Book Review

Rodham By Curtis Sittenfeld | Book Review

Hello Everyone! I am Max and I will be manufacturing a book review for a book christened Rodham By Curtis Sittenfeld today. Before we dive into the review section of this article, I would like to thank Times Reads for sending a copy of this novel to me!

So, without further ado, let us get into the review section of this article!

Genre: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Politics

Synopsis:

In 1971, Hillary Rodham is a young woman full of promise: Life magazine has covered her Wellesley commencement speech, she’s attending Yale Law School, and she’s on the forefront of student activism and the women’s rights movement. And then she meets Bill Clinton. A handsome, charismatic southerner and fellow law student, Bill is already planning his political career. In each other, the two find a profound intellectual, emotional, and physical connection that neither has previously experienced.

In the real world, Hillary followed Bill back to Arkansas, and he proposed several times; although she said no more than once, as we all know, she eventually accepted and became Hillary Clinton.

But in Curtis Sittenfeld’s powerfully imagined tour-de-force of fiction, Hillary takes a different road. Feeling doubt about the prospective marriage, she endures their devastating breakup and leaves Arkansas. Over the next four decades, she blazes her own trail—one that unfolds in public as well as in private, that involves crossing paths again (and again) with Bill Clinton, that raises questions about the tradeoffs all of us must make in building a life.

Review:

The edition that I currently have in my possession for this novel has a whooping 417 pages and the first 200 pages bored me to tears. It does not have a clear plot in the beginning or rather, it is under a veil that does not want to be shredded apart to expose what is within. The first 150 pages or so could have been cut shorter to ease the pacing and make the flow of the story better because nothing much happens in between of those pages. However, after getting past that hurdle that is the first 200 pages, the story gets more delightful and more delectable but not a lot of people will stick around to read that because of how utterly dull the first 200 pages are.

The pacing for this novel is what I would say ‘atrocious’ and to sum it all up in two words: train wreck. Not a lot of indispensable events transpire in the first 200 pages that would help to advance the plot and only a handful of vital information appear in the first 200 pages will be referenced towards the end of the novel. I strongly believe that if an editor were to whack off a myriad of scenes from the story, the story will remain the same. The pacing gradually eases into itself after that and the story becomes more pleasant to read and it percolates better. The conspicuous flaw of the pacing is just in the beginning. It is way too slow without any reason of being that slow and because of that, it reduced my reading pace as well. It took me a month to finish this because I do not have the motivation to pick it up and continue. 

I thought the writing style was a little dry in the beginning but as I continued to endeavour through the forest of words that this book encompasses, the writing style gradually grew on me and by the end of the book, I found myself enjoying the writing and the ample of word choices that the author uses for this novel. If you find the writing style stolid in the beginning, I would urge you to continue reading it because as soon as you hit a certain point in the novel, the author adds distinct flavours to the writing that makes the whole experience more enjoyable.

To add on to the paragraph above, after I got past the stolid first 200 pages of this book, I found the writing to be humorous and entertaining. There is a scene in this novel about Hillary Rodham not knowing what GTFO means and she surfs the internet to find out the meaning of GTFO. I laughed for God knows how long and I had to mentally and physically collect myself before continuing. The novel contains many more instances on these type of situations and they are hilarious and it absolutely made my day when I read those scenes. 

Perhaps this is a “me” thing but I have a small complaint to make and I would like to disclose it to all of you: there’s an excessive amount of scenes on copulation and I do not enjoy reading about it. Those sections are written stolidly and some of those scenes can be cut and if it were to be curtailed, it will, again, not change anything. I am okay with a handful of scenes on that but that is not the case with this book and thus, it severely diminished my enjoyment for the novel.

The ending of the novel is one of the best endings I have ever read. The plot ascends slowly into a fantastic climax as the book progresses and it boils down to the ending to not mess up the flow of things and the author definitely did not besmirch the work that she has done before the ending. I felt really satisfied with the ending and I could not imagine any other alternate endings other than the ending that the author provides us with.

In conclusion, I am proffering this novel with a 63% (C) score. It could have been better if the first 200 pages were to be filtered and edited down to the core of its being to accentuate the vital segments of the story but it is what it is.


This is the end of my review for Rodham By Curtis Sittenfeld! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Bookish Fun!

Most Anticipated Books Of 2021

Hello everyone! I am Max and happy new year to all of you! I hope in 2021 the current pandemic will come to an end and this year will be better than the atrocities that came about last year (although an abundance of messed up things had already occurred in early January, we have to remain optimistic!). Anyways, new year new books! Thus, today I will be manufacturing an article on my most anticipated reads of 2021!

If you did not know, this article is part of my year-end series and this series consists of 3 articles and one of them had already been posted:

  1. Worst Books of 2020
  2. Most Anticipated Books Of 2021
  3. Best Books of 2020

So, without further ado, let us dive right into the list!

*Note: this list is in no particular order and I will provide the synopsis for each book mentioned on this list.*


Concrete Rose By Angie Thomas

If there’s one thing seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter knows, it’s that a real man takes care of his family. As the son of a former gang legend, Mav does that the only way he knows how: dealing for the King Lords. With this money he can help his mom, who works two jobs while his dad’s in prison.

Life’s not perfect, but with a fly girlfriend and a cousin who always has his back, Mav’s got everything under control.

Until, that is, Maverick finds out he’s a father.

Suddenly he has a baby, Seven, who depends on him for everything. But it’s not so easy to sling dope, finish school, and raise a child. So when he’s offered the chance to go straight, he takes it. In a world where he’s expected to amount to nothing, maybe Mav can prove he’s different.

When King Lord blood runs through your veins, though, you can’t just walk away. Loyalty, revenge, and responsibility threaten to tear Mav apart, especially after the brutal murder of a loved one. He’ll have to figure out for himself what it really means to be a man.

The Portrait of a Mirror By A. Natasha Joukovsky

Wes and Diana are the kind of privileged, well-educated, self-involved New Yorkers you may not want to like but can’t help wanting to like you. With his boyish good looks, blue-blood pedigree, and the recent tidy valuation of his tech startup, Wes would have made any woman weak in the knees—any woman, that is, except perhaps his wife. Brilliant to the point of cunning, Diana possesses her own arsenal of charms, handily deployed against Wes in their constant wars of will and rhetorical sparring.

Vivien and Dale live in Philadelphia, but with ties to the same prep schools and management consulting firms as Wes and Diana, they’re of the same ilk. With a wedding date on the horizon and carefully curated life of coupledom, Vivien and Dale make a picture-perfect pair on Instagram. But when Vivien becomes a visiting curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art just as Diana is starting a new consulting project in Philadelphia, the two couples’ lives cross and tangle. It’s the summer of 2015 and they’re all enraptured by one another and too engulfed in desire to know what they want—despite knowing just how to act.

When The Stars Go Dark By Paula Mclain

Anna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective in San Francisco with far too much knowledge of the darkest side of human nature. When overwhelming tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna, desperate and numb, flees to the Northern California village of Mendocino to grieve. She lived there as a child with her beloved foster parents, and now she believes it might be the only place left for her. Yet the day she arrives, she learns a local teenage girl has gone missing. The crime feels frighteningly reminiscent of the most crucial time in Anna’s childhood, when the unsolved murder of a young girl touched Mendocino and changed the community forever. As past and present collide, Anna realizes that she has been led to this moment. The most difficult lessons of her life have given her insight into how victims come into contact with violent predators. As Anna becomes obsessed with the missing girl, she must accept that true courage means getting out of her own way and learning to let others in.

