Folsom (End of Men Book 1) by Tarryn Fisher and Willow Aster: Book Review

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The nation as we know it is a thing of the past.

With the male species on the verge of extinction, a society called the End Men is formed to save the world. Folsom Donahue is one of twelve men whose sole purpose is to repopulate the Regions. The endless days spent having sex with strangers leaves Folsom with an emptiness no amount of women, money, or status can fill.

Until Gwen.

Gwen has wanted a child for as long as she can remember, but when she finally gets a chance to have her own, she uncovers a long hidden truth. The injustice she sees moves her to help save the men whom no one else believes need saving.

A forbidden love, grown in a time of despair, ignites a revolution.

Folsom and Gwen, torn between their love for each other and their sense of duty, must make a choice. But some will stop at nothing to destroy them.

Folsom is book one of the End of Men series.

Date of Publication:  May 29, 2018

Date Read: June 2018

No. of Pages: 276 pages

Setting: Post Apocalyptic USA

Genre: Romance, Dystopia

Get Your Copy here: Amazon

 

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Folsom, where do I even start? I am really on the fence with this one. A part of me tried really hard to like it, a part of me finds the whole premise obnoxious but clever at the same time and a part of me just wants it to be over. It was a post-apocalyptic setting where men go extinct, and there are only 12 men left to impregnate as much women as possible to be able to repopulate. I know, me too, I had to process all that and I was more skeptical than hopeful. I was scared how will the authors pull off something like this. But I went ahead and read the book.

And oh my goodness, Felicia.

Let’s just say it isn’t my cup of tea (anymore). I’m not the right audience for this. It is with this sad realization that I don’t find joy in reading too much smut in a book anymore, or maybe it was just this one time, or maybe not. I hope this is just a one-time thing. Don’t get me wrong I love romance books with alpha-male and all that jazz, but this one didn’t do it for me. I was cringing half of the time. Maybe it is the way everything was presented, it was too literal, too right in your face (if that even makes sense), there’s just a little room for imagination, like everything was served in a platter and you’re given no choice but to devour it as is. Oh goodness, I hope I am making some sense here.

The characters, those unbearable, annoying characters. We have Folsom, the most sought after End Man. I was equal parts disgusted of his character and at the same time pity him for the hand he was dealt. Yes he was basically the Society’s highest paid prostitute. And believe me this doesn’t sit well with me. THERE WAS SOMETHING PROBLEMATIC but I shrugged it off and read on. I KNOW, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. Believe me I was so tempted to DNF it, but I had to give it the benefit of the doubt, and so here we are. Then we have this love-sick puppy Gwen. She was too smitten I want to rip her hair off. Her character was this poor attempt to be noble, but failed miserably (at least for me). And can I just say how frustrating the women in here, they were like deprived, crazed sex addicts. And just nope, we don’t need that kind of portrayal. The world has doled out too much of it as is, thank you very much.

The book’s attempt to be unique, was just that, an attempt. It failed to sustain the obnoxious yet clever premise it promised. The delivery wasn’t as solid as I expected it to be. It could have been better, oh boy, it definitely could. I can’t pinpoint exactly what is wrong, and because of this it overshadowed any good aspect of the book, and believe me there were few as well. You just have to see past the cringe-worthy parts and the too smitten characters. In summary, the book was a dystopian, post-apocalyptic, erotica that could have been better if the cards were played right. I was looking for more, something that could redeem itself, a silver-lining perhaps, but found nothing.

And yes, I find it hard to believe it was by Tarryn Fisher – an author I love so much. As per Willow Aster, I can’t say much since I have not read anything by her until Folsom. I felt like Tarryn let me down, it is with a heavy heart to say and accept it. What is happening? This is definitely not the kind of book that made me fall in love with her writing. It was just sad. But what I’ll do is just stick around and wait for that book that will make me say “Oh yes, this is the Tarryn Fisher I loved.”, but until then I am not having any more of this End Men series. Folsom is enough I think.

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“It was the truth! For the truth to make a difference, it needs to be said by one person at a time, until there’s a noise loud enough to make a difference.”
Tarryn Fisher, Folsom

 

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I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios: Book Review

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If Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing separating Skylar from art school is three months of summer…until Skylar’s mother loses her job, and Skylar realizes her dreams may be slipping out of reach.

