Mini-reviews of books I have read since my last book review

Since my last book review I am sure I have read quite a few books. Unfortunately, I have not had the time to write about any of them. I meant to write. I really did. But it’s so much more fun to read! (And play chess ;) ). I didn’t even know if I was completing my 2015 reading challenge list. I’ve just been reading whatever is available and whatever happens to tickle my fancy at a particular point in time. Here are some of the books I have read since my last review (in the order I read them):

1. The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty 23751850

It seems like such a long time ago since I read this book. It is quite an interesting story with, in my opinion, a unique plot. The hypnotist (or hypnotherapist) has a boyfriend who has a stalker.The stalker is one of the hypnotist’s patients but, which one? It is an interesting an funny-ish story. It held my attention until the end because I wanted to see how it turned out. It was a good read overall.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

2015 Reading Challenge: #34. A book with a love triangle.

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2. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

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Everybody who has ever heard of this book knows the old man caught the fish. It is the how that is the interesting part. It’s been a few years now since I decided to read some classic books. This was one off that (mental) list. I actually started reading this book almost two years ago but it was borrowed and I had to return it before I could finish it. It’s quite a short book but, truth be told, I didn’t find it very fascinating. I can imagine though, that if it were required reading in my high school years for literature class, I would have enjoyed it more. I think so because then we would have been forced to analyse almost every sentence of the book. I liked the ending of the book though and the themes it explored. There are lessons to be learnt from it, especially as it relates to pursuing your dreams and being persistent.  All in all, I think it was worth the read.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

2015 Reading Challenge: #49. A book you started but never finished.

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3. The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simpson

21844019I absolutely loved The Rosie Effect! I fell in love with Don and Rosie from The Rosie Project and when I saw there was a sequel, I just had to read it. Don is the best! I can’t help thinking of Sheldon in the Big Bang Theory whenever he does any quirky thing. I think Don is waaaaay cooler than Sheldon though. This book had me smiling and even laughing out loud. There were some very emotional parts too. I loved it all. I learnt a few new words, too – pescetarian (sounds like Presbyterian, my friends say) is one of those words. Funny enough, I am a pescetarian and didn’t even know that was the terminology. Who is a pescetarian, you ask? Go look it up. You will remember it better that way. Or better yet, just read The Rosie Effect. I recommend you read The Rosie Project first though.

My rating: 5 out of 5 (of course!)

2015 Reading Challenge: #8. A funny book

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4. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

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The first book I read by Rainbow Rowell was Landline. It wasn’t bad but Attachments is better and more relatable. I enjoyed it a lot. It was funny and the main female characters reminded me of me and my friend and how we interact at work. It was pleasant to read and I liked the way it turned out in the end. I would recommend it to almost anybody. It is one of those books that had me thinking about it long after I finished reading it.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

2015 Reading Challenge: #11. A book with a one-word title

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5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

17322949Rainbow Rowell had not been disappointing me and Eleanor & Park were on so many recommended lists that I just had to read it too. It did not disappoint one bit. The book, to me, was an easy-going read. It’s one of those books you would like reading while lazing away. It was quite interesting and wasn’t exactly what I had expected. I am a sucker for nice endings and this one had one. It’s a good read. I’d recommend it for young adults especially and for those who liked Paper Towns or Everything I Never Told You.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

2015 Reading Challenge: #15. A popular author’s first book

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6. The Paid Companion by Amanda Quick

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It had been quite a while since I read a paperback. Surprisingly, I have gotten quite accustomed to reading from my tablet. Like my first time reading from my tablet, I had a bit of adjustment to make but I enjoyed it a lot. It felt way more intimate and I felt I could read in positions that would otherwise be uncomfortable while reading from my tablet. But enough about that. I am to tell you about the book.

I love historical romances and, as far as those go, this wasn’t so bad. It had a bit of mystery and intrigue but I wouldn’t say it was one of the best I have read. It was ok. I have read worse. I would actually recommend it to someone to read.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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7. The Irish Bride by Alexis Harrington

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This was another paperback. I started it as soon as I finished the previous book. It wasn’t all that stimulating but it is still worth the read.

My rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars

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8. Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim

10000191I was so in love with The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd that I wanted to read something else with a similar theme. For that, I turned to Yellow Crocus expecting great things. The book had a good start and a good finish but I was a bit disappointed. Then again, maybe it wasn’t fair to compare the two books. I enjoyed it though. There is something about books that explore slavery in America that just fascinates me. I would recommend it.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

2015 Reading Challenge: #36. A book with a colour in the title

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Other books I have read (to be reviewed in subsequent posts (hopefully)):

  • Euphoria by Lily King
  • When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
  • Ruby by Cynthia Bond

What have you been reading?

Sunset in Portland, Jamaica

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Sunset in Portland, Jamaica

On a day like today, in the evening like this, when my body is at home but my mind is roaming, my mind often wanders often back to places I have visited that have left an impression on me. Places I’d rather be at this point in time. The photograph above was taken last month in Portland, Jamaica. It was sunset as seen from the Titchfield Peninsula, from the rear of the Titchfield High School. In the background of the image is the Folly Lighthouse (just right of the coconut tree). I hope to go there on my next Portland trip. I can’t say it enough… Jamaica is beautiful.

