Between Here and The Horizon by Callie Hart: Book Review

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Synopsis from Goodreads: “You think you know me. You think you want to know me. But trust me, Miss Lang. Pursuing me will be the worst mistake you ever make. I’m broken beyond repair…


…and I take great pleasure in breaking everyone else around me.”

Ophelia Lang needs money, and she needs it bad. Her parent’s restaurant is going under, and ever since she lost her job teaching third grade elementary, scraping enough cash together to pay the bills has proven almost impossible. Her parents are on the brink of losing their home. The vultures are circling overhead. So when Ophelia is offered an interview for a well-paid private tutoring gig in New York, how can she possibly say no?

Ronan Fletcher is far from the overweight, balding businessman Ophelia expected him to be. He’s young, handsome, and wealthy beyond all reason. He’s also perhaps the coldest, rudest person she’s ever met, and has a mean streak in him a mile and a half wide. A hundred grand is a lot of money, however, and if tolerating his frosty temperament, his erratic mood swings and whatever else he throws at her means she’ll get paid, then that is what Ophelia will do.

Her new boss is keeping secrets, though. Awful, terrible secrets.

The ghosts of Ronan Fletcher’s past are about to turn Ophelia’s future upside down, and she can’t even see it coming.

Note: Between Here and The Horizon is a brand new standalone contemporary romance novel from USA Today bestselling author, Callie Hart. Between Here and the Horizon does contain some scenes of violence and sexual content, and so is directed at audience 18+

Date Published: October 18, 2016

Date Read: October 23, 2016

Source: Kindle Edition

Setting: The Causeway, Maine

 

REVIEW

This book is anything but a typical romance novel. 

Who puts a shocking twist in the first 20% of a book? Apparently this author. To be completely honest I was about to DNF this one, it felt like I’m not going to enjoy it or I need to read other books that are more to my liking and more of something I was in the mood for. I was in the mood for romance novels, and upon seeing that this book fell under that category plus look at that gorgeous cover, I started it immediately. But as I’ve mentioned, the first few chapters proved to be hard to get into, I couldn’t see where the romance will come in or how it will play out, but then after that shocking twist, I knew I had to continue or it will forever haunt me. And so here I am, writing this review. The first tip is, be patient with this one, I swear it gets better. It just needs some getting used to, but once you’ve moved past the hard parts, it will be rewarding. Trust me on this.

The ghosts of Ronan Fletcher’s past are about to turn Ophelia’s future upside down, and she can’t even see it coming.

That part of the blurb, OH MY GOD, it foreshadowed what’s about to happen! And yep, no one saw that coming! I was at a public transportation when I reached that part and it was so hard to contain my shock. This is the internal struggle of a reader, everyone is going through the notions of their own lives and there I was battling with all the emotions I am struggling to contain inside me. And I tell you, it ain’t easy.

Writing this review is harder than I thought. I want to tell you about the goodness of this book but how can I when I can’t tell you who ends up with who and what happens to this and that. Okayyy. How do I go about this without spoiling something? I guess I would have to be as vague as possible. So please bear with me on this one. I just don’t like to kill the mood for you by accidentally revealing a major plot twist, I will do the best I can to give you a somewhat good review, despite me going around the bush.

This book had the mystery/thriller element to it that made it different from a lot of romance novels out there. It wasn’t what you are expecting. It will continually surprise you until the very end. This is the reason why I enjoyed this book so much, there was the element of surprise, the readers are constantly guessing what will happen, conjuring up theories as to where will the story might lead, and then everything will not go the way they imagined it to. It was hard to pull off something like it but Callie Hart made it look effortless. This is the first book I have read by her, and to say that I am missing out would be an understatement. If all her books were as shocking and as unique as this, then count me in. And my favorite thing in the world, MILITARY men! Haha I don’t know what is it with stories about military men, but I love reading books about them!

So if you like:

Brooding and angsty male protagonist with a soft side deep down the recesses of his being

A strong female protagonist who takes no shit from anybody

Steamy steamy moments (Oh boy)

A shocking twist

Coherence of story from the prologue down to the last page

The search is over, you have found your match! This book is definitely for you!

I appreciated the coherence of the story, from the prologue, which had set the perfect mood but did not give anything away, down to the last chapter where everything made complete sense. It was the kind of book that will leave you in awe. The book was well thought-out, save for the few issues I have, all in all, it was an amazing read. I couldn’t wait to start yet another book by her and see where Callie Hart’s imagination will take me!

