Looking For Good Books – Literary Fiction

August 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

I normally read people’s reviews before I picked up any books to read. Sometimes they might go beyond my expectation and sometimes they were not even close. These days, I don’t read much but it doesn’t stop me from looking for exciting books to read. Goodreads.com, for me, is the best website that I use to search for books and read the readers’ reviews. So, after a long hiatus I found a few books which I think might be interesting and enjoyable reads.

  

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel  – “But this book is different. It touches so many points of view from different perspectives, tackling almost all the check points in any of your post-apocalyptic imagination. And I enjoyed every page.” – Bluecrystaldude @ Goodreads

The Ecliptic by Benjamin Wood – “The author explores Knells early life with an absorbing portrait of her study, apprenticeship, first paintings and exhibition. Superbly drawn scenes and conversation pieces are sharp and seductively described. Her love life and emotions brought to life believable and real.” – David (atOMGthatBook) @ Goodreads

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah “Kristin Hannah captures the horror, the hunger, the heart, the biting contrast between humanity and inhumanity with an eloquence that left me breathless and ugly crying. Alongside the atrocities there are moments of great tenderness, love and always hope. This story is one big ‘feel’ and that’s what makes it unforgettable.” – Sheree @ Goodreads

  

Speak by Louisa Hall – Powerfully written in its complexity, and diverse in narrative style, Speak is sheer brilliance in its construction and delivery. Fans of David Mitchell’s ‘Cloud Atlas’, Emily St. John Mandel’s ‘Station Eleven’ and Erin Morgenstern’s ‘The Night Circus’ should seek this one out as a ‘must read’.” – Sharon @ Goodreads

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood “This book has floored me. I am left totally in awe of Margaret Atwood, but also kind of creeped out because only the strangest of minds would be able to produce ‘The Heart Goes Last’.” – Kelsey Myers @ Goodreads

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr “Gorgeous, magical writing. Doerr uses imagery and metaphor in ways that exceed expectation; he captures beauty and sensation with his words but never goes overboard.” – Thomas @ Goodreads

Movie Review: Insurgent “Going the Opposite Direction”

April 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

Title: Insurgent | Director: Robert Schwentke
Writer: Brian Duffield, Veronica Roth
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet
Rating: 2 Cups of Coffee

“Dark times call for extreme measures. You may find it hard to believe, but I am serving the greater good.”  ~Jeanine Matthews

Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) are now fugitives on the run, hunted by Jeanine (Kate Winslet), the leader of the power-hungry Erudite elite. Racing against time, they must find out what Tris’s family sacrificed their lives to protect, and why the Erudite leaders will do anything to stop them. Haunted by her past choices but desperate to protect the ones she loves, Tris, with Four at her side, faces one impossible challenge after another as they unlock the truth about the past and ultimately the future of their world.

My Review

Divergent is one of my favorite movies based on dystopian novels. I was blown away by its world building and the characters development in which far better that the book version. So, I have high expectations for the whole movie franchise which can be more successful than its close cousin The Hunger Game. However, judging by its latest installment, it seems that the movie franchise is heading to the opposite way of what I have in mind. Insurgent came out flat and less intriguing as compared to its predecessor which is full of edgy actions and more solid plot line.

Insurgent picks up a few days after the final event in Divergent. Tris makeover is a major change in this movie. I like her new appearance but don’t you think she’s loosing weight? She looks skinny. Shailene Woodley as Tris and Kate Winslet as Jeanine are two characters that save this movie from humility. They plays their respective parts very well. Woodley portrays Tris’s inner conflict and guilty towards what were happened in the past brilliantly even though other characters around her feel lifeless and static including Four,Caleb, and Christina. Jeanine’s parts with her chilly and forbidding demeanor is really convincing. I wish the entrance of Four’s estranged mother, Evelyn, as a leader of Factionless can give a major turn of event to the story but sadly, her appearance is just superficial and not much to keep me interested except for her beauty.

In a nutshell, Insurgent can’t quite live to its intriguing set up though its book counterpart is fantastic. In the movie, even if you’re curious about it, it is often plodding and frequently nonsensical, with the action that never exhilarating or thrilling except for when Tris’s fight with her Dauntless nemesis Peter at the beginning and Eric relentless energy in the pursuit of the outcast Divergent. Fortunately, it ends on a mysterious and intriguing note and with a bullet in the head.

