The Secret History by Donna Tartt | Book Review

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Storytelling in the grand manner, The Secret History is a debut remarkable for its hypnotic erudition and acute psychological suspense, and for the richness of its emotions, ideas, and language. These are the confessions, years afterward, of a young man who found at a small Vermont college the life of privilege and intellect he’d long coveted – and rarely has the glorious experience of youth infatuated with knowledge and with itself been so achingly realized. Then, amazed, Richard Papen is drawn into the ultimate inner circle: five students, worldly and self-assured, selected by a charismatic classics professor to participate in the search for truth and beauty. Together they study the mysteries of ancient Greek culture and spend long weekends at an old country house, reading, boating, basking in an Indian summer that stretches late into autumn. Mesmerized by his new comrades, Richard is unaware of the crime which they have committed in his dreamy, unwitting presence. But once taken into their confidence, he and the others slowly and inevitably begin to believe in the necessity of murdering the one classmate and friend who might betray both their secret and their future. Hugely ambitious and compulsively readable, this is a chronicle of deception and complicity, of Dionysian abandon, of innocence corrupted by self-love and moral arrogance; and, finally, it is a story of guilt and responsibility. An astonishing achievement by any standard, The Secret History immediately establishes Donna Tartt as a supremely gifted novelist.

Date Published: September 29, 1996

Date Read: July 06, 2019

Publisher: Ballantine Books

No. of Pages: 524

Setting: Vermont, USA

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary, Dark Academia

Get Your Copy Here: Amazon | Book Depository

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Intriguing and lyrical.

The Secret History is the first book I have read by Donna Tartt and for so long I have been intrigued by it, it was so popular it’s already considered a crime if you haven’t read it (ahhh so much puns haha).  The Secret History started off as a solid book for me but ended up as a letdown. Let’s just say I am not a big fan, and I am a minority here, but hear me out. I completely understand why this has been a favorite by many, it was beguiling, lyrical, intriguing and truly engaging. It is the kind of book that once you’ve started reading, you just can’t simply put it down. It demands your attention, and you’ll give it. Much like how I spent hours reading it, it was enigmatic and will just pull you in. You thought you’ve read quite a lot of pages only to find out that in reality you only have read 5 pages or so. It was dense and verbose, so much so that I found it unnecessarily long. The beautiful writing style suffered because of how lengthy the book was. There were too many parts that the book can definitely do away with, it could have been condensed into 300+ page book without losing its essence. Maybe I would have liked it more had it been shorter, there I said it.

Reading The Secret History gave me the feeling that I missed out on important details, but no, I have read the book from the very first page down to the last line and I am positive I didn’t miss out on anything. I even read the part where the book was telling what happened to each characters, much like at the end of a movie. I don’t know if it is for closure’s sake, or what the story required, or I honestly don’t know what was it all for. A huge chunk of it could have been removed and it wouldn’t make any difference to the story.

What I commend about this book though, is the atmosphere set by Donna Tartt. It was equal parts chilling and hypnotizing. She has this way with words that completely enamor her reader, drawing them in like the proverbial moth to a flame. Donna Tartt will capture your interest and hold it for however long she likes. I am a slow reader, I only get to read at night and in between work, but whenever I get the chance to open this book I am filled with this excitement to finish it, I was anticipating how it will end, I have played so many scenarios in my head on how the ending will play out and maybe that’s why I didn’t love it. My mind is already set for something colossal to happen, something gasp-inducing or some mind-fucking extravaganza, and nothing of the sort happened. It was a little flat for me. Such brilliant writing style warranted a twist that would leave its reader in daze, sadly that wasn’t what happened here, at least for me.

Let’s talk about the characters. We have Richard Papen, our narrator. Richard’s point of view completely added some sense of mystery in the story. Reading it felt like I am his character and I am a part of the story. We have Henry, who embodies the word enigmatic. He is the character I expected so much from. The mastermind among them. His character was very distinct, someone you either hate or love. Towards the end I was anticipating some trickery on his part, some kind of grand manipulation and all that, but this didn’t quite reflect on how the book ended. We have the twins Charles and Camilla, characters that are indispensable in the story. Both of them played an enormous part leading to the climax. I can’t say so much without spoiling anything. Then finally we have Bunny, the root cause of the whole book. His character was presented, at least for me, in a way to justify his murder. To make it look like they have all the reasons to commit such a crime. This isn’t a spoiler since his murder is already mentioned the first paragraph of the book. These characters acted way too mature for their ages, they drank a lot, use drugs quite a lot as well, and they have these cunning minds that you would be surprised how callous they do things. Dark academia said to be unofficial name of the genre deals with novels set in campuses with dark underlying theme may it be mystery or murder. Dark Academia is something new to me, I have read quite few books set in campuses but not so much on the darker concept. This genre surely appealed to me, I would want to read more of it. 

