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Tiger Lily (Jodi Lynn Anderson)

Tiger Lily Book Cover Tiger Lily
Jodi Lynn Anderson
Fantasy
HarperCollins Children's Books

Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair...

Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn't grow up.

Aiko told me to read this book because she loves fairy tale re-telling and I rarely read that kind of book. Since I got hooked on her last fairy tale re-telling recommendation (The Lunar Chronicles), I thought I gave this one a try too.

From the first page I was intrigued as the story is written from the perspective of Tinkerbell, a character we all know from Peter Pan. The story itself is a love story, a quite sad one actually, but it also shows how vulnerable Tiger Lily is even though she is a strong woman herself.

I have so many quote highlights reading this book but my absolute favourite is this:

There was a beast in there. But there was also a girl who was afraid of being a beast, and who wondered if other people had beasts in their hearts too. There was strength, and there was also just the determination to look strong. She guarded herself like a secret.

I think those lines really sum up Tiger Lily in this story. She knows she is a strong person, especially given the fact that she is the daughter of Tik Tok, but often she is unsure of herself.

I love the way Anderson describes Neverland and the interaction of Tiger Lily and Peter seem very natural. Here, Tiger Lily, a wild child who meets someone almost as wild as her, someone who perhaps understand this beast inside of her, someone who may understand how it feels to be strong and independent. I especially love that moment when they saw the horses, and how it was perhaps the moment Tiger Lily stopped aging. It was just so wonderful.

The ending, though sad, I thought was kind of perfect at the same time. Tiger Lily definitely doesn’t belong in the city while Peter, while he adjusted well in Neverland, could never be there forever.

The story of Tik Tok was really sad. I think this is the saddest part of the book, how an outsider, who was helped by Tiger Lily, instead of appreciating and respecting the culture and tradition of Neverland, destroyed the place by forcing them into following his belief.

All in all, this book is just more than just a fantasy book, more than just a re-telling of Peter Pan. It is one book full of “hidden messages”. That you shouldn’t force someone into believing what you believe. That true love exists, though you may not end up with that true love. That even when two people seem right for each other, they don’t always end up together. That when you love someone, then when they choose to leave, you let them go.

P.S. I dislike Wendy 😛

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Enjoyed That Have Under 2000 Ratings On Goodreads

It’s not too late to join Top Ten Tuesday, right? Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. There is a prompt for a Top Ten list each week. Everyone is welcome to join.

 

This week’s theme is 10 Books I Enjoyed that have under 2000 ratings on Goodreads. I must admit I was quite surprise at how low the rating count is on some of these. These books definitely need more love!

  1. The World’s Shortest Stories – Steve Moss (ed.)
    Number of Ratings: 690
    Average Rating: 3.68
    This book is AMAZING. It was my first introduction to Flash Fiction. Each story in the book is less than 55 words but wow they are really good.
  2. The World’s Shortest Stories of Love and Death – Steve Hall (ed.)
    Number of Ratings: 150
    Average Rating: 3.85
    The sequel to the previous book and contains exactly what the title says. This book is even better than it’s predecessor.
  3. Mouthful of Forevers – Clementine von Radics
    Number of Ratings: 1211
    Average Rating: 4.20
    Just finished this book last month. Read my thoughts in this post.23522212
  4. Light is the New Black – Rebecca Campbell
    Number of Ratings: 321
    Average Rating: 4.34
    My favorite book of June! I can’t believe it’s only been rated 321 times. Oh wait, it’s new. Well, you should go and read it anyway. Like, now.
  5. Girlosophy: A Soul Survivor Kit – Anthea Paul
    Number of Ratings: 286
    Average Rating: 4.37
    This was one of my favorite books as a teenager. It totally needs more readers, except I don’t think it’s available anymore. There’s a whole series of Girlosophy books though, so you can still check it out 🙂
  6. Pray Like a Gourmet – David Brazzeal
    Number of Ratings: 29
    Average Rating: 4.41
    29?? Gosh. This book deserves so much more! It’s a beautiful book inside and out about prayer, and while it’s geared towards Christians, I think it is actually quite universal.
  7. The Girl Who Never Was and The Boy with a Hidden Name – Skylar Dorset
    Number of Ratings: 1160/427
    Average Rating: 3.64/4.08
    These two books are called the Otherworld series and they are about faeries and ogres and other magical beings and I love them to bits. Not to mention the gorgeous covers! *swoon*
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  8. Stray – Elissa Sussman
    Number of Ratings: 1821
    Average Rating: 3.64
    This one is getting there. It’s an original fairy tale and it’s described as “a cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and Wicked, with a dash of Grimm and Disney” which pretty much sums it up. Also, it has a recipe for a cinnamon bread that is very delicious at the back.
  9. Second Star – Alyssa Sheinmel
    Number of Ratings: 1753
    Average Rating: 3.61
    Another one that’s almost there. This one is a contemporary romance (which I don’t really read much of) but it is a retelling (which I do read a lot) of Peter Pan.
  10. Ash & Bramble – Sarah Prineas
    Number of Ratings: 1574
    Average Rating: 3.49
    Making this list just made me want to go and read a fairy tale or a retelling. This one is both, it’s like a fairy tale retelling with a twist. The cover doesn’t do it much justice though. Also, it’s so twisted that some people might find it utterly confusing.

