in a beeutiful place like Italy. The rich fictional interaction of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Pasquale and Dee Mooray was a brilliant effort. The novel is like a frame-by-frame reel of a classic romance film. The characters from the present, are like audience in an old movie house watching the story of Pasquale and Dee orchestrated by Michael Deane, without whose smart decisions in the past, the story might never happen. All the character’s backdrop are plausible, substantial and perfectly executed in the story. Each character examplifies a certain upshot that is relevant in setting the emotions of the novel.  The culmination of the story is as lovely as it had began. The truths are told, lessons are learned and finally, love has been found for the second time.

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As a reader, I embarked into a journey of hope and love, of dreams and second chances, of forgiveness and fulfillment. The book is sentimental as it was fun and interestring to read and be part with. A perfect read in the summer. A book I did not regret  bringing  while I was in vacation. Reading this lovely story as I enjoy the peaceful and quite relaxation outside the city is the perfect way to enjoy this book.

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The Dinner by Herman Koch

Reviews

An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives – all over the course of one meal.

It’s a summer’s evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse – the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.

Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.

Tautly written, incredibly gripping, and told by an unforgettable narrator, The Dinner promises to be the topic of countless dinner party debates. Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.

My Thoughts

Getting into the book, I had no idea what it was all about. I know that it was already made into a film but I haven’t seen it either so starting this book was like opening a surprise mystery box. Few pages into the book and I was really hooked.

The book was divided into parts from Aperitif to Digestif. Paul Lohman, our narrator together with his wife was dinning at a fancy restaurant in Amsterdam, invited them was his brother and sister-in-law. There was no introduction whatsoever regarding the purpose of this fine dinning for the two couples but the way Paul started the story sets out the reader’s appetite for the entire novel. It has a taste of humor, at first. But it came to a part where Paul has to give flashbacks and little by little, we started to get a bit of what the dinner was all about. Paul talked about his family, especially his only son, Albie, who might be the reason for the dinner.Most importantly, the flashbacks may have indicated that Paul has some minor mental issues, which pushed me into reading deeper into the book and some lines that might have mean deeper than it appears to be.

Then comes the main course, the secret is out, or rather served. I wouldn’t say that it was unexpected because I really had no expectations as to where this novel might lead me to but, I guess, one word to describe it is it is appalling. This grim happenstance, in which the young ones are facing a disastrous future after a suppose good-time, drinking and partying, was like a bomb thrown into Paul’s live and also with his brother’s. With the involvement of modern technology, such as social sharing platforms, the problems seems to involve a much bigger picture.

At this point in the book, I find it hard to put it down. It seems like a decision has to be made before the night was over, before the plates of the last course was emptied because other wise, the dinner would have made no sense at all.

Morality or family? This is the question that has to be answered. I, myself was finding it hard to answer the question. Given the circumstances, putting yourself in the shoes of the character was a very distressing experience. Imagine facing the same adversary where you ended up questioning how you raised your own child because of an incident you never deem possible to happen. Blaming yourself, I guess, is the first reaction ,then comes your protective instinct. You have to do something or else everything will fall apart on your family. Paul, as a father, has done his fair share before but this time, will he do it again?

As the last course was served, everything has been decided. Not unanimously but it was the majority’s decision. For most people in this table, the future of their children is a priority, whatever the cost might be.

This book is worth-reading. After closing the book, as the characters finished their meal, I was speechless and couldn’t think of anything else. I was savoring the last pieces of information, the crumbs left on the plate. It was brilliantly written, short but compelling.The psychological narrative is very astounding. Ten years after it’s original publication and this book was never been more relatable and and accurate in delivering the struggle of morality in this modern age.

Rating:

The Cook by Wayne Macauley

Reviews, Uncategorized

At seventeen Zac is given a choice: either go to a young offenders’ institute, or enroll in a rehabilitation scheme – a course that teaches juveniles how to cook. He makes his choice. He chooses to cook. He also chooses to succeed. Whatever it takes.  (bookdepository)

My Thoughts

I must admit, finishing this book was very hard for me. I’m on the verge of putting down the book after reading its first two pages. Why? The book hardly used punctuation marks. There are periods at the end of the sentences but never did I see any comma,apostrophe, hyphen,parenthesis and quotation marks throughout the entire novel. Headache almost eaten my appetite to read this book but I did try my best not to judge it based on the way it was written. The purpose of it, I assumed, is that our narrator is a problematic young man. Though for me, it wasn’t a smart way to write it. I read some book reviews first and based on the few that I have read, I convinced myself that it might be worth the hardship. Plus, all the reviews are very particular with the supposed twist in the ending and I really do love big twists! I’m really excited to reach that part of the book despite the headache it initially brought me.

Our narrator, Zac, as what I have mentioned , is problematic young man. At the age of seventeen, he has committed a violent crime. As a punishment, he has given a choice whether to enter a youth detention center or to join the Cook School, run by a celebrity chef, who also faced some troubles in his younger age. Zac chooses the later and soon ‘fell in love’ with cooking and service.

“Power through service this is your motto. By subjugating ourselves we become strong. And to what do we subjugate ourselves? To public taste. To whim. To folly. To whatever looks and smells new. We bow to the fickle and frivolous we are servants of all that is decadent excessive unnecessary.”

As I progress in reading the book and my headache slowly decreasing, I was tricked into thinking that this might be an inspirational coming-of-age novel. I almost forgot that this a satire novel; with a creepy cover.With Zac’s voice eager to learn and to redeem himself, it wasn’t that hard to root for him as a character. But the book become too disturbing when Zac started to learn about butchering and killing his livestock. The gastronomy terms are on-point and was written in sophistication. It was professionally written as if the author himself was an professional cook or a chef. But then, there goes the butchering and slaughtering. If it doesn’t put off your appetite for meat, then, good for you.

The ending came as a shock to me. The horrible twist resonates the entirety of the novel in showing off a bigger picture in our food consumerism.It was as disturbing as it gets but my applause goes to how it conveyed the gruesome yet delicious world of culinary business.


“I wanted no matter how humiliating it might be to prove I was better.


“I don’t want to plate up bold and honest flavours grow apples and peaches with grubs I want to plate slivers of hand-reared flesh with garnishes of baby things.”

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

See You In The Cosmos by Jack Cheng

Reviews

11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan–named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he’ll uncover–from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.

My Thoughts

This is my second Young Adult read of 2019😊 I really don’t know what made me read this book in the first place. I was actually reading ‘Once Upon A Dream’ by Liza Braswell but a few chapters on the book and I really got bored. I was just scanning throuh my e-library for books that I recently downloaded and I come across this title. It’s been more than a month since I’ve read a YA novel so maybe I need something light to read again.

I finished the book in less than a day and I was very happy with it. I even postpone doing my chores just to lay down in bed and continue reading Alex Petroski’s recodrings on his golden ipod.(I guess, it might have been a better experience if I listened to its audiobook) His character as an eleven year old is lovable. He is a very smart, endearing boy who put all his effort in building his rocket that will launch into space containing his golden ipod. In his recordings, he is addressing to any possible creatures in the outer space that might listen to it.

“…..you’re like mirrors, and when you stand in front of someone you see a reflection of their reflection of your reflection of their reflection, all the way to infinity.”

The book is touching in its own way. Though there are some questions that might have been raised on the plot but it doesn’t affect my experience in reading the book. It was a fast and light read. A heartwarming story of a kid, for us, adults who, sometimes forget that there are little things in life that really matters. Also one contributing factor in my liking of this book is the fact that I’ve been spending much time with my niece and nephews who, just like Alex, raise questions that are utterly surprising for a kid to be curious about.

“….it was just like my hero said, that from a certain height you can’t even tell there’s intelligent life on our own planet.

So if you guys come to Earth, make sure you look closely enough.”

All in all, the book is a pleasant and engaging read. Perfect also for those who love the science of aerospace and astronomy. You will learn a lot about those things with Alex’ s help😊

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

One Little Secret by Cate Holahan #NetGalley#OneLittleSecret

Reviews, Uncategorized

Secrets between families in the neighborhood were about to be revealed because of a murder.

The glass beach house was supposed to be the getaway that Susan needed. Eager to help her transplanted family set down roots in their new town – and desperate for some kid-free conversation – she invites her new neighbors to join in on a week-long sublet with her and her workaholic husband.