Josh had a different escape route: the Marines. But after losing his leg in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be.

What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and, soon, something deeper.

Compelling and ultimately hopeful, this is a powerful examination of love, loss, and resilience.

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.

Date Published: February 3, 2015

Date Read: June 2018

No. of Pages: 388

Setting: Creek View, California

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Get Your Copy Here: Book Depository, Amazon

 

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This is it! This is the soft safe harbor amidst all the chaos that is life.

I’ll Meet You There has been sitting on my shelf for a good year now, always looking at it and telling it “I’ll read you one day.” To be honest, it wasn’t on my top to-be-read list, it wasn’t a priority, but boy was I wrong not making it so. I’ll Meet You There brought back my old self, that person who would willingly stay past her bedtime to finish up a book, that old self who’s carefree and just find pure joy in reading, that old self who’s happy hunkered down in her little corner not minding the world outside, and how I’ve missed that! I miss it so bad I was starting to believe I will never be able to bring her back.

I’ll Meet You There is a mixture of depth, great character build-up and realistic life-lessons. It was everything good and then some. It wasn’t your typical YA book, it has this sense of maturity that was hard to miss. I don’t know why but I am always drawn to books with Marines, I think I have mentioned this quite a few times already. This was angsty, but it was well-played out, it was perfectly incorporated in the book making it more engaging that what the premise had promised. I’ll Meet You There is the story of Skylar who couldn’t wait to get out of Creek View and Josh Mitchell who was able to get out but was back to the hell-hole as an amputee. This was the story of loss, healing and young love.

The romance was slow-burn, something I would choose over insta-love at any given day. I loved how Skylar and Josh complement each other, how their characters manage to navigate through the ins and outs of their hard life. How they are able to get by and deal with their own respective demons. The push and pull that is their love story, was definitely not lost on me, I blurted out loud at one point how they should just fall in love already, I was the one being frustrated how they manage to make the infamous one-step-forward-two-steps-back dance, but despite this frustration, I was glued to my seat reading as much as I can before the world borrows me to do the most mundane stuff, like you know, sleeping and eating. I finished it in two days, that’s saying a lot since I haven’t finished a book in a long while for such short period of time. It only proves how good this book was. And though the story line isn’t as original, I’m still giving it the full 5 stars. It was that good for me, it made me ugly-cry – something I haven’t done in a long while and ultimately this book helped me forget the complexities of my reality – it was indeed that safe haven amidst this chaotic world. So yep, it definitely deserved my five-star rating.

What I loved most about I’ll Meet You There is its quality of sincerity. How the characters felt real as if they were just ordinary people you could meet in your lifetime. I loved how flawed they are too, especially Josh. He was just this shell of a man he used to be because of what happened to him in Afghanistan. What transpired was a real depiction and sometimes too raw and honest description of how war can fck a person up. And it was painted in such captivating yet angsty light. Then we have Skylar Evans, who deals with her own demons. I liked her character, how sometimes she has this no-nonsense approach in life and sometimes she’s too calculated or guarded. I loved how they ease into each other’s lives. I loved how their love story was well-played out, and was not rushed at all. It progressed just right, and when they finally admitted to themselves what they truly feel for each other it was beautiful. I love that in a book, it’s power to suck you into the story and you just willingly immerse yourself into it. And though the ending was somewhat open-ended, I love that it gives room for readers to imagine more, it does not limit itself, it gives power to the readers to make out something more out of the story.  This book now has a special place in my heart. Highly recommend!

