Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind | Book Review

asdfghj

“Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re having  a relaxing Friday. I was planning on reading three books this week, but I only managed to read one book, because you know life gets in the way sometimes and you can’t do anything about that. Anyway, Perfume is a classic book that’s originally written in German. So many people have recommended this book to me, so I got it from my local bookstore, which was on sale. Lucky me I guess. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

This book takes place in France in the eighteenth century, and it follows the story of an orphan man named Grenouille, who was born with an exquisite sense of smell. The weird thing is that he has no scent of his own, like any human being, and he can’t even smell himself no matter how much he tries. He can recognize the scent of any object in the room and describe it. And on top of all that, he has the ability to recall any scent he has ever smelled. Later on, he becomes an apprentice for a perfumer named Baldini, and from this moment, his skill of creating scents develops better than before. One day, he comes across a young girl who has a unique scent that he’s never smelled anything like it before. After a couple of days, he kills the girl so he can keep as much of her scent as he can. However, Grenouille’s obsession with scents will make him question his self identity, and change his entire life.

I’ve never read any book like this one before. It literally blew my mind. The concept is very original, and thought provoking. The writing style of the book was brilliant, and so vivid. And the way Grenouille was describing everything he smelled made me feel like I was smelling the book while reading it. It’s one of those books that hold your attention from the first page. Also, this book gave me mixed emotions. And let me tell you that this book isn’t just about nice and wonderful scents. Throughout the story, Grenouille also describes how bad the streets smell, and the way women and men smell gross and disgusting all the time. Now let’s talk about Grenouille.

The beginning of the book was morbid. Grenouille has so much hatred towards humans, and his hatred increases a lot throughout the book. It’s like he lost hope with humanity, and he wants to do nothing with them, or even be around them. I think that because he grew up with a lack of affection, and he never experienced love in a healthy way, or any kind of relationship, which is really odd. From the moment he was born, nobody wanted to keep him, because he didn’t smell like normal babies. There was something off about him. And he was treated like someone who didn’t matter. Everyone ignored him and feared him. But, the only thing he had was his ability to compose any scent he has ever smelled. His skill is beyond comprehension, and he knew he had to take advantage of it. I’ve got to say that I hated/loved his character at the same time. He’s thoughtless, evil, and he has this pathological, and twisted side to his personality, which gave me the creeps. But, he knew how to take advantage of his own remarkable skill. I like his persistence and tolerance to work for other people, so he can train himself, and gain some experience when it comes to creating phenomenal scents. The first half of the book was really good, but then his quest to take hold of unusual and perfect scents depended on killing female teenagers in their sleep. I kid you not, the way he killed each girl gave me nightmares. While he was doing it, he had no sympathy whatsoever, and he only cared about himself. His striving for greatness wiped his feelings completely. Since he is scentless, he wanted to create different scents for himself, so he could manipulate people by each scent he pours on himself. I know it sounds crazy and terrifying. The end of the book was insane. I didn’t see that coming.

The book leaves you with many things to think about. Like whether our feelings towards each other, or the choices we make are unconsciously based on scents. It’s surely an interesting theory. The book is very graphic and disturbing. If you’re someone who can’t handle those kind of books, then don’t pick it up. But, if you like bizarre and spell binding books, then I definitely think you’re going to like this one. It’s a page turner, and the perfect book to read during the winter.

Advertisements

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley | Book Review

rftyghj

“If you look at the sky that way, it’s this massive shifting poem, or maybe a letter, first written by one author, and then, when the earth moves, annotated by another. So I stare and stare until, one day, I can read it.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re having a great day. Well, it’s the end of the first week of the new year, and to be frank with you, I’m not feeling it at all. I’ve been feeling sluggish all week, and even though I can totally blame it on my fever, I don’t think that’s why. And I haven’t read anything this week, which I feel so bad about that, but, I didn’t want to force myself, because that always takes away the joy of reading. Let’s just hope next week will be better. I’m just going to stop ranting about my life and actually start talking about Magonia. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

This book follows the story of a fifteen year old girl named Aza, who was born with a rare disease, that kept her from having a normal life. She feels suffocated all the time, and can’t breathe properly. But, her family is really supportive and they take care of her all the time. The strange thing is, she always hears someone calling her name, but she doesn’t know if this is real or she’s just hallucinating. One day, Aza sees a ship in the sky, and when she tells her friend Jason, he believes her. After that, something unexpected happens, and she is taken by a ship to Magonia. A place above the clouds where she can breathe easily, and talk without choking. In Magonia, she will learn the truth about who she is, and where she belongs to. However, there’s a war coming between Magonia and earth, and she has to determine who will she be fighting for.

