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Review: Everything I Never Told You

I consider myself an adrenaline junky when it comes to books. Maybe because in real life I’m such a subdued human being that when I read I prefer to live vicariously through characters doing crazy stuff. That’s one of the main reasons I tend to avoid contemporary/mystery books unless they REALLY stand out to me. A few months ago a friend recommended to me Celeste Ng as an author, it was around the time where the hype for Little Fires Everywhere was crazy. Anytime I get a book recommendation I 100% always at least check the book out online, so when I found Everything I Never Told You( if I keep referring to this book by its’ full name by hands will actually cramp so let’s use EINTY for now :’)) and Little Fires Everywhere on Amazon for a reasonable price… YUP I started reading EINTY the next day.

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Title: Everything I Never Told You

Authors : Celeste Ng

Length:292

Source: Purchased

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

Although it took me a wHILEEE to get through this book, I enjoyed it to some extent. We follow the story of a teenager who suddenly goes missing and although her parents had thought she was completely happy, throughout this book we discover the struggles she really went through. A lot of books depicting teen angst tend to be (As expected) about trivial nonsense, like does jack from class 3B really like me? Or Will I ever fit into this school and be one of the popular girls? Of course I’m not saying that ALL books depict this, but a majority do… So when I read through the concerns that this teenager had, and the immense pressure she received from her parents as well as trying to fit in as a Chinese-American I really found myself respecting her as a character. Seldom is a book written after a main tragedy, so it was really interesting to read about how these different characters had their own coping mechanisms and seeing some of these actually reflected in myself.

It’s no spoiler that the ‘main character’ dies, that literally happens within the first few pages, but whilst getting to know each character and becoming closer with the family I did feel somewhat invested… The multiple perspectives really were what kept this story alive, reading such an intense story got overwhelming at certain points so having that change of viewpoint was refreshing. I will say though that at points I really just wanted to put the book down. Especially at around 2/3 of the way through, there weren’t many developments and the story kind of plataued to the point where it was just draining. The only thing that kept me interested was finding out how Lydia actually died…

I would recommend this for readers who are looking for a change of pace to their current reads, it’s an intense read but one with relatable characters that are well developed and an easy to read writing style! Yet to read Little Fires Everywhere, so if you’ve read it let me know in the comments what you thought!

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Book books comicbooks entertainment manga Reviews Uncategorized

Manga Adaptation of Hamlet:

I really had high high expectations for this but unfortunately I was a little disappointed… I thought a manga adaptation would may make Shakespeare’s work more accessible and easier to read but if anything this made everything a little bit confusing.

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Title: Manga Shakespeare: Hamlet

Authors :Richard Appignanesi (Adapter), Emma Vieceli (Illustrator), William Shakespeare

Length: 204

Source: Purchased

 

First of all the major adaptation to the story was that Hamlet was set wayyy in the future, which I felt like unnecessarily complicated things. I’ve never read Hamlet before so I already don’t know what’s going on… But now having to figure it out this new futuristic world and having illustrations along the way, it was a bit much.

The illustrations were very interesting… at the beginning. I loved the concept of having an illustrated version of Shakespeare’s work, but I found that instead of them making the story easy to follow they complicated it. The art made all the characters look very similar so for half the time I literally had no idea who was who and WHAT the hell was going on.

The nail on the metaphoric coffin was the actual writing… it was still written in the original except now only certain excerpts were included. I personally felt like the text that was included didn’t really help the reader understand what was going on and it was incredibly difficult for me to follow the story.

