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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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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One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid | Book Review

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From the author of Maybe in Another Life—named a People Magazine pick and a “Best Book of the Summer” by Glamour and USA Today—comes a breathtaking new love story about a woman unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiancé who has finally brought her back to life.

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

Publisher: Washington Square Press

Date of Publication: June 7, 2016

Date Read: May 19, 2017

No. of Pages: 327

Setting: Massachusetts | California

Genre: Adult Fiction, Romance, Contemporary

Get Your Copy Here: Book Depository | Amazon

 

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“There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

This quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald is One True Loves in a nutshell. I honestly don’t know where I am drawing my strength from. This book had my heart shattered in its rawest form. I feel like a huge part of me is still grieving. I kid you not. I feel like crying every.damn.time I think about it. I had to compose my self every hour or so. But a review has to be made, has to be shared, so here I am trying my best to relive everything, but boy is it hard. One True Loves is the second book I’ve read by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The first one being Maybe In Another Life, you can check my review of it here.  I don’t know why it took me almost a year to pick up another Taylor Jenkins Reid book. Had I known that it would be this good, I would have read it sooner. (Take this as a public service announcement, if you are second guessing if you should read this book or not, do yourself a favor and read it already. Yep, you’re welcome.)

Well, for starters, DON’T READ THE BLURB or do, it’s up to you. This book is best enjoyed if you have the littlest of idea of what’s about to go down. I don’t know why they had to write the blurb like that. (NOTE TO PUBLISHERS don’t give away major details). It may or may not have given away the whole story, but it depends on how you look at it. In my case, I didn’t read the blurb until I was half way through the book – if you already know me by now I seldom read blurbs. I only know small details and take it from there. I always crave the element of surprise. So yes, take my word for it and DON’T READ THE BLURB or at least skim it if you can’t help it. Don’t worry there is so much more in the story that the blurb wasn’t able to ruin, so just read on.

“I am finishing up dinner with my family and my fiancé when my husband calls.”

Note that first sentence, if you’re not in for some emotional ride then I don’t know anymore. That first sentence is enough to send my brain haywire.

One True Loves will bring you immense pain yet come out of it with a profound understanding of what true love really is. It is complicated, yes, but at the same time it was as real as it could get. There was no sugar-coating it, there was no cushioning the blow, there was no beating around the bush, it presented everything in its rawest glory, its ugly head rearing in the surface. Isn’t that how life really is, it was never perfect, and this book made it a point to tell a story that would encompass everything about love and loss – and yes it isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, it had ugly parts too. And did I mention I cried buckets? It was literally river of tears, my tear glands have been working like crazy and I can’t seem to pacify myself, I had to pause once in awhile because I feel that gnawing ache in my chest – yep much like feeling of a true blue breakup. I didn’t know how I was able to survive it, but I tell you it was hard, it was a struggle. Not because the book was bad, but because the book was so heartbreakingly beautiful you have to risk your heart to be completely cut open. And you’d be a willing victim.

The characters were painted in a realistic way, they were flawed much like any other human, and that’s what drew me in. TJR didn’t make her characters to be likable, she wrote them to represent real humans with real struggles. Emma for an instance, her character was a very conflicted one but you’d understand where she was coming from. You would get why she acted the way she did, you would get why she made such and such decision. It was simple yet complicated altogether, something you cannot quite explain fully but you get her. And Jesse, after all that he’s been through. You feel for him too. You understand what he was demanding, he saw it in black and white, it is this or that. Then we have Sam, oh boy, Sam. Majority of the book I cried for him. He was everything good and then some. God how selfless he was! I want to hug him! You’ll end up as conflicted as Emma when it comes to choosing between Sam and Jesse. Both are good men! And though I already knew who she’ll end up with because of the subtle hints in the beginning, I still wanted to stick around to see how the author would play out the characters, how everything will come about. And when it did, I was left awestruck and basically broken. I had to compose myself every now and then. It was hard to read through the exchange between the characters. It is as if you feel the pain emanating from them, it is as if the collective pain they are feeling are now induced inside of you. I was inconsolable to say the least.  I also love how Emma and Marie’s relationship grew, I loved that part when Marie explained things to Emma (but I can’t say it because that would be a spoiler). Just ugh, please read this book!

