Loveboat, Taipei || unpopular opinion alert!

Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen

Title: Loveboat, Taipei
Author: Abigail Hing Wen
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

There’s been a lot of talk about this book since before it’s release. Bloggers who were lucky enough to get an ARC of this praised it a lot. The word got out pretty well, and tons of people got to reading it.

Everything I heard about this book was good. It was only positive. And that’s the reason why I expected it to be really good. I did not expect for it have elements that I really dislike.

But I did.

THE PLOT

Ever is a first generation Chinese-American. And like all Asian parents, they have high dreams for Ever. She’s expected to become a doctor.

But all Ever wants to do is dance. She loves to dance and choreograph dance routines. Her dream is to get into NYU Tisch School of Arts.

During the summer after high school, when she had plans of dancing and other things, her parents suddenly send her to Taipei for a summer programs. They want her to know her culture and learn Mandarin.

But the program nicknamed “Loveboat” is much more than a clean summer program to learn things. And this summer is going to shape Ever’s life in ways she never expected.

MY REVIEW

Let’s do this review in list format because I have MANY POINTS.

WHAT I LIKED:

  • Asian-American life representation.

Life is a lot like that even in Asian countries. Parents sacrifice SO MUCH that us only thinking about doing what makes us happy is almost a crime. I’m literally an engineering student in college and not doing literature because of my parents.

It’s so normal for us. And I love how it’s represented accurately, describing how it is for the kids AND the parents.

  • Complex relationships.

There were so many relationships shown that had layers to them. Between Ever and her romantic interest. Ever and her parents. Ever and her roommate.

There were even second-hand mentions of relationships not explicitly shown in the book. I loved reading all of it because it’s how life is. And the author managed to show just how many different complex relationships exist for just one person.

  • What it’s like to be Asian in America.

As the summer program is full of Asian kids living in other countries, we got a few bits of proper focus on how life is for them. The way they are treated, the almost-normal racist comments. It hit hard, but I feel good knowing that non-Asian readers will understand what it’s like.

  • Dreams and sacrfices.

We know that how we are brought up affects us a lot. It shapes our self-worth, our attitude towards life, and our ambitions and goals. This book really showcased the different types of lives and how parents really affect children.

  • Supporting characters had significance too.

Every supporting character we saw had dreams and goals. They had desires in life. The author showcased so many different scenarios through them. This one group of guys just went around breaking Asian stereotypes and I LOVED IT. Huge points for these things.

  • Character growth.

There was so much of it! Characters learned through mistakes, learnt new things, started having different outlooks and became better people by the end. That was lovely to watch.

What I did not like:

  • The middle of the book was dull and uninteresting.

The beginning started off strong. The ending was good. But damn the middle was annoying.

After Ever got to the program, it became all about teenage rebellion and boy crazy thoughts. It felt like a full one eighty from the first few chapters.

It got me so disinterested in the book that I PAUSED listening to it as an audiobook. In order to make myself finish the book, I had to pick it up as an ebook after a week.

This alone ruined the experience for me.

OVERALL

Other than the random boy-crazy rebelling stuff in the middle which threw the entire book off for me, it was really good.

I recommend this book for the Asian-American representation, complex relationships, and character growth.

But if you don’t like ANY of boy crazy random things, you won’t like it much like me.

I rate this book…

3/5 stars

My So-Called Bollywood Life || the book I needed

my so called bollywood life by nisha sharma book cover // book review by Sumedha @ the wordy habitat

Title: My So-Called Bollywood Life
Author: Nisha Sharma
Genre: Contemporary
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

I picked up this book as part of the South-Asian Reading Challenge, and I was NOT disappointed. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to read it in January but after Kafka On The Shore I needed something light and this was perfect.

THE PLOT

The book stars Vaneeta “Winnie” Mehta—a film enthusiast (particularly Bollywood films), type A Indian student, and dramatic enough to make Bollywood writers proud.

After Winnie is cheated on and dumped by Raj, whom she thought was “the one” because of an astrologer’s prophecy, she sets out to change her destiny in the stars.

Enter: Dev Khanna, a guy Winnie had a spark with in freshman year before starting to date Raj. A guy who, while not matching her true love prophecy, feels more right for her than Raj ever did.

My So-Called Bollywood Life is perfect for readers who like YA. But it’s even more perfect for Bollywood-lovers. Following Winnie’s complicated life about teenage love, future plans, and family dynamics with Indian traditions, this book will transport you into a fun world.

MY REVIEW

I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK.

I cannot describe just how much I enjoyed this. It has all the Indian elements I ever wanted in a YA setting. As someone who loves YA and barely sees true Indian representation, this warmed my heart so much. I could cry.

All the things I loved:

(pretty much everything lol)

  • Winnie Mehta is awesome. I absolutely loved reading through her perspective. She’s energetic, exuberant, and is very passionate about films. I adored her. ❤
  • EVERYTHING INDIAN. Of course, I have to mention this. Even the few Hindi sentences (smoothly translated in English for everyone else) were a huge addition. I felt included. *cries* The traditions, beliefs, everything was amazing to read about. #relatable

“Kamina, kutta, sala,” she said sweetly when she answered (the phone).

  • Family presence. Winnie’s relationship with her family, especially her dad and grandmom, was so nice to see.
  • It wasn’t just romance. A lot of YA novels tend to sideline everything else in the favour of scenes that contribute to the romance. That didn’t happen here. We saw enough about Winnie’s culture, other relationships, and mostly importantly her drive towards film. She was determined to do anything to get into NYU. The struggle and stress was shown.
  • Winnie and Bridget. These two best friends were adorable to watch and I loved everything about their friendship.
  • The romance. I mean, come on. Of course I’m going to mention this. As the heart of the story, the romance did NOT disappoint. Honestly, it gave me quite a few feels.

“I’m done with romance.”

Nani snorted. “You’re Indian! We live for romance.”

A book is not just made of major plot points, but also the small settings. My So-Called Bollywood Life was chock full of small scenes/parts which make a difference to the reader. From Winnie dreaming about her favourite actor to people belittling Indian beliefs, there were tons of moments that added to the experience.

OVERALL

Thoroughly enjoyed the book, and totally recommend it to all YA lovers.

I did notice that it’s not specifically targeted for Indian readers, as in that the traditions are subtly explained and Hindi terms are translated. So if you want to have a fun and light YA read, you can pick this up without any worries.

I’m so glad I was introduced to this book through the challenge because I doubt I would have come across it otherwise.

I rate this book…

4.5/5 stars

The Bluest Eye || a confusing read

The bluest eye by Toni Morrison book review

Title: The Bluest Eye
Author: Toni Morrison
Genre: Fiction
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

For the past couple months, I’ve been seeing Toni Morrison mentioned a lot online. Several bookstagrammers and bloggers whom I follow are reading Morrisson’s works. Of course, all of this got me curious about the author and her works.

