The Eighth Day by Mitsuyo Kakuta

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Title: The Eighth Day

Author: Mitsuyo Kakuta

Published: 1 May 2010

Publisher: Kodansha

Rating: 4/5

The year is 1985. Kiwako is an ordinary office worker, in love with a married man, until an unwanted abortion causes her to snap. She kidnaps her lover’s six-month-old baby and runs away with her, eventually taking refuge in an all-female religious commune. Here, she attempts to raise the girl.

Fifteen years later, the child, Elena, is an adult contending with the difficulties of returning to her “natural family,” made up of a mother who doesn’t come home, an alcoholic father, and siblings with whom she can’t connect.

Review

You would think that with a plot where a scorned woman kidnaps her ex’s baby and then took refuge in a religious commune aka A CULT (?!!!), there would be far more things happening in the storyline that would put the plot to the Mission Impossible movies to shame but alas it was not to be and I went into this book expecting action, drama, intensity and MORE action but what I got was the complete opposite which is a slice-of-life type of book which let me tell you is definitely lacking in the action-drama department but surprisingly I kept on reading even though nothing much was happening.

The book was interesting in subtle ways, it didn’t focus much on the kidnapping of the baby but instead focused on how Kiwako would raise the baby in the situation that they were in and it was the prose of the book that captivated me. The prose was simple and unassuming yet it is the main reason why I kept on reading even though half the time I was wondering where exactly is the plot going to take us and the ending of the book was realistic in a way that it was messy and a lot of things weren’t answered like how it is in the real world.

Whilst reading this book I really pity the baby who was kidnapped and the young woman she grew to be. I honestly pitied her. She was raised well by the woman who kidnapped her she had a happy childhood living on an island heck even living in the cult the kid had a happy childhood only for it to be destroyed due to adults selfishness.

Breathless… Review

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Title: Breathless

Author: Celeste Bradley & Susan Donovan

Published: 12 June 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Source: Netgalley

Rating:  4/5

Goodreads synopsis

She was “the Swan.” London’s premiere courtesan. Men want to be with her. Women loathe her success and yet admire her beauty, her riches, her independence. But when the jealous wife of her lover moves to have the Swan banished from her home on the high seas, she winds up crashed against Spain’s rocky coast with no shoes, no clothes-and no name. Taken in by a tortured, sensuous man known as The Artist, the Swan comes to know the woman she wants to be—her artist’s siren.

When Art Professor Brenna Anderson is in danger of losing her post at Harvard, the rule-following, prim professor is at a loss of how to salvage the shreds of her life. But when a new painting in the mysterious Siren collection is discovered in a dusty old house in France, Brenna does the unthinkable—hops on a plane to uncover the identity of the beautiful, enigmatic woman who is the subject of the paintings.

There’s just one hitch—the frustrating, irritating, bold and beautiful art hunter, Fitch Wilder, is also looking for the Siren. He’s been a thorn in Brenna’s professional side for years, but when their individual quests lead them to team up despite being enemies, a whole new sumptuous world of art and culture opens up for the two of them. And with it, they enter a realm of passion and love…

Review

I was quite excited when I was invited to read this book because I was interested to read how the authors were going to merge the two differing perspective between the perspective of the ‘The Swan’ in the past (Regency England-ish) and Brenna who is in the present. These two ladies are our protagonists for this book. It also helped that the book was sold to me as a mystery book with a huge whollop of romance.

After reading it, I have to say that my feelings are mixed regarding this book. Not that it isn’t good, no, the problem here lies with me. I just came to realize that contemporary romance just isn’t my thing. This realization hit me whenever I am reading the third person POV for Brenna’s part of the story, my eyes just glaze over and internally I am just praying that it will be over soon but when I read the historical romance aspect of the book which was written in the first person narrative, there just wasn’t enough material for me to read and I would be wholly disappointed that I had to return to reading about Brenna.

For me, Brenna’s romance with Fitch Wilder was so boring. Boring because of the predictability of it and how fast Brenna fell in love with Fitch, maybe it was longer than I give it credit for in the book but to me it felt like she fell in love with the guy within two weeks because the time lapse between them first meeting to when they fell in love felt so short but then again I am really bad at keeping track of the time anyway so this point is up for debate.