 

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“It gave me hope: if you could make a beautiful piece of art from discarded newspapers and old matchbooks, then it meant that everything had potential. And maybe people were like collages–no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.”
― Heather DemetriosI’ll Meet You There

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❝And maybe some people are like collages – no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.❞ – Heather Demetrios, I'll Meet You There ••• Finished I’ll Meet You There the other day and boy did I miss reading books like this one. It brought back my old self, that person who would willingly stay past her bed time just to finish a book, that old self who’s carefree and just find pure joy in reading. Sadly these days, I hardly have time and to be honest I am not as enthusiastic as before. So reading this one is such a breath of fresh air, it’s like the universe conspired for me to end up reading this book. . I’ll Meet You There is an honest, beautiful and realistic story about two flawed characters trying to deal with their own demons. I love how the romance was played out well, it was a slow burn and just right. Full review on the blog! Rating: 5/5⭐️ ••• Have you read this one? Can you recommend something like it? ••• #IllMeetYouThere #HeatherDemetrios #SkylarEvans #JoshMitchell

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Circe by Madeline Miller | Book Review

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In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child–not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power–the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Publisher: Lee Bourdreux

Date of Publication: April 10, 2018

Date Read: April 21, 2018

Genre: Historical Fiction

Number of Pages: 400 pages

Source: Book Of the Month (April Selection) Get your copy here.

 

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YOU WILL FALL IN LOVE WITH GREEK MYTHOLOGY HARDER THAN EVER!

As much as I want to prolong the reading experience and the sheer delight that goes with it, I couldn’t. I have come to the inevitable end – and what an epic book this was. Circe rekindled my love for Greek mythology. It has been a long time since I last encountered Greek Mythology stories, reading Circe was the fire that ignited what seemed to be a dormant love I have for it. Now all I crave is to read anything Greek Mythology. I have not read Song of Achilles also by Madeline Miller, I was told it was fine to read Circe even without reading Song of Achilles – and I think I managed well. There are bits and pieces about what happened to Achilles, but it is already a known fact to anyone who is familiar with Greek Mythology, so it’s still all good. Circe easily became a favorite book of 2018.

Now let’s go to the story. Circe is a greek god I knew next to nothing about, reading it was a mixture of excitement and of curiosity. Circe is made of layers and layers of beautiful stories, which can be a bit overwhelming yes, but everything was encapsulated in such a flawless manner. You will get a lot of backgrounds for every character mentioned and their relation to the book in its entirety. This made the book even more appealing. We are taken into this trip down the history of Greek gods, what they are, what they are capable of doing, their roles and weaknesses. Reading Circe is getting more out of a 400 page book, it was so condensed, you have to give your undivided attention to fully appreciate everything. And once you already immersed yourself in it, you’ll notice how everything becomes a distant sound, how you entirely space out completely oblivious of the world around you. That’s one thing a good book could give you, and Circe gave so much more than that.

Circe was an interesting character, a character presented in raw light, a character that was believable. She was nothing but typical. Circe was a league entirely her own. She didn’t give herself the credit that is due her, yet she continues to do commendable things one after another. She was the kind of character you’ll root for, banking on her belief and the goodness of her heart. There are countless of times that her character was put to test, yet without fail she came out of each struggle more resilient and wiser. How she dealt with each circumstance truly made her character stand out. There was this sense of redemption with each time she triumphs even over small stuff, proving everyone wrong. Her character was not liked by almost everyone, for shallowest of reasons or by merely the way she looked, but these things didn’t faze her, if for anything she used all this to fuel her, to keep her going, to claim what is rightfully hers and to defend herself with the power she was blessed with. The story spanned from her early childhood up to hundreds and hundreds of years. Through all this, her character developed so much. You start to be attached to her and the stories transpiring with each milestone. You will learn how she never backed down on anything, how she will firmly stand on what she believed in.

Circe was a character driven type of novel, something I don’t usually lean towards but with this book I made an exception. It was well researched and very well-executed. There was hardly a dull moment in the book. I breezed through it like it was the only thing I am supposed to do. I stopped participating in life for a moment and just completely immersed myself in the story. At first I had inhibitions in reading Circe, you see I have not read The Song of Achilles. In my mind I have this expectation that I would have a hard time easing my way into the story, I feared that it would be difficult to read, but I am amazed by how much the author made the book so easily digestible and not intimidating at all, all things considered I guess that’s what drew me in the most. Most of the time, I shy away from historical fiction genre, fearing that it wouldn’t be able to hold my attention just like other genres I am comfortable reading, but Circe proved me wrong. It was easy to read yet you wouldn’t miss how beautifully written it was – only a few books can do that, and Circe managed to do it really well. And oh, I loved how it ended! I highly recommend!