Weaving together actual cases of missing persons, trauma theory, and a hint of the metaphysical, this propulsive and deeply affecting novel tells a story of fate, necessary redemption, and what it takes, when the worst happens, to reclaim our lives–and our faith in one another.

Of Woman and Salt By Gabriela Garcia

In present-day Miami, Jeanette is battling addiction. Daughter of Carmen, a Cuban immigrant, she is determined to learn more about her family history from her reticent mother and makes the snap decision to take in the daughter of a neighbor detained by ICE. Carmen, still wrestling with the trauma of displacement, must process her difficult relationship with her own mother while trying to raise a wayward Jeanette. Steadfast in her quest for understanding, Jeanette travels to Cuba to see her grandmother and reckon with secrets from the past destined to erupt.

From 19th-century cigar factories to present-day detention centers, from Cuba to Mexico, Gabriela Garcia’s Of Women and Salt is a kaleidoscopic portrait of betrayals–personal and political, self-inflicted and those done by others–that have shaped the lives of these extraordinary women. A haunting meditation on the choices of mothers, the legacy of the memories they carry, and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their stories despite those who wish to silence them, this is more than a diaspora story; it is a story of America’s most tangled, honest, human roots.

The Upstairs House By Julia Fine

There’s a madwoman upstairs, and only Megan Weiler can see her.

Ravaged and sore from giving birth to her first child, Megan is mostly raising her newborn alone while her husband travels for work. Physically exhausted and mentally drained, she’s also wracked with guilt over her unfinished dissertation—a thesis on mid-century children’s literature.

Enter a new upstairs neighbor: the ghost of quixotic children’s book writer Margaret Wise Brown—author of the beloved classic Goodnight Moon—whose existence no one else will acknowledge. It seems Margaret has unfinished business with her former lover, the once-famous socialite and actress Michael Strange, and is determined to draw Megan into the fray. As Michael joins the haunting, Megan finds herself caught in the wake of a supernatural power struggle—and until she can find a way to quiet these spirits, she and her newborn daughter are in terrible danger.

The Nature Of Fragile Things By Susan Meissner

April 18, 1906: A massive earthquake rocks San Francisco just before daybreak, igniting a devouring inferno. Lives are lost, lives are shattered, but some rise from the ashes forever changed.

Sophie Whalen is a young Irish immigrant so desperate to get out of a New York tenement that she answers a mail-order bride ad and agrees to marry a man she knows nothing about. San Francisco widower Martin Hocking proves to be as aloof as he is mesmerizingly handsome. Sophie quickly develops deep affection for Kat, Martin’s silent five-year-old daughter, but Martin’s odd behavior leaves her with the uneasy feeling that something about her newfound situation isn’t right.

Then one early-spring evening, a stranger at the door sets in motion a transforming chain of events. Sophie discovers hidden ties to two other women. The first, pretty and pregnant, is standing on her doorstep. The second is hundreds of miles away in the American Southwest, grieving the loss of everything she once loved.

The fates of these three women intertwine on the eve of the devastating earthquake, thrusting them onto a perilous journey that will test their resiliency and resolve and, ultimately, their belief that love can overcome fear.

The Scapegoat By Sara Davis

A mesmerizing postmodern debut novel, The Scapegoat is a propulsive and destabilizing literary mystery that follows a man at a university in the San Francisco Bay area as he investigates his father’s death

N is employed at a prestigious California university, where he has distinguished himself as an aloof and somewhat eccentric presence. His meticulous, ordered life is violently disrupted by the death of his estranged father–unanticipated and, as it increasingly seems to N, surrounded by murky circumstances. His investigation leads him to a hotel built over a former Spanish mission, a site with a dark power and secrets all its own. On campus, a chance meeting with a young doctor provokes uncomfortable feelings on the direction of his life, and N begins to have vivid, almost hallucinatory daydreams about the year he spent in Ottawa, and a shameful episode from his past.

Meanwhile, a shadowy group of fringe academics surfaces in relation to his father’s death. Their preoccupation with a grim chapter in California’s history runs like a surreal parallel to the staid world of academic life, where N’s relations with his colleagues grow more and more hostile. As he comes closer to the heart of the mystery, his ability to distinguish between delusion and reality begins to erode, and he is forced to confront disturbing truths about himself: his irrational antagonism toward a young female graduate student, certain libidinal impulses, and a capacity for violence. Is he the author of his own investigation? Or is he the unwitting puppet of a larger conspiracy?

Cormorant Lake By Faith Merino

On a cold November night, Evelyn Van Pelt steals her roommate’s two underfed and neglected little girls from their beds and drives to the northwestern hometown she fled fourteen years earlier—Cormorant Lake. There, hidden in the mountains and woods, dense with fog and the cold of winter, Evelyn grapples with the guilt of what she’s done, and as she attempts to reconcile her wild independence with the responsibilities of parenthood, she reconnects with the two women who raised her—her foster mother, Nan, and her biological mother, Jubilee. But by coming home, she has set in motion a series of events that will revive the decades-old tragedy that haunts Cormorant Lake—and lead her to confront the high cost of protecting her secret.

Sorrowland By Rivers Solomon

Vern – seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised – flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.

But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future – outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.

Hour Of The Witch By Chris Bohjalian

Boston, 1662. Mary Deerfield is twenty-four-years-old. Her skin is porcelain, her eyes delft blue, and in England she might have had many suitors. But here in the New World, amid this community of saints, Mary is the second wife of Thomas Deerfield, a man as cruel as he is powerful. When Thomas, prone to drunken rage, drives a three-tined fork into the back of Mary’s hand, she resolves that she must divorce him to save her life. But in a world where every neighbor is watching for signs of the devil, a woman like Mary–a woman who harbors secret desires and finds it difficult to tolerate the brazen hypocrisy of so many men in the colony–soon finds herself the object of suspicion and rumor. When tainted objects are discovered buried in Mary’s garden, when a boy she has treated with herbs and simples dies, and when their servant girl runs screaming in fright from her home, Mary must fight to not only escape her marriage, but also the gallows.

The Mystery Of Mrs. Christie By Marie Benedict

In December 1926, Agatha Christie goes missing. Investigators find her empty car on the edge of a deep, gloomy pond, the only clues some tire tracks nearby and a fur coat left in the car—strange for a frigid night. Her husband and daughter have no knowledge of her whereabouts, and England unleashes an unprecedented manhunt to find the up-and-coming mystery author. Eleven days later, she reappears, just as mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming amnesia and providing no explanations for her time away.

The puzzle of those missing eleven days has persisted. With her trademark exploration into the shadows of history, acclaimed author Marie Benedict brings us into the world of Agatha Christie, imagining why such a brilliant woman would find herself at the center of such a murky story.

What is real, and what is mystery? What role did her unfaithful husband play, and what was he not telling investigators?

Ariadne By Jannifer Saint

As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?

Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods.

The Night Always Comes By Willy Vlautin

Barely thirty, Lynette is exhausted. Saddled with bad credit and juggling multiple jobs, some illegally, she’s been diligently working to buy the house she lives in with her mother and developmentally disabled brother Kenny. Portland’s housing prices have nearly quadrupled in fifteen years, and the owner is giving them a good deal. Lynette knows it’s their last best chance to own their own home—and obtain the security they’ve never had. While she has enough for the down payment, she needs her mother to cover the rest of the asking price. But a week before they’re set to sign the loan papers, her mother gets cold feet and reneges on her promise, pushing Lynette to her limits to find the money they need.

