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review 2017-07-17 13:53
A Disturbingly Charming Read
Eileen: A Novel - Ottessa Moshfegh

Reading Eileen is a challenge of acceptance. One that is far from being the norm, especially when it comes to understanding human nature at its worst flaw. I read Eileen because of an upcoming book discussion and one of the things that caught my attention was the analytical approach of its description of why 'people are the way they are' in the things they do we are ashamed to talk about. I try to find the main plot line on this book but its actually about a girl (title character) on her last days on a fictional place of what had happened to her and the people she meets along the way before she leaves town. There isn't much of a plot but there is some thing about the writing that is honest and truthful that I tend to agree that what was not dared said is bare here.

 

Eileen is written in a first person of a past memory that she wants to share with the readers. Why she wanted to leave the place she was born, her relationship with her father, her infatuation with a prison guard, her lifeless job in a children's correctional prison and her habitual past-time habits she isn't ashamed of (like stealing a scarf from a store). Then came a new counselor named Rebecca, a young and beautiful girl who give her more attention than others. What happens next lead to a crime that just give a good reason to leave her home town and never look back. Sounds simple and yet uninteresting right?

 

To be fair, I do find the writing and description so well-written that the one thing that did not escape me is how ugly she made out in words makes it so beautiful and honest. There are things we might be ashamed of writing but Ottessa Moshfegh truly embodies the truth of what we don't talk about with other people. You'll get my meaning when you read it. The other thing was not entirely interesting were the dialogue. It felt flat and fake, which is a contradiction in her writing. On one hand, the description of Eileen's feelings and place and the actions she do was very good but on the other hand, the dialogue is surreal. Its like how bizarre the exchange was between father and daughter is unusual. I just can't picture it too well and that really pull part of the book down. By 2/3's of the book, that's where it becomes interesting. Although it was predictable, its just how well Ottessa capture's Eileen's character at its fullest.

 

While this is actually her first book, its a fast read and an interesting one. I can't help but read it to find out where it is leading and part of me felt this is like American Psycho plotline indie kind of story. As realism gets, its the purpose of Eileen on why she need to leave town that makes it understandable on her reasons of doing that. This is some thing I would recommend people to read because to me, its refreshing. Unlike some authors I read when it comes to writing disgusting scenes, Ottesa makes it sound beautiful in her own way of acceptance, like 'yeah, we do that and that's okay'. For me, it deserves a 4 out of 5 star rating and its a book I would recommend for any readers that accepts true reality of life.

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review 2017-06-04 03:25
A Girl, A Man and A Love That Can't Be Touch...
Close Enough to Touch: A Novel - Colleen Oakley

A girl who has a rare allergy - people. A man who is trying to be a father. When two lost souls met in a library, you will expect some thing magical to happen. Here's what I like about this book and there is nothing magical that will happen - its real romance that puts two people in a situation that you just loved them because they are flawed but you can't help it because people like them do exist (apart from the allergy of human touch) and you just can't help it even more to believe it but its true in every single page that is written inside.


Close Enough To Touch is a romantic novel that is poignant and yet beautiful romance novel that is truly touching. When we fall in love, we want to touch and kiss the ones we love. Jubilee can't have any of that. Once, she was kissed by a boy in middle-grade school and it almost killed her. Life as we know it, she grew up without a hug or even holding her mother's hand. Because of that incident, she isolate herself from the world... until her mother passed away. When she met her old schoolmate along the way, she was offered a job to work in a community library. That's where she met Eric, a divorced father with an adopted son from his best friend and a daughter that doesn't want to speak to him at all as to how clueless he is on parenting, on Halloween. When they meet, Eric knew there is some thing about her he can't take his eyes off her. When Jubilee meets Eric, it took one quote from her favorite poet and every thing falls into place.


This is life - its complicated, its flawed and its not what we always want. Written with real world problems, what I love about it is how real this feels. The dialogue is natural and its well exchanged. The characters are memorable and more importantly its the execution. There isn't what I would call it a magical happy ending that ends like a fairy tale. This is real as it gets - the kind that reality sets in one people with indecisive actions, where characters just do not open up and allow their egos set in place until its too late. Where clueless dad's who has a chance to fix things, able to. I love this kind of hope and the ending is just enough to tell me, I don't need a fairy tale ending but I do need an ending that works and this works.


As the book is told in two different perspective of the main characters, its how the exchange of thoughts make its work. Men and women can never understand each other's thinking and to be able to read what they truly think evokes a lot of feelings how relationships can be so difficult to be embraced as one but many people in reality is one-sided in a relationship but this... this is workable. I love how Colleen Oakley has written them and the premise, its just a good way of telling a reader that writing is just a form not to getaway into our own introvert world but in a way, we can be part of a society to understand them why we function the way we are that is written in books. For that, this is truly a better book than her first (although I still love her first book).


If you haven't read any of her books, please pick up Close Enough To Touch first and then read Before I Go. Its light reading (for me anyway) and its a light reading that is worth picking up.

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review 2017-04-15 02:18
Where Practicality is Overrated, Hopeless Romantic Rejoice!
The Sun Is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon

I can be a hopeless romantic in the things I never thought I would believe in. At times, life can take me to some places I never expect to be, meet incredible and wonderful people through time and in the end, when I believe practicality is reality, it became overrated.