There was nothing for me to root for between these two characters and when Fitch admitted to lying to Brenna and her freaking out and their make up I just felt like ‘Jeez woman, just get over it’. Yes, this lying thing that Fitch did hit a raw nerve because of Brenna’s past and her estranged father but I just could not relate and in all honesty I gave zero shit but had the exposition or reasoning for her freak out been more fleshed out then maybe I would have given her the benefit of the doubt.

All in all I felt like the Brenna and Fitch aspect of the book was just not for me as it was predictable and boring but I live for parts of the book that was in ‘The Swan’s’ POV. Parts of the book which was written in her POV which was in the past was so interesting and dynamic and full of life and intrigue and mystery. The start of the book opened to her literally half-drowning in the ocean in the middle of nowhere so you are like what is going on????? Is she going to be okay?

‘The Swan’s’ POV was just SO good! She had to do many a different things back in her day to survive and prosper and prosper she did. She overcame so many hardships in her life that by the time she met a nice man on this island and was genuinely happy you couldn’t help but be so happy for her as well but the ending of her part of the book just KILLED ME DAMN IT!

The ending left me with a book hangover. I just could not get over it because why? Why would you do that to her? After all she went through that woman deserves eternal happiness!

So, yeah that sums my review.

Present plot: It was okay a bit meh for me

Past plot: THIS SHIT IS WHAT I LIVE FOR!

Hence, the 4 star rating.

*The book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review

Decoupage’ Bitches

Last Sunday (I think it was a Sunday), mom was all like…

“Yo, Ezza wake up we gotta go to this shop opening”

“Why should I even go man?” said I, whilst still wrapped warmly in my cocoon of a blanket.

“There’s free food” shouted mom on the other side of my closed bedroom door.

“Say no more!” I responded as I blinked the sleepiness away from my eyes.

And so I got ready for this so called shop opening and I went dressed in all black with dark blood red lipstick, why you ask? I have no idea. I just felt like dressing like a goth hijabi girl. Even completed the look with 5 inch black suede pumps (Mary Jane’s? I can never know the difference).

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So, anyways we arrived and then all the guests had to go to the second floor of this building to get to the studio and mind you climbing all those stairs definitely made me regret my footwear and that is when it was revealed that the store opening was actually the opening of a decoupage studio.

The inner arts and crafts lover in me emerged like “HULK SMASH” baby!

All I can say was that decoupage’-ing is so much fun! As a promotion the 50 first guests to register can try their hand at decoupage’ by doing it on a coin purse and lemme tell you bitches, it definitely showed my true personality since my coin purse was hella cute!

The studio holds classes for children and adults alike with different prices (naturally) and teaches from the basics to advanced decoupage techniques and you can also try the bundled package classes where you can choose 4 out of 6 (I think) projects and be taught the full range of techniques.

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I’ll share the google map of where the studio is located and will share the contacts for the owner of the studio just in case ya’ll interested in going for a class or two.

Name: Decoupage Villa

Contact: Niza (018-2301995)

Google map: Lot 21 (1st Floor, Sublot 3501, Jalan Piasau, 98000 Miri, Sarawak

 

Top Ten Tuesdays

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks topic is “Books With My Favorite Color On the Cover (or In the Title)”

So, try to guess what is my favorite color based on the books I chose… I swear its easy…

 

The Luck of the Bride… A Review

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Title: The Luck of the Bride

Author: Janna MacGregor

Published: May 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 5/5

Summary

Family secrets, mistaken identities…love and money make people do crazy things in The Luck of the Bride, the third Cavensham Heiresses novel.

March Lawson has never had much luck, and in a desperate move to save her family, she’s been posing as the Marquess of McCalpin. But when she’s summoned to a meeting with the Marquess himself, March expects jail time…not to be bewitched by dark hair and sapphire eyes.

Michael Cavensham, the Marquess of McCalpin and heir to the Duke of Langham, finds himself drawn to March despite the judgments from his peers. He isn’t sure he can trust March, especially since Michael has a secret that could ruin him and his family.

But society conspires to keep March and Michael apart, and when March is accused of not being who she says she is, will Michael toss her aside or fight for the woman he’s come to love?

Review

I thought I was over my love for historical romance books as I had tired of reading them whilst I was in the struggles of my reading slump but the publisher had emailed me inquiring whether I was interested in reading this book and I thought “well, I have read the others I might as well continue on” and continue I did and let me say…

I LOVED IT!

