REVIEW: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Mark Haddon

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY:

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.

Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, for fifteen-year-old Christopher everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning. He lives on patterns, rules, and a diagram kept in his pocket. Then one day, a neighbor’s dog, Wellington, is killed and his carefully constructive universe is threatened. Christopher sets out to solve the murder in the style of his favourite (logical) detective, Sherlock Holmes. What follows makes for a novel that is funny, poignant and fascinating in its portrayal of a person whose curse and blessing are a mind that perceives the world entirely literally.


BOOK REVIEW: 

4 STARS

I was given this book by a friend who said this was her favourite book. It has become one of my favourites too.

15-year-old Christopher is extremely logical, doesn’t get metaphors and is autistic. He hates being touched, he doesn’t like being around strangers and he does not relate to human emotions. It is interesting to read how people with autism perceive things, and it really opens my eyes and makes me understand more.

This book was written like a diary and instead of chapters, it has numbers that separate each day and incident. It was different from many other books and I really love that. It comes with diagrams and equations and things that you don’t normally see in a book. It was refreshing and new. 

Christopher faces many difficulties in life. The biggest obstacle being his unfamiliarity with people and places hinder him from doing a lot of things. There were many incidents in this book that strongly emphasized how the way Christopher perceived things was so much more different from the way most people do. He hates the colour yellow and carries a bottle of red dye with him and he doesn’t understand what a high-five is, just to name a few.

In this book, Haddon writes of how a dysfunctional family tries to raise an autistic son. It is a book that touches on family feud, social disability and the best part, a murder case. There will be many unexpected twists along the way and how Christopher narrates it in an extremely logical way ties the story together, making it an enjoyable read. 

If there’d be any way that you can understand how a person with autism would perceive the world, this would be a simple start.

REVIEW: Declutter Your Mind Now – 22 Simple Habits To Declutter Your Mind & Live A Happier, Healthier And Stress-Free Life: Easy Ways To Eliminate Worry, Anxiety & Negative Thinking

Declutter Your Mind Now – 22 Simple Habits To Declutter Your Mind  & Live A Happier, Healthier and Stress-Free Life: Easy Ways To Eliminate Worry, Anxiety & Negative Thinking by Vic Carter

get it here


BOOK SUMMARY:

Declutter Your Mind Easily 
Would You Like To ELIMINATE NEGATIVE & STRESSFUL THOUGHTS From Your Mind? 
Do You Want To OVERCOME WORRY & ANXIETY? 
Are You Interested In Feeling MORE RELAXED, HAPPY & HEALTHY? 


In this book, I tell you about how you can get more peace, happiness and clarity into your life just like I did. I have gone through the process of decluttering my mind and practice the habits and techniques outlined in this book. 


I used to often feel overwhelmed, anxious and stressful prior to using the techniques in this book. I remember the days when I used to feel anxious about my work, stressed about different things in my life, and overwhelmed in general. I learned about and started practising the strategies listed in this book to ensure that I feel better and take care of my overall health. 


So, I have filled this book with step-by-step information, practical tips and useful suggestions to help you to declutter your mind, and live a MORE RELAXED, HAPPY & HEALTHY LIFE. 

This book, ‘22 Simple Habits To Declutter Your Mind & Live A Happier, Healthier And Stress-Free Life’ will show you how to: 
· Declutter your mind of negative thoughts and emotions 
· How to be free of worry, anxiety and stress 
· Be happier, more relaxed and stress-free 



BOOK REVIEW:


3 STARS

When I first received a copy of this book, I was thinking to myself “Wow, it is such a short read!”, to which Carter addressed in this book that he does not wish to clutter this book with unnecessary information. It is true, in less than 70 pages, you’re able to learn how to declutter your mind and this time, you will definitely be able to finish this self-help book.

22 Simple habits, all tried, tested and true to be able to help you declutter your mind. Some of them I’ve heard of before, some I’ve tried myself and it works. Some of the suggested ways may be a little bit difficult to start, like exercise or perhaps taking up a new hobby, but there are more ways that can be applied in day to day life. 

I do believe in the content as it has worked for me. In Declutter Your Mind Now, there are simple steps like being in the now, listing 3 positives for 1 negatives and choosing happy thoughts can be easily incorporated into our lives. It may seem difficult at first, but it should be cultivated and then it can come naturally.

Carter has also attached some more reading materials in every chapter for further reading if you wish to understand more. As for his book, only the basics of the ways to declutter your minds and benefits are provided.