I finished this in about an hour, not because I particularly enjoyed it but because I kept reading through to waiting for the story to make sense. Anyone out there that isn’t really familiar with Hamlet and the storyline will be very VERy confused (as was I until I read the summary at the end :))

It’s definitely a fun idea but I’m not really inclined to pick up the adaptation of The Tempest I have on my shelf any time soon…

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Why I Started Book Blogging:

I’m not sure if I’ve actually ever mentioned why I got into book blogging but if I did I don’t think I made a blog post about it so… HUR WE GOO:

I’ve always loved reading but I feel like I went through phases where I went on a bit of a (very) long slump until I read a book that hooked me back into reading! I’m someone with the shitest memory, even now when someone asks me for book recommendations I have to skim through my posts to jig my memory of what books I’ve read. So around 4/5 years ago when I got back into reading, I had no idea that book blogging was a thing, I thought why would anyone want to hear my rambling thoughts about a book I’ve read??????

Whenever I finished a book I would write up a review and literally just leave it sitting in my documents for future reference. I think I first came across book blogging through Goodreads, where I found bloggers linking their full reviews to their blogs. I really was taken abackkk like huh???? This really was a thing??? I immediately began to look at different blog platforms I could use, and that was that I guess??

WOW when thinking about this post I really thought I’d have a lot more to say but writing it up, it’s actually not that interesting huh 😕

I don’t know if this post’ll see the light of day, but  if it does I would be interested in hearing how you got into book blogging or blogging in general!

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Replica Review:

Replica had literally been sitting on my shelf for a 2 years waiting to be picked up… Whereas other people were excited by the interesting format of having the story told from two different perspectives. I was a bit put off to be honest, because I felt like I’d just be reading the same story twice??

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Title: Replica

Author: Lauren Oliver

Length: 520

Source: Purchased

 

 

Synopsis:

Lyra

From a distance, the Haven Institute, tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida, looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, it is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed.

But when a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects—Lyra, or 24, and the boy known only as 72—manage to escape. As they make their way through a new and menacing environment, they meet a stranger named Gemma, who has embarked on a perilous quest of her own. And as Lyra tries to understand Haven’s purpose, she uncovers earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls.

Gemma

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals her whole life. A sickly child, she has grown into a lonely adolescent whose life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April.

But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family’s past and discovers her father’s mysterious connection to the secretive Haven research facility. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two human models, or replicas, 24 and 72—and a completely new set of questions. As Gemma tries to unravel the mysteries of Haven, she learns terrible truths about herself and her family that will threaten to destroy everything she loves.

Two girls, two stories, one novel.

While the stories of Gemma and Lyra mirror each other, each contains revelations critically important to the other story. Their narratives can be read separately or in alternating chapters.

The writing style really REALLY wasn’t for me. The character came across as a bit whiny, which I mean Gemma is supposed to be a teenager so fair enough, but at times it was reallllyy exhausting. I started off reading from Gemma which I did randomly, I’d heard that there wasn’t a particular order for reading this book. BUT I’m kinda glad I did start with Gemma , I felt like her side of the story slowly eased you into this new world, it developed the characters a bit more and frankly felt a little less rushed.

This book wasn’t really my favourite and I think I have a few reasons why.

  • I love some good character development, and seeing my favourite character grow throughout the different trials and tribulations of the story, but for me Gemma had the a very inconsistent personality which threw me off balance a few times. Just when I thought I somewhat understood her and her way of thinking she’d do something that’d throw me off way WAYYY off. So I read through her part feeling very unfamiliar with her as a character and being unable to connect with her because she was constantly changing???
  • Imma be honest and say I didn’t manage to read through Lyra’s part. I just felt like I was rereading the same story… And not necessarily because of the actual events. I just expected Lyra and Gemma to have more distinct voices, but if I compared a page from each side of the story I literally wouldn’t be able to tell who is who. So… I made it to about 100 pages, and really called it a day.

I personally wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, at the same time there are a  lot of people who seem to have enjoyed this so maybe it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Let me know what you thought of Replica down in the comment below!

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July Book Haul!