Reading this book I had no expectations whatsoever and so it took me by surprise when I was so absorbed by the book that I finished it within a day. I found the book to be entertaining, funny, adorable and heart wrenching.

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As much as I loved historical romance they have never brought tears (tears of anger and disappointment doesn’t count) to my eyes up until this book. I felt for the female protagonist, March Lawson, so much that I just wanted her to be happy because damn it she deserved it! Everything in her life was so unfair and finally… FINALLY she was to achieve happiness with a man she loved but all that was almost robbed from her as she was framed for something that she didn’t do and it broke my heart when her lover, Michael Cavensham, doubted her love. Like why GOD DAMN IT!

I didn’t expect the book to be so intense for me emotionally. Janna (the author) truly blew my socks off.

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Aside from my feelings for the main female protagonist, I must say that I also loved how the author included letters from March’s youngest sibling, Lord Bennet Lawson, to Michael. This is because I found it so cute and endearing how he would misspell his words or cross some sentences out because it was grammatically wrong and how some words were misspelled but he had not realized it. It shows his young age. Also, I loved how Bennet as young as he was became a wise and brave young man when it came to the safety and happiness of his sisters especially March. He went to Michael personally and talked to him man to man on the fate of March. It broke my heart because the situation that permitted that meeting was when March was framed and also because as the reader you can see how Bennet has grown from a baby to a fine young man. I felt like a proud parent.

I didn’t quite liked the ending though not because it wasn’t appropriate nor good but because I wanted March to make Michael suffer a little bit more. The pettiness in me wanted Michael to grovel for March’s affections and forgiveness. It has been a daydream of mine where a man chases me across the globe to prove his love so I was hoping it would come to fruition here but alas it didn’t but it is fine everything else in the book was completely amazing that I am willing to overlook this slight misgiving I have with the ending.

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Another thing that I liked was how the author included dyscalculia (it’s a form of dyslexia but with numbers) as well as a gay character in the plot as I felt that it was in line with the changing perceptions of modern readers.

In conclusion, I truly felt that this book was by far the best in the Cavensham Heiresses series. It kicked me in the feels when I least expected it.

*The book was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

 

Top Ten Tuesday

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This weeks topic is “Books That Surprised Me”

  • I expected this book to be a 3-4 rating for me like all her previous books I have read but surprisingly I really enjoyed this book. Who knew? Even gave it a 5 rating.

Review of Holiday in The Hamptons

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  • I rarely read Malay books let alone manage to enjoy one but this book opened my eyes that not all Malay books are shit. I liked it so much I actually bought the second one almost at full price (I say almost because it was 20% off) and coming from a book cheapskate like me, that says A LOT.

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  • You and I both know what I truly feel for this MONSTROSITY! Two years on and I am still riled up thinking about the plot. I can’t even, because if I do my rant will never end. The injustice I felt at having spent my hard earned cash for this trash is inconceivable.

Review of HP & The Cursed Child

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  • I hated this book as well as I felt the synopsis was VERY misleading but for some unbeknownst reason I can’t seem to forget nor shake off the themes discussed in the book.

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  • This book surprised me because I didn’t expect the book would be so tedious and torturous for me to read.

Review of Bookishly Ever After

Booktube review of Bookishly Ever After

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Kawaii Doodle Class… A Review

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Title: Kawaii Doodle Class

Author: Zainab Khan

Published: 1 September 2017

Publisher: Race Point Publishing

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 5/5

Goodreads Summary

Create your own kawaii world with Pic Candle and Kawaii Doodle Class!

The Japanese word kawaii  translates to “cute,” and this how-to book is chock-full of super-adorable images of tacossushismoothiescloudsrainbowscactidoodle monstersChristmas treeslipsticksteacups, and more for your adoration.

Popular kawaii artist Zainab Khan shows you how to draw 75 super-cute characters with simple step-by-step illustrations and instructions. She has also included fun search-and-find images to play along with, and inspiration boards that show you how to give your characters different facial expressions and zany accessories.

Review

I really enjoyed this book because it was easy for me to draw the characters as they all had step-by-step instructions for me to follow. This is great because I don’t have any drawing talent whatsoever plus because it has step-by-step instructions it allows you to practice all the basic shapes for the eyes, body etc which you can then apply and use to create your own character.