 

 

RATING: rating_4stars

“He was a man possessed. I was a woman lost. Together, we were two halves of something fragile and delicate, beautiful in its complexity.”

Callie Hart, Between Here and the Horizon

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Best Kind of Broken by Chelsea Fine: Book Review

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Synopsis: Pixie and Levi haven’t spoken in nearly a year when they find themselves working―and living―at the same inn in the middle of nowhere. Once upon a time, they were childhood friends. But that was before everything went to hell. And now things are… awkward.

All they want to do is avoid each other, and their past, for as long as possible. But now that they’re forced to share a bathroom, and therefore a shower, keeping their distance from one another becomes less difficult than keeping their hands off each other. Welcome to the hallway of awkward tension and sexual frustration, folks. Get comfy. It’s going to be a long summer.

Date Published: March 14, 2014

Date Read: September 21, 2016

Publisher: Forever

No. of Pages: 272

Setting: Copper Spring, Arizona

 

Review

Cute Banters and Palpable Sexual Tension, what’s not to love?

 

Best Kind of Broken brought out the fun in reading New Adult books. I have been on a New Adult reading spree these days. It doesn’t happen often, and so I took advantage of it. Often times after reading a new adult book, I would immediately jump to a different genre – in need of a palate cleanser. I’m not one who binge read one after another, I tend to mix it all up or over-compare the stories, making me favour one more than the other. It’s like choosing a favourite child (well, I don’t have kids yet, haha but I’m sure you get my point). I wanted to savour every story, value them as one should – this is the main reason why I seldom read books in the same genre consecutively. And so because I am in a New Adult streak, it was surprise that I loved almost every book I have read, Best of Broken being the latest. I never expected anything out of this book. I never read the blurb or others’ review for that matter, I went into this blind. I never wanted to be influenced by what others thought of it.

I LOVED THIS BOOK!

This is the kind of romance I enjoy reading, I love Levi and Pixie’s banters and the palpable sexual tension is not hard to miss. I loved that it is funny where it is supposed to and serious when it should be. It is entertaining and engaging you wouldn’t want to put it down. Their story though a typical one as new adult theme, was presented in such a way that you would want to eat up every words and savour every page. It is a decent new adult book, nowadays we are bombarded with new adult books with either too heavy topic the world could not bear it or with too much explicit contents it is not even new adult anymore. In Best Kind of Broken, you will get the right amount of romance and drama. It is an easy story yet an unforgettable one. The story unfolded with ease and the readers are taken on this story of healing and forgiveness, of fear and despair yet choosing to risk it all over again. It was everything and then some.

The blurb hardly gave anything away, you see, blurbs like this can either be a hit or miss. It could work to lure someone into reading the book or make someone pass up completely. And because I don’t often read blurbs, including this one, I went ahead reading this book without passing any preconceived notion. I just went ahead and read through. Glad that I did. The book will take us into the story of two people trying to tiptoe through the wreck of the year that changed their lives. And I tell you, it is not just “awkward” as mentioned in the blurb, it is beyond that. It was hurt and guilt masked by annoyance, anger and indifference. How the author played around the two characters will make you see the depth of this book, it is not just a simple summer read, it has a story, it has sense of gravity and seriousness to it that one could not simply miss. And I wish more people could see that, it is not simply a book categorized under “cute-read, swoon-worthy male protagonist, love-hate relationship” it was so much more than that.

I loved how the two characters were going around in circles suppressing what they truly feel towards each other. Levi and Pixie had issues they soon need to address, and the journey on how they developed and grew in this book is really a fun thing to read. Again, the banters and the palpable sexual tension is such a delight to read, I laughed a lot of times, and tear up at some parts. It was the perfect combination of comedy, romance and drama. The sure hit formula for a good book. And oh yes!! I love love love that goat, cracks me up all the freaking time! The alternating point of views is also a big plus for me! It was beautifully written. The writing style is clean and polished. I think Chelsea Fine is an underrated author. People should seriously take a look at her works. Best Kind of Broken sure won’t be the last book I will be reading by her.