And that’s my list! Have you read any of them?

Full disclosure: All the links are affiliate links to Books Depository 🙂

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June Wrap-Up and July TBR (maybe!)

Gosh, it’s been a long while since we last posted! To get back on track, I thought it would be a good thing to do a wrap-up post of all the books I read in June, and list some books I might read in July. I’m awful at keeping to a TBR list, though, hence the maybe. LOL. Maybe one day I’ll create a TBR list and actually stick to it. Maybe.

So, June was actually a very good month of reading for me. I finished my thesis so I had a little bit more time (you would think I would end up having infinite time to read after my thesis, but nope. June was actually quite busy as always), and I managed to get back on track with my Goodreads Reading Challenge which made me VERY happy. Unfortunately I’m now behind again. Meh. As a disclaimer, I actually read quite a bit of poetry which meant they finished quickly but hey, poetry is awesome!

Well, here are ALL the books I read in June (Full Disclosure: book titles link to an affiliate account on Book Depository because, well, we need money for more books. Also, it’s our favorite worldwide bookstore!):

  1. A Guide for Grown-Ups – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (3/5)
    This is a collection of quotes from Saint-Exupéry’s work. I already knew quite a bit of them by heart so it wasn’t a brilliant read, but a good reminder nevertheless.
  2. Mouthful of Forevers – Clementine von Radics (5/5)
    I accidentally found this book on the shelves of a bookstore and fell in love. I hesitated a bit but ended up buying it which was a brilliant decision.
  3. Selamat Bercinta – Andar Ismail (3/5)
    The latest book by an Indonesian author who writes short reflections on various topics. This book’s topic was love and commitment. I liked some chapters very much but others were a bit boring.
  4. Better Than Before – Gretchen Rubin (3/5)
    I wanted to really like this book, but alas it was mostly boring with just a few bits that were interesting. It did however start me on my self-help book binge!
  5. Im Namen der Liebe – Peter Turrini (4/5)
    A poetry book I picked up at a nice corner book shop in Leipzig last April. It’s the first book in German I’ve read in years.
  6. Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur (5/5)
    I finally bought this book at the airport on my way to Singapore. I finished it before the plane landed. It was beautiful.
  7. Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins (4/5)
    After Anna, Aggy read Lola and Isla and has been demanding for months that I read them, so I finally did. I’m kinda partial to liking Anna more than Lola, but mostly because Lola kinda reminds me too much of me. Ha.
  8. Cerdas Mengelola Keuangan Pribadi – Herlina P. Dewi (2/5)
    A personal finance book. The second one I’ve ever read. I already knew most of the things being said.
  9. Investasi itu Dipraktekkin – Tim Wesfix (2/5)
    Another finance book, this one dealing with investing. I was actually quite disappointed with it since it felt more like reading a magazine article than a book.
  10. Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig (5/5)
    I saw a quote from this book one day and thought it was the most beautiful thing ever, so I got the book. It is such a personal and touching account of depression, as well as a guide book for those who experience depression and those who know someone with depression.
  11. Light is the New Black – Rebecca Campbell (5/5)
    This book is God-sent as I’ve been thinking about my calling a lot. It is spiritual in the widest sense of the word, inspirational, and also practical. I loved it to bits!
  12. The Miracle Morning – Hal Elrod (4/5)
    I read about The Miracle Morning browsing through Boho Berry‘s blog and I wanted to know more. I definitely intend to practice the miracle morning in my life 🙂