I dropped out of Blogging U.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for Writing 201: Poetry, a course by The Daily Post that is designed to inspire, guide and generally help one to become a better blogger. I feel a bit strange to have started something and not finished it but I accomplished something else so I don’t feel like such a complete failure.

You see, around the time I started the course, about three days in, my sister rekindled the embers of my crocheting fire. I got so excited about it again. I decided to make something I could actually use, like a bag. So, after scouring Pinterest, I found a few bags I liked. This one seemed quite easy so I decided to attempt it.

casual textured shoulder bag - if you click the word "print" it will take you to a pdf of the pattern. free pattern from simplicity.com

Bag as shown on Pinterest/Simplicity.com

Now, whoever said that things on Pinterest never turn out as good as they look on the site in real life? I am very proud of how mine turned out. I probably should have used a darker colour that would be suitable for a wider range of outfits but, I repeat, I’m proud of how it turned out. I really like it, even though it is pink.

So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, my masterpiece…

*drum rolls*

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My finished bag embellished with a rose.

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An alternative embellishment (cute little bow).

And that is why I dropped out of Blogging U. :)

Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng was everything I never expected. I didn’t expect this book to be so multi-faceted in terms of the issues it covered and the perspective of the the characters or the emotions that it evoked in me. There are times I start a book and it is just not the right genre for my mood or just not the right genre for me at the moment. When I want blood, gore, murder and all those things I never watch on the television, I cannot read a romance. I have to feed my cravings. That is what happened last year with this book. I started it but it was a bit too mild and calm for me at the time, even though it had a very compelling start. Anyway, I started it again this year and I am so glad I did. This is a really great book.

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Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet . . . So begins this debut novel about a mixed-race family living in 1970s Ohio and the tragedy that will either be their undoing or their salvation. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee; their middle daughter, a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue—in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the center of every party.

When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together tumbles into chaos, forcing them to confront the long-kept secrets that have been slowly pulling them apart.

The Lee family is a family of five – Marilyn and James, the parents, and Nathan, Lydia and Hannah, the children. The father is Asian and the mother is Caucasian and each child has a mix of the physical characteristics of the parents. Though I have read many books that have explored the challenges faced by African-American families or families that have one Black parent and one White parent, this is the first time I have ever read a book that reflected what it was like having a family where one parent is White and the other is Asian. In all honesty, I had never imagined that that was ever an issue. I always thought that the opposition was against Black-White families and not mixed races in general. This book really opened my eyes not only about mixed families but about accepting people when they deviate from what we consider to be normal.

Everything I Never Told You also explored the idea of how parents can impose their ideas and beliefs on their children and also how children will do almost anything to make sure that their parents are happy and to keep thing going smoothly in the family. Each character in the Lee’s family had their own struggles and their role to play in keeping the family together. My favourite character was Hannah. She is the youngest and surprisingly, the most neglected. However, though she spoke so little, she observed more than anyone else. She was the character I could relate to the most and for whom I had the most empathy. She was the first one to see something in Jack that nobody else noticed. And speaking of Jack, the book had an ending that I hadn’t expected. All through the novel, the relationship between Lydia and Jack is questioned, especially by Nathan who probably knew more than others. Though I had some theories, I must say that how it turned out was not one of them.

Everything I Never Told You, also shows that you never really know the mechanisms of the “perfect individual” or the “perfect families” that we sometimes see. Each person, each family, has their own personalities and habits which may seem better than you think they really are but you may never know until you have walked in their shoes.

Always put yourself in another person’s shoes. If you find that it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person, too.

Everything I Never Told You allowed me to walk in multiple shoes and I think what I felt in each shoe has allowed me to see things better as it relates to how I view some people in my life.

Favourite Quotes

“You loved so hard and hoped so much and then you ended up with nothing. Children who no longer needed you. A husband who no longer wanted you. Nothing left but you, alone, and empty space.”

“What made something precious? Losing it and finding it.”

“They never discussed it, but both came to understand it as a promise: he would always make sure there was a place for her. She would always be able to say, Someone is coming. I am not alone.”

I would recommend this book to:

  • Almost anybody
  • Young adults
  • Parents

My rating:
Loved it – 5 out of 5 stars

2015 Reading Challenge
-#40. A book by an author you’ve never read before

Writing 201: Animals

We are playing
A cat and mouse game.
The scenes change so often
But I am still Being Mary Jane.
Sometimes,
I run when
you give me
an
inch.
But slowly,
steadily,
you reel me
back in.
I’m maimed by
the claws of your affection.
And claimed by
your magnetising attention,
Stealthily watching for my vulnerability.
You’ve wounded me with love
But won’t hone in for the kill.
What are you waiting for
When I’m under your will?

Written as part of Writing 201: Poetry – A two-week challenge exploring forms and devices. 

Today’s challenge: Animals, concrete poem, enjambment.