So, far that is all I have to say for this book. It was a chill,easy to follow doodling book that is great for anybody regardless of artistic background to try.

*The book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Bookishly Ever After… A Review

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Title: Bookishly Ever After

Author: Isabel Bandeira

Published: 19 January 2016

Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary

Source: Netgalley

Rating: 2/5

Goodreads summary

In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary.

But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?

Review

Well I had a whole rant review written for this book but I lost it and I just don’t have enough momentum in me to write another rant review so this review will be concise and short and straight to the point.

I did not enjoy this book at all even though every fibre of my being really wanted to because the protagonist is a book nerd who knits and let us be honest I can insert myself into the plot because all that can also describe me; a book nerd who crochet instead of knits but it is fine we all know crochet is knittings second cousin thrice removed.

The writing was too juvenile for my taste which threw me off from immersing myself in the plot because the main characters age is 16 yet the writing felt more middle grade than anything.

Then we have the characters themselves. Every character was a stereotype and all of them fell flat. They were nothing more than their stereotype and they weren’t worth the time to even warrant the need to get to know them better but the character I hated the most was the main protagonist, Phoebe.

I did not like how she has no personality nor wit nor anything she can call her own. She does everything that her favorite book character does. From her archery to how she was going to get her crushs attention. I honestly don’t mind if you use fictional characters characteristics and whatnot as inspiration to improve your own life but literally just following whatever they are doing without putting any forethought into it seems ludicrous. Had Phoebe been younger it would have been more believable but she is 16, so I find a 16 year old following everything she reads from a fictional book highly unlikely if it was from a magazine like Cosmo or whatever that is highly likely but from a fictional book? Really?

Another thing that annoyed me about Phoebe was how she has no character development. At the start of the book she is a shy book nerd out to get the attention of her crush and does so by reading fictional books and copies whatever is in it and at the end she is still a shy book nerd who now just has a boyfriend. She learns nothing from her endeavors.

Also, I did not like how she wants the guy to ask her out because she still believes in romantic gestures yet does nothing more pronounced to hint at her crush that she likes them. Yes, she dresses better, she wears make-up, she plays coy and what not but all that can be misconstrued as being friendly and all that does not warrant on how upset she gets because her crush doesn’t understand how she feels. She gets so upset over it she cuts their friendship, doesn’t explain why or anything and it is wholly unfair to the guy i question because maybe he did like her but is too shy himself to ask her out without a more direct hint.

The romance in this book is also very odd for me. At the start of the book she likes Kris, the schools star athlete but then just because Phoebe’s best friend, Em, says that Dev has a thing for Phoebe suddenly she goes all gung-ho for Dev immediately. I don’t understand why. Like why do you suddenly like Dev? Is he cute? Is he sweet? Is he funny? Is he drop dead gorgeous. You don’t just like somebody who MIGHT have a crush on you for no apparent reason. There must be something even though the reasoning might be very superficial.

Another problem I faced was the pacing of this book. It felt so slow for me. I felt like I was reading nothing because almost everything was just filler. Fillers that did not move the plot forward or create any intimacy between us as the reader towards the characters or heck even enjoyable fillers.

Talking about fillers I have found a bookish pet peeve because of this book and that is fillers in the form of bookception (book inception). Remember I told you that Phoebe gets all her tips and tricks to get Dev’s attention well she writes this all down in her notebook where Phoebe will legit write line by line from the chapter she gets her inspiration from and we get to read it. Yeay! Not!

If I wanted to read another book in this book I would have just picked up another book in real life or heck even contacted the author herself to write this fictional book she put in ‘Bookishly Ever After’ so I can read it myself and so that the plot just focuses on Phoebe and puts in more effort so that I actually care about this girl because at this rate due to the writing and the one dimensional characters I don’t give a shit about Phoebe and whatever she is trying to achieve so what makes you think by including a book within a book that I would care more? Like what are you doing? Are you trying to be meta? Had this bookception been complete slashed off or have half of it cut out would improve the pacing of this book tremendously.

I don’t care about Kaylee whatever and her indecision to choose to pursue music in the city or follow her heart and stay with a potato farmer boy for true love or how Maeve feels betrayed and hurt that she is only used as a pawn by her leprechaun-esque partner/lover.