Set over two days and two nights, The Night Always Comes follows Lynette’s frantic search—an odyssey of hope and anguish that will bring her face to face with greedy rich men and ambitious hustlers, those benefiting and those left behind by a city in the throes of a transformative boom. As her desperation builds and her pleas for help go unanswered, Lynette makes a dangerous choice that sets her on a precarious, frenzied spiral. In trying to save her family’s future, she is plunged into the darkness of her past, and forced to confront the reality of her life.

The City Of Good Death By Priyanka Champereni

Banaras, Varanasi, Kashi: India’s holy city on the banks of the Ganges has many names but holds one ultimate promise for Hindus. It is the place where pilgrims come for a good death, to be released from the cycle of reincarnation by purifying fire. As the dutiful manager of a death hostel in Kashi, Pramesh welcomes the dying and assists families bound for the funeral pyres that burn constantly on the ghats. The soul is gone, the body is burnt, the time is past, he tells them. Detach.

After ten years in the timeless city, Pramesh can nearly persuade himself that here, there is no past or future. He lives contentedly at the death hostel with his wife, Shobha, their young daughter, Rani, the hostel priests, his hapless but winning assistant, and the constant flow of families with their dying. But one day the past arrives in the lifeless form of a man pulled from the river—a man with an uncanny resemblance to Pramesh.

Called “twins” in their childhood village, he and his cousin Sagar are inseparable until Pramesh leaves to see the outside world and Sagar stays to tend the land. After Pramesh marries Shobha, defying his family’s wishes, a rift opens up between the cousins that he has long since tried to forget. Do not look back. Detach. But for Shobha, Sagar’s reemergence casts a shadow over the life she’s built for her family. Soon, an unwelcome guest takes up residence in the death hostel, the dying mysteriously continue to live, and Pramesh is forced to confront his own ideas about death, rebirth, and redemption.

The Other Black Girl By Zakiya Dalilia Harris

Twenty-six-year-old editorial assistant Nella Rogers is tired of being the only Black employee at Wagner Books. Fed up with the isolation and microaggressions, she’s thrilled when Harlem-born and bred Hazel starts working in the cubicle beside hers. They’ve only just started comparing natural hair care regimens, though, when a string of uncomfortable events elevates Hazel to Office Darling, and Nella is left in the dust.

Then the notes begin to appear on Nella’s desk: LEAVE WAGNER. NOW.

It’s hard to believe Hazel is behind these hostile messages. But as Nella starts to spiral and obsess over the sinister forces at play, she soon realizes that there’s a lot more at stake than just her career.

Vera By Carol Edgarian

An astonishing feat of imagination, a grand adventure set in 1906 San Francisco—a city leveled by quake and fire—featuring an indomitable heroine coming of age in the aftermath of catastrophe and her quest for love and reinvention.

Meet Vera Johnson, the uncommonly resourceful fifteen-year-old illegitimate daughter of Rose, notorious proprietor of San Francisco’s most legendary bordello and ally to the city’s corrupt politicians. Vera has grown up straddling two worlds—the madam’s alluring sphere, replete with tickets to the opera, surly henchmen, and scant morality, and the violent, debt ridden domestic life of the family paid to raise her.

On the morning of the great quake, Vera’s worlds collide. As the shattered city burns and looters vie with the injured, orphaned, and starving, Vera and her guileless sister, Pie, are cast adrift. Vera disregards societal norms and prejudices and begins to imagine a new kind of life. She collaborates with Tan, her former rival, and forges an unlikely family of survivors. Together they navigate their way beyond disaster.

This Close To Okay By Leesa Cross-smith

On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home from work when she spots a man precariously standing on the side of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally shares his name: Emmett.

Over the course of the emotionally charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe space for Emmett, though she hesitates to confess that this is also her day job. But what she doesn’t realize is that he’s not the only one who needs healing — and she’s not the only one with secrets.

The Ophelia Girls By Jane Healey

In the summer of 1973, Ruth and her four friends were obsessed with pre-Raphaelite paintings—and a little bit obsessed with each other. Drawn to the cold depths of the river by Ruth’s house, the girls pretend to be the drowning Ophelia, with increasingly elaborate tableaus. But by the end of that fateful summer, real tragedy finds them along the banks.

Twenty-four years later, Ruth returns to the suffocating, once grand house she grew up in, the mother of young twins and seventeen-year-old Maeve. Joining the family in the country is Stuart, Ruth’s childhood friend, who is quietly insinuating himself into their lives and gives Maeve the attention she longs for. She is recently in remission, unsure of her place in the world now that she is cancer-free. Her parents just want her to be an ordinary teenage girl. But what teenage girl is ordinary?

The Prophets By Robert Jones Jr.

Isaiah was Samuel’s and Samuel was Isaiah’s. That was the way it was since the beginning, and the way it was to be until the end. In the barn they tended to the animals, but also to each other, transforming the hollowed-out shed into a place of human refuge, a source of intimacy and hope in a world ruled by vicious masters. But when an older man—a fellow slave—seeks to gain favor by preaching the master’s gospel on the plantation, the enslaved begin to turn on their own. Isaiah and Samuel’s love, which was once so simple, is seen as sinful and a clear danger to the plantation’s harmony.

With a lyricism reminiscent of Toni Morrison, Robert Jones, Jr. fiercely summons the voices of slaver and the enslaved alike to tell the story of these two men; from Amos the preacher to the calculating slave-master himself to the long line of women that surround them, women who have carried the soul of the plantation on their shoulders. As tensions build and the weight of centuries—of ancestors and future generations to come—culminate in a climactic reckoning, The Prophets masterfully reveals the pain and suffering of inheritance, but is also shot through with hope, beauty, and truth, portraying the enormous, heroic power of love.

The Chosen and The Beautiful By Nghi Vo

Immigrant. Socialite. Magician.

Jordan Baker grows up in the most rarefied circles of 1920s American society―she has money, education, a killer golf handicap, and invitations to some of the most exclusive parties of the Jazz Age. She’s also queer, Asian, adopted, and treated as an exotic attraction by her peers, while the most important doors remain closed to her.

But the world is full of wonders: infernal pacts and dazzling illusions, lost ghosts and elemental mysteries. In all paper is fire, and Jordan can burn the cut paper heart out of a man. She just has to learn how.

The Maidens By Alex Michaelides

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.

Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.


And that concludes my ‘Most Anticipated Books Of 2021!’ Be sure to let me know what your Most Anticipated Books Of 2021 are down in the comment box below! I hope you all enjoyed this article and follow me with your email/WordPress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Bookish Fun!

Worst Books Of 2020

Hey Guys! I am Max and I will be attempting to construct one of the articles in my “end of the year series” today. This series consists of Worst Books of 2020, Best Books of 2020 and Most Anticipated Releases of 2020. Today, I will be manufacturing the most controversial article in this series and that is the Worst Books I’ve read in 2020.

Disclaimer: Please do not get offended if some of your favourite books are on this list. The books that are mentioned on this list are based solely on my own opinions and taste and please, just take my words with a grain of salt.

*Side Note: this list will go according to my least disliked to my most disliked books of 2020. So, we will start off with my least disliked and make our way down to my most disliked.

So, without further ado, let us dive right into the list!


