Book Blog

ARC Review : White Chrysanthemum

Book Title :White Chrysanthemums
Book Author
: Mary Lynn Bracht
My Rating :
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Publication Date: January 18th 2018

This book should come with a warning sign that says “stock up on tissue boxes before reading.”

I would definitely place White Chrysanthemum on a book list for tear-jerkers. It was just so sad. I had to pause a few times, take a breather because I just couldn’t endure the sufferings.

A historical fiction, set in Korea 1943 during the WW2, two sisters, Hana and Emi were separated when Hana was taken by the Japanese army. Told alternatively between the sisters, it was really hard for me to choose which sister’s story I enjoyed more. Both were heartbreakingly beautiful.

I had no idea about the war history between Korea and Japan, and the things Korean people had to deal with at those times. This was such an enlightenment for me and it was one of the things I have loved most about the book.

I would warn you though, some events in the book could be defined as quite horrific. As much as I have enjoyed most of it; it was a bit brutal for my taste. I don’t think I handled it well and I don’t think I could read it again and undergo through all those triggered emotions – not all splendid, mind you.

But recommend I would. It’s a really captivating story. The writing style is just impeccable and you can’t help but fall in love with the traditions of the Haenyeo women who make their living as divers in the Korean sea.

ARC Review, Book Blog, Penguin U.K. Books

ARC Review : The Break

Book Title : The Break
Book Author : Marian Keyes
My Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Publication Date : September 7th 2017


You know you’ve come across a good book when you don’t really want it to end, even though it’s almost about 600 pages. 

Reading The Break have left me with all different kind of emotions, some relatable and some not. It was super easy to fall in love with it as it had the most realistic prose, plot line and characters.

A heart warming tale, set in Dublin, our Protagonist, Amy, receives one of the worst news of her life. Her husband, Hugh, who fell into a deep depression after the loss of his father and best friend, decided to take a “break” and leave for six month backpacking in Asia.

The first part of the book was ok for me. I used to force myself to pick it up as I believe the whole process of Hugh leaving and Amy dealing with it was a bit prolonged. It was also a bit whiney for my taste.

But as soon as things picked up and we got into the plot, it got interestingly hilarious! I wasn’t able to put it down. I was so keen in finding out what will happen.

Will Amy take Hugh back after six month?

Will their relationship change? Mind you, Hugh was on a mission to sleep with other women as well. (I know, right! *rolls eyes)

Will Amy herself change?

What will happen to the rest of the family? 

Their girls? 

Three daughters left behind and a husband gone is a lot to deal with. Amy finds herself struggling between her emotions, what’s right and making sure her daughters are not affected.

Overall, I would totally recommend The Break whether you are a women’s fiction fan or not. It’s definitely worth the read. You’d find yourself so into the story and rooting for choices of your own.

What would you do if you were Amy?

Thanks to @penguinUkbooks for this book, which was given in an exchange for an honest review.
 

Book Blog, Penguin U.K. Books

ARC Review : Fierce Kingdom

Book Title : Fierce Kingdom
Book Author : Gin Phillips
My Rating : ⭐️⭐️/5
Publication Date : June 15th 2017


Do you know that feeling when you pick up a less than 300 pages book, and say “Hey! That’s a breeze, I’ll finish this quick!” and then it feels like you are forever reading it!

Yes! That’s the case with this one.

A fast read. It’s a thriller. It should get you all gripped up, all tensed and on the edge of your seat. Sadly, this book was none of those.

It talks about Joan who after a normal visit to a zoo, finds herself locked up in there with her son while there were some shootings going on. She sees dead bodies all around and glimpses a man with a gun. This is when she realizes that she needs to hide till she finds a way to make it out of there alive along with her son.

I was very interested in this book when I read the synopsis, and immediately asked for a copy to read and review. It started out real well. The situation was very well described. It’s not every day you get locked up in somewhere with your son while some psycho is out there with a gun shooing off just about everyone.

I was actually very impressed with the writing, the descriptions, the plot and the psychological side of the story. I think it would have made the perfect thriller but it lacked that intense whodunit and why vibe.

I found myself yawning a couple of times, forcing myself to pick it up and if it wasn’t for the three hour bus ride, I don’t think I  would have bothered finish reading it or maybe I would have skimmed right through it to reach the end.

And ah Yes, The end! I wasn’t at all a fan of how it was all wrapped up – which wasn’t really. The story already had many loop holes, so I didn’t appreciate the ambiguous ending where we need to draw our own conclusions. I usually love endings like that but it just didn’t work with this one. This one needed a confirmed conclusion from the author herself.

Overall, I wouldn’t be rushing to recommend this one and I’d ask Thrillers fan, or anyone really, to read it at their own risk.

Thanks to @penguinUkbooks for this book, which was given in an exchange for an honest review.

Book Blog, Penguin U.K. Books

ARC Review : The Wardrobe Mistress

Book Title : The Wardrobe Mistress
Book Author : Patrick McGrath
My Rating : ⭐️⭐️/5
Expected Publication Date : September 7th, 2017


My first book by this author, Patrick McGrath.

A historical set in London and its theater, during the 1940’s, we follow our protagonist, Joan whose husband, Gricey, just died and she was over-engulfed in grief. After certain events, she discovered a secret and realized her husband is not the person who she thought he was.

With such a beautiful cover, I really wanted to love this book. Badly!

I found the first chapters as readable as could be. I was interested in Joan, her relationships with her daughter plus the husband, and quite a few characters being introduced in the book.

I kept on reading on the hope that things will eventually make sense, but Alas! I was almost halfway through the book till new things started to happen and it wasn’t as interesting as I thought it would be. The author have prolonged the grief part a bit too much and everything else was just vaguely described.