Today was the first day in a whileeeeee that I’ve actually been to a bookshop with the intention of buying books (doesn’t make sense right??) . A lot of times I just go to browseee or see what’s just been released! Anyway of course I did some damage… but I only left with four books so I’m counting this as a success OKAY! (I actually picked up around 7 but knocked some sense into myself :’))

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The first book in my haul is one more related to language learning journey. As some of may know if you follow my instagram (shamless plug no.1-@abooknation) I have recently started learning Spanish. Whilst learning Korean realised that once I’m at the appropriate level I really prefer learning the nuance and new vocabulary of the language whilst reading stories rather than just working through text books. Whether they are short stories or poems (I really love studying Korean poems) it just helps me absorb more if I see words/phrases in context! So I picked up a compilation of short stories in Spanish:

 

Recently my friend and I started a stationery business (Shameless plug no.2- http://the-pastel-planet.myshopify.com) but I’ve always been interested in business and a career as an entrepreneur. I’ve also realised that I actually don’t know much about much in the Financial sector which is ironic because my degree is pretty much based around it… After spending an hour browsing I came to one conclusion… It really is difficult finding a book that isn’t gimmicky. I picked up around 6 books and walked away with 1, a majority of them turned out to be providing the most generic information that even I KNOW. In the end the book I settled on is:

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I started reading through this whilst still at the bookshop and it seemed like a book that I could actually learn a lot from, but if anyone out there can give me some recommendations I would be eternally grateful (pleaseee anythingg…)

 

 

 

 

My next stop was the fiction section and more specifically the Sci-fi/Fantasy area. I’m really craving ( I don’t even know if it’s possible to crave books??) a high fantasy read,  I was just looking for a distant world I can throw myself into! There I picked up:

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I’ve heard about this book EVERYWHEREEE, it’s almost like a classic in the fantasy genre. Never actually read anything by Brandon Sanderson but apparently this is the best place to start?? It has amazing reviews on Goodreads so I’m putting a lot of faith in this one! *fingers crossed*

 

 

 

 

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From what I can tell this is pretty much a retelling of Ariel and honestly that’s all I know about it! I’ve heard that Christina Henry is apparently pretty good at writing at dark retelling so I’m realllyy excited to read this.

 

 

 

Have you read any books I’ve listed above? If so I would love to hear your reviews in the comment section!

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JUNE TBR/WRAP-UP

This post is going to be a TBR/Wrap up because I’ve actually already read and even reviewed some of the books on here! I didn’t know if I wanted to do a full TBR for this month because I honestly wasn’t sure how many books I’d read, (if any…))

BUT seen as I seem to be on some kind of roll here we go!

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

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Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

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Replica by Lauren Oliver

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Hamlet (manga adaptation) by Richard Appignanesi (Adapter)Emma Vieceli (Goodreads Author) (Illustrator), William Shakespeare238003

(Also side note (these have become a bit of a habit in my posts now and I don’t really know how to feel about them??) As some of you may know from my previous posts I have been studying Korean (VERY inconsistently) for the past 3/4 years and sometimes want to make blog posts about my progress! I’ve also (very) recently started learning Spanish, so I was debating on whether I should make a new blog just for language learning. Orrrr if people are actually interested in seeing those kind of posts here?? Please let me know in the comments!)

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Book books entertainment Uncategorized YA

Currently Reading Tag!

Every time I get back into blogging I really struggle, because I’ve been out of the loop for os long I don’t even know what posts to make. Especially now, since I read but not at the same pace  I used to if I were to write only reviews I would be posting on here once a month ://////////////

SOO to combat this I decided to take part in some tags, I feel like they make a more structured post, otherwise it would just be me here rambling forever about nonnnnsensee.

(Wow if you could see my first drafts of my posts, they’re literally pages long… then I realise I would never sit there and read this so how can I expect other people tooo…(yupp the final posts are after I’ve cut out so many things :)) and there we go again with the rambling. On with the actual book tag!

1 – How many books do you usually read at once?

I’ve always preferred reading one book at a time, I feel like if I read more than one I lose my focus. Also if I’m reading a book and I’m at a point where I want to read something else, I’m probably don’t want to carry on reading the current one….

I used to be always finish a book even if I’m not enjoying its, but I’ve realised that’s what contributes to my reading slumps!