9. Blue Ticket By Sophie Mackintosh

Blue Ticket is more of a disappointment than a straight-up egregious book. I had high hopes going into this novel because I really thought that it would blow me away with the story and the writing as the synopsis of this novel suggested that I can and should put all my expectations on it as it has everything that I love: notions on feminism, dystopian society, discussion on body rights, segregated society and it is written in a literary fiction style and instead of getting those, the final product of this novel is a confusing and convoluted plot, the lack of world-building and a plethora of chances for the story to swirl in the right direction but the author decided to let the story bite its tail. Therefore, it made it on my Worst Books of 2020 list.

Here’s the full review for this novel that I had constructed in July if you are curious to see the ups and downs of this novel.

Final Verdict: 50% (D)

8. Midnight’s Twins By Holly Race

Young Adult fiction has been a hit or miss for me this year and this is, no doubt, a miss for me. The characters in this book, other than the protagonist and the protagonist’s brother, have zero character trait and radically, they are just caricatures and their foremost objective there is to advance the plot. Also, I did not say this in my review but the names of the characters, especially the name of the protagonist’s mom, are way too fantasy-like. They are supposed to live in our world not in some fantasy world with unique sounding names. In addition, the world-building for the dreamscape land called Annwn is very weak and it does not make sense on several levels. Therefore, it is number 8 on the list.

Here’s the full review for this novel that I had constructed in mid-December if you are curious to see the ups and downs of this novel.

Final Verdict: 45% (E)

7. The Other Americans By Laila Lalami

The writing style for this novel is, no doubt, beautiful and easy to absorb. The story, however, is a different situation altogether. It is extremely forgettable and it does not have re-read value. The characters in this novel have different motivations and most of the time, I do not understand why they do the things they did. The pacing is atrocious; it is a hybrid of both slow and fast and it is very unevenly distributed. Every time I put this book down, I do not have the urge to pick it back up. Besides, there’s a drug abuse scene where the protagonist’s sister is about to confess to her but did not manage to do so and it is never brought up in the novel again. This can be potentially triggering to people with a history of drug abuse and I do not fancy how the author executed this element in the story. Moreover, topics on racism are brushed under rug so often in this novel. I do not understand why the author would bring it up and put it aside as quickly as possible.

Oh, let’s not forget that I thought this book was a literary thriller but apparently, it is not. The synopsis of this novel makes this book sound like it is a literary thriller and I think it is purely for marketing purposes only. If you want to read this book, keep in mind that it is more of a character study (although the characters are not that exceptional to study anyways) than a thriller/mystery.

Final Verdict: 40% (E)

6. In The Shadow Of The Wolves By Alvydas Slepikas

Going into this book, I was expecting to love it and instead of enjoying it, it made it on this list. The writing style for this novel is both beautiful and over-the-top. It is beautiful when it has amazing quotes like:-

“Lotte poured some boiled water from the teapot into a cup, and gave it to Helmut. There hadn’t been any wolves around for a long time; these days they existed only in fairy tales. People were like wolves now.”

-but the author had to switch it up and made it over-the-top without any reason. Sometimes, the children in this novel do not even sound like children. They sound like dramatic poets in the making.

Although everything in this book is morbid, I do not feel attached to anyone or anything in the novel because of how inordinate the author had written this book. I tried really hard to get into the right headspace and to immerse myself into the story but I could not do it. The writing style made it impossible for me to get into the story and therefore, it is on this list.

Final Verdict: 38% (E)

5. The Ghost Bride By Yangsze Choo

Are we even surprised The Ghost Bride made it on this list?

I had not thought about it ever since I finished writing the review in May and I could not really remember the story (but have a vague idea of it) and that shows how utterly forgettable it is.

The romance in this novel is laughable. It is purely ‘love at first sight’ material and the protagonist of this novel is a dumbass. Like what I commented in my review: “He could be a kidnapper or an en masse murderer and I bet Li Lan will still be languishing over him and not see the facet he is wearing.” The pacing of this novel is an abomination and it should never have seen the light of day. 

I have a full rant review up on my blog and if you are interested in that, you should click into it. What I wrote above is just the icing on the cake and there’s a more in-depth review of this book on that rant review article.

Final Verdict: 35% (E)

4. Vanishing Girls By Lauren Oliver

The only pro in Vanishing Girls is the astounding writing style. Other than that, it is all cons.

First of all, that closing is one of the worst closings I’ve ever read in my entire life. The conundrum or rather, the centre of the mystery falls flat towards the end of the novel. It is inconceivably anti-climatic and it is eminently predictable as well. When I read a thriller, I want to be pleasantly startled by the plot twists and the structure of the story but this did not assuage any of that. 

Second of all, the pacing of this novel is disastrous. Normally I am okay with slow-paced books but this novel is so slow from start to finish and nothing happens for about 70% of the way through this book and things only pick up towards the end and even that can’t save the book. Note that this book is only under 300 pages.

Lastly, the young adult characters are the exact image of any other thriller novels you will find under the sky and they are one-dimensional characters. I expected better from Lauren Oliver because she wrote one of the best Young Adult books I’ve ever laid my eyes on and that book is Before I Fall. For that book, she manages to capture the essence of a teenager but for Vanishing Girls, the essence is gone and it is replaced by amateur character structure.

Final Verdict: 25% (E)

3. Tuck Everlasting By Natalie Babbitt

To summarize my review for this novel, it would be:-

-the writing style has more “tells than shows”, this book promotes pedophilia despite being a classic children novel, the pacing is shambolic, the messages the author is trying to convey are not evergreen and they have been talked about time and again in recent years.

Here’s the full review for this novel that I had constructed in 3 days ago if you are curious to see the ups and downs of this novel.

Final Verdict: 15% (F)

2. Angels’ Blood By Nalini Singh

Where do I even begin?

This book is, undisputedly, smut. It does not really have a plot. The author makes it seem like the plot of this novel is secondary and the smut is the primary focus of the novel. Everything else is tertiary and not important. The ‘everything else’ includes character development, world-building, writing style and atmosphere. None of those is present in the story, the only thing that the author wants you to know is that there are smut and an overabundance of sex in this book and those are the primary focus. 

The plot of this novel is quite absurd and it does not make a lot of sense. Characters that got together do not have any chemistry or anything in common and do not even get me started on the number of times the protagonist screams “NO!” to the mind-controlling thing that her alpha-angel-boyfriend does to her. I cringed inside every time she says “NO!”. Consent is basically non-existent in this novel.

The ending of this novel is another one of the worst endings I’ve ever deposited my eyes on. It does not make any sense! How did they surgically sew a pair of angel wings on the protagonist’s back when no one in this world knows that that is a possibility? It is remarkably ludicrous and it made me laugh like a horse.

Final Verdict: 10% (F)

1. The Cheat By Marita A. Hansen

The only reason I requested for this book on Netgalley is because I want to read a book that is from a genre I’ve not explored before to get out of my comfort zone but… I would pretty much like to go back to my comfort zone now.

Both of the protagonists of this novel do not have the basic knowledge of consent. There’s a ridiculously large amount of fatphobia in this book which is absolutely infuriating to read about. The scene where the mother of the female protagonist who is frantically watching the male protagonist stripping and practicing onanism by his window scarred my eyeballs. There’s cheating in a relationship in this novel which did not get resolve by the end because this is a 4-part series. Also, the female protagonist watching the male protagonist strip by his window is weird (she thinks he doesn’t know she is watching) but what’s weirder is that the male protagonist does it on purpose and he did it with pride and he knows she is watching so he does it. *allow me to retch in the toilet.*

The writing style of this novel is amateur at best. It does not have the most ludicrous writing style and it does not have the most lucrative writing style either. It is just… there.