Some statistics because I love statistics:
Total Books Read: 12
Total Pages Read: 2631
Books By Male Authors: 6 (actually Tim Wesfix is a group of people but I bet they’re male)
Books By Female Authors: 6
Books in English: 8
Books in Indonesian: 3
Books in Other Languages: 1 (German)
Five Star Books: 4
Book of the Month: Light is the New Black

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And finally, what’s in store for July? Well, I’m currently on a self-help binge, specifically books on Personal Finance, but I also hope to read some Fiction because it’s been a while. As usual, I have several books I’m currently reading, which I usually alternate read until I’m done. Sometimes I decide on focusing on one book too though. So, if I have to pick 10 books I’m most likely to finish reading this month as my July TBR, here they are:

  1. I Will Teach You To Be Rich – Ramit Sethi
  2. Labirin Kehidupan – Joas Adiprasetya
  3. Manage Your Day-to-Day – Jocelyn Glei (ed.)
  4. Thou Shall Prosper – Rabbi Daniel Lapin
  5. This Star Won’t Go Out – Esther Earl
  6. Natisha – Khrisna Pabichara
  7. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff About Money – Richard Carlson
  8. Sacred Pathways – Gary L. Thomas
  9. Isla and The Happily Ever After – Stephanie Perkins
  10. To Be Told – Dan Allender
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March Reading Challenge: Let’s Go to Paris!

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Reading books with “Love” in the title for February turned out to be a little harder than we thought, mostly because there were so many other books that were interesting as well! That doesn’t stop us from starting yet another challenge though, and after a long deliberation (because we have too many ideas), we decided that March would be a good month to travel to Paris, while sitting in our reading nooks.

Paris, after all, has always been a fascinating place for both of us, and we both wish we can go back there someday (soon). But for now, we shall be content reading about it.

Our challenge for the month of March: to read books that talk about Paris, has Paris in the title, or is set in Paris.

I think curling up with a cup of hot chocolate while it’s raining outside reading about the city of lights would make March a very lovely month indeed!

If you’d like to join us, do comment below, and use the hashtag #bmmdparis on your social networks!

Allons à Paris!

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Me Before You (Jojo Moyes)

Me Before You Book Cover Me Before You
Jojo Moyes
Young Adult

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

This book is sad and lovely at the same time. I don’t know why I picked up this book, well OK, I know, because it’s a romance book and I am a sucker for them, but what I mean is that I can’t remember having interest in this book before. I think it was some review that made me wanna read it. I am glad that I did read it.

So the problem with Louisa Clark is that she has no ambition and that is the one thing I hate most about her. Luckily though she managed to get a job as Will Traynor’s “companion”. I have no idea why Will even likes her, I mean yeah she has a sense of humour and a weird sense of fashion, but other than that I don’t really quite see the connection. But I think it’s through this simplicity of hers and her capability of treating Will like a normal person that make Will opens up to her. 

Will on the other hand, I feel like I have this connection with Will because I partially know what he is going through. You see, I had some physical problems last year and was not able to move freely. I had to be in a wheelchair and even a trip to the toilet was exhausting. Getting up from the bed in the morning was crazy difficult and I had to do physiotherapy. I am still doing physiotherapy until now, but I guess I am loads more better than Will. I get it though, being in a wheelchair, not being able to do anything at all, fully relying on people and worst of all knowing that it will never get better is the worst feeling in the world. Still, I am torn whether or not it was right of him to go to Dignitas (which by the way, I am unaware of this organization that is in Zurich where I used to live…I am actually quite shock that it exists at all).

Of course they fall in love right? However the way that they fell in love was quite unexpected and I really love how Moyes wrote their little love story. If you think about it, being in love when you are sick as Will is the last thing on your mind (because it certainly was/is how I felt/feel). You just don’t expect someone who can accept you as you are, and here is Louisa who is willing to give up her so-called normal life to be with Will. If I were Will I would skip Dignitas and take this offer in life, or at least give it another go and see how it is.

I got really upset at the end of the book. For example how Louisa’s mum was extremely mad at her for agreeing to Will’s action, I mean how could she not agree? I’m pretty sure Louisa doesn’t want Will to do this Dignitas thing and it would be the last thing she wants for him but it’s not her life and if Will wanted her at the end of his life then she should be allowed to be with the man she loves before he goes away forever right?

