Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life by William Nicholson

Introduction: Well... the title was intriguing enough to make me pick up this book and take it home. Honestly, this book is one of a kind... its not an easy read compared to the ones I would normally choose... and it took me a while before I was able to fully immerse myself into the story. But well... it was worth it.

Overview: Welcome to Edenfield, an English village in Sussex. It is home to rich and poor, young and old, incomers and folk who've lived there for ever. Among the incomers is mother of two Laura, who, twenty years on, is still pining for Nick, her first love at university. He dumped her, broke her heart, and went to live in the States. Now he's back. Her husband Henry is a TV writer who commutes daily and resents the lack of acknowledgment his latest TV series is receiving. Journalist Liz, the single mother (who Henry lusts after on the train to London), still sleeps with her ex ten years after they split and hates herself afterwards. Local schoolmaster Alan, teaches their children and gets endless rejections for the plays he writes in his spare time. Martin, the struggling farmer, can't bear the yummy mummies and their privileged children; and the kindly local vicar hides a dark secret. These characters - and more - are richly imagined by an author of immense talent whose voice is by turns witty, waspish, sharply observant, and achingly tender. Nicholson brings together seamlessly the many strands of his story. Readers will empathize with these characters, laugh at them, cry with them, and long for a good outcome for each of them.

My Opinion: Shamefully, It took me 5 days to complete reading the story. Probably because I was too tired with all the events the past days, and every sentence Nicholson writes is filled with wit that you can't bear to simply skim through paragraphs. But  in the end... all I can say is that every minute I took a break from my busy life to read this book... it was all worth it. 
The story starts with Laura, married to Henry, mother of two children, getting a letter from Nick, the former love of her life. Each decision she then makes has a ripple effect on all those she comes into contact with.We hear from Laura's husband, her children, her employer, and more. 
Although honestly, with the diverse characters each telling their own life story of despair, frustrations and love interests... it can get a bit confusing and difficult to track who is who.So concentration is essential and reading it in a rush wont give justice to this masterpiece.
I guess the main thing that I realized in this story... is that people may seem to think that we deserve a life far better or far different from the ones we are living now. We continuously hope for another chance to change things... to change our lives completely... but in the end... would we really? But I guess this is what makes us human... our search for happiness portrayed in that lingering question we always ask ourselves... are we happy now? And how happy should we be?
My Rating:

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Missing Ink by Karen E. Olson

Introduction: What made me pick up this book? I adore the cover... its gorgeous! Well, I am never really a fan of tattoos. But after reading this book, I can say I'm pretty much fascinated by this art... that I'm actually already thinking what kind of tattoo will be my very first one (probably the last too since I'm afraid of needles :p).

Overview: Brett Kavanaugh is a tattoo artist and owner of an elite tattoo parlor in Las Vegas. When a girl makes an appointment for a tattoo of the name of her fiancé embedded in a heart, Brett takes the job but the girl never shows. The next thing Brett knows, the police are looking for her client, and the name she wanted on the tattoo isn't her fiancé's...

My Opinion: I like this book in general and Brett too for being such a kick-ass heroine. Its an easy read despite the mystery details thrown in. It has had me kept guessing who the murderer is... and although the ending seemed to be a bit overflow of information, it did made sense.  I love the characters simply because they stand out from each other... taking Joel for example. His life seemed to be so colorful... I would love to find out more about him in the next books. Although at some point I was a bit non-sympathetic towards Brett's daring (or stupid) ways... like hiding too much vital information from her brother and then taking matters to her own hands which doesn't always end up good for her anyway. Also, I just didn't feel the chemistry between Simon and Brett... its like for most part... what they feel for each other isnt real. I am hoping for a better love interest for her in the upcoming series. But anyway, there is so much to love about this book... the characters are very likable, the Vegas setting is fab, and the story is anything but boring. In fact, each chapter felt like uncovering a piece of a puzzle. 

Anyway, did I already say I'm getting a tattoo? ;)

My Rating:

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares

Introduction: "Love demands everything, they say, but my love demands only this: that no matter what happens or how long it takes, you’ll keep faith in me, you’ll remember who we are, and you’ll never feel despair."
This book didn't make me cry like some of the books I read... but it touched me so deep it was impossible to stop reading. So that afternoon, instead of going shopping as planned, I never let go of this book until the end. I love most part of this book.   

Overview: Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. Daniel has "the memory", the ability to recall past lives and recognize souls of those he's previously known. It is a gift and a curse. For all the times that he and Sophia have been drawn together throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. A love always too short.

Interwoven through Sophia and Daniel's unfolding present day relationship are glimpses of their expansive history together. From 552 Asia Minor to 1918 England and 1972 Virginia, the two souls share a long and sometimes torturous path of seeking each other time and time again. But just when young Sophia (now "Lucy" in the present) finally begins to awaken to the secret of their shared past, to understand the true reason for the strength of their attraction, the mysterious force that has always torn them apart reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.

A magical, suspenseful, heartbreaking story of true love, My Name is Memory proves the power and endurance of a union that was meant to be.

My Opinion: There are so many wonderful things I can say about this book. Brashares really did a good job in bringing the story not only around the world but in different era (past and present) as well. Despite of the changes in the time-period, it wasn't confusing and the setting always felt authentic. Maybe one of the reasons why I like this book is that I had always been fascinated by the belief of reincarnation. Added by the twist that Daniel can remember all his past lives and he used that ability to find the girl he wants to be with... the story, I can say, is indeed engaging. Plus, the way it was written is so clear and so believable that I didn't have a hard time following the plot. I also like Ben's character and how wise he is... especially when he pointed out that we all have to live at the moment, otherwise its not living. Although seriously, I wish the ending could have been better. And I wish there was atleast a part in the book that thoroughly introduced Joaquim, how he can steal bodies and how he found Lucy. But anyway, since everyone else is saying that this book is a part of a trilogy... then I guess I just gotta have to wait for the next 2 for some closure. ;)

My Rating: 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Snow Hill by Mark Sanderson

Introduction: I'm not going to make my words play nice here: This book is definitely not for me. I was intrigued when I read the overview, and indeed it sounded promising (atleast to me.) But I was greatly disappointed in the end.

Overview: "Friday, 18 December, 1936. I went to my funeral this morning!" So begins the diary of Johnny Steadman, an ambitious reporter on London's Fleet Street. When he gets a tip-off about a Snow Hill policeman's death he thinks he's found the scoop that will make his career. Trouble is, no-one at the station seems to know anything about it - or they're not telling. Johnny's one lead takes him to the meat market at Smithfield where he encounters violent death close up and personal. Undaunted by this chilling message, his investigation drags him deep into a web of corruption that reaches further than he could ever have imagined. Johnny must risk everything to save his closest friend and expose the ruthless killer at the heart of this dark story. But to bring them to justice he must first go undercover. Six feet undercover. After all, a dead man cannot be tried for murder.

My Opinion: Well, I dont like the characters... most of them are stupid enough to put themselves in danger. And not just once! When I read the overview, I was like... wow! Masquerading your own death to catch the killer seemed exciting. But come on! The chapter after the funeral... came the exposition of this "so-called" undercover stunt. Already?! And faking it again? you gotta be kidding me!
I know its based on what seemed to be a true story, so maybe the characters and the plot is not hyped-up. But then again... if you dont, how will it be "larger than life" enough to catch the readers' interest? Definitely "young ambitious reporter" stereotyping and "heart of gold homosexual" character cliche didn't work so well on me. Well, I'm just not recommending this... I'm not saying its that bad. I know our tastes vary so please dont be put off by this review.

My Rating: