Friday, August 26, 2016
[ 26 August 2016] I am most pumped up with this post as I'm sure you'll notice as you ...
|[26 August 2016]|
I am most pumped up with this post as I'm sure you'll notice as you go along, that there are a handful of 4 and 5 marvellous stars in here, which I'm sure you'll ever so rarely find with my other book review posts before. Why not? These books are absolutely brilliant that I couldn't resist giving them what they well deserved. Truth be told, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading them this couple of months *bear in mind* that it's getting frustratingly scant these days to find books, that's right up my street.
If you're like me in this case, you might find these enjoyable. I have to say, several of the books in this list have in fact surprised me and changed my whole thoughts on certain issues. Some have even caused me to bawl my eyes out whenever I tried to find similar books like it but couldn't, which is really frustrating!
Of course, this book suggestions are merely based on my own humble opinion and thoughts. You might think differently. But why don't you read them for yourself and see if they're worth trying?
Country Heaven (Dare River #1) by Ava Miles
My ratings: ★★★★
I must say, I'm never quite a fan of music & contemporary romance fiction series but this one is such a well-deserved winner in a sense that despite having set to be musical (though not cheesy and banal), it's focussing enough on family drama and intrinsic emotional conflicts to be of my liking! I'm even more surprised that this e-book was free on kindle.
When I say the music in the book are not cheesy, I totally meant it. I loved the country music lyrics and what's soooo impressive is that they are not solely denouncing love, romance and etc. The strong point in this book is family and self-searching values and that's what's underlying most of the song lyrics. That and the male protagonist, Rye Crenshaw (with his cowboy hat and a bit of a bad boy) it's almost as if I could hear him singing from the pages!
Then, we have this female protagonist, who's a brilliant cook. I died here and then, that's for sure. A combination of cooking, country music, family themes and a light but deep romance, I'd say this book is a perfect cuppa for me.
In terms of the whole set-up of this book, I'm just as well lost for words. Reading this was like watching all the events unfolding in front of me, real and almost magical. The writing is brilliant, all emotions are there with each and every character in the book, the plot has its moments of anti-climax in places where you're exactly expecting it to be and last but not least, I just adore the two protagonist relationship. It's real and realistic. I would be sure to look out for the 2nd and 3rd book in the series!
My ratings: ★★★★★
One thing about Kristin Hannah, she'd never failed in not making me cry! Although the plot is one of those you-can-predict what would be happening next, light and not a lot of heavy issues being discussed, the very fact that she'd made me cried alone drove me into giving it 5 stars.
This book's backbone is merely about when you're torn between the comfort of friendship and love. There's also a hint of family trust issues, the obvious drama of an orphan child and the climax; one night's tragedy which led to the death of one of the most important characters and how the protagonists and the rest of the characters are dealing with grief, pain and the aftermath.
What I loved about this book is the exaggeration on the importance of second chances, never-ending hope and the art of rekindling old, childhood love. Another thing that must be considered as impressive is what other books tend to rarely portray and that is the love of a young father towards his child. When you're living off your parent's fortune yourself, single, hurt, afraid and in your vibrant youth stage, taking care of a young daughter sounds disconcerting! But the male protagonist in this book had proved otherwise. It's brilliant how Kristin Hannah had beautifully come up with the image of this young man who'd lost the other half of his and yet still managed to come out on the top.
Set Me Free by Daniela Sacerdoti
My ratings: ★★★★
This is most definitely an author whom I'll be looking out for! Her book is fresh, rare, down to earth and was told in a magical voice, making you read the book between the lines. And of course, whenever a book is incorporated with foods and recipes, I would love it even more! In here, the foods are mainly Italian. They all sounded delicious and is an absolute must-try!
In terms of the theme, it's mainly about self-discovery. Margherita, a new mother who's having a rough patch with her workaholic husband is on her way to finding her old self and her adopted daughter Lara, a teenager with emotional conflicts due to her past is finding it hard to find her places amongst other kids her age. When they arrived in Glen Avich, a fictional place in Scotland, they're both determined to uncover themselves. With the help of a few other characters appeared later in the story, they experienced a change of hearts which won't only threaten their present life but also alter their future altogether.