REVIEW: Tributaries

Tributaries (American River, #1)
by Mallory M. O’Connor

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY:

In the mid-1800s, three immigrant familiesIrish, Japanese, and Mexicansettle along the American River in Northern California. A century later, only one family remains.
Owen McPhalans Mockingbird Valley Ranch is still a thriving family business in 1959. But when his wife, Marian, leaves Mockingbird to follow her dream of becoming a successful artist, she ignites a firestorm that impacts the descendants of all three families. As artists, musicians, writers, and politicians inherit their immigrant parents’ hopes, they are torn apart by ambition, prejudice, and deception while struggling through the turbulent 1960s. From the concert halls of Europe to Kyoto’s ancient avenues, and Manhattan’s artists’ lofts to San Francisco’s North Beach, they each learn the price they must pay in order to realize their dreams. But just as the river is drawn to the sea, they eventually find themselves pulled back to the place that forged the original link between their destinies is a place called Mockingbird.


American River: Tributaries follows three California families as the descendants of Irish, Japanese, and Mexican immigrants embark on unique journeys to pursue their dreams amid an unsettled 1960s world.

BOOK REVIEW: 
3 STARS

*A free PDF copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review*

I wanted the story to be a surprise for me but I should’ve read the reviews first. Little did I know that it would contain a few explicit materials and would not have picked it up.

Right off the bat, I was confused about what was happening. There was a list of characters and their roles at the start which I loved but it was difficult to keep on scrolling back and forth to find out who was who. This made reading the first few chapters a little bit tough.

I love the way the relationship between the three families and how their paths intertwined, especially between the McPhalan and the Ashida’s. It was very creative, albeit a little disappointing that their role was being servants for the McPhalans. I especially love the storyline of the Morales’ family. There’s so much drama!

It was difficult for me to continue reading this story. One of the main reason was that I didn’t find the storyline to be interesting for me. This, of course, varies from one individual to another so do pick it up if you love drama. I, unfortunately, am not a big fan of it. Another reason was the fact that there were quite a handful of sexually explicit parts which I would tend to scroll past. I’ve decided to drop the book since I can’t do it justice.

American Rivers: Tributaries had tons of unexpected twists. There were some parts which I found to be a little problematic that could be overlooked in the story, after all, it is there to add to the drama. Overall, it was a well-written book that explored the lives of three families from different backgrounds and how their lives intertwine.

REVIEW: Gold Shadow

Gold Shadow (Bronze Rebellion, #1)
by L.C. Perry

get it here

 BOOK SUMMARY: 

In the North American continent, eighteen-year-old Ebony has been living as a slave for as long as she can remember. The underground cities, the tattoo, the scars and the shackles are a part of the only world she has ever known. She knows that in order to survive, she will have to stay strong. And she will stay strong, cursing those in power, until her very last breath. She waits for a meaningful way to die as she quietly pushes her body to its limit…but that all changes when rebels from the surface drop down right in front of her. 

Now, Ebony is challenged to envision a life beyond slavery as she and the other escapees are thrown into the center of a rebellion against the monarchy. She has to embrace this glimmer towards a real life…this glimmer called freedom. But what can she contribute to a rebellion that is doomed to fail like those before it? How can they stop a corrupt monarchy that has lasted for a century? Among the lower class, those with hope are hard to come by, but Ebony has found refuge with people full of it. And through their strong desire, an idea emerges…one that has never been done before. The princess of the country is coming of age and what better way to send a message to the king and queen than to kidnap their only daughter?

 BOOK REVIEW: 


5 STARS

*A free PDF copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review*

Gold Shadow may have a slow start but 10% into the book and you will find yourself hooked, I assure you.

We are first introduced to Ebony, a character who is cold and self-sufficient. As a slave all her life, she has learnt to harden her heart and disregard the companion of others as it could only bring more trouble. The foil character, in contrast to Ebony, is an innocent princess named Irene who was shielded from the harsh reality of the world, fed with the idea that the rebels were causing more trouble to her soon-to-be kingdom. The narrative of the story is told through the lives and experiences of the two characters, forming a clear understanding of the background of the characters.

Being at the wrong place at the wrong time, Ebony crosses paths with the rebels from the surface and is forced to go with them. As they make their leave, they are noticed by other slaves who wanted in on the escape as well. Ebony who was a slave all her life was experiencing freedom and the outside world for the first time. It was what she wanted, but yet she feels empty and wants more meaning in her life.

Gold Shadow has a variety of characters, each unique and captivating in their own way. There was diversity, which I really like. In my opinion, it wasn’t the plot that drove the story, but the characters. Every character had a past that shaped and motivated them to be a part of the rebellion. It was also the relationships between the characters that made this book so interesting. 