Over the course of the first evening, liquor loosens inhibitions and lips. The three couples begin picking up on the others’ marital tensions and work frustrations, as well as revealing their own. But someone says too much. And the next morning one of the women is discovered dead on the private beach.

Town detective Gabby Watkins must figure out who permanently silenced the deceased. As she investigates, she learns that everyone in the glass house was hiding something that could tie them to the murder, and that the biggest secrets of all are often in plain sight for anyone willing to look.

A taut, locked room mystery with an unforgettable cast of characters, One Little Secret promises to keep readers eyes glued to the pages and debating the blinders that we all put on in the service of politeness.

My Thoughts

The book was short yet it was straight to the point. Shifing in POV and alternating time line was very common on crime-thrillers so it wasn’t that much of a shocker.

But characterwise, the book won me over. I liked how all the POV of the story is told in all the women’s perspective(which I hadn’t realized until I finished reading the book and started doing this review🤔)

All the wives has their own reasons and issues yet to be addressed with their spouses to protect their own families. But also everyone has a motive to be the perpetraror. Also not to be missed is our detective who is also a woman 👩🏻 and a mother. (I just want to admire all the women voices being heard in this story😊)

I also like the bit of the plot twist in the end, because it somehow suggested that the true perpertrator wasn’t trully revealed.

On the whole, the book is very entertaining and engaging, recommended for those who’ll love a neighborhood drama of a murder.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

(Thank you to NetGalley, Cate Holahan and the publisher for giving me an advance reading copy of this book)

About the Author:

Cate Holahan, author of the USA Today bestselling psychological suspense novel The Widower’s Wife, is an award-winning journalist and a former television producer. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Reviews

When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.

Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for? (goodreads)

My Thoughts

What does it take for a marriage to last forever? Why do married couples get into divorce? How do I know if I’m still in love with my partner? Those questions may not be answered directly by this book but surely, it will make you realize a lot of things about love, marriage, romance and relationships.

After I Do is a story of Lauren and Ryan who’s 11-year relationship starts to go downhill after endless arguements on where to get their dinner, who should call the plumber and where did they park the car outside the stadium. These may all be petty issues but this book tells us that this small problems are indications of a major break point in the relationship. On Lauren and Ryan’s case, they decided that in order to save their marriage, they have to spend some time away for each other. Throughout the story of Lauren’s journey of being single for a year, she discovered a lot of things about relationships.

This book is another T.Jenkins Reid masterpiece! I love the way she writes about couples and relationships. About a single character and how that character gave you a sneak peak towards other characters in the story. In this book, it was Lauren. After Ryan left her and decided not to contact each other for a year, Lauren took her time to know herself. But in the process of doing so, she also started to get to know her family and their views and beliefs about marriage and relationship.

We saw her character struggling to cope up with the fact that she’s now alone and single, but really wanted to have her husband back. TJR painted a picture of a vulnerable yet strong woman. A woman who is willing to learn from her mistakes and willing to listen. Her writing style gives voice to every female character a feeling you that you felt understood and significant. Lauren’s character is very relatable. Whether your in a relationship or not, struggling marriage or very stable situation, you would fully understand her character and know where she is coming from.

Copy of Daisy jones & the six (14)

Throughout the book, she learned and realized what she really wanted to do with her love for Ryan. ‘Falling in love is the easy part’ says in the cover of the book, and the hardest part is what will you do to keep that love? What will you do to keep it work? In Lauren’s case, she saw the different pictures of love on her own family. They are all in a very different situation in terms of romantic relationships and it made Lauren assess of her situation with Ryan, what did they do to reach that break point, and what they should have done to avoid it.

On the whole, this book is very realistic. Raw and thought-provoking. Something that you would love to read and ponder some thoughts after. After finishing this book, Taylor Jenkins Reid became my second favorite female author.

Rating:

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Time Crawlers by Varun Sayal

Reviews

 

Alien Invasion, Dark Artificial Intelligence, Time-Travel, High-Tech Mythology, Djinn Folklore, Telekinetics, and life-consuming Cosmic Entities are some major themes in this book which has six tightly-knit, fast-paced Sci-Fi stories.

