The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

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You think you’re tired of the “geek needs to find love because they’re not normal” plot. The Rosie Project will change your mind. Or not.

The Rosie Project is the adult version of a John Green book – but my fellow YA people can read this too. Well-written, clever and funny with hilarious lines hitting a high note. Never missing a beat.

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There were times where my feminist side was ticked off but that’s because of the characters – glad they develop into more considerate people. BUT the main character Don Tillman (the geek incapable of love) doesn’t change his “weird” ways – he just accepts the love of his life (his opposite but compatible partner). Awww. Geek and proud.

Now, I’m biking my way to the sequel.

A Tribute Poem to Christopher Lee

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A Tribute Poem to Christopher Lee

The King of Horror

is laid to rest in his

coffin.

But he’ll be remembered

forever.

Not a day will go by

without worship to him.

For he lived a life full of

adventures.

Like Bilbo Baggins, he was always

ready to embark on a quest or

take on challenges,

even up to his last breath.

From fighting in WWII to hunting down

Nazis to making a milestone in the world of

metal music.

He was a wizard, Sith, Tolkien fan, Dracula and a grandfather to many generations. Young and old.

He is Christopher Lee and he would be more than an image and a name in books.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

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Even though it’s well researched, there were moments of Burial Rites where I didn’t care because of the dull writing. It felt more telling than showing. However, the characters were interesting and I couldn’t stop reading to discover what happens as one reveal after another adds up to something heart-wrenching.

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Suspenseful and an eye-opener to Icelandic ways, Burial Rites would keep you on edge and cry on the cold ground.

Warning: there are no happy endings.

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Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

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I do love stories on adultery and Madame Bovary is a well-written one but I got annoyed with main character Emma. So selfish and immature.

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Excuse my language, but I just couldn’t wait for her to meet her miserable fate despite understanding how/why she’s the way she is. As for the other characters, I don’t care about them – maybe except Emma’s daughter. All the rest just need to get killed off for being stupid and oblivious. Sorry just…[clenches fists].

Carmilla by Sheridan de Fanu

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I finally gotten to this gothic classic and if you’re looking for Dracula’s predecessor or a lesbian vampire story, this one is for you. But be warned: it’s not a love story. It’s rather a game of manipulation – using loyalty, love and emotions as tools to gain a drink of blood.

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The ending is chilling, leaving you to stare out the window for a while and re-evaluate your friends.

Inspecting the House of the Spirits

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Inspecting the House of the Spirits

Unfamiliar with Latin American literature, I plunged into a mindblowing and sensual world of magic and the darkest place humanity could go to. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende centres on four generations of the del Valle/Trueba family who are plagued by violence, complicated love and the past. All the while they are surrounded by unknown spirits.

What I loved is the diversity of women. Each one is distinct and quite strong – I mean they’re well-written, complex women. They don’t tear each other down either which was a surprise. One of the major themes is the bond between them and it’s something that doesn’t break even during times of trouble. The women go through a lot of pain – reminding me of Game of Thrones – but they’re not portrayed as victims. Their strength remains intact, though they don’t physically fight back, they fight back by not inflicting revenge on their abusers. Because if they did so, they would continue passing on violence to future generations. And it’s how Alba, the eventually surviving member of the del Valle/Trueba family breaks the family curse.

Photo Credit: Vintage/Random House.

Photo Credit: Vintage/Random House.

I expected magic to be a major character but it’s in the background most of the time. Only there to be a guide. I’m not complaining because I love the characterisation and how the characters have to live in a world where there is magic but they still have to deal with their lives the normal way.

The writing is magic itself. It’s like music, never fails to bore you or make you think “I don’t believe it, this is unrealistic and stupid”. Each word is written with soul that I had to stop every and now before I turned into a fountain of tears.

I recommend The House of the Spirits, rating it 9/10. Though I should warn you that there are scenes that are quite sensitive and just plain disturbing (and irritated my feminist self), so take care. Now I’m going to go off, researching Latin American history and browse for more books in the Latin American house of fiction.

Story of O

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4a7fd17d24a3d19f79c556e91ed1ee09So I’ve finally read Story of O, one of the most famous erotic novels and described as better than 50 Shades of Grey – any book is better than 50 Shades in my opinion. Story of O follows the character O (that’s it, that’s her name) who agrees to be a sub for many men and even women in order to prove her love/loyalty to her lover Rene.

I have mixed feelings about the book. It lives up to its genre. It’s arousing and the writing is beautiful (and the name of O reflects how submissive and shadowy the character is) but at the same time I felt horrified over the treatment of women, the passiveness of these characters. It’s BDSM…or is it? It isn’t clear since the dom-sub relationship also takes place outside of the bedroom or scheduled time. The relationship seeps into O’s personal life and eventually overtakes all of her. The way she is treated by these doms is…not to BDSM standards. That is safe and consensual. There’s no mention of safe words. No playfulness. It’s bloody dead serious, edging on abuse at times. There’s consent but O’s love for Rene blinds her, forcing her to consent.

I can’t help but see misogyny, not BDSM, especially with O treating other women and seeing them as objects of pleasure like the male characters do. She also blames women instead of the men, wanting to humiliate or punish them for being better than her – that’s what she thinks. Internalised misogyny really gets on my nerves. On the positive side, O is sort of a strong and complex character (it’s mentioned that she was in a high position occupation-wise and had a dominating personality before she became a sub) and throughout the book, she struggles to recover her self-respect/esteem and being torn because of Rene. Every now and then, she objects to being submissive and this is later mixed with her pleasure of being dominated. Furthermore, she isn’t afraid/ashamed of being “provocative” (she’s not the typical virgin/innocent protagonist – seriously this trope needs to die off) and attracted to women, though the women are portrayed as being only attracted to each other bodily rather than on a much deeper level.

I’m glad that Story of O isn’t called a romance (unlike a certain book series). Because clearly it isn’t and O knows it. Despite my criticisms and cringey scenes, Story of O is a good erotic book but not a good guide for aspiring BDSM practitioners. Obviously.

The Twelve: A Review

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9780752897882Hi, everyone. I read The Twelve, the sequel to The Passage earlier this month. It’s way overdue so I’m going to keep this review short. The Twelve follows up on the group of survivors who are now on a quest to find and rescue their loved ones who had been missing as a result of a mysterious attack at the end of The Passage. They come across a seemingly civilised community of survivors…but not really. Meanwhile Amy, the gifted girl, goes on her own quest to defeat the Twelve, the ones who started the apocalypse. She’s the only one who can…

The sequel is chillingly suspenseful that you would turn the page with a trembling hand in excitement and fear. The only thing I criticise is, still, the lack of characterisation and multiple povs. It was easy to lose track because of the latter. Are multiple povs necessary? Some weren’t and didn’t lead to anything. I can’t wait for the next book though and hopefully the characterisation would be better.