Dark Academia novels contain elements of both satire and tragedy, and they tend to focus on the humanities and liberal arts, these tend to play a role as the passions of the main characters, which ends up driving them too far. The genre has a tendency to over-romantizice a liberal arts education, xxx.

Excerpt from LitCrit: Dark Academia by blackhholesbooks

The reverse murder mystery isn’t what I often read in mystery thrillers. We are spared from guessing who killed who and the motive behind all of it. The reverse murder mystery didn’t really work favorably, because of its nature, the readers look forward to how the murder will come about, the before, during and after up to the climax of it all. Readers were led to believe that there would be something colossal that would transpire, at least it felt like that for me and when it ended the way it did I was more annoyed than satisfied.

It would be quite a while for me to pick up another Donna Tartt book, I heard Goldfinch is better than The Secret History but I will be saving that up in the far future. It was a lengthy book and I do feel a little proud that I finished it in a short span of time, sadly I wasn’t turned into a huge fan.

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“There is nothing wrong with the love of Beauty. But Beauty – unless she is wed to something more meaningful – is always superficial.”

― Donna Tartt, The Secret History

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The Bride Test by Helen Hoang |Book Review

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Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

Date Published: May 07, 2019

Date Read: May 08, 2019

Publisher: Berkley

Setting: San Francisco, California

No. of Pages: 320

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Get Your Copy Here: Book of The Month | Amazon |

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Now I am conflicted which book I love more – The Kiss Quotient or The Bride Test. Both books are sexy, sweet with a dash of some family dynamic. A perfect mix if you ask me. I breezed through this one, ad now one thing is for certain, Helen Hoang has done it again. She is now a favorite! This isn’t much of shocker, I was completely smitten by The Kiss Quotient so loving The Bride Test isn’t a challenge at all, I mean what’s not to love.

Asian Representation

Much like The Kiss QuotientThe Bride Test gives us a glimpse of Vietnamese culture and way of life. We get to see its stark difference from the western culture. How family ties are important and necessary part of their lives. As an Asian myself, I appreciate this a whole lot. Asians are becoming represented more and more into books and movies. Our cultures are highlighted and presented through own voices. Hahah and you have to give it to Khai’s mom to find him a bride. Haha! Ah Asian moms!

I loved Esme’s character. She was as real as it could get. Emotional and vulnerable but resilient. She knows how to hold herself up. I love that she was willing to better herself and not for shallow reasons. I love how this book centers on family and the sacrifices one is willing to make for them.

Khai on the other hand is a character who is easy to love. You get to understand why he is the way he is. I specifically loved the back story, I thought it was well thought-out and very fitting to the story making everything coherent and solid.

Autism Spectrum

Another own voices book. Now I can tell books that discusses autism spectrum has now become something I look forward to. I wanted to understand it better and learn so much from it. It is amazing how the author was able to write such amazing characters whilst also pouring herself into them. What I loved about this book, is its ability to present the autism spectrum in such a way that is easily understandable, giving the readers somewhat a taste of what it is like. Presented in a romance context The Bride Test truly isn’t something we encounter in romance books on a daily basis. You can really tell Helen Hoang really knows her craft and her power to convey it into words.

Sweet, Cute and oh so Sexy!

This book is brimming with cuteness and sweetness. If you’re looking for a feel good, fast and mushy read, then you’ve come to the right place. This is a perfect romcom! Make it a movie, I demand it! I love how the chemistry between Esme and Khai wasn’t forced or rushed. While I already expected it to be a little steamy, taking from its predecessor The Kiss Quotient, I was still surprised to be honest. I seem to forgot how Helen Hoang writes such romantic scenes, with enough sensuality and innocence at the same time.

I am glad this book did not suffer the proverbial second book syndrome. I am glad that it is as good as the first if not better. I really loved how it ended, it was just sweet and ahhhhh my gooey heart! Now I cannot wait for Quan’s story and all his tattooed glory! Hahah! And can I just say, I really love Michael and Stella’s cameos! I was sooo living for it! Made me miss them so much that probably a reread of The Kiss Quotient will happen in the near future. This book easily became one of my fave reads this year! Thank you Helen Hoang for yet another masterpiece!

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“You don’t have the flu, this is how your heart breaks. It’s like you hurt too much for your brain to process, and then your body shuts down too.”

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Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata | Book Review

 

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Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. For her part, in the convenience store she finds a predictable world mandated by the store manual, which dictates how the workers should act and what they should say, and she copies her coworkers’ style of dress and speech patterns so she can play the part of a normal person. However, eighteen years later, at age 36, she is still in the same job, has never had a boyfriend, and has only few friends. She feels comfortable in her life but is aware that she is not living up to society’s expectations and causing her family to worry about her. When a similarly alienated but cynical and bitter young man comes to work in the store, he will upset Keiko’s contented stasis–but will it be for the better?

Sayaka Murata brilliantly captures the atmosphere of the familiar convenience store that is so much part of life in Japan. With some laugh-out-loud moments prompted by the disconnect between Keiko’s thoughts and those of the people around her, she provides a sharp look at Japanese society and the pressure to conform, as well as penetrating insights into the female mind. Convenience Store Woman is a fresh, charming portrait of an unforgettable heroine that recalls Banana Yoshimoto, Han Kang, and Amelie.

Date Published: June 27, 2018

Publisher: Portobello Books

Date Read: March 2019

No. of Pages: 167

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Japanese Literature

Setting: Japan

Get your  copy here: Amazon | Book Depository

 

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Japanese counterpart of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Convenience Store Woman albeit a short read definitely packed a punch. It wasn’t what I had expected. It had the usual Japanese literature vibe – the calmness, subtlety, the minimalist sense (if that makes any sense at all) yet with so much depth and impact. The kind where you wouldn’t know what hit you until it’s a little too late. I love that this book goes beyond what it seems. It’s not just having mental sickness, but it is always deeper than what it actually is, and I really appreciated that in this book.

Keiko Furukura reminded me of Eleanor Oliphant, that’s why I was quick to say that Convenience Store Woman is the Japanese counterpart of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. You would really notice how they are both unaware of how they deal with people and sometimes how funny their actions and thoughts get. But the similarities end there, Convenience Store Woman delves more on the perception of people in the society and how they affect one’s personality and one’s way of socializing and communicating.

Convenience Store Woman is equal parts funny and equal parts sad. You would feel empathy for our main character, the way she tries her best to fit in with the standard set by the society, of how she tried to conform, otherwise she should be “cured”. Convenience Store Woman tackles how society sees an adult single woman who works the bare minimum – useless. The early times when women are treated differently isn’t too far off from today’s society. It may have been under modern circumstance and whatnot, but the prejudice is still very apparent. This book highlighted how the world doles out too much double standard and conformism, act otherwise and you will be branded as someone that needed fixing. It is an exhausting taught, making one ponder on how this society still has a long way to go to be free of this inequality in gender and gender roles. I love that this book tackled this facet and didn’t shy away from providing a pill of reality dressed in humorous but often melancholic work of fiction. Thought-provoking and relevant, Convenience Store Woman sure knows how to keep its reader interested up to the very last page. Finished this book in one sitting!

I loved the ending! I was scared that our character would just succumb and conform through and through, but boy that ending was a sweet redemption. It may not be what I was hoping for but it sure packed a punch! Sayaka Murata is an author that I would continue to watch out for. Did you know she actually worked in a convenience store? Talk about real and raw voice there! Japanese literature will always have a special place in my heart, its calmness, it feels like homecoming. Can’t wait to read more stories like this!

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“When something was strange, everyone thought they had the right to come stomping in all over your life to figure out why. I found that arrogant and infuriating, not to mention a pain in the neck. Sometimes I even wanted to hit them with a shovel to shut them up, like I did that time in elementary school. But I recalled how upset my sister had been when I’d casually mentioned this to her before and kept my mouth shut.”
― Sayaka Murata, Convenience Store Woman

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My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh | Book Review

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Entertainment Weekly’s #1 Book of 2018 

New York Times Notable Book and Times Critics’ Top Books of 2018

The New York Times bestseller.