I sort of wished that Louisa managed to drag him back home, away from Dignitas. I so so wished that was the case which is why I don’t quite know whether I like the ending or not. I was left quite speechless at the end and almost cried when she read Will’s last letter. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that left me in such a state of shock. OK maybe I am exaggerating but seriously though!

I can’t wait to watch the movie starring the gorgeous Sam Claflin that I love from Love, Rosie. Hope the movie will be good, such high expectation!

Have you read this book? What did you think?

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Book Chatter: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Landline Book Cover Landline
Rainbow Rowell

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn't expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts...

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Book Chatter is a feature where Aggy and Aiko read a book together and chat about it. It’s book chatter because we get loud, and random, and truly crazy about it!

Aiko and Aggy start reading the first few chapters of Landline…

Aggy: Right, So. Landline. Why are we reading this book again?

Aiko: I don’t know, because it’s by Rainbow Rowell and we both loved Eleanor and Park?

Aggy: Right. Now where do we start. You know, for someone who makes jokes for a living, Georgie isn’t very funny

Aiko: Georgie is depressing, really

Aggy: Yea so I’m starting to think this book is kinda depressing and I don’t get this book yet. Is it just me??

As Aiko and Aggy get halfway through the book…

Aiko: This book is annoying

Aggy: True that. Why are we reading this again? The ending better be good

Aiko: If it’s crappy I think our review will all be filled with complaints

Aggy: OK, what is Georgie’s attraction to Neal?! It looks like he’s boring. What’s up with the he doesn’t smile?!

Aiko: I kinda like Neal, he reminds me of you-know-who in a way, although he likes to smile

Aggy: Well I kinda like Seth, because he reminds me of MY you-know-who. Why are we thinking of our you-know-whos?!

Aiko: I have to agree though, the constant reiteration of the fact that Neal doesn’t smile is really annoying. Like it irritates me, I feel like “okaaay finee we get it, Neal doesn’t smile, you’re a self-obsessed, selfish being, and Seth is well, Seth, but then what happens???”

Aggy: Exactly. Anyway why is Neal is so anti-smile? Like background please, yeah this stuff is important to me, like why is a person so miserable. And the irony that Georgie is married to him! Maybe MAYBE she’s sick of seeing so many people smiling and laughing and it’s a kind of “vacation” to see someone NOT smiling. Okaaayyy over-analyzing.

Aiko: But Neal does smile, Aggy, but only when he’s happy. Like, truly happy. I think it might be that it’s just Georgie who never realizes Neal’s smiles. Like maybe he does smile a lot but Georgie just doesn’t see it, cause she’s so self-absorbed all the time…

Aggy: I guess, but he doesn’t smile enough. He is simply not human. Yeah, Georgie is super self-absorbed!! Urgh!

Aiko: Anyway, it’s not boring though, cause a boring book would be like “Meh, I don’t want to read this anymore…” this one’s like… “I want to continue reading but can we please get to a more interesting place? GAAH. Like what’s up with Neal, is he angry, why is he not picking up the phone and what happens, what happens??”

Aggy: Very true. It’s not a boring book because it keeps us wondering what happens next but but BUT… What is up with the time-travel? I hope it’s elaborated later on because I simply CANNOT live not knowing what is up with the magic phone! Also, I am quite irritated by Rowell’s style of writing, too many random flashbacks.

Aggy finishes the book while Aiko is otherwise occupied…

Aggy: What the….?! This book! I can’t even…. After Eleanor and Park this is definitely upsetting!

Aiko: Wait, wait! Let me catch up first!

Aggy: Hurry up and finish the book!

Aiko: Is it horrific? Cause if the ending is bad I don’t want to continue reading. But OH, this scene at the beach is so sweet. Neal is sweet.

Aggy: I gotta admit though that there were some sweet “awww” Neal moments in this book BUT!!! Seriously this story is doing my head in.

Aiko: Oh I love this part… where Georgie really falls in love with Neal. Before Seth comes and ruins things. Oh, and the conversation with Heather is soooo goood.

Aggy: I kinda like the story towards the ending though. The phone calls between Georgie and Neal are the best! And by the way Seth is a total jerk! My favourite moment I have to say is the doggie moment, like that was one of the most exciting and thrilling part of this book. I’m sorry to say that this book is quite boring that my mind often drifts someplace else while reading and when I stumble upon an interesting part I’m like “Eer, what was that? What did I miss?”.