Can we take a moment and talk about how astonishing and magical the book cover is? I literally could stare at it all day. It also reminds me of The 100 T.V show. Despite the mixed review about this book, I really liked it. I know the premise is weird and hard to process sometimes, which I can see why. Magonia is basically a place in the sky, where there are people who can shift themselves into birds, and each one of them has its own bird who lives inside their rib cages. Also, there are sky ships that roam through the clouds, and air pirates who always threaten to destroy Mgonia. But, the idea of this book is so unique and refreshing.  The writing style is so beautiful, and it pulls you in from the first page. Now let’s talk about the characters.

The book starts with Aza telling us about her life and how she feels about it in a witty, and an interesting way. I also love how this book portrays the family element in a good and supportive way. On the other hand, there’s her best friend Jason, who she grew up with. They’ve been friends since childhood. He’s a science nerd, who’s obsessed with anything that sounds too hard to believe. His sense of humor is really funny, and he’s always there for Aza no matter what.

I really want to talk more about the book, but I can’t do that without spoiling anything, so I’m not going to. As much as I like this book, there is one thing that I didn’t like, which is how fast paced the plot is. I felt like everything happened so fast, without leaving some room for processing what was happening. That’s my only complaint.  I’m pleased with how things ended in the book, and I like the fact that the book cover is so expressive. Because, when I finished it, and looked at the cover again, I realized that it tells the story of the whole book. I mean, at first the feather and the birds coming out of it, didn’t really make sense to me, but then it did. To wrap up my review, if you’re someone who likes bizarre and illogical stories, then I think you’ll love this one.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett | Book review

sgregeg

“Perhaps to be able to learn things quickly isn’t everything. To be kind is worth a great deal to other people. Lots of clever people have done harm and have been wicked.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re having an amazing day. Here’s the thing, I’m not much into reading classic books, but I love children’s classics so much, and I really enjoy them a lot. I don’t why, there’s just something heartwarming about them, or maybe because they remind me of my childhood. So, when I went to the bookstore last month, I bought A Little Princess. And I loved it. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

This book follows the story of Sara Crewe, who’s the daughter of a rich English man named Captain Ralph Crewe. She’s been born and raised in India. When she turns nine, her father sends her to a boarding school in London. She feels so sad that her father is leaving her, but he promises to visit her and sends her anything she wants. After a couple of weeks, Sara begins to adjust in her new school, and makes new friends. Unfortunately, on her eleventh birthday party, her father dies, and leaves her orphaned and poor. So, Miss Minchin decides to let her become a servant and take away all of her fancy things. However, Sara’s life is not what it used to be, and now she has to deal with many changes in order to survive.

I used to watch the anime series adaptation of the book when I was a kid, but reading the book is a different experience. I wish I read it when I was younger. It’s an inspiring yet so sad. It’s like one second, Sara has everything,  then suddenly, she loses it all. It’s heartbreaking  for a little girl to be left alone in the world without anyone taking care of her. There’s this part in the book where she went to her room and started crying, because she didn’t process the fact that her father is dead and she’s totally alone. I’m not gonna lie, this part made me cry. And I guess that’s why books are always better, because you feel like you get to know and understand the characters on a deeper level.

At the beginning of the story, Sara has everything she wants. A loving father, a comfortable life, fancy dresses, and expensive dolls. Her father always spoils her. But, Sara isn’t like any other princess. She’s well mannered, kind, and compassionate. And she has a great imagination. She loves telling stories and she has the skill to make people listen to her, and make her stories sound so real. And she doesn’t mind talking to people who aren’t rich, in fact, she befriends Becky, who’s a servant at her boarding school. But, her life takes another bad turn which makes it harder for her to keep her spirit up. And we see how this sudden transformation from being the girl with everything to the girl with nothing and no one challenges Sara. She struggles every single day to keep her head up high, and act like a princess even if she doesn’t look like one anymore. Because, she believes that kindness goes a long way. What her father taught her, stayed with her. She went through an awful misfortune, but her life took an unexpected turn, because she had faith that eventually things will get better and easier. On the contrary, Miss Minchin is the opposite of Sara. She’s super mean, cruel, and self-righteous. And she treats people based on their social class and how rich or poor they are. Also, she was super jealous of Sara, because she couldn’t believe that a nine year old girl could have so many fancy and expensive clothes and dolls.  When Sara had nothing, Miss Minchin ignored her and starved her. She was literally nothing to her. Even though Sara is younger than Miss Minchin, she’s more mature and reasonable than her. Which shows us that just because someone’s is older than you, doesn’t mean they’re always wise.

To wrap up my review, A little Princess is a story about having faith, and believing that no matter what you’re going through, it will be worth it at the end. It’s a heartwarming book with so many life lessons.  I highly recommend it.

A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern | Book Review

thrertgret

“It’s difficult to know which second among a lifetime of seconds is more special. Often when you realise how precious those seconds are, it’s too late for them to be captured because the moment has passed. We realise too late.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing great. The last book I read was really sad, and heartbreaking. So, I wanted to pick up a light book next, just to give myself a break from reading emotional books. And I picked up A Place Called Here. I just love the author’s imagination and creativity in her stories. Because, I’m really into magical, and out of this world kind of stories. If that makes sense. And this book was a great read. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

When a girl named Jenny-May Butler disappears, Sandy Short becomes obsessed with searching for lost things, and where they disappear. Every time she loses a hairbrush, or a pair of socks, she literally flips the house upside down, just to find her missing things. Years later, Sandy decides to run ‘A Missing Persons Agency’ by her own, and help other people find their missing loved ones, because doing that brings her peace in a strange way. One day, a guy named Jack calls Sandy, and asks her to help him find his missing brother. But, a strange thing happens to her the next day. She wakes up and finds herself in a a completely strange world away from everyone she knows. And she is confused whether this place is real, or just a dream. However, all she wants now is to find her way back home.

This is the second book I read by Cecelia Ahern, and I totally loved it. The premise is strange, and it’s really hard to get into, but the more you read, the more things start to pick up and make sense. It was really hard to put the book down, because I desperately wanted to know if Sandy will find her way home or not, and the whole point of her disappearance. It’s the kind of a book that makes you ask yourself so many questions about the characters, especially Sandy Short. Her obsession with finding every missing object, or even a person grew with her. Her parents used to tell her that a missing object will finally show up if you stopped looking. But, she didn’t believe in letting go, she believed that everything, or everyone disappears  for a reason, and she was determined to figure out whatever the reason was. I liked how smart and curious she is. But, I hated how she didn’t appreciate having caring parents. I also loved the parts of the book where Sandy was talking with her school counselor, because I feel like I got to know her better. The only thing I didn’t like was the fact that they fell in love with each other. I don’t know, but it seemed off for some reason, and unrealistic. I understand that he’s very likable, and patient, but their relationship felt forced. Other than, I really liked his personality and how he was helping Sandy.

The end of the book was a happy one, but there were still some loose ends, and questions that I wanted to know the answers to. Overall, I think this book made me realize that sometimes what we are constantly searching  for is right there in front of us, but most times we don’t really see it. To wrap up my review, A place Called Here is a heartwarming story, with interesting characters, that you won’t stop thinking about. If you’re someone who likes books with magical realism, then I recommend this one for you.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah | Book Review

drtfghyjk

“If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are. Today’s young people want to know everything about everyone. They think talking about a problem will solve it. I come from a quieter generation. We understand the value of forgetting, the lure of reinvention.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing great. The Nightingale is one of the books that I wanted to read before the year ends, because I heard so much about it. I finished it last week, and I’m still having a book hangover. I want to read another book, but I can’t seem to let go of the story and the characters yet. The struggle is real. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

This book follows the lives of two sisters during world war two. Vianne is happily married and has one daughter named Sophie. She’d never thought the war would come, but when her husband tells her that he’s going to the front, her life is not the same anymore. The invasion of France has begun, and everything Vianne had dreamed of vanished away. On the other hand, Isabelle is still young but reckless. And she is willing to fight the enemy and defend her country not matter what. When the man she loved abandons her, she joins the French Resistance Movement and leaves her old life behind. However, Vianne and Isabelle’s lives will intersect during one of the most painful and terrifying times, and the war will force them to make risky choices in order to stay alive.