From one of our boldest, most celebrated new literary voices, a novel about a young woman’s efforts to duck the ills of the world by embarking on an extended hibernation with the help of one of the worst psychiatrists in the annals of literature and the battery of medicines she prescribes.

Our narrator should be happy, shouldn’t she? She’s young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, works an easy job at a hip art gallery, lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?

My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a powerful answer to that question. Through the story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs designed to heal our heroine from her alienation from this world, Moshfegh shows us how reasonable, even necessary, alienation can be. Both tender and blackly funny, merciless and compassionate, it is a showcase for the gifts of one of our major writers working at the height of her powers.

Named a Best Book of the Year by:
The Washington Post, Time, NPR, Amazon, Vice, BustleThe New York TimesThe GuardianKirkus ReviewsEntertainment Weekly, The AV Club, & Audible

Date Published: July 10, 2018

Date Read: January 2019

Publisher: Penguin Press

No. of Pages: 368 pages

Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary, Psycological Fiction

Setting: New York

Get Your Copy: Amazon | Book Depository

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Ottessa Moshfegh is a good writer, but her fiction maybe isn’t my cup of tea.

My first read for 2019 has proven to be somewhat a letdown. Otessa Moshfegh is an author I’ve been hearing for quite sometime, and I thought it is high time to finally get acquainted with her works. I gave My Year of Rest and Relaxation a try since it has been named by Time and The Washington Post  as Book Of The Year, a pretty huge thing to throw out there. And so the ever curious self in me picked it up, gave the most regal title of first read of the year. I was hoping it would start my 2019 reading year on a good note, but I have never been so wrong. I regret picking it up to be completely honest. or maybe it was just a bad timing. I don’t know. This book is definitely not for me. It feels like this book was just this huge montage of doctor visits, bodega visits, blacking out, ordering Chinese food and letting it stale, drinking too much pills, oh those poor kidney, participating in things our protagonist couldn’t remember anything about and this went on and on like a sick cycle. I was waiting for things to pick up but it was just a monotonous song lacking rhythm and rhyme. It was titled My Year of Rest and Relaxation but I was more restless and annoyed the more I read it. Half of the time I had no idea what was going on. I laughed a few times, yes, but that didn’t serve as a redeeming quality of the book. I feel like I don’t get the humor, I am supposed to laugh but I couldn’t find it in me to fully do it. It is as if everybody got the joke except me.

I love flawed characters, I enjoy reading about them. But our protagonist in this book is flawed yes, but I was more annoyed than interested. She was just flat, plain boring and even repulsive to a fault. Am I supposed to like her? I know I am not supposed to but at least I wast hoping there would be something I could relate to, or heck at least make it a worthwhile read. It was a struggle reading her narration, I just wanted it to end.

And that ending, wtf was that? Starting this book I thought it was centered on the 9/11 event, but boy was I wrong. It was January when she started taking Infermiterol, I thought after her stint with it with PingXi it will fast forward to the 9/11, but I just ended up frustrated because the 9/11 event seemed like an afterthought, I know it was somewhat a metaphor but it was so lost on me. I am not the right audience for this. I am one of the poor souls that won’t get Ottessa Moshfegh’s fiction.

Sad that this is how my 2019 reading year started, but I won’t stop reading until I find my next favorite read!

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Sleep felt productive. Something was getting sorted out. I knew in my heart—this was, perhaps, the only thing my heart knew back then—that when I’d slept enough, I’d be okay. I’d be renewed, reborn. I would be a whole new person, every one of my cells regenerated enough times that the old cells were just distant, foggy memories. My past life would be but a dream, and I could start over without regrets, bolstered by the bliss and serenity that I would have accumulated in my year of rest and relaxation.”

― Ottessa Moshfegh, My Year of Rest and Relaxation

phonto

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris | Book Review

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Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love.

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace’s friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn’t Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows?

The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?

Date Published: August 9, 2016

Publisher: Harlequin Books

Date Read: September 2, 2018

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Setting: London, England; Bangkok, Thailand

Get your copy here: Amazon | Book Depository  | Book Outlet

 

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Disturbing and intense! I couldn’t put it down!

Behind Closed Doors will suck you in this vortex of twisted story behind what seemed to be a perfect marriage. I love how the blurb went on as vague as possible without any shred of a clue. I loved how it could toy with your mind and let your imagination go wherever it wishes to go and then smack you in the face of what really was the story all about. None of what you have expected, not even remotely close. I would try to be as vague in my review, without touching anything that could give the book away, so bear with me on this one. Just hold on to my word, this book is really good.