Aiko: Okay please tell me this silly Georgie girl makes her way to Omaha. Like right now. PLEASE.

Aggy: Come on, it’s obvious! This book is quite predictable.

Aiko: Yeah, but Georgie is stupid, stuck-up and has weird ideas. For all I know she might decide to have sex with Seth or something.

Aggy: She is overthinking everything and selfish too!

Aiko: Okay, why does Georgie’s mom need to turn on the TV so the pugs can listen to Christmas Carols? Aggy, I want to take over Georgie’s place. Like, I want to be Neal’s wife. And I’ll make him laugh all the time with happiness. He is so adorable! And perfect.

Aggy: Haha! You are weird. Ok but I get your point, I can so see Neal as a husband material and he is a really good illustrator too. What I don’t get is he has no ambition for himself, like no drive in life and he gives in to Georgie so easily. He basically dedicates his life to Georgie and no one else, well for their kids too.

Aiko: OH PLEASE! What is Seth doing?? *throws the yellow phone at Seth* What is wrong with this guy.

Aggy: Seth is pathetic. Like what the hell, he is an asshole. He waited forever to tell Georgie how he feels and chose the perfectly wrong moment to tell her!

Aiko: I think it’s kinda sweet though. Like sad sweet. Like poor stupid Seth I’m sorry but you’re just nowhere near the perfection that is Neal.

Aggy: What?! Do not defend Seth woman! How dare he! After all these years? After Georgie is married with two kids AND on the verge of divorce?!

Aiko: Yeah, he’s like 20 years too late, but it’s still sweet. Like Snape and Lily sweet. That last moment totally redeemed him, the kiss on the forehead.

Aggy: Urgh! You are obviously too forgiving and I, too ruthless! If I were Georgie I would say “I hate you Seth, my world is colliding in a thousand different ways and you are that extra earthquake. Thanks a bunch!”

Aiko: LOL… Yeah, but he kisses her on the forehead and let’s her go. I bet he’ll be at home all devastated afterwards… I mean, yeah, Seth’s an asshole in many ways but in that particular moment he was really sweet.

Moments later…

Aiko: AAAAANNNNDDD I’m done!

Aggy: Finally! So, for me this book is just an ordinary husband and wife quarrel, nothing too special. Georgie is selfish, Neal is unambitious and Seth is an asshole. I don’t find the storyline too exciting.

Aiko: Well, it’s like the tipping point… Like there has been so many years of negativity buried because of Georgie’s selfishness and Neal’s unconditional love and finally he breaks, and that made Georgie realize how bad she’s been. Neal should’ve just told her how he felt the first time they had an argument and none of this would happen. Relationships 101.

Aggy: But there is this part where Neal had a dejavu, I think their magical conversation was like set in another time frame, that it actually happened but in a complete different time realm. Hmm…maybe that’s why we get dejavus.

Aiko: Huh… that’s a very interesting thought!

Aggy: I just wish there was an explanation on the whole magical phone! Honestly!

Aiko: There’s no explanation, Aggy, it’s a magic yellow phone. Ta-daa!

Aggy: But I cannot accept that!

Aiko: Also it’s Christmas… and miracles happen on Christmas. This book is basically the equivalent of all the TV movies they run during Christmas season.

Aggy: Aiko, ever the optimist. Love the pugs though and I love her mum’s reaction on finding out that Heather is gay.

Aiko: Georgie’s mom is epic in everything she does.

Aggy: Yup. Bad ass mum!

Aiko: Okay so basically I hated the first 50% of the book, but it got better after that. And Georgie’s an annoying whiny bitch.

Aggy: Eleanor and Park was way better.

Aiko: Hmm… but imagine if Seth was a girl… I mean, because he’s Seth, we can kinda predict that Neal was not okay with Georgie being so close to him, and we probably knew that Seth loved Georgie… but if Seth was Susan, no wait, Sue, that fits better. Imagine if Seth was Sue and then the story goes like… “I love you, Georgie” “I know, Sue, I love you too!” “No, I mean I LOVE you, the way Neal loves you… heck, I love you more than he does! Look at what he’s done to you!”

Aggy: Woah! That’s another level but would’ve made the story line so much better and much more unpredictable too.