 

Rating: rating_5stars

“Love isn’t safe and life isn’t guaranteed. So yeah, I could die and you could lose Levi and your heart could hurt again, but that’s just life. The only alternative is living without fully loving anyone else. And that’s not living at all.”
― Chelsea FineBest Kind of Broken

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Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino: Book Review

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Synopsis from Goodreads: From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a love story about a Craigslist “missed connection” post that gives two people a second chance at love fifteen years after they were separated in New York City.

To the Green-eyed Lovebird:

We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.

You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.

We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.

Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…

I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.

After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?

M

Publisher: Atria Books

Date Published: August 18, 2015

Date Read: September 15, 2016

No. of Pages: 320 pages

Source: Kindle version

Setting: New York

 

Review

This has got to be my favorite Renee Carlino book!

Well, at least out of the three I have read by her. (Sweet Thing, Swear on This Life and Before We Were Strangers).

The blurb! Oh my goodness that blurb! I don’t know about you, but the blurb simply drew me in. It was my fantasy put into paper. I have always fantasized about chance meet-ups at places you only see in movies, like coffee shops, train stations, and all these common places. It was a common place to meet someone, yet in reality it never really happens, have you wondered about this? I am so fixated about this idea that what if that someone meant for you is just sitting right across you in a subway on your ride home, or the next person in line while you’re getting your morning coffee at an over-priced coffee shop, or that someone you bumped into when you were running late to catch your 9am meeting, those simple yet unrealistic way of meeting someone. This was what my fantasies are made of, and reading Before We Were Strangers’ blurb had ignited this fixation on chance meet-ups. I knew I had to read the story and eventually find out where it will take me. And it got me here, writing this review that hopefully could give justice to this beautiful book.

If you haven’t noticed already, I have been binge reading Renee Carlino books. The very first book I have read by her was Swear On This Life which I loved to bits! Back then I made a vow that I would read everything she wrote and will ever write. Before We Were Strangers is the third book I have read by her, and again it blew me away. I will say it now, I loved this one a hundred times more than Swear On This Life. This might be my favorite Renee Carlino book! I suffered the proverbial book hangover over this one. It was all I was thinking about for days on end. I immediately wanted to reread it after I finished. That’s how good it was for me. Before We Were Strangers is the kind of book I have been craving for so long. This is the kind of book that made me fall madly in love with reading. This is the kind of book I live for.

We follow the story of Matt and Grace (Matthias and Graceland, loved this), two senior college students who started out as good friends. Their characters are relatable and likable. We have Matt, who is into photography and we have Grace who plays the cello, just by this premise alone you could very will tell that you are in for a good story. A good boy and a good girl, well that doesn’t happen often in new adult books – more often than not it will be about a brooding boy with issues he wants to keep hidden and a broken girl with past she’d rather forget, which we all know too well. Before We Were Strangers is different, it is more than a story, it embodies second-chances and life choices. It will make you see things in a different perspective. Matt’s character has always been a likable one, he is as real as the next person you come across with.What drew me in was the fact that he was latching on to something he lost before. Grace on the other hand was a reserved girl but with care-free vibe that you would not miss. She knows fun when she needs to, and knows the weight of responsibilities on her shoulder at the same time. I love that Grace’s character was not the usual whiny female protagonist. I love love love their adventures, the way they portrayed New York, it sounded so amazing I wanted to book a ticket to New York and just relive what they did. And don’t get me started with the free breakfast as their dinner meal whilst wearing their sleepwear! Gahhhhd I want to hug Matt and Grace!!!!

The One That Got Away stories always have a special place in my heart. It was in the way that the story transitions, it is looking at it in a different light, oh the what might have been(s) and the what ifs, these are the stories I automatically gravitate towards. Before We Were Strangers pulled me into an embrace that I wouldn’t want to remove myself from. The character development was impeccable, you grow as the characters grow, you feel their regrets and pain and you share their joys as well. There was something so innocent and pure about Matt and Grace’s relationship, it was never rushed, it has its own perfect timing. I loved how the book transitions and pave its way to an engaging course where readers can pick bits and pieces of themselves along the way. It was just so beautifully written and so heartbreakingly true.