Right in time, my book club chose The Bluest Eye as our book of the month. That got me motivated to read the book and try the author’s works.

Trigger warnings: racist slurs, bullying, rape, neglect, abuse, humiliation. (Probably more but I can’t remember, so make sure to find out before picking it up)

The Plot

The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison’s debut novel and has a unique take on racism. Through this novel, the author crafts a situation which causes a young Black girl to desperately want blue eyes.

Showcasing multiple issues such as racism, abuse, and neglect, the book shows how hard life is for a young innocent girl to want blue eyes. Blue eyes, which are usually a feature of white people who are loved and cherished.

The Bluest Eye is definitely not a light read. It’s poignant with a message in every chapter, and has a strong voice as a book.

My Review

First of all, let me say that this book wasn’t easy to read. And this was so because of multiple reasons.

The timeline of the book isn’t linear. The chapters are scattered and it is up to the reader to figure out the timeline after reading most or all of the book. The jumps were very confusing in the beginning that I gave up trying to make sense, and instead just took the book chapter by chapter.

As the chapters were scattered, I was trying to understand what was happening and piece together the timeline. Hence, I couldn’t connect with the characters or feel for them. That was unfortunate, because it would have made much more of an impact on me.

Morrison’s writing is very different than what I’m used to, and the way she spoke about and crafted the situations was something to get used to. That also played a part in the book not being a good read for me.

One thing that quite irritated me was the point of view shown. Some chapters are in first person point of view of a supporting character, not the main one. But most of the book is in third person point of view. The random switching, without sense, was off-putting.

Every chapter in the book had something to show, by itself. I really liked that. Because even if I managed to read just one chapter a day, I’m still getting some meaning out of it.

As The Bluest Eye deals with heavy issues, it’s not an easy book. Morrison doesn’t describe things very graphically, but it’s enough that it makes a lasting impression on you. This played a part in me reading the book very slowly.

Overall

Honestly, I’m not too sure about whether I liked this book or not. I would have liked it a lot more if the chapters weren’t jumbled up. But because of that, I simply could not get lost into the book and was confused for a lot of time.

I will be picking up at least another book by Morrison, though. I want to know why this author is so popular and I don’t think The Bluest Eye did justice.

I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone looking for a light read. Pick this one up only if you have the time to devote to reading it. It’s a slow but meaningful read.

I rate this book..

2.5/5 stars

Have you read Toni Morrison’s books? Or, are they on your list?

Thanks For The Memories || an interesting idea

thanks for the memories book cover || review

Title: Thanks for the Memories
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Genre: General Fiction
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

I’ll be honest, the only reason I got this book was because it was being sold for a really low price in a book fair. I hadn’t even heard of this book before, and the synopsis at the back gave NO CLUE to the actual story.

THE PLOT

The book starts with Joyce having a fall on the stairs and losing her baby. She has a lot of blood loss as well, which leads to her getting a blood transfusion in the hospital. She barely survives.

When she wakes up after the incident, Joyce is almost like a different person. She knows things that she never even cared about, and remembers things that she has never experienced. Suddenly, she knows about architecture and history, and speaks Latin. Which is completely bizarre.

The other protagonist of the book is Justin, a guest professor at a college in Dublin and an art and history enthusiast. He was convinced to donate blood one day, which could someone’s life.

After Joyce’s incident, she becomes way too much like Justin. She has his memories and inherited his characteristics. One can say that his blood was given to her in the transfusion, which also transferred his memories and characteristics.

Throughout the book, we follow Joyce and Justin as they go on with their lives which somehow interleaves and changes everything.

MY REVIEW

First of all, a very interesting idea. It’s the thought that if something directly from a person’s heart is transferred to another person, it could transfer memories and characteristics as well.

The problem with this idea, which showed in the book, was a lack of plot around it. We just follow Joyce and Justin. There’s no great plot-line except this idea. Which kind of made it boring, and easy to skim. I read this book in a day because it was easy to read fast because there wasn’t very much substance in every line.

I liked following Joyce’s journey after losing the baby which signals the end of her marriage. She moves back in with her widowed father and they learn to share space after so long. Their bond was pure, and although it had it’s annoyances, they support each other and have new adventures.

Justin was a fun character to read about. Simply because he’s kinda embarrassing and quirky. He has his flaws, which is seen very clearly, but his story was fun to read. He is a divorced man who moved to London to be closer to his teenage daughter, and travels to Dublin regularly for guest lectures. It’s hard for him to adjust to this new life after leaving behind a great life in America, but he does it for his daughter.

Now, the point that I really want to talk about. The ending. The ending was disappointing. After all that chase and adventures, the last bit felt rushed and quite out of place. The falling in love part did NOT make sense. Joyce and Justin didn’t even really know each other. And considering that they share a lot of characteristics now, it’s quite weird.

I did not like the ending, but I guess the author didn’t know how to end the book since it doesn’t actually have a plot. It makes sense why she chose to do this but… eh.

OVERALL

It was an okay read. I wasn’t very invested in it, and it was more of a pass-the-time read. I’m glad that I didn’t go in with expectations.

This book had been sitting on my shelf for almost a year so it’s good that I finally got to it and read it. Even though it wasn’t in my TBR, it’s part of my #StartOnYourShelfathon to finish the books I currently own first before buying new ones and reading them.

I rate this book..

2.5/5 stars

Have you read books by Cecelia Ahern? What’s your opinion on this idea that blood transfusion could transfer characteristics?

Becoming || inspires hope for change

becoming book cover

Title: Becoming
Author: Michelle Obama
Genre: Autobiography

Goodreads

Becoming, since it’s release, has been praised to the stars by just about everyone. All the readers I follow posted about it, and it was my book club’s pick sometime last year. I didn’t have the time to read it then, though. I finally picked up the book in November, but did not have the time or patience for a non-fiction.

In order to motivate myself to finish it this year, I chose Becoming as the book for a prompt in the Popsugar Reading Challenge and also included it in #StartOnYouRShelfathon. And it worked! I finished the book as my second read of the year. We’re off to a good start.

MY REVIEW

Once I was actually in the mood to read this book, which was so a few days back, I couldn’t stop reading it. Although it’s an autobiography, Michelle Obama’s life has been very interesting that it almost feels as if I’m reading fiction. She has written her story so beautifully, showing how she was brought up and what made her into who she is today.

Even when it’s not pretty or perfect. Even when it’s more real than you want it to be. Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.

Becoming is a brilliant book that sends a message of hope, change, and power in resilience. It was inspiring and motivating.