I was hooked from the very first chapter up until that last sentence. I loved that our narrator, Grace, was dropping subtle hints here and there, letting you picture out and keeps you guessing what is so wrong with her marriage and her husband — Jack Angel. This is what got me hooked, the small hints thrown in between. It’s like you’re given a purpose, that goal to figure out at the earliest possible opportunity what is really happening. Maybe Grace is crazy, maybe Jack is the ever loving husband. All the possibilities are there, and they are endless. Understandably, this book isn’t for everyone. There are scenes in this book that is just too much, so much so, that you find yourself momentarily stunned. Frozen for a brief moment psycho-analyzing what you just read. Your imagination gets the best of you and you involuntarily shudder. But then during those momentary reprieve, you couldn’t stop yourself thinking about it, so you pick it back up and resume reading, eager to know what will unfold, how will the story conclude or is there ever hope for the characters.

(I would not go in detail about the characters, as it would give too much of the book away. But know this, the characters will surprise you, may it be in a revolting way or in an oh-yes-i-am-so-rooting-for-you kind of way. Each character had depth and complexity within them that complements each other and the whole plot. And so sorry George Clooney, you were dragged into all this mess!)

And though I have few issues myself, I didn’t dwell on it too much. The plot wasn’t as solid or as fool-proof but it was more than enough to satisfy its readers. The characters needed more of a back story as well, they could have been presented in a more complex way, but again, I didn’t dwell too much on that, because despite all this, the book was able to deliver, more than what you have bargained for.

You see, a psychological thriller will never please everyone. There would be people who may be appalled by it, and in the same vein there may be people would love it so much. Psychological thrillers can be a hit or miss, depending how the cards are played. Behind Closed Doors was executed well. It definitely had the ability to constantly put its reader at the edge of their seats. The shift of chapters from past to present made the book more appealing. It sets the tone of the whole book, how one chapter in the Present correlates to the chapter in the Past solidifying the plot and making the book more coherent. Each chapter served to be a glimpse of what happened before and what is about to transpire. Giving something for the reader to look forward to and something to ponder on.

That ending was so good I literally had goosebumps! It was the sweetest redemption, it was poetic justice. It was everything done wrong back fired! It was vindication, and I felt triumphant with the character! When I wasn’t sure whether to give this book full five stars, it was the ending that closed the deal for me. It was so good, I was mentally giving BA Paris a high five! Uttering to myself, that is how psychological thriller should be made – with vindication. Truly, revenge is a dish best served cold! It has been a while since I last read a psychological thriller. It was that kind of book that I never knew I needed. Now I vow to read every book she has ever written. This goes without saying, I found a new favorite author and a new favorite book! Highly recommend.

 

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“I look around at everybody laughing and joking together and struggle to understand my life has become a living hell that nobody present could even begin to imagine”
― B.A. Paris, Behind Closed Doors

phonto

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata | Book Review

Review:

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If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.

Date Published: February 1, 2018

Date Read: July 2018

 

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Okay let me just say this first, before everything I’ve been meaning to say slip out of my head. WHY DO THEY BLINK SO MUCH! THEY BLINK SO MUCH AS IF THEY WOULD HAVE A SEIZURE OR SOMETHING IS AWFULLY WRONG WITH THEIR HEAD. There I said it. Never have I read a book that the characters’ blinking is given too much emphasis. NEWS FLASH, people blink, it is no rocket science, you need not be gifted to be able to blink. WHY IN THE WORLD DOES THIS BOOK HAVE TO MENTION THAT THE CHARACTERS ARE BLINKING? DO THEY HAVE SOMETHING IN THEIR EYE? IS THEIR A ROCK IN THERE OR SOMETHING?

Okay. In case you were wondering, yeah, I was shouting.

Now let’s get down to what we are all here for. From Lukov with Love is maybe the first and only book I have read about figure skaters. What attracted me to read it is the glamorous review it has been getting. Who could blame me? It was constantly recommended to me by people whose judgments I really trust. But then again, and I always forget this, we all have different tastes in books and there isn’t any guarantee that what the majority likes, you’ll like too, or even what the majority hates, you’ll hate too. Such is the case with this book. I went ahead reading this book with a very high expectation, an expectation, unfortunately that wasn’t met.