Book Review: The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer

April 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

Title: The Sins of the Father | Author: Jeffrey Archer
Series: The Clifton Chronicles Book 2 | Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback | Date Finished: April 4, 2015
Rating: 4 Cups of Coffee

Only days before Britain declares war on Germany, Harry Clifton, hoping to escape the consequences of long-buried family secrets, and forced to accept that his desire to marry Emma Barrington will never be fulfilled, has joined the Merchant Navy.  But his ship is sunk in the Atlantic by a German U-boat, drowning almost the entire crew.  An American cruise liner, the SS Kansas Star, rescues a handful of sailors, among them Harry and the third officer, an American named Tom Bradshaw.  When Bradshaw dies in the night, Harry seizes on the chance to escape his tangled past and assumes his identity. But on landing in America, he quickly learns the mistake he has made, when he discovers what is awaiting Bradshaw in New York.  Without any way of proving his true identity, Harry Clifton is now chained to a past that could be far worse than the one he had hoped to escape. – Goodreads

My Review

I took me two years before picking this second book of The Clifton Chronicles series. What was I doing during that period of time? But I am so glad I started to read the series again because I thoroughly enjoyed the first book Only Time Will Tell, and The Sins of the Father is just exceptionally intriguing. At the beginning I was thinking, “Should I read its predecessor one more time to jog the memory or I just read the second one nonetheless?”. I choose the later option and I am so glad that as I read through the book, all the memory bounce back effortlessly. I am amazed.

Needless to say, Jeffrey Archer is one of the best storyteller of all time. He did an exquisite job with each of his novels. Well, who can make me to finish a book in one day? But he did! From the dockyard of Bristol to the city of New York, from the prisons to the courtrooms, and from the publishing houses to army camps, he brilliantly narrates the books from multiple characters perspectives and I just love it all. Emma’s and Giles’ adventures are among my favorite in this book but Harry’s side of story that keep me at the edge of my sit. Hugo’s and Maisie’s stories in the other hand fit so well making the book a gripping read and I am so happy that their stories come together beautifully in the end, but of course it is a cliffhanger.

I already bought the third installment  and can’t wait to devour it! I know the third one would be much into political thingy but I really want to see Harry get married to Emma and I can’t wait to see who is (are) going to be the next antagonist since Hugo Barrington is now dead (ops! spoiler). For those who want to read a good historical fiction with romance, revenge, secrets and mysteries intertwined, you should start the Clifton Chronicles.

Book Review: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

April 6, 2015 § 2 Comments

Title: The Husband’s Secret | Author: Liane Moriarty
Series: Stand Alone | Genre: Drama, Family
Format: Paperback | Date Finished: April 3, 2015
Rating: 4 Cups of Coffee

“Some secrets are meant to stay secret forever.”

Imagine your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret – something so terrible it would destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others too. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive . Cecilia Fitzpatrick achieved it all – she’s an incredibly successful business woman, a pillar of her small community and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia – or each other – but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s devastating secret

My Review

I really like The Husband’s Secret though it was a little bit too predictable for me. Half way through the book I already know what is coming next and how it will end. But that doesn’t make it a boring read because it is full with emotions and at times you feel like consoling them, making them smile, trying to make peace between them, and sometimes you just feel like punching the hard to make them forget of their egos. In short I am so involved with the story.  A book that can make me shed tears is definitely a good book. Reading in multiple point of views is quite and enjoyable experience for me as usual. I really liked the way author crafts the story, it is straightforward but emotional and gripping. To put together a few characters with their own lives entangled in one story can be tricky but Moriarty did it well.

I like the mysteries and secrets around Cecelia’s family, Rachel’s grieving is just painful even for me, and Tess’s rocky marriage, I don’t know how she fits in the big picture, but I am so involved in her side of story nonetheless. However, I have a secret to tell here. I am not genuinely in love with the three main characters because they’re so impulsive, egocentric, and too emotional. I wish the author can write a prequel for this book but I would love to read it from John-Paul’s, Will’s, and Rob’s POIs because these characters are also affected by the “disasters” happened in the story but Moriarty doesn’t bother to let us know how they really feel, but I understand that this is a women fiction book. All in all, this is a bullet train read that I really enjoyed but still insist for the prequel I suggested (Haha). I recommend this for all Jodi Picoult’s or Diane Chamberlain’s fans out there.