How Michelle Obama was portrayed in the media is such a contrast to how she is in the book. She, along with her husband and family, are humanized and broken down to the small quirks that makes them. She speaks about her struggles, her fears, and her weakness plainly. There was no hiding, but instead she owned every part of her story.

In my opinion, a major reason that this book resonates with people across the world is how Michelle openly talks about her struggles which many others are going through as well. She talks about the struggles of being a woman, being Black in a predominantly White country, being a woman in male-dominated field, being a working mother, and being the wife to a politician.

Confidence, I’d learned then, sometimes needs to be called from within. I’ve repeated the same words to myself many times now, through many climbs.

Am I good enough? Yes I am.

It was wonderful to read her thoughts and feelings on everything, especially the negative ones. In the end, she overcame all of that and stood strong. Michelle Obama learned how to adapt and use her resources to help other people. She recognizes all her privileges, from the people in her life to the power she has, and works to make changes in the US.

Through Michelle Obama, we also get insight into Barack Obama as more than the former US President. We see him as a passionate person, a fact-guy, as a husband, and as a father. It was interesting to see their relationship from the start and the issues they went through as he climbed the political ladder.

The choice, as he saw it, was this: You give up or you work for change. “What’s better for us?” Barack called to the people gathered in the room. “Do we settle for the world as it is, or do we work for the world as it should be?”

I was most curious to read about the Obama family’s time in the White House and I was not disappointed. A major portion of the book took place during those 8 years, and Michelle spoke about everything. We read about the staff, the rooms, and multiple small quirks of living there. Their life changed drastically the day Barack Obama became the President-Elect, and Michelle showed the overwhelming changes in the book.

Being the First Lady is very much different to being the President. The role doesn’t have all the hard power of the President, nor does it give the platform to talk about the same issues. But being First Lady does give power due to the image. Reading about Michelle Obama’s journey in the role was intriguing and inspiring.

A First Lady’s power is a curious thing—as soft and undefined as the role itself. And yet I was learning to harness it.

One thing that Michelle Obama counted on for several years was the support from her girl friends. The power of female friendships is not spoken about much, in fiction or non-fiction, and it was really nice to see Michelle talk about it multiple times.

OVERALL

I should stop talking because there is SO MUCH in the book that I loved and several more quotes that I want to add. I can probably talk for an hour about this book.

But all I’ll say is, read this book if you haven’t yet. It’s a wonderful and inspiring story that drives home one thing: you are worth it, you can make changes in this world as well.

There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.

Michelle Obama

I rate this book..

5/5 stars

Have you read Becoming? Do you have favourite quotes from the book?

Shortcake || slow-burn hate-to-love romance

shortcake book cover

Title: Shortcake
Author: Lucy Watson
Genre: Romance
Category: Adult
Series info: Standalone book

Goodreads

I was just browsing through romance titles in my recommendations, looking for new books that I might like when I came across Shortcake. To be honest, I’ve never heard of this book or this author and I didn’t have many expectations. Still, I decided to give it a go and was pleasantly surprised.

Content warnings for the book: grief, anxiety, mild PTSD.

THE PLOT

Emelia Anderson has been the live-in care nurse for Rose for a long time. When Rose passes away, she leaves the house to her grandson Benjamin and Emelia. The family, especially Ben, believe that Emelia conned Rose into adding her in the will and this animosity causes Ben to hate Emelia. Em is shocked that Rose included her in the will and hates that her character is being judged in such a way.

As much as they want to, Ben and Emelia can’t back out as Rose’s stipulation was that they have to renovate the house together while living in it for three months. Bizarre, right? If they fail to do so, the house will go to Ben’s father, whom Ben hates.

In the three months that they reluctantly live as house mates, Ben and Emelia get to know each other and develop feelings.

MY REVIEW

First of all, this book is longer than most romance books. But it has all the content which makes every page worth it.

The slow-burn chemistry was on point. I love slow-burn romances and this was done SO WELL. Ben and Emelia hate each other from their first meeting, which leads them to argue and fight a lot. It was really interesting to see their relationship grow from that start.

The book was hilarious. Emelia is a hoot and reading from her point of view was highly entertaining. She’s awkward, clumsy and sometimes rash in her decisions and it makes for some really funny scenes. The book made me laugh out loud and giggle multiple times, to the point that my mum was amused just watching me read.

Emelia has had a traumatic experience in the past, which has led to her developing anxiety. I really like how her anxiety was shown and her how she still makes the best of her life. It wasn’t a huge part of plot, her anxiety and milk PTSD were present and represented well.

The one thing that did disappoint me was the ending. The ending felt very rushed and messy. After the build-up of almost the whole book, the last part wasn’t very satisfying and felt off-paced.

OVERALL

A really nice romance read. I read the entire book in one sitting because it was too good to pause reading.

Would recommend: for hate-to-love and slow-burn romance lovers. Also if you’re looking for a very fun romantic comedy.

I rate this book..

4/5 stars

Do you like hate-to-love romances? What’s your favourite romance trope?

The Gilded Wolves || full of adventure

Title: The Gilded Wolves
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: Fantasy
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Book 1 in The Gilded Wolves series

Goodreads

Even though I haven’t read much Young Adult this year, I still notice the popular books and trends. One of the books which has been HYPED UP is The Gilded Wolves. Almost everyone was talking about it. Especially since it involves a diverse set of characters, the praise was high.

So when I got the mood to read a YA book, this was the first one that I picked.

SYNOPSIS

The book is set in France, 1889. But we don’t really see the mundane France. Right from the beginning, we’re introduced to the new concept of “Forging” and the hidden Fantasy world.

In this hidden world lies The Order, and the Four Houses that protect the art of Forging. Severin, the last heir of one of the houses, was denied of his birthright as patriarch of the house years back. Ever since, he has been on the path of revenge, and his only mission is to be instated with his birthright.

Over the years, he has brought together a band of people to work with him. Laila, the dancer from India with her own mission. Enrique, a well-read historian looking to be recognized. Zofia, a very smart engineer with a debt. And Tristan, Severin’s brother in everything except blood.

Right as Severin’s dream is close enough to reach for, things go awry and the group is thrust into a mission they didn’t sign up for. Together, they discover hidden truths and learnt what it truly means to be family.

MY REVIEW

First of all, this book reminded me why I loved the Fantasy genre. It has been so long since I read a Fantasy book, and reading this was like breathing fresh air. It was wonderful.

The plot is very captivating. We are taken on an adventure through this book. An adventure with a denied birthright, Forging, mystery, manipulation, secrets, betrayal and magical objects. Basically everything you want in a great Fantasy book.

The writing was very descriptive. We are given details about everything, especially the history in this world. At times, I found the descriptions and background information too much. Yes they’re planning something and are researching a lot for it, but there was way too much unnecessary information for me to read through with concentration. That could have been reduced.