The story is told in an alternating point of view, which was something I really like in a book. We are taken into this confluence of the life Matt and Grace had back then and the life they have in the present, how much of it have changed and how much of it they regret. It was a series of choices one after another but not without fate working its way that led them to where they are. It was the embodiment that you never know where life will take you or where you will end up no matter how much planning and plotting you do, it is just the way things should be – of how destiny do its magic. And there is some sense of comfort in that thought. It was like grabbing uncertainty and giving it a hug. This was what this book is all about, it kinds of give you the taste of what happens when you lose someone you loved without knowing how or why and then at some funny stroke of luck you find them again, with the same intensity of emotions you had back then, and realising that things lost will always find its way back. This book will bring you to a journey of a love that was lost and found again. It will fill your heart with warm and fuzzy feeling, much like watching a good romantic film. This book is screaming to be made into a movie, it has the perfect setting, plot and twist with characters you can fully relate to.

I see now the writing style of Renee Carlino, she always put things into perspective. She writes books not only to tell a story but to give out a scenario of what could have been, her books are reassurance that in life there is no such thing as too late, that taking chances is a part of the choices we make day in and day out, that everything will lead us back to where we are supposed to, however long the journey or how rough things were. This realization hits me hard, and I will forever seek that wisdom her books give.

This is definitely one of the best reads I’ve had this year. Without a doubt I will be recommending this one incessantly to people and probably begging them to read it as if their lives depend on it.

Rating: rating_5stars

“You can’t re-create the first time you promise to love someone or the first time you feel loved by another. You cannot relive the sensation of fear, admiration, self-­consciousness, passion, and desire all mixed into one because it never happens twice. You chase it like the first high for the rest of your life. It doesn’t mean you can’t love another or move on; it just means that the one spontaneous moment, the split second that you took the leap, when your heart was racing and your mind was muddled with What ifs?—that moment—will never happen the same way again. It will never feel as intense as the first time. At least, that’s the way I remember it. That’s why my mother always said we memorialize our past. Everything seems better in a memory.”
Renee Carlino, Before We Were Strangers

 

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Sweet Thing by Renee Carlino: Book Review

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Synopsis from Goodreads: “You have to teach your heart and mind how to sing together… then you’ll hear the sound of your soul.”

Mia Kelly thinks she has it all figured out. She’s an Ivy League graduate, a classically trained pianist, and the beloved daughter of a sensible mother and offbeat father. Yet Mia has been stalling since graduation, torn between putting her business degree to use and exploring music, her true love.

When her father unexpectedly dies, she decides to pick up the threads of his life while she figures out her own. Uprooting herself from Ann Arbor to New York City, Mia takes over her father’s cafe, a treasured neighborhood institution that plays host to undiscovered musicians and artists. She’s denied herself the thrilling and unpredictable life of a musician, but a chance encounter with Will, a sweet, gorgeous, and charming guitarist, offers her a glimpse of what could be. When Will becomes her friend and then her roommate, she does everything in her power to suppress her passions—for him, for music—but her father’s legacy slowly opens her heart to the possibility of something more.

Publisher: Atria Books

Date Published: August 30, 2013

Date Read: September 6, 2016

No. of Pages: 320 pages

Source: Kindle Version

Setting: New York

 

REVIEW

Love and Music, what could go wrong?

 

And because I made it my life’s mission to read all Renee Carlino books, I immediately followed Swear On This Life by Sweet Thing. I understood that Sweet Thing was one of her earlier works, but I could not help but compare. Renee Carlino truly evolved as a writer. Her writing style was so much better in Swear On This Life. But that doesn’t mean that Sweet Thing wasn’t just as good, let’s just say Sweet Thing had potential, but kind of did not live up to its promise.

The prologue was the first thing that captured me, it was set in this tone where you can already feel a good story is about to unfold. In Sweet Thing we follow the story of Mia Kelly and Will Ryan. I am the kind of reader that doesn’t dwell too much on the blurb. I want to go ahead reading a book as blind as possible. There is really fun in that. As I was reading this book, I thought it was just another typical NA story. A goody girl falling for a guy in band, how many times have we read a book like that? But this book, despite it being a little mediocre had redeeming qualities as well. It focused on life’s choices, on life’s ever present predicament of choosing what you want and choosing what is right – which more often than not are two different things. In this book we see the struggle of a girl who thought she had it all figured out, and ending up somewhere she did not plan. We are taken into this journey of self-discovery and the constant pursuit of passion despite all the reasons not to and despite all the setbacks.