I’m a big fan of historical fiction books, because every time I read one, I learn some facts and stories that really happened or I’ve never heard of, which is awesome. Even if the story is not based on a real war story, it always leaves me with something. When I started reading The Nightingale, I didn’t expect the story to be a rollercoaster of emotions. It was literally heart wrenching. And I think what makes this story interesting, is that it’s about the relationship of two sisters during the German invasion of France. Their childhood wasn’t perfect, because their mother died, and their father was always drunk and upset. What they went through as little girls taught them so much. When it comes to Vianne, she’s become a teacher and a loving mother who appreciated her family more than anything. Even when the war started, keeping Sophie alive was her priority. And Isabelle changed from being an impetuous  girl into a courageous and strong woman who helped so many people. She wanted to be known for her bravery and fighting for her country. Her character development was remarkable. She went through hell to save people from getting killed. She is such a role model.

My favorite thing about the story is that it focuses on the role of woman during the war. Like Vianne who helped many children. And Isabelle, who helped so many men with the her friends in the French Resistance Movement. They both helped and fought in different ways. The story also shows how the German Nazi soldiers were treating the French people, and how they made them lose their jobs just because of their religion. Everyone was struggling from the lack of food and money at that time of war. People were killed and some of them were sent to the Ravensbrück concentration camp. Reading about all of that was heartbreaking. It’s impossible to read this book without crying. So keep a tissue box beside you, because trust me, the end will make you ugly cry.

To wrap up my review, The Nightingale isn’t  just a story  about war, it’s a story about family, love, survival, and sacrifice. And what people are willing to do just to protect their loved ones. It’s a haunting and tear jerking story. I highly recommend it.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult | Book Review

fghbjnk

“What if, ladies and gentlemen, today I told you that anyone here who was born on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday was free to leave right now? Also, they’d be given the most central parking spots in the city, and the biggest houses. They would get job interviews before others who were born later in the week, and they’d be taken first at the doctor’s office, no matter how many patients were waiting in line. If you were born from Thursday to Sunday, you might try to catch up – but because you were straggling behind, the press would always point to how inefficient you are. And if you complained, you’d be dismissed for playing the birth-day card.” I shrug. “Seems silly, right? But what if on top of these arbitrary systems that inhibited your chances for success, everyone kept telling you that things were actually pretty equal?”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing great. I’m pretty sure everyone knows Jodi Picoult, because she’s quite popular. I only read Between The Lines three years ago, and I loved it. And ever since then, I’ve been wanting to read more of her books. So, when I picked up Small Great Things, I had high expectations of the story, and honestly, this book exceeded all of them, and I didn’t think it would affect me this much. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

This book follows the story of an African American woman named Ruth. She is a labor and delivery nurse. One day at the hospital, a new baby is born. So, Ruth goes to the baby to examine him and make sure he’s fine. While she’s doing her job, the father tells her that he doesn’t want her to touch his baby, and he wants another nurse. Ruth feels so upset about the fact that he only told her that because she’s black. The next morning, while Ruth is monitoring the baby, his heart starts to collapse. Even though she was told not to touch the baby, she starts CPR, because at this moment nothing matters except keeping this baby’s alive. But, when the father sees her, he decides to file a lawsuit, because he believes she killed his son out of hate. A few days later, Ruth is charged with murder, and her medical license is suspended. After that, her case is taken by a white public defender named Kennedy. Ruth finds out that the baby’s parents are white supremacist, and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to see her in prison. However, Kennedy tells Ruth that if she wants to win the case, she shouldn’t talk about racism in court.

The story is told through three points of view. Ruth who’s an African American nurse that has a son named Edison. Turk who’s a white supremacist and the father of the baby. And Kennedy, who’s a white public defender. We get to hear everyone’s side of the story which is really interesting. Because each one has a different opinion about the murder case.

Ruth has lived her life doing everything as she was told. She raised her son Edison, and he’s a smart kid. She’s worked in the hospital more than twenty years, yet none of her friends there stood up for her when Turk blamed her. They told her she was exaggerating, but she knew that had nothing to do with how she felt, it was about her race. I sympathized with her, because she went through so much to become a nurse. Her mom taught her to work harder and not complain. She dedicated herself to her job, yet that wasn’t enough. And it was heartbreaking.