 

The Sun is Also a Star is by far truthful to that. I know, not everyone do experience that in their lives but I do believe in our choices, the universe plays a role. That one small decision can lead to big things. That significant sign will lead to an inevitable life-changing moment. And when we fall in love, it is instant without reason that only comes later. This book has it all. Reality and the inconceivable. Hope and lost. Science and dreams. I experience through all that... and this book writes it like its true.

 

Unlike Everything, Everything, this book is written in two main perspectives of two main characters and it all happened in a single day. I like how Nicola Yoon inserts other people's lives that gets affected by the main characters and a few small notable facts that she included makes it a grand read. Simple and yet beautiful, the flow of this story is more believable to me than Everything, Everything, which I had a harder time to accept. The romance is just what I felt a better execution and towards the end, it is what it is - that even hope may come true. The beauty of it is how one moment can connect the people we meet. I do believe this is true because it had happened to me before. And the debate of if we do believe that the universe plays an important role in our lives, for me I do feel its more truer because I always make small choices that changes every thing and if I do not make any choices at all, we will always be where we will be.

 

To read The Sun is Also a Star is to have an open heart and mind. Skeptics might get turn off by this book but I do feel this needs to be given a chance. Its a 4 & 1/2 out of 5 star rating for me. That missing 1/2 star would be added if not that I felt the exchange of dialogue between the two main characters weren't strong enough. I do recommend that this is a must read in one single sitting (I took too long and should have read it in a day or two but due to work, it takes longer than that).

 

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review 2017-03-20 07:41
A Worthy Sequel No Better Than The First
A Gathering of Shadows - Victoria Schwab

The sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic is more than just any sequel - its a worthy almost an epic fantasy that lives up to its name when it comes to magic. Where the first begins introducing a world of interesting deep characters, an unspoken evil and politics of tilting the balance of power in the first book, the sequel truly dug deeper into new characters, a depth of understanding of Red London, we get to know more about Kell, Lila and Rhy and the rest of the characters and building up a suspense that ends with a cliffhanger that is exciting, rich and the wanting to know more! Is it better than the first? I can say its well-balance in how the story is laid out brilliantly that never seize to amaze me.

 

Four months after the Black Night incident, Red London is preparing for a magic tournament. The last time we see Delilah Bard she joined a crew of sea privateers lead by the handsome and irresistible Captain Alucard Emery, sailing across the ocean for the empire. Still, a thief as always but with a new skill of magic. In Red London, Rhy is preparing for Essen Tasch, a tournament where magicians from corners of the Arnesian empire come to compete. Kell, last seen where he had bond his life with Rhy after he brought Black Night towards the Arnes Empire and even though he and Lila had saved the empire, the king and queen of Red London do not trust Rhy's life to be protected by Kell. In White London, some thing dark is stirring and a new king took over, one with a familiar face and an ancient enemy is about to spread its influences across the parallel worlds of London.

 

There is so much about A Gathering of Shadows but what I can say is its the same as much I would say about A Darker Shade of Magic - it still never fails me how captivating this book is as much as it was in the first book. Victoria Schwab is to this day my favorite author and she had created a world that really pulls a reader in and live the lives of each of the character, with absorbing dialogue and a read that truly keeps you going. I do find that although the sequel isn't as fast as the first book itself, it still has this holding on me that I do not want this to end even though it has to end one way or another. Its still a brilliant written work and one I love most that my reading in the early mornings is what I look forward to to keep me enthrall and mesmerized.

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review 2017-03-06 11:46
Gripping Epic Fantasy That Begins Here!
A Darker Shade of Magic - Victoria Schwab

Magic. Parallel universe. Treachery. An adventure. Saving all worlds.

 

This is my third series fromV.E. Schwab. Each time I read her books, each time it never fails to amaze me how good her writing is. She pulled me in, took me into an adventure so unique and leave me wanting for more. A Darker Shade of Magic is the first in the trilogy series Shades of Magic. I have hold on to reading the first book since I bought it last year and finally, when the third and final book A Conjuring of Light was released recently, I will be binge reading the series in my own time and I have to say that A Darker Shade of Magic had really pull me into a world of fantasy that I love to be spin into with so much as to I wanted to read further but resist holding on to devour each word for word.

 

To begin, the blurb has an interesting twist - three parallel Londons and one, shall not be spoken of. Kell, one of the last two Antaris magician traveler of parallel Londons as messengers among royals and a smuggler of antiques and relics. Lila, a thief in Grey London and a survivor on the streets unknown of other existence of London. When Kell was given a forbidden relic from a place not speak of and when he cross paths with Lila who pickpocket that forbidden relic, fate have them work together to save the universe from taken over by greed of power.

 

V.E. Schwab once again, have outdone herself. Introducing worlds unlike any other, a fantasy that is worthy a read and rereading again and again. I love the adventure it was written, the interesting characters being introduce and the malice of evil characters intended towards the protagonist. If this is reality, its a darn good writing. I was sucked into this world she created and made me believe that these parallel Londons exist. And then, there is magic that weren't that far fetched and acceptable. What truly made this book a must read is how the lure of reading more is magic itself in reading. Its one I felt worth pursuing and definitely looking forward in the next book - A Gathering of Shadows where I am about to read soon.

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