1. Nark-astra, The Hell Weapon
The weapons he possesses make him the destroyer of worlds, and he burns for revenge. A high-tech take on ancient Indian mythology.

2. Death by Crowd
The dark desires of the masses; darknet websites fueled by a crypto-currency. What lurks in the background – an advanced artificial intelligence?

3. Genie
He rubbed a lamp alright, but what he got was the shock of his life. An entirely sci-fi take on the djinn myth.

4. Time Crawlers
There are individuals who exist in multiple time periods at once, and there are those who know about them….

5. Eclipse
No attacks, no blood-shed, yet there was an invasion and a conquest. Who are these shapeshifter aliens being hounded by an eclipse?

6. The Cave
The fate of an advanced imperial race hangs in balance as a dark celestial entity meets a legendary protector.(goodreads)

*an e-book copy of this book was given to me by the author in exhange of an honest review.

My Thoughts

In general, all of the short stories compiled in this book has very promising premise. Stories like these are worth taking a shot and made into a novel. I am not a huge sci-fi aficianado but I think that the amount of scientific knowledge in these stories are very informative. These stories has  potential to be developed  into a mind-blowing sci-fi universe. Stories that made a mark on me are Nark-Astra(I think this story focuses not just on Sci-fi but also moral values?), Death by Crow(somehow, it reminds me of the Netflix series Black Mirror) and Time Crawlers. 

Though, for a non sci-fi reader like me, it was too overwhelming. There are parts of the stories that I was looking for more adventures but all I get are theories and explanations. Though I want to take in mind that these are all short stories after all and intended to be brief. But still, I was hoping for some action.

To my fellow bookworms out there who loves to enter parallel universes and futurism, this one is for you! Sure you’ll have a feast on the amount of science fiction elements in these stories.

*Thanks to Varun Sayal for giving me a free reviewer copy. 

 

Rating:

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Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah

Reviews

 

An Amazon Charts, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post bestseller.

In this gorgeously stunning debut, a mysterious child teaches two strangers how to love and trust again.

After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. She throws herself into her work from dusk to dawn, until her solitary routine is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin barefoot and covered in bruises.

The girl calls herself Ursa, and she claims to have been sent from the stars to witness five miracles. With concerns about the child’s home situation, Jo reluctantly agrees to let her stay—just until she learns more about Ursa’s past.

Jo enlists the help of her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel Nash, to solve the mystery of the charming child. But the more time they spend together, the more questions they have. How does a young girl not only read but understand Shakespeare? Why do good things keep happening in her presence? And why aren’t Jo and Gabe checking the missing children’s website anymore?

Though the three have formed an incredible bond, they know difficult choices must be made. As the summer nears an end and Ursa gets closer to her fifth miracle, her dangerous past closes in. When it finally catches up to them, all of their painful secrets will be forced into the open, and their fates will be left to the stars.(goodreads)

 

My Thoughts

What a great read! This. novel is really adorable and lovely, and absolutely heartwarming.

A seemingly cute story in the beginning but it got more emotional as we started to get to know the backdrop of each of the characters. All the characters in the story has hidden struggles. Joanna, an ornithologist. Gabe, the neighbor who sells eggs on the street.  Ursa, a 9-year old girl allegedly coming from Pinwheel galaxy, visiting Earth to witness 5 ‘miracles’. But Ursa looks like a little girl runing away from home except that she is extremely smart and clever girl, talking about stars and such. And the two adults fell for Ursa’s fantasy.  They learned to love Ursa, and also learned a lot about themselves. Until the time had come that Ursa’s miracles is complete.

The story grew on me days after reading it. I was speechless after finishing the book. I was surprised to read a book where serious and sensitive issues like post traumatic disorder, domestic abuse and serious illnesses can be beautifully and elegantly executed with little sci-fi elements. According to Google Books, this book was categorized as Domestic Fiction. But I think, it can also be categorized as a coming-of-age novel.

Daisy jones & the six (6)

Delicate. Lovely. Brilliantly writen. Very remarkable and commendable book. I can no more say anything about this book, just read it as soon as you can because this book is something  everyone should read.

Rating: Untitled design