 

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“I had no right to claim him, I know it. But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another  soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.”
― Madeline MillerCirce

❝I had no right to claim him, I know it. But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.❞ – Madeline Miller, Circe . ••• Just finished reading Circe! As much as I want to prolong the experience and the delight of reading it, I’ve come to the inevitable end – and what a great book! It rekindled my love for greek mythology! Now I crave to read everything greek myth! Pretty sure I will be reading Song of Achilles sooner rather than later. Circe was such a great narrator, I love her weaknesses and imperfections, and love her more because she always came out of it stronger and wiser. No one messes with Circe! Ahhhh new favorite book and new favorite author. I am one happy nerd! 😁 5/5⭐️ ••• Are you planning to read it? Please do!! You will not regret it!🧡 Circe is @bookofthemonth Selection this April! You can still get it!!! ••• #Circe #MadelineMiller #bookofthemonth #botmbookbassador #botm

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Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman | Book Review

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Andre Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion and test the charged ground between them. Recklessly, the two verge toward the one thing both fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy. It is an instant classic and one of the great love stories of our time.

Date Published: January 23, 2007

Publisher: Picador

Date Read: March 2017

Genre: Fiction/LGBT

No. of Pages: 248 pages

Setting: Italy

Get your copy here: 

 

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Unapologetically honest, unabashedly deviant.

Call Me By Your Name has been all over social media and Hollywood news for quite some time before I gave in to the hype and read it, add the fact that there no single soul I came across with that hated the book, or the movie for that matter. I willingly took in the plunge and immerse myself in the depths of the novel, and boy I didn’t even want to resurface. I was so engrossed by it, I didn’t want it to end. Elio and Oliver’s story is not quite the conventional one, nor is it something we are accustomed to seeing – but what captivated me more was how the author go about the book – the subtleties and undertones, the silence yet impactful approach really won me over.

Writing style is so beautiful I could marry it

It is undeniable that the writing style will ensnare any reader just by reading the first paragraph. The use of flowery words, may be too much for others but it was just perfect for me, perfectly matches the character of Elio – our narrator. I adored how he describes what he feels in such an elaborate manner that I could very well feel the overwhelming emotion stirring up inside him. It was so lyrical, raw and vivid. I love how each sentence was formulated in such a beautiful way that you wouldn’t miss how much effort the author has put into this masterpiece. Reading this book made other book seem mediocre, I don’t know if it’s just the books I come across with, but every book that I’ve read after Call Me By Your Name seem to fall short. I had to take a break from reading or else nothing can ever comes close to this masterpiece.

Unconventional Story

The story isn’t something we are accustomed to reading, despite the many books on LGBT topic, it still feels that we need more of it. Call Me By Your Name is a beautiful story on the discovery of sexual orientation and sexual preference, the inevitable confusion of the people involved and how were they able to reconcile with themselves. It was relevant and painted in such a beautiful light. You feel with the characters like it is second nature.

Real Characters

This book has characters that are relatable, though at varied extent. Elio for an instance is tinged with immaturity and indecisiveness but you will understand that this is what the story requires, to present the characters in their rawest and truest form just like any people you will ever come across with.

And Oliver, his character has this depth to it that you wouldn’t get at first, but as the story goes on you will know why he had to act at a certain way, always being careful of his words and actions. How he had to suppress what he truly feels – just to conform to what the society dictates, to what he thought was in propriety with the norm. It was sad that they had to hide who they truly are, sad that it still happens and society is not as accepting as we would want to hope it to be.

Elio’s father was my ultimate favorite. Especially that part when he was telling Elio that what he had with Oliver was special, I think that’s the part where I cried the hardest. It was heartbreaking as it was touching.

