The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt | Book Review

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“And as much as I’d like to believe there’s a truth beyond illusion, I’ve come to believe that there’s no truth beyond illusion. Because, between ‘reality’ on the one hand, and the point where the mind strikes reality, there’s a middle zone, a rainbow edge where beauty comes into being, where two very different surfaces mingle and blur to provide what life does not: and this is the space where all art exists, and all magic.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing great. I’ve spent today’s afternoon cleaning my room, because it really was a total mess and I just couldn’t handle it anymore. Anyway, I’m glad that I finally read The Goldfinch this year, because everyone keeps praising this book, and I wanted to know if it’s worth hype or not, and it was definitely worth it. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

This book follows the story of a thirteen year old boy named Theo, who lives in New York with his mother. She’s passionate about art, especially about a painting called The Goldfinch. His father is an alcoholic, and he left them a long time ago. One day, Theo goes to a museum along with his mother to see that painting, but unfortunately, something terrible happens, which makes his mother passes away. Before Theo gets out of the museum while everyone is terrified and everything is shattered, he takes away The Goldfinch painting with him and hides it. However, this painting will affect Theo’s life tremendously in a way he has never expected.

I honestly don’t know why it took me so long to read this book! I’ve heard mixed opinions about it, but I finally decided to give it a shot and it definitely exceeded my expectations. The writing style is so detailed and very slow paced, but in a way that makes you feel attached to the main character from the first pages. The story is told through Theo’s perspective at the beginning when he’s thirteen years old until his late twenties. So, when I started reading the first couple of pages I felt like I was inside Theo’s head because of the way he describes his life and analyzes every situation. He has a very interesting and curious perspective on the world, and I think that’s what makes this book so absorbing. And my favorite thing is that Theo sounds exactly like his age, unlike some books which sometimes the main character in them sound more mature than their age.

SPOILER ALAERT! Don’t read the rest of my book review if you haven’t read the book!

When Theo’s mother dies, he goes through painful times trying to accept what happened, and it’s so heartbreaking because he’s all alone. And throughout the book he goes through some phases of heartache and disappointment. Firstly, he lives with his friend’s family, and he feels like he always has to win their hearts and not ever show them how torn and sad he is on the inside. It’s like he’s pretending that everything is ok, but it’s really not, it’s so much worse. Secondly,  he leaves them and moves to Las Vegas to live with his father and his girlfriend. He feels so angry and sorry for what his mom went through with his alcoholic father, because he never treated her well at all, and seeing his father treats his girlfriend so good reminds him of so many moments that his mom felt so broken and betrayed by her husband. In Las Vegas he becomes friends with a boy named Boris, and they form a bond over sharing their sorrow and pain with each other through drinking alcohol and using drugs, which I felt it was too much sometimes to the point where they would end up dead, but gladly they didn’t. The whole point of using too many drugs is to numb and neglect their pain all day, and it was really so freaking sad that I felt so sorry for them. Thirdly, Theo leaves Las Vegas and returns to New York, and start working with Hobbie as an art dealer, and we see how he struggles with his emotions being back where he and his mother used to live. Fourthly, he makes major wrong choices with his life, so he decides to leave everything behind him to reconnect with himself and reflects on his life and do better. I really liked this part, because he finally started to take care of himself.

As much as I fell in love with this book and Theo’s world, there’s something that I didn’t like, which is how all the female characters have no depth at all, I just didn’t like any of them except Theo’s mother. Unlike the male characters! They were written in a way that makes you feel like you know them personally, and you can decide whether you love or hate them, but I couldn’t tell how I felt about the female characters, and it was so weird. Other than that, the book is excellent. To wrap up my review, The Goldfinch is a heartfelt and powerful story about loss, love, pain, and how can art affect our lives tremendously.

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The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman | Book Review

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“You don’t think ahead in years or months: you think about this hour, and maybe the next. Anything else is speculation.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing well. It’s been a week since I finished The Light Between Oceans, but I didn’t have the time to post a review. I feel bad, but what can you do? Being an adult is not easy. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

This book follows the story of a man named Tom who fought in world war one. After the war, Tom is so overwhelmed with everything he saw there and the death of his friends, so he decides to live in a quiet place in order to gather his thoughts and find peace within himself. Before he moves to a small island called Janus Rock and becomes a light keeper, he meets Isabel and marries her, and she agrees to live with him on the island. Unfortunately, things with Isabel hasn’t turned out so well. She had three miscarriages and she’s been feeling devastated and broken lately. Days later, a boat shows up on the shore carrying a baby girl with her dead father. However, Tom and Isabel have to decide what to do with the baby, and agree on a final decision.