I love seeing the character development in the story, especially for Ebony whose life changed because of her mentor, Asher. She was constantly driven to the edge, motivated yet scared for her life. I would see why too, especially because of Asher’s personality. It was also how Perry revealed each characters’ past that made me engrossed in the story. It was done so smoothly without it seeming as if it was awkwardly inserted into the middle of the story. Furthermore, the characters were so relatable that it could make the reader feel a connection with them.

The only thing that I disliked was how it ended with a cliffhanger, however, it sure sets the mood and thrill to read the second book in the Bronze Rebellion series.

REVIEW: NIMBUS

NIMBUS (The Perfect Circle Trilogy, Book 1)
by A.C. Miller

Get it here

BOOK SUMMARY: 

It’s the year 2191 and the last known civilization hides behind a giant steel wall buried deep within a forest. For over eighty years, Nimbus has thrived under one rule: Separation. When a kid turns fourteen, they’re kicked outside the wall. For eleven years, they must survive before being given a chance at re-entry. It’s Nimbus’ way of keeping an identity the previous world didn’t have; it’s their way of preventing history from repeating itself. 

Sam Martin has spent his first thirteen years in Nimbus, but today’s different. Today is Sam’s fourteenth birthday. 

Meanwhile, Sam’s brother, Sean, was recently granted re-admittance to Nimbus after surviving his eleven years. Assigned to work as a member of the Elite Guard, Sean slowly begins to realize there’s something deeply wrong with how Nimbus works. 

Outside the wall, Elise waits. Directed by Sean to find Sam when he’s sent out, Elise sits deep in the forest fending off a series of headaches that have bothered her since her first day outside. With one year left to prove her worth, Elise must teach Sam how to survive the horrors beyond the wall. 

The outside is crawling with those willing to do anything to survive regardless of what it entails. Sam, Sean, and Elise must learn to cope with the darkness lurking both inside and outside the wall. If they don’t, those who hide in the shadows will win.

BOOK REVIEW: 

5 STARS

*A free PDF copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review*

This book has captivated me from the start. It was a page-turner, impossible to put down. 

Miller has made it possible to hate the authorities with every cell in my body. My blood boils by just thinking about what goes on in the twisted concept of Nimbus. Sending out 14-year-olds into the outside, unequipped (well, except that they can bring only ONE thing) and expected to fight and hunt for the next 11 years.

The point of view switches between 4 characters, Sean, Elise, Abby and Sam and through it, you’re able to understand their state of mind as well as their experiences outside the wall. Each character deals with loss, love, guilt and fear but they continue to fight on to put a stop to this twisted rule. Every chapter, the characters are faced with a struggle that’s pulling them back or some motivational talk from one another to keep them sane.

There were some unexpected plot twists in the story that will keep you on your toes. You’ll begin to wonder who is the bad guy here and who else is working with him. However, you’ll still have faith knowing the fighting spirit of the characters.

The whole story was well developed, leaving no place for any uncertainty. All the questions I had while reading the book were answered in the next few chapters. It was clear that there weren’t any plot holes.

I love the way each character, despite facing so many hardships and loss are selfless, knowing that not only to stay alive for themselves but for their close ones as well. I’ve grown attached to them and wanted them to win. However, it all comes with a price.

With Nimbus, you should always expect the unexpected. Perhaps not, since it might get to you before you get to it. Nimbus isn’t the end. There’s more to come.

POPULAR BOOKFEST 2018

The long-awaited Popular BookFest is here once again! From June 9 to June 17, bookworms around Kuala Lumpur are able to enjoy the wonderful book sale and splurge on the books that they’ve been waiting to read. From YA novels, Chinese books, technology and even stationery, Popular BookFest has it all!

Unlike the previous years, I’ve had the opportunity to visit Popular Bookfest twice this year. The entrance fee was only RM2.50. It is free of charge for children 18 and under as well as for senior citizens aged 60 and above.

TIPS
1. Bring your own bag

The more environmentally friendly option to shop. Plastic bags will be charged at 20 cents in order to encourage using our own bags. It is also more rewarding to know that you’re doing a part in helping the environment. You also won’t have to worry about the plastic bags breaking.

2. Visit the stationery section and electronics first

I’ve only done this this time around and I highly recommend it. Usually, I’d visit the books section first instead of the stationery and electronics section. By the time I’ve bought my books, I’ve already spent 2 hours in the convention centre, exhausted and aching to go back home. Lunging around the crowded stationery and electronics section with heavy bags of books isn’t the most ideal shopping condition, after all. I’ll definitely start my day by heading off to the stationery section first as it gets crowded during the afternoon.