Even though the plot was really good, what really made the book great were the characters. The characters were brilliant. They were each unique and fully-fledged i.e. with depth and layers. Every character was endearing in their own way. They are precious.

There was also enough highlight on each of them. I never felt like we saw more of one or two and less of the others. They were all equally the main characters of this book.

The found family trope was executed beautifully. The relationships between the characters, and what the relationships mean to them, was shows really well. The interactions were very fun to read as well, and didn’t feel like an overkill.*

*cough Aurora Rising cough

Many readers have compared this book to Six of Crows. While I do see the similarities—with the plot type and character relationships—I still think that they are entirely separate books. They have similar concepts but each with their own spin and meaning to it.

OVERALL

I’m very happy with this book. I absolutely loved reading about the characters going on their dangerous adventures together. It also brought back some of my love of YA Fantasy.

Would recommend especially: if you’re looking for a book with the found family trope, with a very Fantasy-world, and adventure.

I rate this book..

4/5 stars

Have you read The Gilded Wolves? Do you like the Fantasy genre?

Heads You Win || highly captivating read

heads you win cover page

Title: Heads You Win
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Genre: Fiction
Series info: Standalone book

Goodreads

I’m a HUGE fan of Jeffrey Archer’s books. Back when I frequented the library near me, I took the opportunity to gorge on every Archer novel that they had. (Except short stories, because I don’t like short stories haha) And I loved every single one of them. My favourite Archer book is Kane and Abel, which was brilliant.

When I saw Heads You Win on sale on Flipkart recently, with an unbelievable discount, I grabbed it immediately. The synopsis didn’t matter to me, but it did make me more excited to read the book.

SYNOPSIS

Heads You Win starts in Leningrad, Russia with our main character Alex Karpenko. Alex is a young boy in school with high ambitions. When his father is murdered by the KGB for forming a worker’s union, Alex and his mother flee Russia in a ship with the help of Alex’s uncle. When they are about to flee, they’re given the option of hiding in the ship to USA or Britain. Alex flips a coin, which makes the decision for them.

As the reader, we don’t know what the coin chose. From the time Alex flips the coin, we follow both paths. We get to see what Alex’s life would be like if they went to Britain, and if they went to USA. And in each path, Alex and his mother wonder multiple times what would have happened if they chose to go into the other ship’s crate.

The book spans thirty years, and follows both lives of Alex. But which is the real one? Is there a winner?

MY REVIEW

The book was very captivating. Once I started the book, I oblivious to my surroundings. Even my mum laughed at just how out of it was while reading. Right from the first sentence, the book caught me in it’s world and didn’t let go. After a very long, I finished a general fiction book very fast. I read it in two sittings.

Jeffrey Archer’s writing has always made his books great for me. No matter the characters or the plot, he manages to grab my attention. This book was a little extra special because we get almost two different stories, and both are good enough to have a book of their own. Archer weaves two very interesting lives with politics, family, intrigue and plot twists.

The book showed the USA life as “Alex” and the Britain life as “Sasha”, just so the readers can understand which alternate life we’re reading about. Both Alex and Sasha’s lives were thrilling to read. It was interesting to read how the same person’s life turns out when they’re given different opportunities. The most interesting part was the end. After thirty years, how different are their lives? And is Alex’s biggest ambition the same no matter what life he leads?

As a reader, you can either simply enjoy the book and it’s thrilling plot, or you can wonder about hidden meanings. Until I finished the book, I simply enjoyed it. But after turning the last page, all I could think about was the hidden meaning. Does your entire fate depend on a single choice? Will it vary very much, or will you flourish the same either way? Will your life end differently based on that one choice?

While the plots were really good, I was intrigued about how the book will end very early. As the book progressed, all I could think about was “which life is the real one?” That was my burning question. I had huge expectations for the end.

But, the ending sorely disappointed me. Until the last two chapters, I kept the two lives straight and wasn’t confused. But the last two chapters threw everything out the window and confused me. It was badly written, and almost as if the intention was to mess with us. I had to read the last part THRICE. And even after that, I’m unclear about what exactly happened.

I’m not alone in the confusion, because I went onto Goodreads and found that everyone is in the same boat as me. The ending ruined the whole book. It was the one thing that I looked forward to and because it messed everything up, it ruined my experience with the book.

And as to my burning question? It wasn’t answered. The book’s title points to the fact that whatever “heads” pointed to, is the real one. But we’re never told which is heads and which is tails.

OVERALL

I’m not sure if I’m glad I read the book, or if I regret it.

Pros:

  • I love it when a book makes me think and wonder for days after I finish it.
  • The storylines were thrilling and I loved reading them.
  • The ending opens up discussion, even if it was bad. It does have a meaning.

Cons:

  • The ending was SO BAD!
  • Kinda feels like the author wasn’t sure what to do, and just wrote a random ending.
  • The book leaves you with a bad experience, just because of the last two chapters.

Would recommend: if you want an engaging read which will make you question and wonder things. Also if you won’t be too bothered with a badly written ending.

Would not recommend: if a book’s ending means a lot to you, and your reading experience.

I rate this book..

3/5 stars

If you had to choose: the plot or the ending? Which matters more to you?

Song of the Crimson Flower || blog tour + review

song of the crimson flower cover

Title: Song of the Crimson Flower
Author: Julie C. Dao
Genre: Fantasy
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | BookDepository

When I got the chance to be a host for the blog tour for this book, I JUMPED on the chance. An Asian-based YA fantasy? I’m sold. I also have Julie C Dao’s Forest of a Thousand Lanterns in my TBR, actually. (Don’t ask me why I haven’t gotten to it yet lol) I was super excited to read and review an ARC by this popular author.

SYNOPSIS

Bao is a physician’s apprentice, well on his way to become a kind and skillful physician. But he also has a secret dream, which is to be together with the girl he loves. Lan, the kind, smart and absolutely beautiful daughter of a nobleman holds his heart.

When Bao confesses his feelings to her, she cruelly rejects him. Bao, stinging with hurt and embarrassment, sets off to find the infamous river witch so she can erase his love for Lan. But instead, the river witch places a curse on him which can only be broken by true love.

Lan, dealing with her own heartbreak, decides to help Bao look for the witch in apology so that his curse can be lifted. Their journey to the witch becomes so much more, leading them to the Empress’s party to the rival kingdom Gray City, to new friends, and a great adventure which entirely changes their lives.

MY REVIEW

The biggest charm of this book is the vibe. The writing, the world-building and setting, with the type of characters created a very specific and quite a unique vibe. I immediately picked up on it in the beginning, and it stayed until the very end. The Vietnamese names added to the charm as well.