I started reading this book with high expectations, because I heard good things about it. There’s also a movie adaptation, and someone recommended it to me, so I decided to read the book first. But, I didn’t really enjoy it that much, especially the first half of the book. It didn’t really pull me in or made feel something toward the characters, even though the premise seemed interesting and a little bit different than what I always read. Some chapters were good, and others were boring and made me fall asleep. I was going to give up on this book, but decided to continue on reading, and thank God after 200 pages things started to get better and more engaging. And I kind of sympathized with the characters and the choices they made. I think I like Tom’s personality more than isabel’s, because he’s so reasonable and he cares so much about his wife’s happiness that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make her feel happy. I don’t hate Isabel, but I also don’t like her. I just find her so selfish and she only cares about her happiness regardless of the consequences of her choices that will affect people around her. And I think that’s because she’s living in a place away from people, which made her crave connection in a way that messed up her life.

The end of the book was so emotional it literally made me cry! I didn’t see it coming honestly. As I said, I really like the story, but I think the execution didn’t do it justice. To wrap up my review, The Light Between Oceans is a story about unconditional love, loss, forgiveness, and how sometimes they make people closer than ever.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood | Book review

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“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing great. Sometimes, when I read a good book, I find it hard to say what I think about it, because somehow it changed the way I think about some things, or made me realize some issues that I weren’t aware of them enough. And The Handmaid’s Tale is a story that once you read it, you won’t forget about it. It’s one of those stories that are really hard to shake off your mind. So, without further ado, let’s review this book!

The story is set in the post apocalyptic future where the U.S. government is taken over by the Republic of Gilead, which aims to control the society, change people, and bring the old values back. When they declare their takeover, people feel so frightened, and so many of them try to run away. Unfortunately, they have so much power, and they begin to hold people against their will. And most importantly, they look for women who are fertile, because they believe these women can help grow the society of Gilead. After that, they are taken to the women’s center, where they can learn the rules, follow them, and stick to the schedule of work. However, Offred, one of the handmaid’s tells the story of her life before everything changed. And through her perspective, we learn how terrible things go in Gilead.

I honestly can’t believe why I’ve been avoiding this book! Every time I want to read it, I pick a different book. I’m just glad I gave it a chance, because it’s definitely an unforgettable read! The idea that the society can change overnight is so scary. And having no say over your life at all is legit so frightening. This book is so dark, and bleak, but so gripping. It’s so freaking hard to put it down, even though there’s no plot twist, and things go slowly inside the house of the commander, somehow the story is still interesting. I loved the writing style of Margaret Atwood, and I found it so incredibly engaging.

Despite the fact that we don’t even know the real name of Offred, the narrator of the story, it’s so easy to get attached to her and feel what she’s going through in that horrid house. You can sense her fear and pain of not knowing what happened to her family, and how awful it is to be trapped in Gilead with no way out. Throughout the story, she remembers some flashbacks from her past with her husband and daughter, and I think that’s something she does a lot, to somehow preserve her identity, and remind herself that she’s not Offred, she is someone else. Also, in Gilead, the handmaids are not allowed to read, write, talk, own anything, or even see like normal people do. They wear big hats and always look down while they walk around the house. They are treated like a disposable object. If they don’t get pregnant after sleeping with the commander for the third time, they will be punished. Things can always go worse in Gilead. There are also side characters that we learn about their lives before, and after Gilead takeover. The only thing I wanted more of this book is to know how people outside the house of the commander are coping with the drastic and scary changes in this new society. I was super curious to know how they’re feeling and living their new life. The end of the book was not expected, I mean we don’t get a final closure, but you can guess how things went with Offerd.

It honestly blows my mind that this book was written years ago, because it feels like it was written a year ago or something. The way women are raped, and tortured, in Gilead is so awful. And they don’t have the choice to refuse that. They stripped their identity away, and It’s heartbreaking how Gilead is exploiting them. In there, women are the blame for everything, but men for some reason are innocents. It’s just insane how sometimes we see this in our society, and how women are blamed for things they have nothing to do with. To wrap up my review, The Handmaid’s Tale is an intriguing yet disturbing read that will definitely leave you with lots to think about, and so many questions. It’s a masterpiece and I would recommend it to anyone who is into dystopian fiction.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott | Book Review

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“Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing great. Over the weekend, I didn’t get to read anything, because I was babysitting my sister’s kids, and there was barely any free time to sit and read quietly. So, I finished reading Little Women on Sunday, which was honestly more enjoyable than I thought. I don’t why, but I don’t buy classic books that much, but I promised myself to read more this year, and so far so good. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

The story follows the lives of the four March sisters, who live in a cozy house with their mother, and Hannah, the housemaid. It’s Christmas time and their father is away fighting in the civil war. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are so sad, because they’re not celebrating this special time of the year with their beloved father. It’s a hard time and their wealth is not as it used to be, so each one of them has to work to support and help their mother. However, throughout the story we get to know the March sisters more as they grow up, find love, and discover their passion.