Final Verdict: 5% (F)


And that concludes my ‘Worst Books Of 2020!’ Be sure to let me know what your worst books of 2020 are in the comment section below! I hope you all enjoyed this article and follow me with your email/WordPress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

Tuck Everlasting By Natalie Babbitt | Book Review

Hey Everyone! I am Max and I will be conducting a book review for Tuck Everlasting By Natalie Babbitt today! Tuck Everlasting is classified as a classic of modern children’s literature. I would like to thank Pansing for sending a copy of this novel to me in exchange for a review!

So, without further ado, let us get into the book review section!

Synopsis:

Doomed to – or blessed with – eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

Review:

Since this is not an exceptionally long book (this edition of the novel that I owned has 215 pages and the font is pretty huge), this will not be a long review as well because I do not want to give anything away if you are attempting to read the novel. Therefore, we will start the review by elucidating on the writing style of the novel.

The writing style of this novel is pretty straightforward which is fine for a children novel but it does not have anything distinctive going for it. It is not saturated with purple prose nor is it written seamlessly. Some of the sentences did indeed fall short while a modicum of them extend beyond what is necessary. Besides, there is more telling instead of showing. For example, “The constable was fat, and he was sleepy. He wheezed when he spoke. And he spoke quite a bit as they started off, he and the man in yellow suit.” I did not fancy the way it is written, I thought it would be better if the author were to switch it up and describe the scenes instead of taking the easy way out. However, the word selections and the composition of the writing are easily digestible and it can be read comfortably by a child. 

Now, I would like to express my distaste for the so-called “romance” in this novel although, it did not head to that stage (thank goodness!). Winnie, the protagonist of this novel, is an innocent ten-year-old child who is out wandering in the woods one afternoon, comes across this pond that will proffer immortality if you drink its content. The Tuck Family is a family of immortals because they drank from the pond decades before decides to abduct Winnie and tries to reason with her on humanity and whatnot to obstruct her from drinking from the pond. Here is where the book promotes paedophilia. Jesse Tuck who is an immortalized seventeen-year-old likes Winnie and he gives her the water and tells her to drink it when she gets older so that they can be together forever. When I read this, I was absolutely disgusted and it boggled (and it still boggles) my mind as to how the author thinks this behaviour is acceptable and put it into a children book where it will probably go unnoticed. I cannot tell if this is done intentionally because later in the novel, Winnie grows up and dies without drinking the water from the pond, but it did not sit well with me.

Although I did capture the messages that the author is trying to convey through this novel, I feel like the messages are quite stale and they are also messages that are ratiocinated in the world. It did not bring anything new to the table and if it had indeed brought something innovative once upon a time, then I will safely say that this book is not evergreen in terms of the lessons that the author would like us to learn.

The pacing of this novel makes everything bearable for once. Since it is written like a piece of old tackle and it has more ‘tells than shows’, the pacing of this novel quickens with ease. I read this novel in 2 hours because there’s something happening in almost every scene and it held my attention until the very end of the book but unfortunately, it just isn’t a good book.

Thus, my final verdict for this novel is 15% (F). Normally I love reading children classics because they are such a delight to read to children or to read by yourself but this is just not it.


This is the end of my review for Tuck Everlasting By Natalie Babbitt! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

Midnight’s Twins By Holly Race | Book Review

Hey Guys! It is Max here and I will be reviewing Midnight’s Twins By Holly Race today! I would like to thank Pansing for sending a copy of this novel to me! Before we dive into the review, I would like to bestow the prerequisites upon you.

Genre: Young Adult Portal Fantasy

Page count: 352

So, without further ado, let us get into the review section of this article!

Synopsis:

Fifteen-year-old Londoner Fern is about to uncover a place that she could not have imagined in all her wildest dreams. Annwn is the dream mirror of our world, a place where Dreamers walk in their slumber, their dreams playing out all around them. An enchanted, mysterious place that feeds our own world – as without dreams, without a place where our imaginations and minds can be nourished, what kind of humans would we be?

But Annwn is a place as full of dangers as it is wonders: it is a place where dreams can kill you. Annwn and its Dreamers are protected by an ancient order known as the Knights – and when Fern’s hated twin Ollie is chosen to join their ranks, Fern will have to do whatever she can to prove she is one of them too.

But the world Fern discovers in Annwn, in this dream mirror of her London, is a fragile one, threatened by vicious nightmares. Nightmares that are harder and harder for the Knights to defeat. Something dark is jeopardising the peace and stability of Annwn, something that must be rooted out at all costs. And gradually, Fern realises that the danger lurking inside our sleep is more insidious and terrifying than any nightmare. Because if you can influence someone’s dreams, you can control their thoughts.

Review:

In this novel, we are introduced to the lead character christened Fern King, her twin brother – Ollie King, their common friend – Ramesh and a few other friends. Ramesh and a few other friends that I could not for the life of me remember are forgettable characters. I did not, in any way, find myself getting attached to them and I wish the author would craft multiple layers upon these characters because I did not even care when one is hurt or the other is dead. Their characterizations do not feel authentic to me, it felt like they were just there to propel the plot forward.

However, Fern and Ollie do indeed feel like people you would meet in real life. Ollie is such an asshole and every time he appears in a scene, I will get extremely annoyed because he bullies his sister with his crowd of “friends” which leads to her getting tied to a tree and the fire searing her skin. Well, why did they do that? Because she has red eyes and they think she is a witch. What the actual fuck. I did not like that the author tries to redeem Ollie as a character because how can you redeem someone who almost killed his own sister albeit, accidentally letting the fire go?

With all that egregious stuff done to her, Fern tries to distance herself from humans in general because she does not want anyone to use her or bully her so she keeps to herself most of the time. She becomes spiteful of her brother, jealous of the discrepancies between the love her father gives her brother and her (their mother is dead), grows extremely dubious to anyone who treats her well and she also becomes duplicitous in every way possible to survive. I found myself rooting for Fern with my whole being because she is a believable character and she exudes such confidence when she is proficient at something and ugh, I just loved her as a character in this novel.

If you know, portal fantasy has been gone for quite some time and now, it is making a comeback with a few well-known novels like Burn By Patrick Ness and I have not had any fluke with portal fantasy ever since I finished the Daughter of Smoke and Bones trilogy 3 years back and this is no exception. Although the world is fascinating, it is not well-built. It lacks flavor and the details that the author has provided are not intricate enough for me to picture it in my mind. I am still confused by the power that Fern wields called –inspyre – and how did that power make an army of people that cannot feel fear? In addition, the world – Annwn – does not make sense on several occasions in the novel. For example, why didn’t the old buildings change in shape in Annwn when the landscape is already different in Ithr (our world), are they not meant to coexist? Also, how did the villain build his own “fortress” using his inspyre when the landscape in Annwn still lingers in the past?

Moreover, I kind of wish the author would have lingered a little longer on the school-setting section of the novel and let the readers learn more of the world through the eyes of the protagonist because it seems a little too soon for them to go out into the world to fight all those nightmares.

However, this novel is well-paced. It does not drag the story or take the story through a tantivy speed. With that, it is engaging and it makes you flip through the pages in expeditiously and before you know it, you have already reached the final pages of the novel.

The writing style for this novel does not have anything special but it is definitely readable and it has more “showing than telling” which I absolutely enjoyed.

In conclusion, I am proffering this novel with a rating of 45% (E). I wish some things are done differently in this novel and if the things I described in my review are right up to your alley, you should give it a try. If it is not, I would not recommend it.


This is the end of my review for Midnight’s Twin By Holly Race! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Bookish Fun!