The thing I liked the most was the character development. Both our main characters, Bao and Lan, go through so much and grow in the story. It’s very clearly seen. We also get to see what changed their thinking, and how they mature in their decisions and in emotional reactions. I’m always pro-character development and hence, I really enjoyed it.

The story was pretty good as well. While I wasn’t overly fond of the plot, it was enjoyable because of the characters. The overall idea was good, but I just couldn’t like the plot all that much, especially in the middle of the book.

But, with all of these good points, I didn’t like the book much. And the reason is the pacing. The pacing felt so off. It was slow, then suddenly very fast, back to slow and draggy, and would pick up pace again. It went like that for the entirety of the book, and I was annoyed. A consistent pace matters so much to a story, especially when it’s fantasy. Because it wasn’t consistent and gave me whiplash, I couldn’t enjoy the book.

OVERALL

The characters were great but the pacing. That just ruined it for me, unfortunately. One thing I’m glad about is that the author kept this as only one book. Perhaps the pacing was so because it’s only one book. Too much story to tell? I’m not sure. But I am glad that the story ended here.

Considering it’s only one book, for fantasy, it’s pretty good. There’s a good story, great characters, and a specific vibe.

If you’re in the mood for fantasy, but don’t have the patience for a series, you can pick this one up.

I rate this book..

3/5 stars

Thank you to the author and Netgalley for the eARC. And huge thanks to Rafael and Erika for allowing me to host a stop on the tour.

AUTHOR BIO

Julie C. Dao (www.juliedao.com) is a proud Vietnamese-American who was born in upstate New York. She studied medicine in college, but came to realize blood and needles were her Kryptonite. By day, she worked in science news and research; by night, she wrote books about heroines unafraid to fight for their dreams, which inspired her to follow her passion of becoming a published author. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is her debut novel. Julie lives in New England. Follow her on Twitter @jules_writes.

Julie is represented by Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Literary Agency.

Long Shot || gives hope & heartbreak

Title: Long Shot
Author: Kennedy Ryan
Genre: Romance
Category: Adult
Series info: Book 1 of Hoops series, can be read as a standalone

I came across this book through a review by Kat @ Reading After Ten. She mentioned that this would be a HARD READ, but that it’s also worth it. I was intrigued, so I added it to my TBR. Once I had enough space and time to deal with emotions, I started reading the book. And I totally agree with Kat.

This book was VERY HARD TO READ. I had to take much needed breaks because my heart couldn’t take more. It’s a very graphic book, and it’s definitely not for the light-hearted or readers who may get triggered. Please read the trigger warnings before picking up the book.

Major trigger warnings: domestic abuse, graphic violence and physical abuse, emotional abuse, gaslighting, rape, stalking, being trapped.

Minor (by amount of representation, not importance) trigger warnings: depression, post-partum depression.

SYNOPSIS

The book follows Iris and August from the time they met. August is a rising football player, and Iris is currently dating August’s nemesis Caleb. They have a connection but it doesn’t matter. But the story isn’t just romance. The book follows Iris more than August, and it shows her journey without rose-tinted glasses.

Iris is a victim of domestic abuse. We see how things between her and her boyfriend escalate, and how hard that situation actually is. How not simple it is to get out of such a situation.

Long Shot is about Iris and August’s love story, but it is also about Iris’s experiences and how she fought and came out on the other side.

MY REVIEW

As I said earlier, this book was hard to read. We read through Iris as she experiences abuse by the hands of her boyfriend Caleb, and it is hard to get through.

“Struggle does not make you weak,” she whispers back. “Struggling against those who hold us is what makes us, over time, stronger than they are. Strong enough to fight back. Strong enough to win.”

I have read books where the main character has been through domestic abuse before, but I don’t think I’ve read one as the character is going through it. And, usually, romance books use such plot points to have a damsel-in-distress who is saved by the male lead and given a happily ever after. Long Shot doesn’t do that.

The domestic abuse in this book wasn’t a plot point used to add depth to Iris. It was plainly written to show that even strong women could get into bad relationships and find it hard to leave. It shows that in this chauvinistic world, a woman’s words aren’t always taken seriously.

I saw how hard Iris fought to leave her relationship, and how things escalated the more she fought. It takes a lot of courage to survive in such a relationship, let alone fight back every day.

“Take them back. Your soul is yours. Your heart is yours. Your body is yours. Yours to keep and yours to share.”

The way the author has written all of it—Iris before everything went bad, to majority of the book when Iris was under abuse, to Iris moving on. It was written brilliantly. And it was written with insight. In the author’s note, Kennedy Ryan mentions that she spoke to many women who have been through domestic abuse so that she can portray it right, and I commend that. There were many facets to the situation which I never thought of before.

Iris’s romance with August was like a beacon of light in the darkness. Not just for Iris, but for me too as a reader. I absolutely loved the romance. August and Iris’s chemistry was sizzling right from the start. From the first conversation, I was rooting for them.

“If you were mine, Iris there would be no doubt what position you’d hold in my life. You’d be center. I’d play you at the five.”

And damn, August was charismatic as heck! I’d have no stipulations to drop everything and fall in love with him. August was the perfect man. I’m glad that the author took time to build his character as well, without just concentrating on Iris.

OVERALL

A romance book which is SO MUCH MORE. If you want to read a well-written book that talks about domestic abuse, pick this one up. All the pain and grief the book will cause you is worth it in the end.

Definitely recommended.

I rate this book..

4/5 stars

www wednesday @ the wordy habitat, all the bookish updates, currently reading, mini book reviews, books to read next.

WWW Wednesday // 9 October 2019

Hey everyone!

I hope y’all have been having a great week so far. I’m having a really chill week because I had Monday and Tuesday off for a festival. I also have tests from Saturday (which I have NOT prepared for), so I’m all ready for the week to turn stressful haha.

Anyway, let’s get to the book talk and updates!

WWW Wednesday is a weekly blogging meme hosted by Taking On a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

First of all, I think I’m going into a slump. I just don’t know what to read next, and I’m not overly into reading? Once I pick up a book, I do okay. But picking a book is so hard. I also realized that I’m SO BEHIND on newer fantasy books, and I think it’s because I’m straying away from my favourite genre and that’s making me sad.

Random rants aside, I picked up Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake yesterday. I pushed myself to pick it up just so I’d be done with the series. I remember being super mad after finishing book 2 and finding out that it didn’t end. After book 1, the publishers extended the contract with Blake to 4 books. The story dragged on unnecessarily, which annoyed the heck out of me. Ever since then, I’ve not been into the series as much.

I haven’t read much of the book yet, though. I’ll let y’all know my thoughts next week.


What did you recently finish reading?