Unapologetically honest, unabashedly deviant

As I have said, Call Me By Your Name isn’t the typical fiction we come across on a daily basis, it is a rare gem. It is unapologetic in its pursuit to present a story that is honest and raw, unabashedly deviant – holding no reservations whatsoever. The readers are taken into this journey of self-discovery and acceptance, of heartbreak and mending, of missed connections and once and a lifetime chances. There is this beauty in this book that every word would fall short, as no exact definition could give it justice. The ending broke me, my tear ducts worked double and I let it – just so I could wash away that ache taking refuge at my chest. *Insert Mystery of Love by Sufjan Stevens on loop for all eternity*

 

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In your place, if there is pain, nurse it, and if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out, don’t be brutal with it. Withdrawal can be a terrible thing when it keeps us awake at night, and watching others forget us sooner than we’d want to be forgotten is no better. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste.

– Andre Aciman; Call Me By Your Name

 

“In your place, if there is pain, nurse it, and if there is a flame, don’t snuff it out, don’t be brutal with it. Withdrawal can be a terrible thing when it keeps us awake at night, and watching others forget us sooner than we’d want to be forgotten is no better. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste.” – Andre Aciman; Call Me By Your Name ••• Just finished reading this book last night and I was reduced into a crying blob of a mess. I knew it was the inevitable end, I’ve been warned, but then it still made me bawl, wow that one hurts me more than I had anticipated! And the writing style is just pure masterpiece, I wish I could write like that! I have found a new favorite author and a new fave book! The hype surrounding the book and the movie is so real, probably one of few real things in this world, haha! I will watch the movie tonight. I partly listened to the audiobook, specially the “peach” part 🍑 *wink* and damn if that isn’t the hottest thing! Gahhh how to move on from this? Halp! Have you read it? What did you think? Full review to come! ••• . . . . . . . . #callmebyyourname #andreaciman #lgbtq #reading #ilovetoread #nerdytalksbookblog #pages #bookworm #bibliophile #booklover #writtenwords #justread #read #ipromotereading #vscocam #vscobooks #goodreads #blogger #bookblogger

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Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan | Book Review

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Clarissa Goenawan’s dark, spellbinding literary debut opens with a murder and shines a spotlight onto life in fictional small-town Japan.

Ren Ishida is nearly finished with graduate school when he receives news of his sister Keiko’s sudden death. She was viciously stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to conclude his sister’s affairs, still failing to understand why she chose to abandon the family and Tokyo for this desolate town years ago.

But Ren soon finds himself picking up where Keiko left off, accepting both her teaching position at a local cram school and the bizarre arrangement of free lodging at a wealthy politician’s mansion in exchange for reading to the man’s catatonic wife.

As he comes to know the figures in Akakawa, from the enigmatic politician to his fellow teachers and a rebellious, alluring student named Rio, Ren delves into his shared childhood with Keiko and what followed, trying to piece together what happened the night of her death. Haunted in his dreams by a young girl who is desperately trying to tell him something, Ren struggles to find solace in the void his sister has left behind.

Publisher: Soho Press

Publication Date: March 06, 2018

Setting: Akakawa, Japan

Genre: Mystery, Fiction

Date Read: April 10, 2018

No. of Pages: 323 Pages

Format: Hard Cover

Source: Book of The Month

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It’s the “if you love (insert book here) you will definitely enjoy this” that pushed me into reading this book. A good motivation, really, since I am struggling to finish a book these past few months. And would just look at that gorgeous cover!

The book opened with Keiko Ishida’s murder, our protagonist’s older sister. Now Ren Ishida needs to go to a small town in Japan – Akakawa to learn what happened to his sister that fateful night. A promising premise, if you ask me, but unfortunately the book wasn’t able to sustain the thrill it promised.

Comparison to a Haruki Murakami novel

I was told that if I love Haruki Murakami’s books, then I would definitely enjoy this one. To be compared to a Murakami novel is a big shoes to fill, it sets a high expectation and either it would exceed the expectation or fall behind it. The case here is the latter. While it is true that the book is somehow reminiscent to that of a Murakami novel, there are however striking differences. Both have that subtle, silent, calm quality to it – qualities that would put you at a certain mood and qualities that if you don’t pay too much attention would be lost in you. However Rainbirds felt like it wanted to tell different side stories but the connection or coherence of it all did not meld well, it was a bit forced, to say the least.

