Monday, August 15, 2016

Review: The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh my goodness! This book was so crazy good that I was able to finish it in one sitting (and in between watching Olympic competitions). First of all, I honestly had no idea was to expect when I first started reading this. When the characters were first introduced, I thought all of them were horrible people. This actually made it easier for me to feel completely indifferent when all these terrible things start happening to them (what goes around comes around, I guess).

The story is told from three different women's points of view, all extremely untrustworthy as the reader will understand as the plot unfolds:
(view spoiler)

Why this book is a must-read:
1. It will literally change your perspective on how people interact and their true intentions. This book definitely did not hold back. It provides very dark and realistic thoughts that haunt the minds of insecure people. (view spoiler)
2. I loved the pace of this novel! Like Gone Girl, this was one of those books where it almost became impossible to put down until you got to the end. The writing was gripping and each chapter and POV changed kept me wanting to find out what the hell happened to Megan.

Why this book got four instead of five stars:
(view spoiler)

I recommend this book to all mystery and thriller fans, especially if you enjoy Gillian Flynn's works.

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Review: Dark Places

Dark Places Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Again, Flynn was on par with this mystery and thriller. The structure of the book was written so that the murders in Libby's childhood was slowly uncovered from her own present investigation and from Ben's past. Personally, I didn't think this book lived up to the hyped and it wasn't as good as Gone Girl, which still remains one of my favorite thrillers of all time.

My main reason for the three-star rating is mainly because I felt like the pace of the story was too slow. I didn't personally like how Libby was introduced as the main character in the beginning of the novel so I really didn't bother to sympathize with her. That aside, the story was gripping and really, really creepy, but the ending definitely fell flat. (view spoiler)

Despite the (lower than average) ratings from me for a Flynn book, people have recommended me to read Sharp Objects and I definitely still plan on doing so. Even though this book didn't meet my expectations, I would still recommend it to Gillian Flynn fans (she is so creepy) and all who are looking for a short, thrilling read.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Review: The Gap of Time

The Gap of Time The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was so incredibly disappointing because it could have been such a great story. So I originally picked this book to read because I have always loved Shakespeare in high school, but this book fell so flat compared to the original works. This beginning of the story had a very promising start. I was intrigued by Xeno and Leo's friendship and I loved how the author didn't start the story from Tony and Perdita's perspective. And...that was probably the end of the best part of the book.

Here were my major problems with this book:
1. The characters were outlandish. I know Shakespeare has crazy plot twists and ridiculous characters, but as a contemporary retelling, there needs to be a bridge to gap the two worlds. This book did a horrible job to make the story feel contemporary and realistic. Do we really go around finding people named Xeno? (view spoiler)
2. The writing was very amateur. I was wondering half the time throughout the book whether anyone even bothered to proof-read the final product. For example, the name Xeno changed on one page to Zeno and then changed back. When you were first introduced to Roni, his name was spelled Ronnie instead. These mistakes are found in fifth-grade essays, not a published work.
3. The ending was horrible. As I mentioned before, the beginning of the book was very promising. I was intrigued by the plot, but parts 2 and 3 were so dull that I basically fell asleep reading EVERY SINGLE TIME. And the ending was super rushed and extremely anticlimactic. It felt like the story ended because the author ran out of paper to write on or something and decided that everyone should fall in love and live happily ever after in three pages. Horrible.

Honestly, this book is two stars. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

NOTE: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

Review: The Rose & the Dagger

The Rose & the Dagger The Rose & the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Honestly, this book did not match up to my expectations after reading The Wrath & the Dawn. I loved the first book because of the developing romance between Khalid and Shazi in the most unexpected circumstances. Instead, this book focuses primarily on breaking the curse placed on Khalid by a crazy maniac.

Why this book disappointed me:
1. The beginning was really hard for me to get into for some reason. As I mentioned in my previous review, the ending to The Wrath and the Dawn was extremely anticlimactic for me. This probably left me in a poor state of mind going into the second book because I found the first third of the book to be incredibly boring.
2. This book takes such a long time building up to the dreadful curse destroying Khalid and the country. Lo and behold, this said curse was broken within a couple of pages. I almost laughed because it was so hyped and so ridiculous. Even Shazi's so-called powers seem to be scattered throughout the book just to drive the plot. Ahdieh is a great romantic author, but her fantasy writing is very lacking in this case.
3. I love Khalid; I really do. And it was kinda disappointing that there wasn't more of him in this book. His relationship with Shazi is


Overall, great quick read, but it wasn't a strong follow-up to the first book.

Overall duology rating: 3.5 Stars

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Review: Memoirs of a Geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book has been on my to-read list for over 6 years when I first played Sayuri's Theme in my high school orchestra. After all this time, I finally decided that I was finally ready to read it (and so now I can watch the movie afterward). I heard from many people that it is a phenomenal book, but I had my doubts because I didn't especially like the cover. After reading it, I honestly have nothing bad I can say about this book. Every single page was absolutely thrilling to read and I especially admired the poetic beauty of Golden's writing.

The story follows Chiyo Sakamoto who is sold during the harsh times of the Great Depression in Japan to a house in Gion to train to become a geisha. Later on, she falls in love with the Chairman who displayed great kindness to her even at a time when she was emotionally and mentally unstable to continue her training. Chiyo becomes determine to become one of the best geishas in Gion to "find her way back to the Chairman.

Upon picking up this book, I knew that it explore some dark themes that involve using sex as a form of currency rather than an emotional connection. (view spoiler)

While reading this, you almost really felt like you were having tea with Sayuri as she told her life story. Overall, this has definitely been one of my favorite classic novels and it's no doubt that it's one of those books that everyone needs to read at least once.

(Now it's time to watch the movie!!!)

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Review: Yes Please

Yes Please Yes Please by Amy Poehler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amy Poehler has always been one of my favorite female comedians (aside from Tina Fey), so after reading Bossypants, I knew I had to also read this book. And I wasn't disappointed. Amy was funny, realistic, and blatant in how she views the world, which is what I expected memoirs to be. She mentions growing up in her family, suffering through post-modem depression, and living the life of a druggie. Occasionally, she will also throw in some comedic relief and feminist advocacy to help characterize her life. My all-time favorite chapter of the book was when she talked about her experience working on SNL and Parks and Rec (one of my favorite comedies). I binge watched all of Parks and Rec in 2 weeks a couple of months ago, so her favorite scene picks were a delight to enjoy reading.

(view spoiler)

Overall, I would recommend this book for everyone to read at least once. Feminists, buy it!

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