In the last week I finished SIX BOOKS!!! This can be attributed to the fact that I got a long weekend with three days off. I spent all of Monday only reading because I had bad cramps. I basically laid on bed and distracted myself by reading. Most of my reads were romance books, which are the easiest to read, so there’s also that.

First book that I finished was That Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson. I liked the book. But I didn’t like it that much. My main problem with the book is that the story didn’t feel cohesive. There was so much going on, and each part was good, but the several parts didn’t seem to fit together.

The story was mainly about the main character who is adopted, and finds her birth family by coincidence. The main concepts were adoption, regret/guilt, identity, loneliness, and belongingness. The book also highlighted emotional abuse, racism (intentional and unintentional) and mental healing. There was romance and reconciliation. To add to all that, there was even a mystery element with a possible murder.

Now, you might understand why I felt that the book was a poor mesh of several different plots. Some of them were unnecessary, in my opinion. Because there were so many topics to focus on, every topic felt underdeveloped.

I gave the book 3/5 stars.

After that, I decided to read a light-hearted romance book. I had Tomboy by Avery Flynn on my Kindle library already, so I picked that up. It was so good! Tomboy is now my favourite book of The Hartigans series. I wasn’t fond of book 1, and was just okay with book 2. But book 3 totally made me like it. I especially liked the two main characters. The chemistry was really good too. I gave it 4/5 stars.

Rebel by Marie Lu was my next read. To be honest, I was slightly procrastinating reading it. I REALLY wanted to read it, and I’ve been waiting for more about my favourite characters since 9th grade, but it’s also the LAST BOOK. I will never see these characters again. This book is a proper good bye to the characters, and I wasn’t ready for that.

The anticipation finally won, though. The book was beautiful. I needed it. I’m so glad that it exists.

I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

After Rebel, I got on a romance kick. I had lots of time with a long weekend to read books in one sitting. I read three books in the last two days, y’all. That was some intense reading.

Rafe by Rebekah Weatherspoon was recommended “to all romance lovers” by Olivia @ storiesforcoffee on Instagram, and I immediately gave it a shot. It was SO GOOD, y’all! It was perfect. I loved the story, the romance, the characters, the dialogues, and especially the chemistry. It’s a perfect romance book to read. I really like how the professional aspect of “dating the nanny” thing was handled. It was all done very well. I even liked the supporting characters. I rated it 5/5 stars.

I don’t know why but whenever I need a new book, but also a comfort read, I go for books with babies. And I’ve found the secret-baby trope VERY interesting. I’ve been into the trope for a long time now, so it’s hard for me to find books with it which sound good. I hit gold with The Baby Bargain by Jennifer Apodaca. It had the right amount of everything. I liked the characters, loved the chemistry, and was engaged by the danger element. It’s in my favs list now. I gave it 4.5/5 stars.

The book I finished most recently was Finding Tomorrow by Kahlen Aymes. It’s book 2 in a series, although it can be read as a standalone. I read Trading Yesterday (book 1) because it has the secret-baby trope, and that book was SAD. It made me cry, y’all. It had sad, desolate, regret, guilt and more desolate vibes. I did want to read about Jensen, though, so I picked up Finding Tomorrow.

I have to say, the author is really onto destroying my heart by torturing the characters. The first book dealt with leukemia, and this one dealt with domestic abuse. Fun, right? Anyway, I really liked the book. I loved Jensen. I loved the kids. Books with kids are always better, somehow. I gave it 3.5/5 stars.

Now, I can’t wait for the next two books. In my version of Finding Tomorrow, the release dates for the next two books are written as July and October 2019 but ?? THE BOOKS AREN’T OUT YET???? I saw the author’s website and only the third book is listed as “coming soon”?! I’m dying here. I need those books.


What do you think you’ll read next?

I have absolutely no clue. I may try to pick up something that’s on my fall TBR, but it all depends on my mood.


And that’s all about my bookish updates!

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What book are you currently reading? What did you finish reading recently? Tell me in the comments!

Aurora Rising || kinda disappointing??

aurora rising book cover

Title: Aurora Rising
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Genre: Science Fiction
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Book 1 of Aurora Cycle series

Goodreads

I’ve heard SO MUCH about this book, almost all of them good. The hype went up to a point that I thought this book was the epitome of everything good. I heard that it portrays friendships well. It’s main theme is that a group of mismatched kids are stuck together to go on missions, and they’re required to be heroes. They’re the unlikeliest of heroes.

With all of that, you can assume right that I expected a LOT. And I’m sad to say, that my expectations weren’t met.

SYNOPSIS

Right before his graduation from Aurora Academy, where he’d be able to pick amongst the students for his cadet, Tyler Jones goes out alone into the void to calm his nerves. While there, he finds a lost spaceship from 200 years back and manages to rescue the only surviving passenger, Aurora O’Malley, who is deep asleep in her cryogenic pod.

Tyler is more concerned about the graduation ceremony, though. He gets back to find out that it’s all over and his cadet is made up of students who haven’t been picked by anyone else.

This group will have to get their stuff together and work together, though, because it looks like things with Aurora are much more complicated than they can predict. And they might just have to become heroes because there’s no one else to take over.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

MY REVIEW

I’ll say what you’re thinking. That sounds like an AWESOME concept. A bunch of misfits stuck together who have to save people and become heroes? Whaat.

In reality, though, it wasn’t that glamourous. In fact, I found the camaraderie between the squad members quite forced. That’s supposed to be the best part of the book—watching them interact and become friends. It was okay in some areas, but at times it was just very forced.

For example, they’d be in the middle of a very serious situation and they need to be using their brains to get our ASAP. Instead, they’d volley insults and crack random jokes. It was weird. And highly unrealistic.

CAT B: THIS IS TOTALLY BLOODY SIDEWAYS….
SCARLETT J: I’M AFRAIN I MUST CONCUR WITH MY PUNCHY BUT LEARNED COLLEAGUE.
CAT B: THANKS, ROOMIE.
SCARLETT J: ALL GOOD, GIRL. YOU’VE STILL GOT MY EYELINER BTW.

see what I mean?? They were knee deep in figurative shit and.. they were talking random stuff.

The characters were great, individually. I wasn’t interested in all of them, though. Probably because there was more spotlight on a few of the characters, which meant that we only really got to know them. The others were faded away in the background.

As for the plot, it was actually pretty good. I liked the plot. It was interesting, and perfect for a young adult sci-fi novel. Just the right amount of adventure and cluelessness.

The plot’s awesomeness was brought down a notch by the dialogues though. There was way too much talking and random conversations like what I quoted above. It killed the vibe multiple times and I was FRUSTRATED. So yeah, the writing could have definitely been better.