2 – How do you decide when to switch between multiple reads?

NEVER, I just give up on the one I’m reading now :’)

3 – Do you ever switch bookmarks partially through a book?

WOWW I always lose bookmarks, you know the way most people can’t finish a lip balm pot, I always lose my bookmark half way through and end up using a random piece of paper…

4 – Where do you keep the books you are currently reading?

They’re usually always around me, which is why sometimes reading thick books is SUCH A NUISANCE. If I’m going out anywhereee I always have to carry the book, EVEN IF THERE’S A 99% CHANCE I WON’T READ IT/

5 – What time of day do you read the most?

I actually don’t have a timee, I just read when I feel like it?? Sometimes if I’m in the reading mood I will sit there fore 4 hours reading, but the next day I might not even touch the book.

6 – How long do you typically read in one session?

Again this usually depends on where I am in the book, usually with slow starting books I read for maybe 15/20mins towards the beginnging. When the pace picks upp is when I can sit for a few hours.

7 – Do you read hardbacks with the dust jackets off?

NO BECAUSE I ALWAYS END UP LOSING THE DUST JACKET!! I saw that a few booktubers were doing this so I was like why nottttt, if it’ll help preserve the book. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I’d rather have a damaged dust jacket, than nothing at all :/

8 – What position do you mainly use to read?

As someone in their early 20’s I really have the back problems of grandad because wowwww, reading or not I find it difficult to stay in one position for a long time. When reading I really do the mosttt, I move sooo much. (My backs aching even as a write this posttt, I really don’t know if this is a medical problem or if I just have shite posture…)

9 – Do you take your current read with you everywhere you go?

YES. (Again this is why I have a love-hate relationship with hardback books.

10 – How often do you update your Goodreads reading progress?

I always make this a goal of mine, to constantly update my Goodreads account. But tbh I think I’ve written 5 reviews?? On there EVER. I don’t know I’d kinda rather just post here, but sometimes if I get a book review request then I also post a link to my review on there.

I tag anyone who wants to participate!

(Also side note: I’ve tried to read Illuminae, but I really REALLY couldn’t get through the first chapter… I have actually tried picking it up on two separate occasions but I always end up putting it back down. I don’t know if it’s the format that’s too confusing?? Anyone else experienced this please let me know in the comments!)

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Darkly Dreaming Dexter: Review

Since exams have finished I’ve had a lot more time to read, and catch up on all the Netflix shows I’ve wanted to watch! Is it just me or is watching Netflix without the imminent pressure of studying/exams just not as good? Same goes for reading, I had started a reading list for this summer but as soon as I was finished with school I kind of didn’t know what to do with myself so I ended up doing a whole bunch of…. nothing.

I did however manage to read Darkly Dreaming Dexter. Usually I don’t pick up books based on hype, but I really needed to read something to nudge me back into me back into my reading mood and I loveeee a good crime thriller.

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Title: Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Author: Jeff Lindsay

Length: 288

Source: Purchased.

Honestly I had never watched the TV series and knew absolutely nothing about this going in apart from the fact that it had a highly successful TV adaptation! I think pretty much everyone knows what this is about but for the people who don’t here’s a short synopsis below:

Meet Dexter Morgan, a polite wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s handsome and charming, but something in his past has made him abide by a different set of rules. He’s a serial killer whose one golden rule makes him immensely likeable: he only kills bad people. And his job as a blood splatter expert for the Miami police department puts him in the perfect position to identify his victims. But when a series of brutal murders bearing a striking similarity to his own style start turning up, Dexter is caught between being flattered and being frightened—of himself or some other fiend.

Out of all the crime thrillers I’ve read this stood out for multiple reasons:

Reading 234972097 (not an exact number plz don’t quote me on this :)) crime novels I’d come across my fair share of self-righteous series killers, but somehow it all felt very artificial. Whilst reading I’d never really bought into it.  But whilst reading his rationality for why he does what he does I found myself several times almost falling for his justificationss?? Let’s just say I’m grateful that this book was only around 300 pages!