Aiko: I know right… we should totally write a fanfiction. LOL.

Aggy: So, in conclusion how many stars would give this book?

Aiko: Umm… I don’t know… 3? 3,5?

Aggy: I would give it a 2,5 actually.

Aiko: Okay, so it’s a 3 then… our average 😛

Have you read this book? What do you think about it?

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BMMD’s Valentine Challenge

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In honor of Valentine’s day this year, which we assume we would both spend at home alone cuddling with our dogs, we decided to have a reading challenge for the month of February, and it’s a really simple one: the challenge is to read books with “LOVE” in the title. That’s it!

To make it sound more official, here are the RULES of this challenge:

  1. Read at least one book with “LOVE” in the title. It doesn’t matter whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, young adult or poetry, or whatever really, and the word can be anywhere in the title. In fact it might also be in the middle of another word, you know, like Beloved by Toni Morrison or The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. If you need some ideas, here’s a Goodreads list I created for this purpose.
  2. You can read either actual books or e-books, or listen to it as an audiobook. Crossovers with other challenges are welcomed.
  3. Please use the hashtag #bmmdvalentine when you post on social media so we can keep up. Feel free to update about the book you read on your blog, on Goodreads, or wherever else you fancy, and link below!
  4. We will have weekly check-ins where you can link your review or just chat about what you’ve been reading. Of course we’ll chat around the hashtag as well.
  5. Aggy has created a nifty little image you can use to show the world that you’re taking part in this challenge, so feel free to grab it and post it everywhere *grin* 20160123_051548000_iOS

Sign up by commenting below 🙂

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Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

Only Ever Yours Book Cover Only Ever Yours
Louise O'Neill

Where women are created for the pleasure of men, beauty is the first duty of every girl. In Louise O'Neill's world of Only Every Yours women are no longer born naturally, girls (called "eves") are raised in Schools and trained in the arts of pleasing men until they come of age. freida and isabel are best friends. Now, aged sixteen and in their final year, they expect to be selected as companions--wives to powerful men. All they have to do is ensure they stay in the top ten beautiful girls in their year. The alternatives--life as a concubine, or a chastity (teaching endless generations of girls)--are too horrible to contemplate.

But as the intensity of final year takes hold, the pressure to be perfect mounts. Isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty--her only asset--in peril. And then into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride. freida must fight for her future--even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known.

I got this book after I saw it sponsoring a Book Riot post a long time ago. I actually started reading it right away and got about 25% through before I went and read the ending (I do this a lot with books that are too overwhelming) but then forgot about it. Probably because I already read the ending. LOL. Anyway, I decided to continue on and I’m glad I did.

Now what do I say about this book? First of all it is still haunting me. Even though freida (the main character/pov) is quite annoying at some point(s), but it’s an understandable kind of annoying given her circumstances, which makes you feel truly sorry for her. Also, it makes you wish society will never become like the dystopian future this book takes place in. Except that you realize it is already happening, in a way.

This book has been described as The Handmaid’s Tale meets 1984 meets Mean Girls and that description couldn’t be more true. That doesn’t make it a bad book though, in fact I think it’s brilliant. Creepy brilliant. I suppose some people might find some elements annoying, but I find them to be such attention to details, *possible spoiler alert* like how the girls (eves, as in Eve in the Bible, created to bear children) have their names written in lower case or sometimes simply by number to show that they are deemed less than human, not worthy of a capitalized name; or how they have weird genetically modified food like Chickchick (chicken, obviously) and Eggies (eggs, duh) to show simply that things are different now than it was before; and also meds that have obvious contracted names like SleepSound. Oh, and the zones! I loved how there’s Chindia (China-India) which is described as being the most powerful zone because how true is that? Very.

Further on, *possible spoiler alert* I like how there’s the mystery about isabel which doesn’t get explained until the end and then suddenly it all makes sense, and also there’s mystery about Darwin that doesn’t get properly explained but you can understand if you’re perceptive (or know a thing or two about child psychology). I have to say I did hate parts of the book, like I loathed isabel and Darwin at times and I hated freida for her choices but looking back I think that just shows how well written this book is, really. But yes, it’s frustrating. Because it’s supposed to be, because freida is frustrated and we’re inside her head. Also, I wonder if the author actually thought through the names she gave her characters — actually, I’m sure she did — because freida means free, and isabel means “my God is an oath” and is a name used by many queens and well if you read the book you’d understand.