Japan in the 90s

I love that the book was set in Japan in the 90s, it added to the mystery of the whole book. It may have been one of its strong suit. The way the author described certain places transports its readers and made them feel as if they were there too. I don’t know if it’s just me or books set in Japan has this melancholic feel to it that I can not pinpoint exactly, all I know is it adds beauty to the book.

 

Great premise, mediocre execution

The premise of the book is what would capture its audience. With an unsolved murder opening the book, it is but natural to draw readers in. The never-ending quest to know who did it will always be something readers crave, I myself included. However I find the execution of the whole novel a bit mediocre, again blame this on the expectation set too high. The loose ends were not as polished as I hoped it to be. The bridge linking the events and the domino effect it tried to provide were not solid enough to make the book more put-together. There were moments when I hardly see the relevance of one event to another. The few chapters toward the end felt a little bit rushed. It felt like everything is crammed up inside a suitcase, all wrinkly and in disarray. Maybe if the book was a little longer, it could have tied all the loose ends better. There were awkward parts as well, for an instance this particular scene warrants a certain reaction, but the characters in it did something cringe-y or something unconventional in the normal course of things – this happened a lot, and was a major turn off for me.

Characters and their likability

Ren Ishida – our main character is just your average guy – young, good looking and intelligent. Easy to like right? However as the story progresses, the book showed a side of  Ren that isn’t likeable. What is it with Ren and all these women? This is something the book can definitely do away with, it did not add anything to the story, if for anything it was a little annoying. Ren isn’t a spectacular character, he was plain and a little boring to be completely honest, his character could have been portrayed well, there are so many things the author could have done to make the main character cut above the rest, but no, it had to be this boring guy who for inexplicable reasons seems to draw the attention of too many women. Then we have Seven Stars or Rio who was portrayed as a rebellious teenager with issues of her own. Another character with great potential that the author failed to maximize. Her connection to the whole story is yet another forced one. Keiko Ishida, was the only one consistent in this story, this is through the recollection of her brother Ren, her character is what I expected it to be, the only character I liked to be completely honest. Other characters such as Ren’s neighbor, Izumi the building manager,  Mr. and Mrs. Katou, Pigtails, Mrs. Katsuragi, Honda, Anzu, Jin, and all others are characters that was supposed to contribute to the story but all fell short and I keep missing their relevance to it all. Again, great characters that the author wasn’t able to fully utilize.

On the fence

I don’t hate the book, but I don’t love it either. And it is such a sad situation where I can’t actually categorize it. Was it a bad book? No it was not, it had great potential just not executed well. Despite the issues I had with this book, I definitely would want to see the author grow and watch out what she will be able to come up with her next books.

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Sadness alone can’t harm anyone. It’s what you do when you’re sad that can hurt you and those around you.
– Clarissa Goenawan

❝Sadness alone can’t harm anyone. It’s what you do when you’re sad that can hurt you and those around you.❞ – Clarissa Goenawan ••• Finished Rainbirds last night…and it wasn’t what I had expected. I was told if I love Haruki Murakami then I would love this one – that set a big expectation. To be compared to a Murakami novel is quite a big shoes to fill, and it’s either you exceed the expectation or fall behind it. The case here is the latter. I don’t hate the book but I don’t love it either. I am on the fence with this one. There are yes a few resemblance, but it is also quite different, if that even makes sense. I’d stop with the comparison, and focus on the story. It opens with Keiko Ishida’s murder, our protagonist’s sister. It held a lot of promise by this premise alone, but towards the end it just didn’t sustain the thrill of finding out what really happened. It feels like the book wants to tell so many different stories but the connection to it all seemed a bit forced? And the revelation of what really happened and all the secrets surrounding it was a little lackluster. But I do love that it is set in Japan in the 90s, the description of the place is enough to satisfy the reader’s curiosity, it just provides what the story needed. . Rating: 3/5⭐️ . Despite the issues I had with this book, I definitely would want to see the author grow and see what she will be able to come up with her next books. . ••• Full review now posted on my blog! Link in bio 💕🧡 . . . . #Rainbirds #clarissagoenawan #BookOfTheMonth #botm #mybookmark #renishida

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Happy National Poetry Month!