The characters, they're all realistic and fun to follow around but one thing I believe they lacked are the pull to engage readers with their conflicts. I found it particularly hard to share their empathy. Other than that, the author had written the story well, the insights on war and its association with the plot was genuinely done and where there'd been scenes with the indirect appearance of ghosts, I could totally felt my hairs standing. The fact that the plot is such a rare thing, I'd given it 4 stars!
The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell
My ratings: ★★★★★
In all honesty, I think this one is such a real sensation and is better crafted in comparison to the previous works of Lisa Jewell. Unlike the others so far, this book holds so many excellent factors that as it's own, had resulted in a tremendous finish.
One thing to be appreciated about it is the fresh and new voices of the characters. They are made to be as real as possible, they'd dragged you into their world and fixate you on a spot that you could almost feel as if you're lurking somewhere in the shadow, watching the story unfolds.
I read this for 2 days and in between, I'd experienced a continual and genuine awe over what the author had done to the book. It was a crazy ride! There were so many things going on in the book, real family issues, truths behind what had appeared to be a good front, betrayal, lies and siblings suicide. But what I'm particularly impressed with is the subject of hoarding, which had been rarely tackled in depth from any other author before. Lisa Jewell had portrayed the subject not wholly as a complex and shameful disease but had meticulously shown us, readers how normal it all feels for the sufferer. She'd made me stand in the shoes of Lorelai and see it from her point of view. Excellent! A proper must read for anybody who enjoys a dose of family drama, which is not only witty at times but also grave and subtle.
The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel
My ratings: ★★★★★
You could probably guess by the amount of star above that this is another of my absolute favourites! Purely intelligent, poignant, heart-breaking plot, you'd surely come out of it with your hopes up despite the main theme of the book being about death. As much as it is not solely about death, mourning, grieve and dark days, this book may fall under the category of a chick lit but I don't see why it is.
The romance between the female protagonist and her husband, Patrick is sweet but the author hadn't made it as the kind of cup of coffee that's too thick and black with sugar. It's appropriately portrayed and although this is so, she'd managed to pull me under the characters deepest love spell and I could help but to fall in love with the two of them. They are adorable!
Aside from the romance, this book also discusses family value (how sometimes a stranger could easily and finally be someone we'd ever care about), life after the death of your beloved ones (how you'd dealt with the loss and how you'd find the ultimate strength to move forward, in a sense that you're carrying the person you've lost with you as well as finding another life with someone new, someone that would understand your pain and makes it bearable for you) and last but not least, it delivers one important message about fate, the understanding behind how things that have happened are actually a blessing in disguise. I'd recommend this book for just about everyone, especially if you're recently overcoming life's biggest test yourself.
The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern
My ratings: ★★★★
I was never quite a big fan of Cecelia Ahern but this one here is a huge leap from her previous novels indeed! I don't know if it's just me but The Marble Collector have a different feel to it, it's almost as if the author is trying to bring some element of sobriety to her writing instead of her usual magical and witty charm, not that it's a bad thing. Anybody's looking forward, for her upcoming novel, Lyrebird? I think I do!
This novel is a one whole day plot and is centred around an eclipse. I'm truly amazed as to how the author could get much done. The book was divided into two perspectives, alternating between a daughter and a father's viewpoint on the subject of childhood, life, secret and identity crisis.
Sabrina Boggs is a mother and a wife, who despite everything that she has, is restless. When she came across a box full of marbles belonging to her father, she's determined to find out about the marble obsession which she knows nothing about and consequently, about a father who'd been leading a secret life all through his lifetime.
I preferred to read about Fergus (the father) though rather than the daughters'. I liked how the author had portrayed him, as a kid, an adult and then as a senior in a care home. The progress shown is just remarkable whereas, with Sabrina, there isn't much character progress been displayed. I wish Cecelia could tell us more about Sabrina because to me, the character appeared to be a bit bleak. She'd shown very little emotion and was utterly unrelatable. The fact that the author had taken to write something different than her usual flair, I'd given it 4 stars despite it being not quite on par to my taste. I'm looking forward to seeing more of her future work.