I loved the world-building. Or in this case, universe-building. I loved the tit-bits we got about all the different races, and how the current political situation is. That was fun to read about. I would have preferred more info, though.

OVERALL

Not very impressed. It was all “meh” towards the end, and I couldn’t wait to finish the book and move on. I am excited for the next book, though. Simply for the one couple I ship.

I rate this book…

3/5 stars

www wednesday @ the wordy habitat, all the bookish updates, currently reading, mini book reviews, books to read next.

WWW Wednesday // 2 October 2019

Happy October y’all!

New month, new fall/autumn vibes for most people around the globe while I’ll be having rainy (and gloomy) vibes, and new experiences to have.

I’ve been eyeing WWW Wednesday blogging meme for a while now, but since I usually update my reading on my Sunday Post, I don’t do it. This week, though, I didn’t update on Sunday because I had too many life things to talk about. And hence, I got the perfect time to do this post!

WWW Wednesday is a weekly blogging meme hosted by Taking On a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

There’s only one book in my currently reading pile, surprisingly, because life has been getting in the way with a LOT of events and deadlines. I’m barely keeping up at this point.

That Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson is a book that I picked up in a book fair back in February. Many books from that haul are sitting unread on my shelf and I decided that I’m finishing them by the end of the year. And so, I started with this one.

That Girl From Nowhere is a mystery novel, so I’m quite excited to read it because I haven’t read mystery in SO LONG.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

‘Where are you coming from with that accent of yours?’ he asks.
‘Nowhere,’ I reply. ‘I’m from nowhere.’
‘Everyone’s from somewhere,’ he says.
‘Not me,’ I reply silently.

Clemency Smittson was adopted as a baby and the only connection she has to her birth mother is a cardboard box hand-decorated with butterflies. Now an adult, Clem decides to make a drastic life change and move to Brighton, where she was born. Clem has no idea that while there she’ll meet someone who knows all about her butterfly box and what happened to her birth parents.

As the tangled truths about her adoption and childhood start to unravel, a series of shocking events cause Clem to reassess whether the price of having contact with her birth family could be too high to pay…

An emotional story about love, identity and the meaning of family, That Girl From Nowehere is the new novel from the bestselling author of The Ice Cream GirlsThe Woman He Loved Before and My Best Friend’s Girl.


What did you recently finish reading?

Last week saw me finish 3 books.

Hyde & Seek by Layla Frost. I was in the mood for mindless romance so I just picked this one up. It wasn’t great, and I got really annoyed by the male lead multiple times. It was also pretty cliche. The one thing I liked was the friendship squad. They were all really close and supportive and I liked the interactions between them all.

Muffin Top by Avery Flynn. This trilogy by the author focuses on female leads who are not considered conventionally attractive. Muffin Top features a female lead, Lucy, who is “fat” and could care less about it. The male lead, Frankie, goes along with Lucy to her high school reunion as her fake date. Sparks fly as these two truly get to know each other.

I was quite underwhelmed by Muffin Top. I was totally on board with the fat-shaming focus and how it’s hard for curvy women to be considered attractive. I was mostly on-board with the romance. But there was just some aspect missing. I wasn’t in love with the plot or characters, and once I finished the book, I could care less about it.

Educated by Tara Westover. This was the one book from last week which was GOOD. I’ve been reading this book from July, but I was crawling through it because the pace was very slow until 3/4ths of the book. Last week, I was determined to finish it and hence I quickly finished the book. And it made so much of an impact on me.

Educated was a heard read for me. It became harder every time i remembered that it’s a memoir, and everything here is TRUE. And then I would admire the author because she has been through SO MUCH—physically, mentally, and emotionally—and she has managed to find her true self even though there was so much holding her back.

The one thing I can say with certainty is: this book is worth it. This book is worth powering through the slow parts and sticking through the hard parts, even when they were too gruesome and detailed. Knowing Tara Westover’s journey is worth it.


What do you think you will read next?

Probably Rebel by Marie Lu, which released yesterday. I’ve been WAITING for this book, and I have already reread the first three books in preparation to directly dive into Rebel.

After that, I might read Five Dark Fates by Kandare Blake. This is also a new release, and it’s the fourth book in the Three Dark Crowns series. I can’t wait to finish this series lol. Ever since they extended it from two books to four, and the author is hastily dragging on the story, I’m not very interested in it. I just want to know the ending at this point.


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Tell me updates about your reading! What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish? And do leave a link to your WWW post if you’ve posted one 🙂

The Poppy War || gruesome and compelling

Title: The Poppy War
Author: R. F. Kuang
Genre: Fantasy
Category: Adult
Series info: Book 1 of The Poppy War series

Goodreads

There has been so much hype for this book online since the time it released. I added it to my list and was waiting for the paperback’s price to go down so I can own it as a physical copy. Sadly, it never went down.*

I finally caved and got the ebook just in time to participate in the Autumn is for Asia read-a-long happening on Instagram. The Poppy War is the buddy read book for September, and it gave me the motivation to finally read this tome.

*it’s quite expensive

SYNOPSIS

The book follows Rin, a very determined and ambitious girl. She is an orphan working for a family in a small town, who have taken her in. When they decide to marry her off in exchange for social standing and money, she vows to get out of that town and change her life.

Rin studies hard for the kingdom-wide exam Keju, and manages to ace it, getting a free ride to the best university. But her life’s trials don’t stop there. While studying at Sinegard, she learns more about herself and her kingdom, and she up-skills herself. Rin discovers that she has an affinity for shamanism, and she begins to explore her gift while questioning everything she believes in.

The kingdom is readying itself for the third Poppy War against The Federation who are across the sea, and Rin’s powers might be just the thing which could tip the scales in their favour.

MY REVIEW

This book is HUGE. It’s a literal tome. I am glad that I read it as an ebook because I don’t think I would have been able to read as fast with the physical book, especially since I wouldn’t be able to carry it everywhere.

Since it is big, it obviously a LOT of content inside. There’s so much that happens in the book. I procrastinated writing this review because there is SO MUCH to talk about. This one book contains THREE DIFFERENT PHASES of Rin’s life.


She never wanted to think about Tikany. She wanted to pretend that she’d never lived there—no, that it had never existed. Because if she could just erase her past, then she could write herself into whoever she wanted to be in the present. Student. Scholar. Soldier. Anything except who she used to be.


I will not lie, this book was hard to read. There’s gore, graphic descriptions of death, massacres, sexual assault/rape, and drug addiction. At times it was so hard to read through it that I closed the book and picked up a lighter book to give myself relief. My heart ached. The author doesn’t shy away from writing the true horrors of war, down to detail. That’s brilliant in writing, but hard to read.