This book is perfect for readers who enjoy stories about music, this one is brimming with it. I loved how music is incorporated in this book, I loved how it played an important part in forming Mia and Will’s story. It kind of reminded me of the movie Begin Again, but the similarity of it ended there and nothing more. Mia and Will’s story was painted in such a way that readers should be patient in reading it. Or at least be patient with Mia. Mia’s character had goals she had worked so hard for to achieve, but then when reality hits her, she was lost completely. Her character was in a crisis, for lack of a better term. She was always at war with what her mind dictates and what her heart desires – happens to the best of us. It worked for me for quite sometime, but then as the story progressed, I found her character to be a annoying to a fault. There was this sick cycle of one-step-forward-two-steps-back that Mia’s character kept on doing, and to be completely honest, it was a little frustrating to read. Will on the other hand, is as sweet as ever. He was a free-spirit with a huge heart. I loved that his character was carefree, a stark contrast to that of Mia, maybe that’s why they clicked.

I am always drawn to books with New York as its setting. More often than not, books set in New York end up being a favorite. I don’t know about you, but the premise of New York alone is enough for me to pick a book up. Same reason with Sweet Thing, I loved how the city was portrayed in this book, again back to the Begin Again feels. There is just something so real and yet so magical about it. Mia and Will’s story could be anyone’s story. I loved that Renee Carlino made it into something believable and relatable. Her writing style is beautiful too. I think that’s one of the reasons why I kept coming back to her books. She has a way with words that would just hit you, something that connects to your body and soul – and not every book could do that.

Sweet Thing is about finding who you are amidst all the chaos, it is knowing what you want and going for it. It was real portrayal of life, love, loss and everything in between. It is not just a love story, it was about friendship and family too. It was always something more than meets the eye. Renee Carlino will now be a staple on my shelf.

 

Rating: rating_3stars

“You are your experiences and your fears and the love you let yourself feel. You are your degree and your talent and your passion. You are your pain, your joy, and your fantasies.”
Renee Carlino, Sweet Thing

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Hawthorne and Heathcliff by RK Ryals: Book Review

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Synopsis: Two names that didn’t belong to us. Two shoes that did.

Intense and introspective, seventeen-year-old Hawthorne Macy knows all about being abandoned. She’s felt the stark pain of being left behind by the people who are supposed to love her the most; her parents. Raised by her caring uncle on an old plantation, Hawthorne lives her life on the fringes of her small Southern town.

Until she meets his shoe.

Senior year, last period English class, and a pair of silent tennis shoes resting next to hers in the back of the room throws Hawthorne into a world she’d learned to stay outside of.

His name is Max Vincent, but in her mind, he’s Heathcliff. The handsome eighteen-year-old boy behind the shoes will pull Hawthorne into a passionate and unforgettable adventure of self-discovery during a time when love seems impossible.

Shoes can tell a lot about a person. The journey they take you on can tell a lot about how they’ll hold up.

Publisher: Self-published

Date Published: August 2015

Date Read: 

Number of Pages: 212

 

REVIEW

In a nutshell it is a story about shoes with lots of metaphors thrown in the mix. Yes really. I am kind of in between loving it and disliking it. I started reading it first week of June and finished it last week of July, two days shy August. It took me that long to read a short book. I have to admit the first half was really good, it got me interested enough to read the whole half of it in one sitting, which, again rarely happens these days. It has the perfect amount of cheesiness and sadness that got me hooked until it lost me. I can still remember I was tweeting incessantly about it, how good it might turn out, but boy I spoke too soon. My interest waned past the half way mark. I don’t know if it is just me starting a new job, and being caught up with a lot of adult stuff that affected how I perceived the book or maybe it was just a case of bad timing. I’ve finished three books in between the time I was reading this. I keep on picking it up and putting it back down, which is really frustrating to be completely honest.

It had the perfect premise to lure anyone, had the right amount of drama and right amount of love story, I just couldn’t get over the fact that it turned out to be too much of a book about life and love quotes. If you’re into that, well this one is brimming with it. I love me some good quotes, I love how there are bits and pieces of the book that you could take with you, but this book has overdone it. It was metaphor and life realizations one after another that it started to become repetitive to a fault. I was literally like “Okay, we get that already, you’ve mentioned it like a bazillion times. Can we just get on with the story?”  I just tried to finish it just for the sake of finishing it. The grammatical errors also put me off.