For a historical, there wasn’t much talk about the war or the events. For a theater-based book, there wasn’t much description about it either.

I believe those who are passionate about the theater might (I still say might!) find it more interesting than those who don’t. I personally have never been to a theater before and wasn’t able to imagine or connect to it throughout the book and actually found it a bit dull.

I wouldn’t really recommend the book as I didn’t really get anything out of it.

 

Thanks to @penguinUkbooks for this book, which was given in an exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Book Title : The Wardrobe Mistress
Book Author : Patrick McGrath
My Rating : ⭐️⭐️/5
Expected Publication Date : September 7th, 2017


My first book by this author, Patrick McGrath.

A historical set in London and its theater, during the 1940’s, we follow our protagonist, Joan whose husband, Gricey, just died and she was over-engulfed in grief. After certain events, she discovered a secret and realized her husband is not the person who she thought he was.

With such a beautiful cover, I really wanted to love this book. Badly!

I found the first chapters as readable as could be. I was interested in Joan, her relationships with her daughter plus the husband, and quite a few characters being introduced in the book.

I kept on reading on the hope that things will eventually make sense, but Alas! I was almost halfway through the book till new things started to happen and it wasn’t as interesting as I thought it would be. The author have prolonged the grief part a bit too much and everything else was just vaguely described.

For a historical, there wasn’t much talk about the war or the events. For a theater-based book, there wasn’t much description about it either.

I believe those who are passionate about the theater might (I still say might!) find it more interesting than those who don’t. I personally have never been to a theater before and wasn’t able to imagine or connect to it throughout the book and actually found it a bit dull.

I wouldn’t really recommend the book as I didn’t really get anything out of it.

 

Thanks to @penguinUkbooks for this book, which was given in an exchange for an honest review.

 

ARC Review, Book Blog, Book Reviews, Penguin U.K. Books

ARC Review : All the Good Things

Book Title : All the Good Things
Book Author : Clare Fisher
My Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Publication Date : June 1st 2017


If you could list all the good things in your life on a page, what would it say?

Twenty-one year old Beth was in prison and she was asked to do exactly that. She was to list all the good things in her life as a way to make her feel good again.

Throughout the book, with the exceptionally creative chapter titles, we were taken back and forth into Beth’s life which helps us understand her character more. I thought it was a very clever idea and works well with the plotline; to know more about Beth then find out what was the bad thing she did.

Though it gave me “The Catcher of the Rye” vibe, I still loved its distinctive narrative style and I think it’s unique in its own way. I was so afraid that the ending would not measure up but in my opinion, I find that it did pull through.

All The Good Things was a tormenting and emotional one that I have read with an open-mind. I loved how realistic it was though it did get a bit of a drag in some parts.

It wasn’t very easy for me to write this review. I have typed, deleted, retyped and I’m still finding it hard to place exactly how I feel about it, but I believe I was able to pull through it cause I’m a sucker for books that voices subjects about psychology and mental health issues.

Thanks to @penguinUkbooks for this book, which was given in an exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review, Book Blog, Penguin U.K. Books

ARC Review : Exit West

Book Title: Exit West

Book Author: Mohsin Hamid

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Publication Date: March 7th 2017

This was my first Mohsin Hamid book so I had no idea what to expect. It wasn’t so difficult to get into the mood of the book or get connected with the characters. They were simple enough, first names basis, easy going and didn’t say much. Though I’m not sure whether this was the character’s mood or the books but it was enjoyable nonetheless.
The book follows two people, Saeed and Nadia, who met and fell in love. Shortly after, they had to leave their homeland behind because of the war and they find themselves entering a door that lead to an alien and uncertain place.

I liked the idea of the book. I took it mostly as metaphorical especially when it comes to the places they go to, the people they met and the new place they have found and assumed it would be their sanctuary.

But, here comes the but, as much I liked it, there were some parts that have been a bit slow for me. I also felt the need to be more connected to the characters, it was left up to our imagination most of the time as to what they are thinking which could work for some readers.

All in all, it was a good read but get ready to have a very open mind as you will have to grasp what you can and have your own interpretations of the book.

I’d first love to thank Penguin UK books @penguinukbooks for sending me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Book Blog, Book Reviews, Penguin U.K. Books

ARC Review: Leopard at the Door

Book Title : Leopard at the Door
Book Author : Jennifer McVeigh
My Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5
Publication Date : July 13th 2017


Are you a fan of Historical Fiction?

Whether your answer is a yes or no, you should definitely visit your nearest local bookstore and get yourself a copy of Leopard at the Door.

Set in the 1050’s, Eighteen year old, British Rachel Fullsmith, returned back, after six years, to her home in Kenya expecting her life to be pretty much the same. She soon discovers that a lot had changed and gets caught up in the political drift that involved the secret Mau Mau group, rebelling against the European Colonial living there.

I literally couldn’t put the book down!! Even though I was surrounded by family and kids, I managed to finish it in a day as I was totally captivated by it and I just had to know how it ended.

Jennifer’s writing style was very impressive which made the story easy to follow with all those rich descriptions and the mind–blowing events that had me gripping the edge of my bed till my hands bled. I was purely drawn to the characters, their emotions as it was so vividly described.

Aside from an informative Kenyan history, this book touches subjects about racism, prejudice, injustice and much more. It’s also a book about self-discovery, family relationships and love.

I would, without hesitation, totally recommend it as it was truly a book that leaves an impact on you.

Thanks to @penguinUkbooks for this book, which was given in an exchange for an honest review.