The book is about Jasmine Santos, she’s a half filipino, so yayyy! She’s a figure skater whose career is hanging by a thread. And then we have Ivan Lukov, the golden boy, he has won a lot of championships in figure skating. They were both partnered up to compete together. Sounds like a solid premise, if you ask me. This book revolves around Jasmine’s self-discovery and coming to terms with the hands she was dealt. It was more of a book about loving one’s self despite the flaws, letting people love you despite of it, put some family drama and solid friendship and tadaaa that’s basically the whole gist of the book. And the romance? Well, don’t let it mislead you, it wasn’t really a romance book, partly yes, but it was only at least 70% of the book that Ivan and Jasmine’s romance were emphasized. Is there something completely wrong with that? Well none really, I just wished I wasn’t led to expect a passionate love affair to bloom between the two, when in fact I am not getting any of it. It was a slow burn kind of romance, so slow you’ll get tired waiting for it.

Jasmine Santos’ character is the epitome of the word stubborn. Her character is way too immature for her age. I tried really hard to wrap my brain around everything she did, from those immature banters with her siblings, and with Ivan, down to the repetitive whining, angst and self-pity, boy, one can only read so much of it until she rip her hair off. Then we have Ivan Lukov, the way he indulges in these banters with Jasmine sometimes put me off. It was off-putting, it is borderline problematic. But I pushed past it and tried to read through all the bickering, and tried to appreciate the book for what it was.

Also can I just say how every small details were given too much emphasis and the ones that should be given emphasis  fell extremely short? The movements of the characters, i.e., blinking, cocking his head to the other side, and all these menial acts were so magnified that it truly affected the way I read the book. I tried to move past it, but how can I, when every other page it was mentioned? I was annoyed when I should really be appreciating the story. To be honest it completely ruined everything for me. I was looking for emphasis on the actual figure skating of Jasmine and Ivan, I want it to be so vivid as if I am watching some Olympics competition in my head but I was disappointed. It was just mentioned in passing, and I was like, that is what I am here for and I didn’t get it. It was a let down. Maybe it was so wrong of me to think of VirtueMoir, maybe that added up to the already high expectation. But damn, I was imagining a Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir level of intensity and passion in my head and I got nothing.

Also it felt like the book was preparing you for the biggest surprise, it keeps on building up one scene after another and you are sure something is going to happen but when it did happen you’re just like “????”, I wish there was the word for it hahah but I came out empty. There are moments that are anticlimactic, so much so that it affected the whole reading experience for me.

I hoped for more, maybe that’s what went wrong. I craved for something that would satisfy my thirst for romance books, but this only filled a quarter of the glass. I appreciate Jasmine’s relationship with her family, and Karina also Ivan’s love for dogs, but the story itself was a let down, that ending was cute though, I would have to give it that. It was a good plot, yes, it was the execution that didn’t sit well with me.

 

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“You are who you are in life, and you either live that time trying to bend yourself to make other people happy, or… you don’t.”
Mariana Zapata, From Lukov with Love

 

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Just finished FROM LUKOV WITH LOVE by MARIANA ZAPATA. . ••• Let me first share the synopsis: ❄️ If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one. After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close. But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything. Including Ivan Lukov. ••• Rating: ⭐️⭐️.5/5 Slow burn romance: ✅ Haters to lovers trope: ✅ Flawed protagonist: ✅ Sports romance: ✅ . So I just finished From Lukov with Love this afternoon. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it either. I admit I went ahead reading the book with a very high expectation, but sadly it wasn’t what I had expected. This is always a lesson I keep on forgetting, never ever expect too much. Applicable in life too! Hehe. Going back, this book had its flaws but also had its redeeming qualities as well. I had the biggest issue with the “BLINKING” yeah, you read that right. I swear every other page “the blinking” would be mentioned, do they have something in their eyes? Are they okay tho?? And I keep on rolling my eyes at that. The tiniest movements of the characters here are overemphasized, it is borderline unnecessary. And the parts where the emphasis should be placed came out short. It could have been a solid 4 stars were it not for the BLINKING. You’ll get me should you decide to read it. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. Full review to come! . ••• #FromLukovwithLove #MarianaZapata #figureskating #romancebooks

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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

 

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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 ••• 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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