Turk’s chapters in the book were the hardest for me to read. Because he made me sick to my stomach. He’s all about violence and hurting black people. Even his wife was a white supremacist, and she encouraged him to hurt more people. They’re both disgusting. And they bonded over hate instead of love. Reading about his life literally made me want to vomit.

Kennedy is Ruth’s defender. She’s really good at her job, and she’s willing to help Ruth no matter what. But, she had no idea what Ruth has endured her entire life. And she learned a lot from her. I really liked how they became friends, even though sometimes  things were intense between them.

This book is based on a true story, and real people. And it’s such a powerful story that deals with important, and heavy topics. Like racism, white supremacy, violence. And I have to admit that it was an uncomfortable read, because it made me aware of things that I haven’t thought about before, and it made me remember so many moments when people I know, made a racial joke or comment on someone, because their skin color was different. I wish I could go back in time and say something. There were moments in the book that showed acts of racism that most people don’t really pay close attention to. Like when Ruth went to the supermarket with Kennedy, and when they were leaving, the security guard asked Ruth to step aside, so he can search her bags, even though he knew she paid for them. Why didn’t he ask Kennedy instead? I felt angry for what happened to Ruth, and I didn’t imagine the story would get into me that deeply.

I’m really fond of the book title, and it carries a good meaning. The small things that all of the characters did, led them to have great things in the future. I still don’t know how to feel about the end of the book, because it’s too idealistic. Regardless, I loved this book. To wrap up my review, Small Great Things is a thought provoking story about racial discrimination, white supremacy, and what happens in court when those issues are discussed. It’s the kind of book that you want to talk about with other people. I highly recommend it.

 

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly | Book Review

dfcgvhbjnk

“Reading became my sanctuary,” Belle continued. “I found so much in those books. I found histories that inspired me. Poems that delighted me. Novels that challenged me…” Belle paused, suddenly self-conscious. She looked down at her hands, and in a wistful voice, said, “What I really found, though, was myself.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing great. I’m really excited for today’s blog post, because it’s about one of my favorite Disney stories. So, when I saw ‘Lost In A Book’ at the bookstore, I couldn’t resist not to buy it, because it’s a retelling of Beauty And The Beast, and it has a gorgeous cover, like seriously, you could stare at it all day. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

The story starts with Belle in the Beast’s castle. When he notices how unhappy she is, he gives her the library in the castle as a gift. Belle feels so excited to spend her days surrounded by books, and to read any book she wants. One Day, as Belle wanders around the library, she stumbles upon a book called Nevermore. This book isn’t like any book she’s ever read. In fact, Nevermore is a magical book that Belle can teleport herself into it’s perfect world any times she wishes. After a while, she gets attached to it, and ignores her reality. Her friends in the castle start to notice her constant absence, and feel worried bout her. However, Nevermore has its own rules to follow, and if Belle doesn’t pay attention to them, she will be trapped in it forever.

Here’s the thing, I’m really obsessed with Disney fairy tales. Especially Beauty And The Beast. I just like how wise, and smart Belle is. And on top of all that, she’s a bookworm.  So, we all know the original story, but in this book things are so different. The story is a strange mix between The Beauty And The Beast and Alice In Wonderland. And I loved it.

Belle resembles Alice’s personality a lot. Belle is not the character we all know. It’s like every time she jumped into Nevermore, she stopped thinking in a reasonable way. And she started comparing her old life to the magical one, and the luxury of the perfect life she’s missing out on. Also, she’s so curious to the point where her curiosity led her to many dangers. Most of the time, I felt like I was reading about Alice instead of Belle. Because she is as naïve as Alice. I didn’t really mind that, it just felt weird to me. When it comes to the other characters, I felt really sad for them, because they felt abandoned by Belle, even though they offered their help, she didn’t take it at first, but when her life was at stake, she asked for them to help her. I don’t know if it’s just me, but she was quite selfish at times. My only complaint about this book is the fact that there wasn’t much of the Beast’s point of view. I didn’t feel his presence in the story that much, and I really wanted to know what he would say or think at times. I think what makes this book unique and different, is that at the beginning of the story, we are introduced to Love and Death as sisters, who are fighting over Belle’s fate. It was such a captivating beginning. Also, the end of the story was fast, and I wanted more of the story. Other than that, Lost In A book is a magical and adventurous story about love, family, and friendship. It’s an easy and fluffy book, and if you’re a fan of Beauty And The Beast, I recommend this one for you.