HERE’S THE LOOT!

The School for Good and Evil set usual RM134.90, now RM79.90

I’ve seen my friends read this book and the blurb really interested me. I would’ve not bought it but it was surprisingly cheap, so what’s the harm.

The Girl With Seven Names usual RM59.90, rebate 20%

After reading Yeonmi Park’s In Order to Live, I became more interested in wanting to hear what others faced in North Korea. I believe that everyone has a story to tell and I’d like to listen to Hyeonseo Lee’s story.

Aru Shah and the End of Time usual RM41.90, now RM29.90

I’ve never really thought of picking up this book either. I’ve seen my favourite author, Rick Riordan constantly posting and retweeting about this book on Twitter. Seeing that it was on sale, I’d decided to take a shot at it.

 Around the World in Eighty Days 25% rebate

I’ve been wanting to read this for a while now. It was difficult to find this book. Honestly, I am not quite sure what its’ about but I guess the title tells it all. I hope it’s filled with adventure!

Murder on the Orient Express  usual RM 39.90, now RM 27.90

I’ve heard wonders of Agatha Christie. I’ve also read a book review on this book that has made me quite intrigued by it. I’ve only added it to my TBR list a few weeks ago and I’m so glad to be able to tick it off! 

 One of Us Is Lying RM46.95, 25% rebate

I remember adding this to my TBR too a while back. I’ve already forgotten what the blurb was about but I am always up for a mystery novel!

The Diary of A Young Girl usual RM55.90, now RM14.90

I’d like to know about her life, the things she faced and her experiences. I am someone who likes reading autobiographies, just to get to know the person better. It has been a book that I’ve constantly seen and I’ve been waiting to pick it up but didn’t think I’d like. A new year, a new challenge. 

All that She Can See + On The Other Side usual RM42.90, 30% rebate

I’ve been a subscriber to Carrie’s YouTube channel for a while now. I’ve always wanted to read this really. I’m more excited by All that She Can See compared to On the Other Side, but either way, I’m thrilled to have seen these goodies on sale! 

My TBR is growing week by week with me trying to get more indie authors’ books to review as well as my habit of buying books faster than I read them. Nonetheless, I am glad to have rekindled my love of reading. Cheers to more book reviews in the future. I’m sure a review of some of these books here will be out in the future. Till then!

– J

REVIEW: The Colossus Rises

Seven Wonders: The Colossus Rises (#1)
by Peter Lerangis

Get it here

BOOK SUMMARY:

One Boy

Jack McKinley is an ordinary kid with an extraordinary problem. In a few months, he’s going to die.

One Mission

Jack needs to find seven magic loculi that, when combined, have the power to cure him.

One Problem

The loculi are the relics of a lost civilization and haven’t been seen in thousands of years.

Seven Wonders

Because they’re hidden in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. 

BOOK REVIEW:
3 STARS

I read this book a while ago, back in 2013. I didn’t like it at that time, too confusing, too unclear. Everything happened so quickly and I didn’t get time to process it. 5 years later, I decided to give it another chance.

For those who likes the PJO series, the plot will seem familiar – young boy and his friends with a task to save the world, cliché of course, but nonetheless, a favourite. However, I won’t be comparing to PJO much because it is an entirely different series.

Four 12 year-olds, captured by the Karai Institute and given the task to find seven magic Loculi that were scattered around the world. With a special G7W gene that will kill them at the age of 13, these 4 Select have to receive treatment from the Karai in order to prolong their deaths. Only by retrieving the Loculi, they can be saved.

The story was written very descriptively. It was easy for the readers to imagine every event of the story, from how the characters felt to the surroundings of the places. However, it can be quite distracting from the story.
It was an entertaining read. The characters were introduced early on and there wasn’t much to them, if I were to be honest. There was no time for the relationship to develop between the characters. Within a few moments of Jack and the other 3 Select meeting one another, they have gotten super close and chummy. I guess the writer should’ve developed their relationships a little. I mean, when you’re facing a life and death situation, you should kinda get to know your allies and gain their trust a little.

The start of the book was interesting. There were a few plot holes about the story though, but of course, it wouldn’t affect the story much anyway. Towards the end, the story got a little messy. So many things were happening, so many descriptions, yet everything seemed so blurry.
I wasn’t particularly fond of the book, nor the characters. Like I mentioned, the characters were flat. It was all in Jack McKinley’s point of view but then again, it really seemed bland. Nothing much was revealed about them, but of course, maybe the author left it for the next book, Lost in Babylon.