You have to give it to TJR for writing an unrealistic story and making it something that hits home. It may have been too unrealistic but the essence of it is still there, the wisdom and all that realization will hit you without preamble. It is as if Taylor Jenkins Reid had a one on one sit down encounter with you to tell you how things are, how they truly are. Again without sugar-coating or over-analyzing stuff, that it is what it is and you have to accept it even if you don’t want to at first. I love that in a book, it is as if it offers you a brand new perspective towards the real world, and yet it is just there waiting for you to finally acknowledge it, it may have come under different circumstance but the result is all the same. You just have to slightly veer away from what you believe in and take what is offered in front of you. Reading this book is heartbreaking yet it was satisfying. And I don’t know how much more I could give it justice, but all I know is you have to read this even once in your life. And oh this is the first book since a very long while that I’ve finished in a day! So if that doesn’t spell how invested I was then I don’t know what would.

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“Don’t think that true love means your only love.

I think true love means loving truly.

Loving purely. Loving wholly.

Maybe, if you’re the kind of person who’s willing to give all of yourself, the kind of person who is willing to love with all of your heart even though you’ve experienced just how much it can hurt . . . maybe you get lots of true loves, then. Maybe that’s the gift you get for being brave.”
Taylor Jenkins Reid, One True Loves

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I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella: Book Review

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I’ve lost it. 😦 The only thing in the world I wasn’t supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It’s been in Magnus’s family for three generations. And now the very same day his parents are coming, I’ve lost it. The very same day! Do not hyperventilate, Poppy. Stay positive 🙂 !!

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.

What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents . . . she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

Publisher: The Dial Press

Date of Publication: October 31, 2011

Date Read: April 2017

No. of Pages: 433 pages

Setting: London

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This book sent me into a laughing fit!

I’m not going to be nit picky this time. I was looking for a funny book, chanced upon this one and it truly served its purpose. It got me through something depressing, well not really but it was able to keep my mind off things I’d rather not dwell on. So to say I am grateful for the existence of this book would be an understatement.

I’ve Got Your Number is definitely something I could see to be turned into a RomCom film. It might be too fictional for someone else’s taste, but I think it could be a big possibility to see this one in the big screen. A little tweaking can do the trick. This has been my second Sophie Kinsella read, the first one being The Confessions of a Shopaholic which I enjoyed immensely as well. And now Sophie Kinsella is now my go-to author if I want to read something light and funny. I’ve Got Your Number cracked me up a lot of times. Don’t get me started with Mr. Yamasaki and the singing telegram, I really lost it. I was in a laughing fit for a good ten minutes or so. I’ve Got Your Number isn’t the conventional kind of love story. It was something out of the usual, it has a meet-cute which I’m such a sucker for. It has the right amount of drama and fluffiness, another plus points for me since I’m not looking for something heavy. I was aiming for a light and fluffy read and this book did its magic.

Poppy Wyatt is a fun character to read, she may be a little pushover sometimes but there are also redeeming qualities I saw in her. She’s relatable too, making her character something realistic. Sam Roxton on the other hand is a no-nonsense type of guy. What I liked most about him was he was able to see or analyse the real Poppy Wyatt. How he was able to pinpoint what was wrong and give out the right advice. I also commend that their love story gradually happened, it was sweet and cute and gahhh that ending! The exchange of emails was a clever one. The twist and how everything came about was thoroughly though-out which made everything coherent, just like Confessions of A Shopaholic. I really enjoyed this book, total pick me-upper!

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“Lover? I don’t know. I don’t know if she loves me. I don’t know if I love her. All I can say is, she’s the one I think about. All the time. She’s the voice I want to hear. She’s the face I hope to see.”
Sophie Kinsella, I’ve Got Your Number

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All My Lonely Islands by VJ Campilan: Book Review

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Synopsis from Goodreads: One crisp March evening, Crisanta and Ferdinand arrive on the remote Batanes islands for a mission: locate Graciella, whose son, Stevan, they saw die in a tragic accident a decade ago. But they need to confess something to her: Stevan’s death is not all what it seems. Oppressed by a decade of painful memories, Crisanta and Ferdinand must race against time—from the wild swamplands of the Sundarban forest in Bangladesh to the back alleys of Manila to the savage cliffs of Batanes—to offer Graciella the truth that they themselves cannot bear to face.

Publisher: Anvil Publishing

Date Published:  2017

Date Read: February 2017

Number of Pages: 204

Setting: Batanes, Philippines / Dhaka, Bangladesh

Get your copy here.