I’ve always wanted to read this book and I’m beyond happy that I did. I used to watch the anime adaptation of this book when I was a kid, but reading the story feels different and so much better. I was afraid I won’t like it, but I ended up loving it, to the point where I just wished it was longer. I honestly expected the writing style to be difficult, but it was easy to follow. The side characters made the story more interesting and enjoyable. I loved Laurie, even though he was annoying at times, but I think he would be the perfect brother. When it comes to the March sisters, each one of them is totally different and has her own idea of femininity. My favorite thing about this book is that it reveals to us their flaws and the way they’re dealing with them, especially in a society that expects girls to look and act perfectly all the time. Mrs. March is against the idea of typical gender roles, and we see it through the way she teaches her daughters to be passionate, courageous, ad follow their dreams. Like Joe, for example, she hates dresses, parties, and she has tomboyish hair, but her parents are letting her live her life the way she wants. I really like Mrs. March. She’s so patient and kind to her daughters. The only character I didn’t like was Beth, even though she is a big helper to her sisters. But she just wants to stay home, cleans, and never wants to go out in the real world. Home is her happy place, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but the thing is that she doesn’t have a dream, ambition, or an opinion of her own. I just don’t like characters like that. Even though the end of the book is predictable, the story was such a heartwarming one.

To wrap up my book review, Little Women is a delightful story about the adventures of four sisters. They’re so different, yet you can’t help not to see yourself in one of them. In the hardest times ever, the sisterly love between them is what keeps them together. Surrounded by their mother, every day she tells them a story or a valuable lesson about life. It’s one of those books that will definitely take a place in your heart.

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon | Book Review

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“We have big, beautiful brains. We invent things that fly. Fly. We write poetry. You probably hate poetry, but it’s hard to argue with ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate’ in terms of sheer beauty. We are capable of big lives. A big history. Why settle? Why choose the practical thing, the mundane thing? We are born to dream and make the things we dream about.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing great. I was sick the last couple of days, but today I feel much better. I’ve watched many episodes of my favorite tv shows, and I managed to finish The Sun Is Also a Star, which was way better than I expected. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

This story takes place in New York and it follows the lives of two teenagers. Natasha is a Jamaican immigrant who’s been living in America since she was eight. She believes in science and wants to be a data scientist. Unfortunately, her family is going to be deported to Jamaica in less than a day. On the other hand, Daniel is a Korean American boy whose parents have big expectations for his future, and they want him to be a doctor. But, he wants to be a poet, and he believes in fate, and coincidences. However, Daniel and Natasha will meet unexpectedly and they will fall in love with each other.

I know what you’re thinking. A story about two people who fall in love in less than a day? That sounds so cliché right? But it’s not at all what you expect. I thought it was going to be silly and predictable, but I was completely wrong. This story is realistic, funny, yet so sad sometimes. It’s told through Natasha and Daniel’s perspectives, and It talks about immigration rights, the struggles of immigrants, and how hard it is for some parents to provide everything for their kids. I loved how short the chapters are, the side characters, and their back stories, which made me like the book more. The writing style is simple, very enjoyable, and it flows beautifully in a way that touches your heart. There are so many heartfelt quotes in this book that I just want to print out and hang them in my room, because they’re so relatable, and every time I read some of them, they just give me all the feels.

There are two kinds of people. Rational people who believe in logic, and other people who believe in fate. And that’s how Natasha and Daniel are. They’re both different, but in a way they complete each other, and their connection doesn’t seem forced or something, it just feels so right. Also, Daniel’s sense of humor is everything, he just made me laugh a lot. I really admire Natasha’s stubbornness, and I can relate to her personality. When it comes to the end of the story, I really liked it, because it felt so real to me. To wrap up my review, The Sun Is Also a Star is a heartwarming story about family, love, and taking chances. It’s a reminder that no matter how much you plan your future, you never know what it holds for you.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline | Book Review

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“People who matter in our lives stay with us, haunting our most ordinary moments. They’re with us in the grocery store, as we turn a corner, chat with a friend. They rise up through the pavement; we absorb them through our souls.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing great. It feels like summer already, and I’m really sad that winter is over, because I’m definitely not a summer person for sure, but I like when the sun hit my window, and makes my room so bright. Anyway, last week I read Orphan Train, and it took me three days to finish it. It’s really a short book that I think you can read in one sitting, because the story is gripping and beyond emotional. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

This book is set in 1854 where orphaned children were transported by one of the Orphan Trains from the city to the country for better adoption opportunities. Not all of those kids found a loving and kind family, and one of them was Vivian, who’s now a widow living alone in a huge house. One day, Vivian asks her housekeeper to hire someone to clean her attic, then after a couple of days, her housekeeper brings Molly, a 17 year old girl who’s had her fair share of bad foster home experiences, and now she’s living with Dina and Ralph who are only fostering her because of the money they get. Because of the fact that Molly has stolen a book from the library, she is now in a real trouble, and she has to do community service, otherwise she’ll get in juvie. So when her boyfriend tells her about working for Vivian, she immediately agrees. However, Molly and Vivian will bond together in a way they never thought they would, which will help them find the true meaning of family, love, and friendship, through telling their stories to each other.