The Substitute (The Wedding Pact #1) by Denise Grover Swank
My ratings: ★★★★★
This is the type of guilty pleasure fiction I tend to read whenever I need a break from something that is serious and proper. I'm not used to this kind of new adult, contemporary romance because I find that most of them are cliche, inappropriate in today's modern world where reality is surpassing anything utopian and above all, it tends to contain an extreme quality of nonsense pleasure which I find disturbing.
Reading this has been purely out of curiosity and the need to experience a change of air at one time. It didn't change my view on this type of fiction but that's only because this book is not recklessly sugar coated like some of them. It contains a hint of acceptable reality, real family issues and relationship dilemma, and not much kinky and senseless sexual activities. It seemed to me that the author is not dead-set to focus solely on writing about a hot and steamy romance between the male and female protagonists (unlike fifty shades of grey for example) but more on the work of a real relationship, responsibilities, family planning and honest love.
Although the plot can be seen as a bit of a cliche; the female protagonist is coming home with the unfortunate absence of the 'so-called' promised fiancee, the first chapter began with her on the plane, desperate to find excuses for her controlling bridezilla type of a mother. As you may have guessed, yes, the male protagonist was fated to be sitting beside her and from there on, the story unfolded. Before they knew it, they were faking a relationship, mindless of the consequences that it'll bring.
What I most enjoyed with this book is the amount of sugar it contains. There are an absolutely perfect amount of sweet moments passed between the two protagonists, an addition of genuine hilarity here and there and I couldn't help laughing like crazy with tears in my eyes. Lots of lessons to be learnt in this book. One of it being of fate. You could try as much as you can to run away from it but when you're meant to be for each other, it'll be.
Last note, I'd be reading this book over and over again if I have to!
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J Maas
My ratings: ★★★★★
This may not be in the same boat as the other great fantasy/magic types of fiction I've read and immensely enjoyed like The Shannara Chronicles, Eragon, The Black Magician and etc but it's in its' own unique category, a bit like books by Maria V Snyder. I find that there are quite a bit of a similarity between the two author except that the latter in my opinion is a bit more mature in writing.
I thoroughly enjoyed this first book in a Throne of Glass series anyhow. Being that it's a YA, it's a light reading, I have no trouble in turning to the next pages. The plot is simple for the first book in a series, creative in terms of imagination and for an introduction, the author had done well in shedding lights on some of the important characters which I'll be sure to re-unite with, in the rest of the two books in the series.
One thing I don't particularly feel impressed with is the usual love triangle that could exist between three protagonists. I find that Chaol is much better suited to Celaena than Prince Dorian, not that I could do much about it! Other thing that needs to be pointed out is the lack of thrill or suspense in it. I can pretty much predict the next chapters.
I don't think I can quite fan girling over this trilogy but it's an enjoyable read nonetheless. I cannot put it down, so that must be a good sign, hence the full stars.
Where Love Lies by Julie Cohen
My ratings: ★★★★
This must be my second book by Julie Cohen. After Dear Thing, I don't think there's much difference in the way the author tells a story. There's something about her writing, it's deep, swarthy and complex. If you think Dear Thing is emotionally compact, then you should give this one a go. It's focussed mainly on the effect clinical and psychological state of mind could have on relationships. The way the author had displayed this, it's a mind-blowing quality indeed!
Felicity and Quinn had been happily married for a year when Felicity began to experience a shake in her belief on a marriage foundation. She's torn between old flame desire and responsibilities as a wife. Meanwhile, Quinn is feeling that there's a particular side of his wife that he could never have been a part of and is desperate to get to know her better, to better understand her until an infidelity occurs, bringing everything that they'd created into a standstill.
Where Love Lies is a clever and an intricately weaved story about the complexities of human hearts. It journeys through the usual voices of 'what could have been', the guilty intensity of being in love, the sometimes unavoidable perception on life and the strong requisite of doing the right thing despite following the course of one's heart. This is an absolute must read!
Ps: Both Country Heaven and The Substitute are currently free on Amazon Kindle!
Note to readers: I hope you'll find particular liking or interest towards any one of the books recommended. I've enjoyed all of them and I'm sure you'll too. Do give them a try (if you're like me, you'll find that reading other genres as well as your usual ones can be pretty exciting as well) and tell me what you think in a comment below! And oh, don't forget to share your own must-read titles of 2016 *wink*
Danke for reading, lovelies! Have a nice day ahead :)