Source: Sent by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Exceptional writing style, truly worthy of its praise.

This book won the Grand Prize for the Novel 2015 Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature for a reason. It is without a doubt truly worthy of that prestigious award. Now how to give the justice it deserves? I have zero idea, but I’m trying anyway. I have to point out first that this book is very well-written in all sense of the word. The words used in each sentences were carefully crafted so as to give life to the story. And though it was fairly a short read, it was a book that you need to savor. It is the book that you don’t rush finishing, but still ultimately look forward for an unadulterated time to be alone with it. It has this melancholic vibe to it that one can’t simply shake off. A book that will give you that sense of foreboding and as the story peaks up, you’re hanging on to every sentence leading to the inevitable end.

I truly adored how the story was written, it was a recollection of Crisanta’s life  from childhood up to her teenage years in Dhaka, Bangladesh and all the events that transpired between then and the present times. How the main character was able to reconcile the demons of her past with her present self. And can we also talk about how the narration was so vivid and beautiful it is as if you are truly there in the story. Batanes, Dhaka and Sundarban were all described with such eloquence and impressive imagery. The author painted these places in such a beautiful light, without sugarcoating it. It was presented in the most realistic way possible and I think that contributed to the overall beauty of the book. All My Lonely Islands also highlighted a lot of Filipino cultures and traditions though most of the book transpired in Dhaka Bangladesh. A book I will definitely recommend to those who would want to know  more about the Philippines and its haunting beauty.

Each character was unique – flawed, yes, but forgivable. Take for an instance Ferdinand, this troubled boy who didn’t have an easier life and was always living up to what people purports him to be. Oh that part when his parents found out that he was in trouble, the relief on their faces – because he was something they could define. Good god, that was a great explanation. I don’t want to reveal much of it, I wouldn’t want to spoil anyone anyway. I loved Ferdinand’s character, this may not be the same to others. But his character was the one who improved a whole lot. Crisanta’s character on the other hand was pretty consistent one, her character was the perfect depiction of every Filipino teenager, or every teenager for that matter. I was able to relate to her in more ways than one. And Stevan, how do I even start with Stevan? I wish there was more of Stevan. He was the character I wanted to know more of. He seems to be that boy who was also trying hard to survive each of his grueling days in high school, just as much as everyone else. Every character in this book was well thought out adding color to the story.

The subtle hints provided by the author in each chapter was enough to keep you going, enough to keep you interested. It wasn’t revealing everything at the first instance, there was the element of surprise and coherence. Every event was connected to the other. The side stories are also exceptional, like the one about Pobrito, man, that hit me hard. It was heartbreaking, ugly, depressing and yet I was so drawn to it, that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Who would have thought that this was only the first book of the author? It seems to me that she had been writing all her life to come up with something that’ll hit you hard, of something that is so thought-provoking you couldn’t help but pause and ponder on the words you just read. And if being a Filipino is the only association I can have with this author, then I am damn proud to be a Filipino. Filipino talents are indeed world class, this book is the proof of it. This book struck a special cord in my heart, I’m confident to tell (yes even just two months in the year) that this book will be included in my Top 17 Books of 2017. This book deserves to be read even once in one’s lifetime. Honestly the blurb didn’t give the book much justice. If I passed by this one in a bookstore and read that blurb, I would be curious, but not enough to be inclined to read it right away. I just wish there was more to the blurb, it wasn’t able to fully grasp the whole beauty of the book. This is the only issue I have with this book, but hey this is what reviews are for. So I’m really trying my best to persuade you guys to not just depend on blurbs. Take a chance on a book, take a chance on this one!

That ending was exactly what the book needed – it was a closure. I felt more satisfied than ever, I appreciated that it took its sweet time. Not one thing was forced, it is as if everything happened at its own pace, at its own perfect time. Everything culminated and unfolded into this simple yet profound tale. Im glad I have read this one, made me value life more.

Rating: rating_5stars

“You’re trying to look for rock bottom, to that part of yourself that could no longer feel pain. But there is no such thing as rock bottom. As long as there is left to destroy in you, you’d do it. We always feel the need to sink ourselves because we keep being intolerable, because if we’re suffering then maybe people would give us a break for all the shameful things we do. You think you could impose your own penance, but it never goes away, does it? That kind of deadening that’s worse than actual dying.”

― V.J. CampilanAll My Lonely Islands

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