I swear it started out so good, I was so sure to give it 5 stars. I just don’t know what happened along the way. I tried to love it, I really did, but I just couldn’t force myself doing so. It had potential, like the concept sounded so much better in your head but when you say it out loud it immediately loses half of its brilliance. I thought the Hawthorne and Heathcliff title was genius, I’d give them that. It added spice to the story, making it deeper than it truly was. I loved how they met and how they spiraled into the beauty of their love story, but then there are some things that fell too short for me. Something I could not exactly pinpoint. I think it was how it ended, there was something that was missing, I think it ended abruptly, I wanted to know the complete story how Max changed and how it affected their story, I wish it was elaborated more. But all things considered, I would still be trying out her other books.

Rating: FiveStarsInline3.svg

“Sometimes love isn’t forever. Sometimes it’s just moments in your life that teach you. If it’s the forever after kind of love, it’ll find you again. If it isn’t, don’t let a broken heart break you. Let it make you love harder. Love is a mistake worth making.”

The Vegetarian by Han Kang: Book Review

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Synopsis: Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye’s decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into the spaces of her fantasy. In a complete metamorphosis of both mind and body, her now dangerous endeavor will take Yeong-hye—impossibly, ecstatically, tragically—far from her once-known self altogether.

A disturbing, yet beautifully composed narrative told in three parts, The Vegetarian is an allegorical novel about modern day South Korea, but also a story of obsession, choice, and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.

Publisher: Hogarth

Date Published: February 2nd 2016

Date Read: July 2016

Number of Pages: 192

Source: Won from a YouTube giveaway.

 

REVIEW

This book will lure you into this pit of calmness and plunge you into this unsettling abyss that will stay in your head for days, yes days. It is a book you won’t easily forget. It will inhabit your mind like a guest who has overstayed their welcome. 

It will leave you with inexplicable feeling that you just couldn’t
easily shake off. It is true what they say, after you read it, there
will be times that it will linger in your head like some mistake in
the past you probably regret doing or some cringe-worthy conversation you had.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not painting it in a bad light. What I’m
saying is this book is disturbing and weird but in the good kind. I can’t
put a proper name to what I exactly felt after reading it but it is
somehow proportionate to feeling of having your brains wrap around
something you can barely fathom. It was like there was this
otherwordly element to it that you just could not easily forget.

This book gave off the Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami vibe to it.
So for fans of Haruki Murakami, I think you will enjoy the works of
Han Kang. There was this certain uniqueness and a hint of something
scandalous that made it all jive into this perfect masterpiece. The
contrast of pensive sadness and the unspeakable abomination masked by
subtleties is what makes this book a cut above the rest. It is
definitely a different reading experience. It is odd as it is
interesting. There was this sense of unease yet there was also a feeling of odd satisfaction, there was no way around it, it was what it was. Shocking to the conscience and somewhat understandable at the same time. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The book was divided into three parts, with different point of views. Each part was distinct from each other yet they all mixed together perfectly to tell a brilliant story. I loved how the author made flawed characters, how they go about with their lives and how their flaws contributed to the whole story. How they invite you unto their minds and made you see it through their perspective, how they invite you and you stayed longer than you have expected. This book will lure you into this pit of calmness and plunge you into this unsettling abyss that will stay in your head for days, yes days. It is a book you won’t easily forget. It will inhabit your mind like a guest who has overstayed their welcome.

There is something about stories about twisted or unconventional marriages that appeal to me so much, and The Vegetarian took the cake. It took twisted and unconventional into a higher level, one I could not fully wrap my head around. There was this feeling that I wanted to read so much more and then a part of me felt satisfied how it ended. It was a mixed emotion at best. I may not have given it full five stars, but I definitely enjoyed it, and added Han Kang to my favorite authors, she writes so beautifully. You will not miss her play on words, how they seemed so simple yet brings so much impact. I know this book isn’t for everyone, some would love it some will hate it, but it is in the beauty of how one would perceive it, how much one could take and be able to grasp the message it was trying to send. This book took another angle on mental illness and painted it in the best light possible, odd but very relevant.

This is the first book that I have read that was translated to english from the original korean, and it did not disappoint. This made me feel that I am missing out on a lot of things and from now on I vow myself to read more of it.