This book was just a huge disappointment for me and I just can’t even anymore so I will stop here.

*Book was given by the publishers in return for an honest review

The Widow… A Review

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Title: The Widow

Author: Fiona Barton

Published: 14 January 2016

Publisher: Transworld Digital

Source: Library

Rating: 3/5

Goodreads summary

We’ve all seen him: the man – the monster – staring from the front page of every newspaper, accused of a terrible crime.

But what about her: the woman who grips his arm on the courtroom stairs – the wife who stands by him?

Jean Taylor’s life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she’d ever wanted: her Prince Charming.

Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of unimaginable evil.

But now Glen is dead and she’s alone for the first time, free to tell her story on her own terms.

Jean Taylor is going to tell us what she knows.

Review

Well hello again book that I requested on Netgalley but was rejected. Ha! Laughs on you, I still got to read you anyway. Take that!

Putting my saltiness aside, I found this book okay for my taste. It was average. The plot was predictable and this predictability in my opinion puts the book both in the pros and the cons of said book. I say this because yeah the book is predictable but I get a sense that this isn’t what the author was working at because whilst it was predictable I still found myself not being able to put the book down and this predictability allows us as the reader to engage with the characters present in this book. But again because the book was predictable I couldn’t really immerse myself in the book and just get lost within the mystery of it, if you understand what I mean. Like you can’t lose yourself in a book of which you can predict whats going to happen.

Now, another thing I found a tad bit disappointing was that this book was touted as a psychological thriller rivaling that of the book ‘The Girl on The Train’ but when I read it I found no aspect of this book pertaining to any sort of psychological-thriller-issues-thing. I personally found the book to be a straightforward crime fiction novel.

Yes, you get psychological issues pertaining to the main character who is Jean Taylor, widow to Glen Taylor; pedophile and child kidnapper extraordinaire but that is where any psychological issues stop. You don’t get any duplicity, split personality or anything relating to those sort of things.

But all that did not come close to me truly disliking the ending. My mind was like WTF. The ending ended with Jean knowing all along where Bella’s (the kidnapped girl) body was and the ending line was that she was not allowed to go to Bella’s funeral and that the psychiatrist and judge agrees it will be too much for her and I am here like…

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Like what????!!!! THAT WAS THE ENDING?! That was just a cheap way out man. CHEAP WAY OUT and it didn’t answer no questions. IT MADE ME HAVE MORE QUESTIONS. Like first of all… FIRST OF ALL…

What happened to Jean after she lead the cops to Bella’s body? Was she incarcerated? Is she in jail? Is she in an asylum? Was she prosecuted???

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This is not a plot twist. I knew Jean knows where the body is. I knew she in some way was in cahoots with Glen because you can see from a mile away she cray but this ending is BS! Like girl! You made me read the whole book making me somewhat interested in the characters and the hint of payoff when it comes to the ending what with your predictable plot and so-so characters because you kept hinting and building up and building up expectation that the ending will leave me SHOOOOOOK and when I finally read the ending you gave me this BS!

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Right, right having said all that there were aspects of the book that I did like such as the relationship between Glen and Jean and how even form early on you as the reader can see all the red flags be poppin up like mushrooms everywhere but because Jean is so blinded by love she just goes on ahead.

For example, when they first started dating he would just order for her doesn’t even bother to ask what she wanted or heck does she even like steak but Jean sees it as him being thoughtful making her try new things.

I really like how the relationship slowly progressed in a sense that you can see how controlling Glen is and how he emotionally and mentally abuses and manipulates Jean until she has to put on this facade to be this perfect wife (which the author totally should have delved deeper into because it if by far the most interesting part of the book) and thus why she was essentially coerced into being in cahoots with Glen.

Another aspect that I liked was the multiple POV’s in this book and the jumping between the past and the present. This allows the reader to follow the investigation as well as follow the characters and how this investigation impacted their own personal life as well as their professional life.

I am surprised at how eloquent my review for this book is on my blog as opposed to the one I posted on YouTube. In the video I just spazzed out and blurted whatever came to mind at first. Anyhoots would appreciate it if you checked out my review on YouTube as well and tell me how I can improve hahahah.

Link to my video.