Book Review Blues

The best thing about my break from school is that I am able to read on the sofa without worrying about deadlines or going to bed on time. I have spent the days of the heat wave on the sofa in front of the fan; and during the evenings I have flipped through the pages of my latest read. Now I have a pile of books to review! I really should do the review once I have completed the book, but there are times when I cannot face sitting in front of the computer.

This morning I have sat in front of my laptop and worked on a couple of book reviews and I am going to do my best to catch up with writing them by the end of the week. When writing reviews I definitely need to be on the correct head space – finding the right words to describe my reading experience is not always easy. Writing a review is the best way to support the authors of stories I have loved – and it is one of the best ways to share these loved stories with others.

Do you write reviews for the books you have read?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Becky’s Square Challenge. The theme for the month of July is “blue”.)

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Favourite Read of the Month: December 2018

During the month of December, I read a total of 10 books for this year’s Book Pledge, bringing me to a final total of 94. I was able to read so many books during this month because I was on a two week break from work. Even though I spent time with my family during the Holiday period, I was able to spend a couple of hours each morning reading on the sofa.

The titles I read in December are listed below. To read my reviews (if you haven’t already), click on the title in the following list:

  1. Ahab’s Return by Jeffrey Ford – historical fiction ⭐⭐⭐ 3 stars.
  2. Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye – historical fiction ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars
  3. The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton – psychological thriller ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars
  4. One Day in December by Josie Silver – contemporary romance ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars
  5. The Gown by Jennifer Robson – historical fiction ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars
  6. Christmas at the Little Clock House on the Green by Eve Devon – romance  ⭐⭐⭐ 3 stars
  7. The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe – contemporary Young Adult  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars
  8. I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan – psychological thriller ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars
  9. Bad Angels by Rebecca Chance – romance ⭐⭐ 2 stars
  10. The Woman Who Met Her Match – romance ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars

I read a nice mix of genres: romance, thrillers, and historical fiction. As you can see, my favourites were The Gown (historical), The Perfect Girlfriend (thriller), and One Day in December (romance). I loved all three of these novels and would recommend them with no hesitation. As my favourite for the month I would have to pick The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton because it was so twisty and surprised me more than once.

What was your favourite read in December? Share your choice, or the link to your post, below.

Favourite Read of the Month:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

Favourite Read of the Month: November 2018

During the month of November, I read 7 books for this year’s Book Pledge, bringing my total for read books this year to 83. I am wondering whether I will be able to read 100 books this year – so near and yet so far! – but that means I will have to read 17 books total. Even though I am on break, I do not think I will manage it. Maybe 90 books.

 

The titles I read in November are listed below. To read my reviews (if you haven’t already), click on the title in the following list:

  1. Beartown by Fredrik Backman – contemporary fiction ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars
  2. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman – contemporary fiction ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars
  3. The Silver Queen by Josie Jaffrey – dystopian, fantasy, vampires ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars
  4. Pride by Ibi Zoboi – young adult, contemporary ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars
  5. Damsel by Elana K. Arnold – young adult, fantasy ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars
  6. The Life Lucy Knew by Karma Brown – women’s fiction, contemporary ⭐⭐⭐ 3 stars
  7. Bring Me Back by B. A. Paris – thriller, psychological thriller, suspense ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars

Reflecting on my choice of reads for the past month, I realise that I have two favourites: Beartown by Fredrik Backman as well as Damsel by Elana K. Arnold. Both novels feature the strength of women and how they find the strength within themselves to change what has been done to them by a man. Even though I love the fantasy novel Damsel, I do choose Beartown to be my book of the month. The novel focuses on so many issues, and it made me feel so many emotions while reading it.

What was your favourite read in November? Share your choice, or the link to your post, below.

Favourite Read of the Month:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Favourite Read of the Month: July 2018

During the month of July , I managed to read 6 books for this year’s Book Pledge, bringing my total for read books this year to 46 books. Even though I was on Summer break from school, my family and I spent 2 weeks in Paris. Sightseeing and family time did not give me much time to read. I did not mind, though, as I knew I could spend days reading once I got back home.

The titles I read in July are listed below. To read my reviews (if you haven’t already), click on the title in the following list:

  1. Those Other Women by Nicola Moriarty – contemporary women’s fiction ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
  2. Liar by K.L.Slater – psychological thriller ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
  3. The Break by Marian Keyes – women’s fiction ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars
  4. Things are Good Now by Djamila Ibrahim – collection of short stories ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
  5. The Waters and the Wild by Desales Harrison – literary fiction ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars
  6. Killer City by Seumas Gallacher – a thriller ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars

During July there were a few books that I enjoyed as well as a few that disappointed me. My favourite novel would have to be The Break by Marion Keyes. The experience of the main character resonated as there are a number of women who have had to experience a break in their relationship. Keyes writes her story with humour as well as empathy. This novel is one that I will certainly re-read in the future.

What was your favourite read in July? Share your choice, or the link to your post, below.

Favourite Read of the Month:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Favourite Read of the Month: June 2018

During the month of June , I managed to read 7 books for this year’s Book Pledge, bringing my total for read books this year to 40 books.