Rating: rating_4stars

“Her life was no more than a ghostly pageant of exhausted endurance, no more real than a television drama. Death, who now stood by her side, was as familiar to her as a family member, missing for a long time but now returned.”
― Han KangThe Vegetarian

Sunday’s On The Phone To Monday by Christine Reilly: Book Review

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Synopsis: The Middlesteins meets The Virgin Suicides in this arresting family love story about the eccentric yet tightknit Simone family, coping with tragedy during 90s New York, struggling to reconnect with each other and heal.

Claudio and Mathilde Simone, once romantic bohemians hopelessly enamored with each other, find themselves nestled in domesticity in New York, running a struggling vinyl record store and parenting three daughters as best they can: Natasha, an overachieving prodigy; sensitive Lucy, with her debilitating heart condition; and Carly, adopted from China and quietly fixated on her true origins.

With prose that is as keen and illuminating as it is whimsical and luminous, debut novelist Christine Reilly tells the unusual love story of this family. Poignant and humane, Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday is a deft exploration of the tender ties that bind families together, even as they threaten to tear them apart.

Publisher: Touchstone

Date Published: April 5, 2016

Date Read: July 2016

Number of Pages: 323

Source: Author provided a copy in exchange for an honest review

 

REVIEW

 

This book has this melancholic feel to it, the kind of melancholia a reader craves once in a while. It scratches a different itch that not all books could.

This book was sent to me by the author in an exchange for an honest review. From the moment I read the blurb, it instantly piqued my interest, though not really something right up my alley, but this book sounded different, it seems like it has its own gravitational pull and the reader will just fall into it like it is the most natural thing. And I did, I succumbed to it, immersed myself in the story like nothing mattered in the world, because for a moment the only thing that mattered was the lives of the characters inside this beautiful book.

Sunday’s on the Phone to Monday is not your typical read, it is not something you encounter on a regular basis. It was truly a gem. It was all encompassing, covering all facets of life such as love, family, mental illness, the society, loss and so much more. It was life encapsulated into a single book. It was the connection of all the characters that made this book stand out, there was the conventional relationship and the not so usual ones, but everything jived into this perfect harmony that you just couldn’t help but be engrossed by it. It was melancholic as it was raw. The book was written so beautifully, I actually ran out out of sticky tabs. There are so many great passages written here, reflections about life and love. The one thing I noticed about this book was how relatable it was. It magnified the simple things, and we are all aware about the saying that sometimes it is the small things that truly matter. Has this happened to you? Like for an instance you are thinking about a certain thing, it was just something nonsensical, and a little silly to share with others so you just keep it to yourself? This book, assured me that whatever I was thinking, or whatever feeling I was having no matter how silly or noncommittal, that it still counts, or matters. I loved that in a book, the way it reaches out to its readers, how every experience real or fictional, came from something that existed long before us. That what we truly feel and think is universal, and there was some sense of comfort in that.

As I was reading this book, it kind of gave off The Bell Jar vibe, which as most of us already know is one of the most depressing books written of all time. It wasn’t entirely like The Bell Jar, but there are bits and parts of the book that instantly reminded me of Sylvia Plath’s novel. I cannot say that the similarity is palpable, but there was hint of it in this book, making it more engaging and interesting. If you enjoyed The Bell Jar, I think you’ll like this book as well, but don’t go on expecting something as depressing, let’s just put it this way, Sunday’s on The Phone to Monday will give you that nostalgic feeling that no other book could.

The characters in this story were different in their own ways. They are readily identifiable from each other. I loved how the story started the way it did, it was like a journey of some sort with bits and pieces of flashbacks that make it coherent and polished. I learned that this book was originally intended to be a poetry book, and I can definitely see the beautiful play on words. It was lyrical in every sense of the word.

The book will leave you with a calm feeling. It was the peace and quiet after a heavy down pour, it was proportional to the feeling of sipping a hot cup of tea in a cold rainy afternoon. It is as if, everything in the world is okay once more. It is the kind of book that need not require exaggerated events, or heart stopping twists, it was as true and as raw as it could get and there is definitely beauty in that. I loved this book, I wish everyone could find time to read it!

Rating: rating_4stars

“She gave him all the tools he needed to hurt her, and he did the same. Wasn’t that the logic in love?”
― Christine ReillySunday’s on the Phone to Monday