Another overused connection is that the main character had gone through something traumatic when they were younger which inevitable lead them down this path. It was my first time reading about a character who knew he had a traumatic past but doesn’t quite remember what it was. It motivates who he is as a human being and was such a catastrophic event that it left him unable to feel ‘normal’ human emotions yet he still didn’t know what the cause of this was. I really liked that this was revealed towards the beginning of the book,  at this point even though I wasn’t really invested in him as a character I knew I had to stay until the end to at least find what had happened to him.

Wowww it’s really been a while since I’ve written a review I don’t even know how to wrap this shambolic one up… All in all I would recommend this for people who don’t usually pick up crime/thriller reads , it has a great writing style, psycho but relatable main character and is less than 300 pages. Will I carry on reading the rest of the series? Probably not, I’m quite satisfied with the ending of this but if anyones read more from this series let me know what you thought in the comments!

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Currently Reading

While writing my Feb TBR I completely forgot to include this book so I’ll add a short post about it here:

As I now I have some time to spare I decided to work a bit more on my beta-reading skills and become more familiar with some more technical terms. In the process of searching for the perfect book to guide me through this I came across Self-Editing for Fiction Writers and I honestly think it’s the best book I could’ve picked. Whilst beta-reading the most challenging thing for me is how to deliver my critique to the writer in a way that doesn’t dictate to them how they should change their work to fit my taste but rather how to make their manuscript more accessible to different kinds of readers. Of course as readers we all have our preferences in terms of the characters we enjoy reading, writing style etc and it would be completely impossible for a writer to cater to every single reader.

This book is great in showing how you can make improvements/adjustments to your current work without losing your identity as a writer. This doesn’t mean changing your story/style and losing your voice but instead means writing in such a way that readers can understand your characters more deeply, become more invested in them and thus more invested in this whole word. I would HIGHHHLLYYY recommend any conflicted writers to pick this up! It gives you a fresh perspective and essentially allows you to see your work from a readers point of view (to some extent!).

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February TBR!

Last month I only managed to read one book…. The Name of the Wind. Considering I haven’t read a single book in the past 6 months I can still count this as a win right??? I’ve had the longessssssst reading slump and finally decided to read Name of the Wind which a friend recommend to me. Usually whilst in a slump I don’t tend to big up such heavy books but I’d been hearing only good things about it. I won’t delve into it too much but a review should be posted up next week!

I think I needed some immersive high fantasy to shake me from this prolonged reading slump, so as soon as I finished it I started reading the sequel The Wise Man’s Fear. Although I’m getting through it a bit slower than my usual pace I love the characters, setting and the world Patrick Rothfuss created, but my next read is definitely going to be shorter, two consecutive 700-900 page reads is a littttle too much for me.

So I decided to avoid falling back into any slump I’d post a Feb TBR as these seem to always work when I’m recovering! Here are my next reads for this month:

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Since I’m already immersed in this world I’ve already got my copy of the novella The Slow Regard of Silent Things. This follows the life of Auri giving the reader a deeper understanding of her and *hopefully* some proper character development because to me she was actually the character I was most interested in! (I’ve also noticed some animations insidee, so I’ll probably breeeeeze through this) If you’ve read the KingKiller Chronicle series belwhat you thought of this novella!

 

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Replica by Lauren Oliver. I’m still on my quest to finish reading all the books on my shelf so although this is not a recently published novel I remember there was quite a lot of hype when it was released!

Over the past 2 years I’ve also been self studying Korean, so each month I will TRYYY to read through a Korean book. The one I’ve picked this month is….

 

  • 빈치, 은희경 (Poor Man’s Wife by Eun Hee-Kyung)  I picked this up a few months ago at Foyles and this was the first book that I’d seen with Korean on one page and the English translation on the next page! Whilst studying Korean content the most frustrating part is having to keep referring back to the translator, so this should make studying much easier.

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