Anti-TBR Book Tag

Hello there! I am Max and I know I have not constructed a book tag article since 2018 but I will make a book tag comeback post for this forgotten category on my blog right now. Therefore, today I will be doing the Anti-TBR Book Tag, a tag which has been floating around the book community recently and I am extremely excited to answer the questions and take my own spin on this rather controversial tag!

So, without further ado, let us dive into the questions and answers.

Tag created by Nicole & Her Books

1. A popular book EVERYONE loves that you have no interest in reading?

What a pleasant surprise, am I right? WRONG. Although the first book in the Twilight Saga was pretty decent when I read it in 2018 (not sure how it would fare in this day and age), the remaining two books – excluding Breaking Dawn because I have yet to read that – were not convivial in the sparsest. I hated and still despise New Moon to this day and Eclipse was slightly (only slightly) better but not pleasant enough for me to move my hands to the last book in the series. I will probably read Breaking Dawn someday but not anytime soon because I want to know how it ends. I will not read Midnight Sun because I heard that it is basically Twilight told from Edward’s point of view so erm, no thanks honey. It sounds like a cash-grab.

P.S why is this book 662 pages long!?

2. A classic book (or author) you don’t have an interest in reading?

Is it blasphemous to say that I will probably never read Great Expectations By Charles Dickens? I know almost nothing about this book and I have never watched the film adaptations of this novel. The cover and the synopsis do not hold any interest in me. I read the synopsis a couple of times on Goodreads and I still do not know what this book is about so, this wavers me away from reading this classic.

3. A problematic author whose books you have no interest in reading?

Okay so, I read the Harry Potter series way before she who shall not be named started spewing her transphobic thoughts on Twitter through a series of tweets and threads and now I do not want anything to do with her or read any of her future releases. She basically dragged Harry Potter and her reputation through the mud by making those disgusting statements and I am pretty sure that people who love Harry Potter would not want to associate with her in the future.

Click here to read a complete rundown on what occurred on Twitter in case you missed it and do donate to Homeless Black Trans if you are able to. Click here to donate.

4. An author you have read a couple of books from & have decided their books are not for you?

None at the moment because I love to give a profusion of chances to an author before I put a stop to it and if the book from the author I did not like is hyped up, I am bound to pick it up to see what the appeal is. Therefore, none. However, if this question is worded this way: An author I have no interest in reading from, it would be Jodi Picoult.

Her books – based on the synopsis – do not really intrigue me but they definitely do appeal to a wide audience. So, it is me thing although I am quite intrigued by Her sister’s keepers. Maybe I will read that in the future, who knows.

5. A genre you have no interest in OR a genre you tried to get into & couldn’t?

None at the moment because I want to try out all the genres before I come to a conclusion.

6. A book you have bought but will never read? (this can be a book you have unhauled/returned to the library unread)

Picture #1

Ermmmm… Probably the rest of the Matched series by Ally Condie. I read the first book in that series last year and it was so astonishingly monotonous that it took me an aeon to finish. Also, maybe the rest of the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series… I read the first book in that series and I did not like it. I have a review for this book on my blog, you can check it out here. Yeah, well… At least I tried reading them.

Picture #2

7. A series you have no interest in reading OR a series you started & have dnf’d?

I started reading Beautiful Creatures in 2018 I think and I did not like it. I thought it was boring, the characters were 2D cutout characters, the story in itself did not push me to read the next book in the series and I utterly abhorred the ending of the novel. Maybe someday I will come back to the series with an open mind but as of right now, there are many more wondrous books out there waiting for me to pick them up.

8. A new release you have no interest in reading?

Yeah so this is totally not my type of book after reading several reviews on Goodreads about this novel.


This is the end of the book tag for ‘Anti-TBR book tag!’ I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

Everything I Never Told You By Celeste Ng | Book Review

Hey Guys! I am Max and I will be reviewing Everything I Never Told You By Celeste Ng today! If you do not know who Celeste Ng is, she is the author of Little Fires Everywhere, a book which I absolutely adored and Everything I Never Told You is her debut novel.

So, without further ado, let us get into the review section of this article!

Synopsis:

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

Review:

Where do I even begin, Miss Ng? You annihilated me with this novel and I am immensely grateful that you did because this turns out to be one of my favourite books of all time. I cannot stop thinking about this book ever since I had finished it because it left an enormous impact on me that I do not think that it will get off me anytime soon. In other words, this novel is a masterpiece that leeches on your brain after you finish and I am about to explain to you the ‘why’ and the ‘how’s.

Although this book may sound like an exciting thriller with a pace faster than the maturity of an instant noodle packet from the synopsis, it is not what it seems. In fact, it is the polar opposite of what this book is. This novel is categorized in the literary fiction genre and it is slow-paced. It is a character-driven story that focuses on the everyday life of the Lee family and how the very core or essence of the family crumbles as they face the death of a loved one and how the family recovers from this tragic event when all hope of recovery seems lost amid grief.

The writing style of this book is similar to what she did in Little Fires Everywhere but, it is milder and more natural in every way possible and let me illustrate why. In Little Fires Everywhere, we get perspective from everyone and by everyone, I mean people who are not even that relevant to the story and they have mini flashbacks that we, the readers, do not fret about. In Everything I Never Told You, there are only flashbacks and perspectives from the Lee family and it does not only make the story progress better, but it also makes the story less saturated with insignificant narratives. With that aside, the writing style is elegant with sentences twine together effortlessly which is stunning to witness.

This book consolidates racism, sexism, challenges of interracial marriage. Although it has all of those, none of them is the prime focus of the novel however, they are tied deeply into the story. For example, Lydia’s mother – Marilyn – faces sexism in her University and at her mother’s house that she vows to teach Lydia not to become her mother and to be a doctor in a field dominated by men. With that comes parental pressure and parental expectations which send Lydia spiralling down a dark path. As with racism and interracial marriages, there’s negative stereotyping, open intimidation, friendless as they stand out in a school filled with white people, disapproval of a family member and insults such as racial slurs.

The book has its prime focus on loneliness, resentment and jealousy. Loneliness befalls due to the lack of friends the Lee children experience. Resentment and jealousy transpire as the parents focus more on Lydia than Nath and Hannah. For example, every time Nath – the son – has something distinctive to declare like getting admitted into Harvard, it is proclaimed promptly with reactions that are short-lived from the parents and the focus will expeditiously return to Lydia instead. Hannah (the youngest daughter), however, has little to no reaction from the parents as they often forget that she even exists. These three qualities fuel this novel with rich family drama that forms cracks in a broken family that did not know they are crumbling from the inside.

The first 15 pages of this novel managed to evoke emotions from me and towards the end of the novel, I was bawling my ass off because of how incredibly relatable the characters are and how the story almost hit too close to home for me. So, if you are looking for a good cry, do pick this book up to read.

My final verdict for this book would be a whopping 100% (A+). Going into this novel, I did not expect it to leave as much of an impact than it did on me and that’s what makes this book so special to me because the characters are deeply relatable, there’s realistic flaws in the characters, the deep character study that Celeste Ng explores and the focus on the crumbling of a family after the death of a loved one and the recovery of a broken family.


This is the end of my review for Everything I Never Told You By Celeste Ng! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

Burn By Patrick Ness | Book Review

Hey Everyone! My name is Max and I will be reviewing a novel christened Burn by Patrick Ness today! If you do not know who Patrick Ness is, he is the author of The Chaos Walking trilogy which comprises of The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and The Answer and Monsters of Men. He has also written A Monster Calls, More than this and The Rest of Us Just Live Here. Burn is the latest novel he had written and published.