Movie Review: Kingsman – The Secret Service “Action With Style”

February 24, 2015 § Leave a comment

Title: Kingsman: The Secret Service | Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writer: Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson
Rating: 4 Cups of Coffee

“Manners maketh man. Do you know what that means? Then let me teach you a lesson”

Based upon the acclaimed comic book and directed by Matthew Vaughn, Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. Written by 20th Century Fox. – IMDb

My Review

Brilliantly hilarious! Kingsman: The Secret Agent is a fantastic movie and I left the cinema with a mind-blowing satisfaction. It is fresh and funny, I love the British setting, their accent, I just loved it! the actions are intense though violent at times, memorable and unique characters, and I loved their costumes! I have to be honest here that throughout the movie I paid a detail attention to every clothes attires that the characters are wearing. Galahad’s and Merlin’s suits, Valentine’s and Eggsy’s caps, sneakers, jeans, and sweaters, oh, so high fashion and stylish. I wish my wardrobe have all of them!

For the acting, It was superb. I am a huge fan of Colin Firth. He played a stuttering king in The King’s Speech, a traumatized war hostage in The Railway Man, a violence and a psychotic husband in Before I Go to Sleep, and he proves himself in this movie that he also can play a kick-ass secret agent. Definitely a versatile gentleman. Samuel L. Jackson as Valentine, yo! His characters was totally cool and weird in a good way dude. He is a genius megalomaniac but surprisingly maybe this is my first time watching a super villain with hemophobia. Seriously? and Taron Egerton? I think..Eggy..I mean, Eggsy is doing great. Although he is standing among the big stars like Firth, Jackson and Caine, he got what it takes to be a young, problematic, and mischievous agent.

The movie is great, no doubt. However there are a few scenes that I think very disturbing such the church scene and the dialogue between Eggsy and the royalty who was kept in captive. The scene when the heads are exploding was a total joke, I don’t really liked it, sorry. But all in all, this movie is a cool action comedy. If you you think this is just another James 007 Bond movie, you are wrong. Go and watch by yourself.

WWW Wednesdays 18/02/2015

February 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

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This is a weekly meme hosted by MizB @ Should be Reading encourages the readers to share what they’re currently reading, books they’re recently finished reading, and what they’re about to read next. So, here’s this week’s take for me.

        

What are you currently reading?

I am reading Night Film by Marisha Pessl. Currently at pg. 149 and I am so excited what is going to happened next!

What did you recently finished reading?

Just finished with Allegiant by Veronica Roth. Read my review on this final book of the Divergent series >>HERE<<

What do you think you’ll read next?

Maybe The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson or Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan & John Green

Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

February 18, 2015 § Leave a comment

Title: Allegiant | Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #3 | Genre: Dystopia, YA Fiction
Format: Paperback | Date Finished: February 17, 2015
Rating: 2 Cups of Coffee

“Can I be forgiven for all I’ve done to get here?”

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. –Goodreads

My Review

I don’t really enjoy the first book Divergent, but I was totally invested in the second installment, Insurgent. Then, I was so excited for the final book, Allegiant. I went in with hopeful anticipation but reality hit me so hard and I came out feeling..meh, disappointed.

The main reason that frustrate me is because it lacks of adrenaline rushed actions that could put me at the edge of my seat, I really need that! Beatrice is a total bad-ass , I know she is. Tobias also one of my favorite characters in the previous installments but where was him? I mean where was Four that I knew? And I knew that this two is in love, but enough of those kissing, it was too much. Romance is good but I need more actions! or at least a breathtaking conflict between the Allegiant and whoever they were fighting against because that is what the story is all about, right? Another thing that feel so wrong about this book is the confusing interpretation of molecular biology/ human genetics by Roth. I know that this is all fiction but your imagination of genetics is ridiculous. I don’t really know how many times the words genetically damaged and genetically pure words are repeated throughout the whole story I lost count. It was pretty annoying that the Roth just used the words without having concrete justifications of it. Maybe I should use the serum to reset her.

 Despite of all wrong things, I don’t have problem with the ending because I honestly think it was cool. It’s may be not the best ending but it was cool. The dual-narratives approach taken by the Roth also is a brilliant idea because I always enjoyed reading from different points of views. As a whole, Divergent series is cool and if any of you want to read a crappy molecular biology book, Allegiant is for you.

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