 

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April is National Poetry Month. A celebration I take seriously. Every year I take part in the celebration by posting a favourite poem per day, however due to time constraints and busy work schedule, unfortunately I cannot do what I have been doing the past two years, instead I will be sharing with you guys some poetry book recommendations, may it be contemporary ones or our well loved classic poetry – from Pablo Neruda to Rupi Kaur. I really hope you do find time to read it. I will schedule the post sporadically throughout the month. I am also thinking of doing an author spotlight, and maybe share a poetry I have written too. Let’s surprise each other shall we? Stay tuned for more detail, I might throw in some giveaway at the end of the month.

For now, hope you will be reading tons of poetry books and discover new favourites, I know I will! Until my next blog post!

phonto

The French Girl by Lexie Elliott | ARC Review

Nerdy 
Talks' (7)

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They were six university students from Oxford–friends and sometimes more than friends–spending an idyllic week together in a French farmhouse. It was supposed to be the perfect summer getaway–until they met Severine, the girl next door.

For Kate Channing, Severine was an unwelcome presence, her inscrutable beauty undermining the close-knit group’s loyalties amid the already simmering tensions. And after a huge altercation on the last night of the holiday, Kate knew nothing would ever be the same. There are some things you can’t forgive, and there are some people you can’t forget, like Severine, who was never seen again.

Now, a decade later, the case is reopened when Severine’s body is found in the well behind the farmhouse. Questioned along with her friends, Kate stands to lose everything she’s worked so hard to achieve as suspicion mounts around her. Desperate to resolve her own shifting memories and fearful she will be forever bound to the woman whose presence still haunts her, Kate finds herself buried under layers of deception with no one to set her free.

Publication Date: February 20, 2018

Date Read: January 13, 2018

Publisher: Berkley Books

Setting: France / London

No. of Pages: 294

Source of Copy: Provided by Berkley in exchange of an honest review.

Get your copy here: Amazon | Book Depository

 

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Beautiful writing style. The French Girl is not what I had expected.

The French Girl is about six friends who went on a vacation in France where they met Severine – the girl next door. 10 years later they are implicated as suspects in the murder of this French woman. This definitely sounded like a great premise. The constant guessing of who did the killing is always a pleasure to read, how everything unraveled revealing dark secrets one after another is always a huge treat for me. So you have to understand my anticipation whilst reading this book. Let’s just say The French Girl isn’t what I had expected.

The pacing was a little slow for my own liking, considering this is a mystery thriller. I wasn’t able to feel the usual the-edge-of-my-seat feeling I often experience reading thriller books. There are definitely some parts the book can do away with. Albeit slow, the book was able to show in detail the lives of the characters, their relation to each other, their past and what one meant to another. The book lets you in the ins and outs of the lives of the characters. How they act the way they do and the underlying history that brought them all together, and even when you think you got them all figured out, there will always be something that would surprise you. The French Girl is character-driven than plot-driven. I commend how the author made each character distinct from one another, drawing the lines from their traits and what makes them tick. It focused more on the dynamics between the characters, and while I do appreciate that, I wish the plot wasn’t sacrificed. The plot was a little lack-luster for lack of a better word. The story was a little monotonous and wasn’t as convincing as I hope it would be. I was waiting for intensity, for that heart-racing moment when everything was finally revealed, but I got nothing. My thirst for gasp-inducing plot twist was, sadly, not quenched.

Also, they could have titled it in a more catchy  way. If I come across this book in the bookstore, to be quite honest, I would not even give a second glance. There is something cliche about it already, which doesn’t give any impact as opposed to 4-5 years ago. What I commend though is the existence or non-existence, however way you want to put it, of Severine. It was cleverly incorporated in the scenes, which adds mystery to everything and makes you question the relationship or involvement of our main character, Kate Channing, to her murder. Also the end part, where Severine had somewhat an intervention to what happened to Kate, I love that part.

All in all, if you are a patient reader, and you want a character-driven book than a plot-driven one, then this is definitely for you.

 

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Once ensconced in a black taxi, the unease becomes corporeal, taking on the body of twisting snakes that are no longer confined to my stomach now they’re swaying upward, encircling my lungs, slithering through my throat, threatening to choke me of words and breath.

– Lexie Elliott, The French Girl

phonto