Gosh this book is brilliant! 4.5 stars but I marked it down for it’s annoyingness, although I suppose now that I think about it I should really give it 5 stars. 5 stars it is then.

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The Other Hand (Little Bee) by Chris Cleave

The Other Hand Book Cover The Other Hand
Chris Cleave

We don't want to tell you what happens in this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it.
Nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it so we will just say this:

This is the story of two women.

Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice.

Two years later, they meet again - the story starts there...

Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.

First thing first: The Other Hand is published as Little Bee in the US. I hate when publishers do that, publishing books with different titles. Pfft. So Annoying. Nevertheless, the US cover is so pretty, and I love that it matches the other book by Chris Cleave, Incendiary. So pretty! And that’s annoying as well because the copy I own is actually the UK one! ARGH! I got this copy for a fraction of the original price because the cover is a bit teared though, so yeah, worth it… I do think that “The Other Hand” is a more fitting title than Little Bee because really it’s not just about Little Bee (who is one of the two women in the book).

So yes, this is a book about two women, told in alternating point of view between them. One woman is a successful magazine editor in the UK, the other is a 16-year-old girl from Nigeria. And it’s written by a man. Who did a brilliant job. Like seriously, well done, Chris! It’s one thing to be able to capture the voice of a British woman, but a Nigerian girl as well? Gosh. And before you ask how I know that he’s captured her voice perfectly, it’s because I have friends from Nigeria. They’re not 16-year-old girls but still, I think Little Bee’s voice was very convincing.

This book is a book with a purpose, it tells the story of the refugees that come to the UK. And yet, it does not in any way feel stuffy or like it’s trying to hard to teach the reader something, like some books do. Instead, it is touching and sweet and terrifying and hopeful all at the same time. Gosh, I love it when books give me ALL the feels. It did however felt dragging at first. I also didn’t like Sarah’s point of view all that much, hence only three stars.

A little bit of a warning though, the book contains some pretty intense description of horrible events so if you can’t take that sort of thing maybe it’s best to not read the book. The events described are actually important part of the story so skipping past them would not be a good idea.

Oh, also, the back cover of my edition has a very cryptic message. Which is kinda cool but I’m not sure if the book needs it. I wonder if giving an actual synopsis might be a better idea, which the other editions seem to have done. I did pick up the book because I was intrigued by the back cover though, something I wouldn’t have done with the description on the US edition, so I suppose to each her/his own.

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The Circle by Dave Eggers

The Circle Book Cover The Circle
Dave Eggers
Science Fiction

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in America--even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

Well, well, a science fiction book review from me. This book was recommended by a friend, and reading the synopsis I found it rather interesting since I studied social media, big data, data mining, and all that stuff.

I have various feelings towards this book. First of all, half of the book is a bit boring for me. The thing about this book is sometimes it over explains things, like a whole page describing sea lions – I didn’t think this was necessary to be honest. I was about to give up on the book about halfway through, then it started to get a bit interesting so I kept reading.

I liked Mae at first, I mean she is smart and a fast learner but how did she get so damn stupid all of the sudden. It just doesn’t make sense at all. In the beginning of the book she respected her private life and actually she seemed a little bit anti-social, unlike Annie, then kaboom she dramatically and drastically changed into this super social, friendly and all knowing person.

Some parts of this book also seemed a little forced, like when Mae “stole” the kayak for her spontaneous late night wandering and it was from this event that Mae got popular. Then also how could Ty, the man who started the whole company and the so-called genius of The Circle, became so paralyzed and picked only Mae, of all people, to help him save his company from info-communism. Surely if he could build such brilliant company, he could think of a better plan?

However, I like the idea of this book. We are living in a new age of social media and overloaded information, so I guess a book like this makes us realized “whoaaa look at what so many of those information can do to you!”. I also like the idea of this “ideal” working environment in The Circle (minus the prying-my-privacy part).

So I heard they’re making a movie out of this book, curious to see it. I hope they change the ending in the movie (because they ALWAYS change the story line anyway in movies based on books). I am really not satisfied with the ending, it just seems a little off like Annie’s state of coma. Please tell me there is a continuation of this book!

By the way, is it just me or those Wise Men reminds you of Twilight’s Volturi leaders. Creepy or what!