REVIEW: The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman
by Denis Thériault

Get it here

BOOK SUMMARY:

Bilodo lives a solitary daily life, routinely completing his postal rounds every day and returning to his empty Montreal apartment. But he has found a way to break the cycle—Bilodo has taken to stealing people’s mail, steaming open the envelopes, and reading the letters inside. And so it is he comes across Ségolène’s letters. She is corresponding with Gaston, a master poet, and their letters are each composed of only three lines. They are writing each other haikus. The simplicity and elegance of their poems move Bilado and he begins to fall in love with her. But one day, out on his round, he witnesses a terrible and tragic accident. Just as Gaston is walking up to the post-box to mail his next haiku to Ségolène, he is hit by a car and dies on the side of the road. And so Bilodo makes an extraordinary decision—he will impersonate Gaston and continue to write to Ségolène under this guise. But how long can the deception continue for? Denis Thériault weaves a passionate and elegant tale, comic and tragic with a love story at its heart

BOOK REVIEW: 

3 STARS
What stood out for this book was the interesting plot. The idea that our trusted postman could be someone who finds thrill and excitement in reading our mail was the last thing I’d think of, and Thériault turned the whole idea into a book. What enticed me about the book was the haikus and the thought of communicating through haikus fascinated me, something I did not think was possible.

Bilodo was just like us – seeing a romantic love story and falling in love with one of the characters, infatuated with a love life that he wish he had. And when he saw his chance to be the next actor of this love story, he jumped at it.

The plot was interesting and somewhat different. It introduces different Japanese literary art like ‘tanka’, ‘renku’ and ‘enso’ but it happened all in a blur and I could not understand any of it. The only reason why I bothered continuing the book was to look for good haikus. Unfortunately, there were only few that stood out.

It was rather creepy of Bilodo to have such a hobby and it certainly made me wonder if any of the postmen did the same. He invaded the privacy of others, just for his mere enjoyment. Poor Ségolène, if only she knew. Their poor love story would never had happened.

The ending was unexpected, but nonetheless, I loved it. It felt as if the entire story had come to a full circle. It also leaves me wondering, had ‘Grandpré’ really been Grandpré?

TL:DR

I believe I expected too much from this book regarding the haikus. It was a good book in terms of the plot and how unique it was. However, some parts in the book was confusing, especially when the literary arts in Japan were mentioned.


A segment of this review has been first published on my Goodreads.

REVIEW: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle
by Rick Riordan

Get it here

BOOK SUMMARY: 

How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour.

But Apollo has many enemies—gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go… an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

BOOK REVIEW:

5 STARS
If I were to be honest, I thought I’d hate this book. Apollo was a selfish god, proud and narcissistic. He was easily my least favourite amongst the 12 Olympians.

Losing his powers and becoming a mortal, Apollo now undertakes the identity of Lester Papadopolos. He faces the hard life of being a mortal, a whole reality-check since he spent most of his time admiring himself in the mirror back on his throne with the other Olympians.

The start of the book was sickening. Apollo was in denial of the whole situation, being the selfish god that he is (or was) and was throwing tantrums everywhere. Riordan did a wonderful job, channelling the actions of a baby into an ex-olympian and making people find him unbearable.

Apollo faces a huge character development towards the end. He realises his mistakes, he grieves his losses, he regrets his wrongdoings. That was when I had a soft spot for Apollo and began to admire him.

This book was about how Apollo dealt with losing his powers, being completely helpless in the mortal world where he could possibly die while fighting off monsters. It was about friendships and relationships, cherishing and regretting. Most of all, it was about how people can change due to some issue they faced. It was about growth and that was extremely impactful. Apollo’s self-reflection made me gave this book 5 stars.


This review was first published on my Goodreads account. 

Online Brain (garbage) Dump

A blog. Because everyone needs somewhere to store their ideas and opinions. 

Hello there (if by chance, there would be anyone who’d be reading this). This an online brain dump page where I’ll store all my ideas, thoughts and basically anything that I’d like to do. 
As an only child who has issues expressing certain thoughts and opinions, sharing interests and basically finding it difficult to unleash my creativity, a blog would probably be a safe space to do so. 
As of now, I don’t have any solid idea about what I’d be posting here. Potentially book reviews, gushing about certain movies and characters, writing stories – just things that I enjoy that could probably find a home here. 
Currently, I post book reviews on Goodreads. However, I’d prefer a home for my reviews, which would probably be here on my blog! I’ll be posting some of my old book reviews here to get a foundation started for this new blog, it will be interesting, I suppose. 
Till the next post. 
– J