I would like to thank Definitely Books for sending a copy of this novel to me in exchange for a review!

Well, without further ado, let us get into this review!

Synopsis:

On a cold Sunday evening in early 1957, Sarah Dewhurst waited with her father in the parking lot of the Chevron gas station for the dragon he’d hired to help on the farm…

Sarah Dewhurst and her father, outcasts in their little town of Frome, Washington, are forced to hire a dragon to work their farm, something only the poorest of the poor ever have to resort to.

The dragon, Kazimir, has more to him than meets the eye, though. Sarah can’t help but be curious about him, an animal who supposedly doesn’t have a soul, but who is seemingly intent on keeping her safe.

Because the dragon knows something she doesn’t. He has arrived at the farm with a prophecy on his mind. A prophecy that involves a deadly assassin, a cult of dragon worshippers, two FBI agents in hot pursuit—and somehow, Sarah Dewhurst herself.

Review:

Before we commence this review, I would like to state that Patrick Ness is one of my favourite authors of all time. Although this novel is not his most immeasurable work to date, it is still entertaining and fun. It does not have that emotional punch that A Monster Calls and Monster of Men have but it has cardinal topics on racial inequality and sexual orientation and I wish Patrick Ness had veered in that direction of the story instead of what has actually transpired in the story but we will speak more on that later on.

“He was the thing the world had suffered from most in her four billion years of existence: a stupid man with power.” – Burn, Patrick Ness.

Patrick Ness’ writing style is freaking beautiful. The way he weaves one sentence to the next and the word choices are astounding. He allows the story to flow seamlessly with his writing and it certainly feels like silk reading his books and Burn is no different. I will provide a quote below for you to witness the beauty of it yourself: 

“Prophecy is slippery, dangerous, open to fatal misinterpretation.” – Burn, Patrick Ness.

However, towards the third quarter of the novel, the writing style does not feel as natural as the first two quarters. Perhaps the perspective from the Goddess makes the writing style asperous due to a plethora of exclamation points used. I thought that the Goddess’s perspective could have been completely discarded from the novel or the author should have made her more of a villain instead because she literally confabulates like an eight-year-old trying to destroy her brother’s Lego set. Thank you, next.

The pacing for this novel is flawless. It does not dawdle too long on a scene or breeze right through a scene like nobody’s business. I read it in a few days and it kept me entertained throughout the days that I was reading it. If you want something that you can read in a few days, you should pick this book up.

The characters in this novel consist of Kazimer (the Russian dragon), Malcolm, Sarah, Jason and Sarah’s father. I delight in the fact that the parents of the teenage characters except Malcolm’s are actively present in the story because usually, parents are absent in YA books which does not make any sense whatsoever. Therefore, I am delighted to tell you that they have huge roles in this novel.

Kazimer is hired by Sarah’s father to help with the farm as they are running out of money to maintain the farm and he thought that he could trick the dragon with the payment, therefore, he pays one-quarter of the agreed value before the work inaugurates to make the dragon trust him. Although it might seem that Sarah’s father is deceitful, he is not. He is very loving and protective of his daughter. His character growth up until he [spoiler] is very conspicuous.

My favourite perspective is from Malcolm. Initially, he is an assassin from a dragon cult and he is assigned to kill this girl from the farm – Sarah – to “save” the world. Well, without spoiling anything, I would like to say that I love his relationship with Nelson even though it is pretty insta-lovey but I would disregard that because I like the way they converse and how both of them teach each other to love. Malcolm has an exponential character growth throughout the novel, he learns from his mistakes and decides to go against the lies he has been fed and ultimately, becoming a hero.

Sarah and Jason have solid characterization but it is a little more slumbrous compare to Malcolm’s characterization. The discussion on racism revolves around Sarah and Jason. Sarah is mixed race – half black, half white – and Jason is a Japanese. The amount of racial attack they got from people in town is enraging. Jason is brave and Sarah is headstrong. These two characters did not really grow as much as I would have loved to see, they pretty much remain congruent throughout the novel.

The discussions on topics like racism, interracial marriage and sexual orientation are some of the most fascinating parts of the book. If you take out the dragons and the urban fantasy elements, these topics will illuminate the most in the book. If the story were to diverge more into this direction, it would probably gain more accolades from me because I love discussions on these topics and the author shows that he is capable of handling these topics well in this novel. For example, under sexual orientation, there is self-loathing as the characters could not love the way they wanted due to societal “views” which infuriates me because people should be able to love whoever they want. Under interracial marriage and racism, there is negative stereotyping, open hostility and intimidation and isolation. I absolutely adore the way the topics are handled in this novel and I hope the author would write more stories on these topics without the fantasy elements in the future.

In conclusion, my final verdict for this novel is 70% (B). I did enjoy some parts of this but there are also several segments that I did not particularly enjoy. I will still read Release which was his 2019 release by the end of this year and a review will head your way soon for that. 


This is the end of my review for Burn By Patrick Ness! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

It is wood, it is stone By Gabriella Burnham | Book Review

Hey Everyone! My name is Max and, I am finally back from a long hiatus. The reason for my departure is that I was having my A-levels exams and I wanted to place all my attention upon it. Therefore, I sincerely apologize for not publishing new content on my blog.

Anyway, I will be reviewing a novel called “It is wood, it is stone” by Gabriella Burnham today. “It is Wood, It is Stone” is her debut novel and, I would like to thank Times reads for sending a copy of this novel to me in exchange for a review!

Well, without further ado, let us get into the review section of this article.

Synopsis:

With sharp, gorgeous prose, It Is Wood, It Is Stone takes place over the course of a year in São Paulo, Brazil, in which two women’s lives intersect.

Linda, an anxious and restless American, has moved to São Paulo, with her husband, Dennis, who has accepted a yearlong professorship. As Dennis submerges himself in his work, Linda finds herself unmoored and adrift, feeling increasingly disassociated from her own body. Linda’s unwavering and skilled maid, Marta, has more claim to Linda’s home than Linda can fathom. Marta, who is struggling to make sense of complicated history and its racial tensions, is exasperated by Linda’s instability. One day, Linda leaves home with a charismatic and beguiling artist, whom she joins on a fervent adventure that causes reverberations felt by everyone, and ultimately binds Marta and Linda in a profoundly human, and tender, way.

Review:

The cover design for this novel is pulchritudinous. The leaves and the perennials surrounding the two women are, intricately drawn and I adore how the shirts on both the women merge with the colour of the background. Not only that, you can see the outline of the shirts so, it does not camouflage in the backdrop colour. Overall, this cover is just a total eye-candy.

“I had lost my job.
I didn’t have my own money.
All of our friends were your friends from the university.” –
It is wood, It is Stone, Gabriella Burnham.

The protagonist of this novel is christened Linda. From the quote above, you would discern that she has lost her sense of direction and goal in life and this novel follows a series of events of her finding herself and in doing so, the repercussions that follow after. At the beginning of the novel, she has plans to leave her husband, Dennis, as she wishes to have some space to find herself but she decides against it and starts anew in Sao Paulo with her husband (Dennis is positioned there for work) as she assumes that she could not survive without him due to financial concerns. Therefore, she stays. However, in doing so, she faces boredom and desolation in this new country as she does not have anyone to talk to when Dennis is away and her maid, Marta, did not seem to fancy her as much. Her ennui has gotten to a point where she intentionally discharges ink on Dennis’ work clothes with the university’s insignia and washing and scrubbing it but it is already beyond repair.* Then, she decides to head out to the bar and that is where she meets Celia. 