The pacing of the book didn’t feel right. I was super into it in the beginning when things were happening in real time, and in the middle of the book it suddenly slowed down a lot. It not only slowed, but somehow we skipped YEARS in a few paragraphs. For a long time I thought Rin was around 17 but turns out that she was 19. Her growth and change of time wasn’t shown, it was just addressed in a few short sentences in relation to her growth in shamanism.

Being a really big book, with a lot to cover, I understand that not everything can be shown plainly. But I would have appreciated it because I was left confused a few times. Maybe it’s because I usually don’t read adult fantasy books like this one. It was weird that some pointless times were given more coverage than some really important things which were left out as “obvious”.

I really liked reading about Rin. She’s our main character who is determined to make something of herself and be important. She has big dreams and works tirelessly to make them come true. Rin is an underdog but works VERY hard to come up, especially in university.

The best part about Rin is that she’s very flawed. She’s not a perfect character with perfect beliefs and morality. She can be clueless, hard-headed, afraid and even disbelieving sometimes. But she pushes through because she has to move forward. The one thing that drives her is to be best, and she does ANYTHING to get there.

She had to make her memory perfect. She stopped sleeping.

A majority of the book takes place when Rin is in Sinegard university. The most interesting part was when Rin trained in shamanism. She had to question her beliefs, everything she’s heard and been told, and rewire it to believe in gods and their powers. I especially liked the debate about gods, which was given quite a bit of attention. Considering that I’m agnostic and I question the exact things, it was wonderful to read.


Jiang reconfigured Rin’s perception of what was real. Through demonstrations of impossible acts, he recalibrated the way she approached the material universe.

It was easier because she was so willing to believe. She fit these challenges to her conceptions of reality into her mind without too much trauma from adjustment.


The phase of Rin’s life which took up the most of the book is during war. Rin joins Cike, a group of assassins who work for the Empress. Initially, she’s insulted and embarrassed for joining “a group of crazies”, but eventually she finds her place.

This is the part of the book which was the hardest to read, for me. There’s so much gore, and there are several detailed descriptions of the horrors of war. I liked that it’s realistic, in terms of how bad war is, but I also found it very hard to read with a straight mind. I had to take multiple pauses.

Through the book, the author also makes several on-point observations on war and questions the nature of it. I found these things very interesting to read, because I never truly thought about war and all that it is associated with. We the readers come to all these realizations about war through Rin, as she begins to truly open her eyes and understand the causes and consequences of war. I definitely would have not thought of this quickly if it wasn’t directly written in the book.

Warfare was about absolutes. Us or them. Victory or defeat. There was no middle way. There was no mercy. No surrender.

It was, simply, what happened when one race decided that the other was insignificant. The Federation had massacred Golyn Niis for the simple reason that they did not think of the Nikara as human.

The one thing that I did not like in the book was the underdevelopment of multiple characters. The book showcases and develops the few characters in spotlight but almost completely ignores the side characters. I get to know Rin and other spotlighted characters a lot but I barely know anything about the side characters.

OVERALL

The Poppy War is a book that you should take your time reading. It’s not a fast-paced book with many interesting twists, but it’s a damn impressive book about war and an underdog character who rises.

The author has BRILLIANTLY weaved a full-fledged world inspired by Chinese history. The book is definitely worth the read.

“Great danger is always associated with great power. The difference between the great and the mediocre is that the great are willing to take that risk.”

I rate this book..

4/5 stars

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine || brilliant main character

Title: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Author: Gail Honeyman
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Category: Young Adult
Series info: Standalone

Goodreads

I found this on Instagram, like I seem to find every other other book nowadays. And like usual, Instagram didn’t let me down.

Trigger warnings: depression, suicide, PTSD, alcoholism

SYNOPSIS

Eleanor Oliphant’s routine is set. She works all week, spends time on crosswords during her breaks, reads books at home and drinks two bottles of vodka during the weekend to make it go faster. She doesn’t have friends or anyone to spend time with.


“When the silence and the alone-ness press down and around me, crushing me, carving through me like ice, I need to speak aloud sometimes, if only for proof of life.”

And so, Eleanor speaks to her plant.

One day, an act of kindness by her new colleague towards someone on the road in her presense sets off a chain of events. Through that one act, dominoes of events and people fall into her life.

Eleanor also sees a singer during a theatre performance and instantly falls in love with him. She’s convinced that Johnnie Lennon is the perfect man for her, and now she just has to make sure that they meet. Eleanor becomes obsessed with having a perfect life with him and making the right first impression, which leads her to making changes to her life as well.

The book is more than her making changes to her life, though. These changes cause her to finally face how she’s been living and also face her past.

MY REVIEW

I don’t really know how to review this book, because it’s so many things and one thing at the same time. I also have no clue how to articulate my views and feelings exactly.

Eleanor is a very complicated character. It took me a few chapters to properly understand her. Initially, I didn’t want to like her. She judges people very quickly, and is often rude in her judgement. A while later I felt sympathetic for her.

To be honest, I didn’t completely understand Eleanor until I had read most of the book. There are so many facets to her. You have to read through the book and learn every single one of them. There’s the well-read Eleanor, with a tremendous vocabulary; the lonely Eleanor, with no one to truly talk to; the socially inept Eleanor, who is awkward in conversation with people; the depressed Eleanor, because of her abusive mother; and so much more.


“I feel sorry for beautiful people. Beauty, from the moment you possess it, is already away, ephemeral. That must be difficult. Always having to prove that there’s more to you, wanting people to see beneath the surface, to be loved for yourself, and not your stunning body, sparkling eyes or thick, lustrous hair.”


We slowly get to know Eleanor through her experiences, thoughts, and opinions. I love the writing of the book because of that. It’s clear that we don’t know her well, and at many turns we peel back another layer to Eleanor. It made the book immersive. I felt like I was truly getting to know her.

Eleanor is widely read, and has a great vocabulary. (She’s very smart as well) This was, simultaneously, annoying and nice. She used a lot of words that I haven’t come across before and, hence, I needed my phone nearby to look up words all the time. It kept breaking up my reading, but I’m glad for it as well. I miss learning new words from books. I actually MARKED all the new words that I came across so I could go through them again.

My favourite part of the book is Eleanor’s journey. Eleanor goes through so much in the span of this book. I was inspired by her journey and her path to healing and self-forgiveness. She finally faced her past and her demons after reaching thirty years of age. That was beautiful to watch.

OVERALL

If I had to summarize why you should read this:

  • Amazing mental illness/depression rep.
  • Amazing healing rep.
  • A brilliant and complicated character.
  • Immersive writing.

I recommend Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine to EVERYONE because Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine and YOU SHOULD KNOW WHY.

I rate this book..

4/5 stars

Have you read this book? Do you read books talking about mental illnesses?