This book was honestly an insightful and heartbreaking story about the Orphan Train movement, which I’ve never heard about before, until I’ve read this book. So many children were only adopted to work as servants or to help in the farm. They were treated abusively, deprived of food, and didn’t even go to school to get a proper education. And that made me feel so sad, because it’s based on a true story. I can’t even imagine how that felt like. To be treated like you are someone who doesn’t matter when you’re just a kid and not be taken care of. It’s so disheartening. The writing style is very simple, yet so deep and very emotional. And it’s one of those stories that will stay with you. I didn’t expect to fall in love with it, but I did.

The story is told through two perspectives, in the present and in the past. Molly tells her story in the present, and we get to know her personality, her family, and her boyfriend. She’s very stubborn, always gets in some kind of trouble, and she’s also a bookworm. She loves reading, but she doesn’t want everyone to know that about her. And the most thing I like about her is that she speaks her mind. I just like when people say what they’re thinking. I have to admit that Molly is hard to like, but I totally understand why she acts very tough, and doesn’t let her guard down to anyone. I mean honestly, who blames her? On the other hand, Vivian told her story in the past, and she also talked about her traumatic childhood, and how she was abused and treated so badly. I kind of sympathized with Vivian more than Molly, and I was really moved by what she went through. I just loved her chapters, because I was so eager to learn more about her, and how she got through her hard past.

Orphan Train is a page turner and inspiring story about two different characters who have so many things in common, despite their age differences. They faced many misfortunes in their lives, but they were courageous enough to fight and get through so many awful moments to live and have a better life. They helped each other and changed each other’s life for the better. To wrap up my review, this story is so powerful and an eye opening, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline | Book Review

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“No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful.”

Hello, my bookish friends. I hope you’re doing great. Last week was so hectic and I didn’t have time to read anything at all. Because life gets in the way sometimes, and you have to deal with that. But, today has been relaxing so far, so I thought of writing a blog post about Ready Player One. I bought this book a while ago, and I decided to read it before the movie adaptation comes out. And it was mind blowing. Without further ado, let’s review this book!

This book takes place in the future in 2044, where the world is going down. The only way people can escape this horrible world is by spending most of their time in a virtual reality video game called the Oasis, which is inspired by the 80’s pop culture. Everything is possible inside the Oasis. You can be whoever you want, and do whatever you like. So, when James Halliday, the creator of the Oasis dies, he leaves an easter egg hidden in this virtual world, and in order to find it, the players have to look for three keys, and go through three gates. Whoever finds the easter egg, will inherit James Halliday’s fortune. However, When a boy named Wade Watts finds the first key, his life will change in a way he has never expected.

Here’s the thing, Bookstagram made me buy this book to be honest, and I’m not even ashamed of that. It seems like everyone is obsessing over this book, so I wanted to see what that fuss was about. And when I started reading it, I became obsessed too. This book has a bit of everything which is why it’s so compelling and easy to get lost into. And the concept is so cool, and interesting. I mean, who wouldn’t want to live inside the Oasis? It’s basically everyone’s dream. I loved the world building, and the characters, especially Art3mis. I’m not sure if I like Wade, but he’s so relatable. The book starts with so much info dumping, and it’s hard to get into the story, but with each page things start to make sense and you feel like you understand what’s really going on. I also loved knowing James Halliday’s life and how he created the Oasis. I wasn’t familiar with all the 80’s pop culture references, but I still enjoyed the book.

When I finished this book, I didn’t think it would leave an impact on me. I know it’s an adventurous and fun story, but the more I think about it, the more it becomes so relatable. When James Halliday created this virtual video game, most people weren’t that much into playing and solving the puzzles that he left. They just logged into the Oasis, to escape the destruction and horrors of the real world, and they just wanted to be happy and change themselves into different people and have a happy life. When it comes to Wade, in real life, he’s overweight and he has acne all over his face, but inside the Oasis, he has the perfect body, and his skin is clear. There are parts in the book that shows us how the characters struggle with their self identity and strive for too much perfectionism, and believe that if they want other people to like them, they have to change who they are. Which makes me really sad, because there are people who feel the same way, and it’s really disheartening. On the other hand, I like they way this book portrayed the friendship relationship between the characters. When it comes to the end of the book, it was predictable, and I kind of guessed how it would end. Regardless, it was a really an entertaining and addictive read. I would totally recommend it.