Celia is a character Linda admires. With her, Linda can finally express herself and they quickly become best friends. Celia is courageous, headstrong and has an air of freedom that Linda craves. She has a backstory that is rather appealing and it adds a lot to her character. However, she is also “the other woman” and I do not really like that even though it added an extra layer to the story. Linda enshrouds this newly found friendship from Dennis as she wants something to keep for herself. Thus, she fibs about her whereabouts and the only person that knows about this friendship is Marta.

Dennis is associated with The Provost and his wife, Melinda through his work and they belong to the upper-class citizens. Melinda is a racist that looks down on people like Marta (she is a black woman) and makes senseless accusations that Marta performs voodoo on them and steals their jewelry even though nothing of that sort happens. Dennis feels the need to add on to what Melinda’s proposing and he chimes in by saying that the shirt damaged by ink was destroyed by Marta even though it is not true.

Without spoiling anything, Marta and Linda’s relationship with each other consolidates towards the end of the novel. Marta shares her backstory and it enumerates so many more layers to her character which I absolutely adore but I wish her backstory is longer instead of resorting to 20 pages of character arc.

From what I have written above, you may notice that this novel deals with loneliness and what it brings, racism and classism. Although this novel has managed to present these themes, the author did not actually execute them well. Especially the topics on racism and classism. Both of those topics go nowhere in the novel and our protagonist, Linda still hangs out with Melinda even though she knows she is a racist. The topic on classism manages to present itself throughout the novel but it is never actually discussed which irritates me because I would like to comprehend the repercussion of both classes clashing. Loneliness and what it brings are done pretty well since it is consistently mentioned throughout the novel.

The writing style for this novel is a little complicated but I will attempt to explain it to the best of my ability. The protagonist’s husband, Dennis, is termed as ‘you’ in the novel. Therefore, the writing style may seem like it is addressing the readers but it is actually addressing Dennis and you can actually think of the whole book as a long letter with excruciatingly long details. When a character other than the protagonist’s backstory is being written, it will be bolded and the font will be smaller to indicate that their backstory is currently being told. Other than that, I thought the writing style was beautifully poetic and the author can string sentences together with ease and the purple prose is beautiful to witness.

I have 2 criticisms about the novel and those are the pacing of the novel and my inclination to pick the novel back up to read. Every time I put this book down, I do not have the urge to pick this novel back up to read and I have to physically force myself to do it so that I can get through the novel. I still cannot place my finger on why that is the case but I can confirm right now that this book has no reread value for me personally. The pacing for this novel is a little off. I find myself speeding through several sections of the book and slowing down in others. It is inconsistent and I wish that is not the case.

In conclusion, I would proffer this novel a 65% (C). Overall, it is a pretty mediocre read and I would not go around recommending this novel to anyone unless they want to read about loneliness and what it results in.


This is the end of my review for It is wood, it is stone By Gabriella Burnham! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

The Vanishing Half By Brit Bennett | Book Review

Hey Guys! My name is Max and today, I will be reviewing a novel which has been getting a lot of buzz online lately called The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett who also wrote The Mothers which I will be reading soon because this book literally shattered my soul. Before we get into the review, I would like to thank Times Reads for sending a copy of this book to me.

So, without further ado, let us get into the review section of this article.

Synopsis:

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

My introspection:

“She hadn’t realized how long it takes to become somebody else, or how lonely it can be living in a world not meant for you.” ― Brit Bennett, The Vanishing Half.

I have been reading a lot of Literary Fiction lately and most of them had managed to impress me and this novel is no exception. This novel approaches tough topics with ease and it weaves the stories of the Vignes family throughout 3 generations – the mother of the twins, the twins and the twins’ children. Although there are some flaws towards the end of the novel, I thought this novel was still insightful, entertaining and well-written.

I thought the pacing for this novel was well-paced. A lot of people might disagree with me because I had read an abundance of reviews stating that the pacing is slow as hell but I thought it was not as slow as what reviewers said it would be because I had read slower books like Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (a terrible novel which is a story for another day) and Heartless by Marissa Meyer (which I thought was confounding) and the pacing for this novel is definitely not as slow as the ones I had listed.

However, I can see why people would say that this is a long-drawn-out novel because the 1/3 of the novel contains a multitude of history of the town and the people and the twins and introduction to the characters without much drama centering around the story but after you get passed that, the pacing did pick up and before you know it, you have reached the end of the novel. The pacing for the 1/3 of the novel did not bother me at all because I was totally invested in the story so I think this is pretty subjective to each and every one of you.

The writing style for this novel is eloquent and it is never once periphrastic. The sentences flow well together and everything about it is just very crisp. Oh, and it is also descriptive which I absolutely enjoyed. Miss Bennett paints these pictures in your head and the visuals are so clear I cannot help but admire her writing abilities.

There are important topics such as the discussion on passing and race and white privilege being talked about in this novel and there is representation of a transgender man in this novel. This book taught me about passing (in case you did not know what passing means, here’s the definition I got from Wikipedia: “Passing is the ability of a person to be regarded as a member of an identity group or category different from their own, which may include racial identity, ethnicity, caste, social class, sexual orientation, gender, religion, age and/or disability status.“) and I cannot believe I have never heard about it before. To say that this book is insightful is an understatement because it taught me so many things from passing to the internalized racism that one of the characters have to the lives and hardships that black people face every single day. I will not speak on the transgender man being a good or bad representation of the LGBT community because I do not identify myself as a transgender but I am happy that there is representation of the LGBT community in this novel.

In this novel, we have Stella, Desiree, Jude, Kennedy and a few others but the novel focuses on these four central characters the most. Stella and Desiree are twin sisters and both of them are vastly different from each other. Desiree is more playful, daring and talkative whereas Stella is more studious, focused and less talkative. They are both complex and extremely interesting and both ultimately ended up in different paths. One decided to pass over as white and the other is perfectly comfortable with herself. Their character growths throughout the novel is very interesting and gradual that I found myself caring each of them equally. Jude and Kennedy are the offspring of both the twins. Jude faces a lot of hardships in her life; from being racially discriminated by her classmates and for being judged by being with a handsome white man. It irks me so much that these racist bitches would invalidate a person like that. Ugh absolutely disgusting. Kennedy is a privilege, spoiled brat and the topic on white privilege is tackled through her. I absolutely loved the characterization this book has and I cannot wait to see what she has to offer in her debut novel – The Mothers.

The ending is the weakest point of this novel for me. There were several parts in the ending chapter that I enjoyed but overall, it left a very stale and lukewarm feeling in my stomach. I enjoyed how realistic it is for Stella’s husband to not know about her real ethnicity as the final chapter closes and how the Vignes sisters no longer talk but the daughters did but everything else did not make the cut. For example, the part where her daughter broke up and got back together with Reese is absolutely unnecessary. Why throw that in the novel in the final chapter and not prolong the book for an extra chapter focusing on that? I would definitely be interested in it but alas, it did not.

My final verdict for this novel is 88% (A). This novel explores race, gender and identity and if you love books that tackle those topics, you should definitely pick this amazing novel up! Also, it is definitely time for me to pick The Mothers up after reading this astonishing novel.

Before you go, do check out this fantastic review of The Vanishing Half by The Storyscape. She articulates this novel better than I do and she brings up a plethora of interesting topics and her real-life experiences in the video.


This is the end of my review for The Vanishing Half By Brit Bennett! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!