 

The titles I read in June are listed below. To read my reviews (if you haven’t already), click on the title in the following list:

  1. Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner – women’s fiction ⭐⭐ 2 stars
  2. Sofie & Cecilia by Katherine Ahenburg – women’s fiction, contemporary fiction ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars
  3. Sofia Khan is not Obliged by Ayisha Malik – women’s fiction, humour ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars
  4. How to Stop Time by Matt Haig  – fantasy, science fiction ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars
  5. Just Take My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark – thriller ⭐⭐ 2 stars
  6. The Boat People by Sharon Bala – contemporary fiction⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 stars
  7. Still Water by Amy Stuart – thriller ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 stars

I took pleasure in reading many books during the month of June even though I was disappointed with two writers that I had previously enjoyed (Jennifer Weiner and Mary Higgins Clark). My choice for the book of the month has to be The Boat People by Sharon Bala. This well written novel touched my emotions in so many ways; and encouraged me to think deeply about the plight of the refugees fleeing their birth country. This story was her debut novel and I will be looking out for another tale written by her.

What was your favourite read in June? Share your choice, or the link to your post, below.

Favourite Read of the Month:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Favourite Read of the Month: May 2018

During the month of May, I managed to read 7 books for this year’s Book Pledge, bring my total for read books this year to 33 books.

The titles in March are listed below. To read my reviews (if you haven’t already), click on the title in the following list:

  1. The Second Sister by Claire Kendal – psychological thriller ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars
  2. Something Blue Emily Giffin – women’s fiction, romance ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars
  3. 9 Dragons by Michael Connelly – thriller ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars
  4. The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith. – historical fiction, women’s fiction ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars
  5. Rosie Coloured Glasses by Brianna Wolfson – women’s fiction, coming-of-age fiction ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars
  6. Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner – thriller ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3 stars
  7. Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King – horror fiction, science fiction ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5 stars

I have so many favourites from the month of May. I loved the Kings novel, Sleeping Beauties. I cried when I read Rosie Coloured Glasses. I gnawed my nails when I read The Second Sister. My favourite novel, however, was The Dutch Wife. I experienced a gamut of emotions while reading this story, and savoured every moment. And the best test? I will definitely reread this story in the years to come.

What was your favourite read in May? Share your choice, or the link to your post, below.

Favourite Read of the Month:

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Favourite Read of the Month: January 2018

During the month of January, I managed to read five books for this year’s Book Pledge.

This titles in January were all either thrillers or murders. I guess I was in the mood for some fast-paced action! To read my reviews (if you haven’t already), click on the title in the following list:

  1. The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham
  2. The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter
  3. Hour Game by David Baldacci
  4. Cruel Intentby J.A Vance
  5. The Winds of Change by Martha Grimes

My favourite read for January would have to be J.A.Vance’s Cruel Intent. This story fulfilled my desire for a quick read that kept me enthralled. This well-written novel reinforced my love of Vance’s stories.

What was your favourite read in January? Share your choice, or the link to your post, below.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

Book Review: The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

The first book I read for the 50 Book Pledge Challenge was Michael Robotham’s novel The Secrets She Keeps. This book was lent to me with the adviso that the book was ‘gooood!’ and his best novel yet. The blurb on the back of the novel did not give much away except that the story was about two women, Agatha and Meghan. I opened this psychological thriller with anticipation.

I had read about 50 pages of the novel with a feeling of disappointment. The beginning of the novel was too much like what I had read in Paula Hawkins’ Girl on the Train. I read a little more, the plot changed and I became engrossed in the story. This was a perfect read to begin my year with as I was able to read with no interruption.

The story centres around Agatha and Meghan. These women have had different upbringing and life experiences. Meghan appears to have the perfect life, a life which Agatha desires. It is this life that Agatha is intent on acquiring. How she does it, and the steps she takes to achieve this is told to us by a storyteller who has perfected the art of giving the reader tidbits of the story line at a time. While reading the novel, I felt for both the women characters: I felt their triumph, their pain, their loss. Halfway through the book, I could not prevent myself from turning the pages and reading their stories.

Even though the novel was disappointing in the beginning, I enjoyed the story of an experience that a mother never hopes to have. If you enjoyed Girl on a Train, you will enjoy this tale. It is drama at its best.

Have you read any of Robotham’s novels?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2018

(This novel was read as part of my 50 Book Pledge)

Confessions of a Tinderella by Rosy Edwards

Confessions of a TinderellaIt was a long time ago that I was on the dating scene: going out with men who were essentially strangers in the hope of finding that one person to spend the rest of my life with. I remember the awkwardness of getting to know one another, the dates that did not quite match up to expectations, and the effort put into getting to know another person.

Confessions of a Tinderella by Rosy Edwards peaked my interest. Not only because the story is about dating, but because it describes dating using the app Tinder. I had heard many stories about my son’s Tinder dates, and I thought it would be fun to read about someone else’s experience. The novel describes Rosy Edward’s  experience with the dating app and the men she meets through her use of it. My teaser describes her meeting with one of the first men she meets:

“Overall, he bears a good to his photos; his looks are not the problem. The reason I want to go home at ten past eight is because I don’t fancy him. I knew it from the minute I saw him and I can’t imagine I’m going to change my mind before I’ve finished my drink. I don’t find Elliot engaging; I don’t feel any sexual chemistry and I don’t think we have anything in common beyond the fact that we’ve both seen all of The Sopranos. I’m sure that one day he’ll meet a fellow mariner (mariness?) and they will sail off into the sunset together, tweaking their booms and cleets as they go. The received wisdom is that you’re supposed to ‘know’ when you meet The One and I think the same is true when you don’t.” (p 31, Penguin Random House UK, 2015)

The novel was hilarious as the main character, Rosy, moves from one date to another. I found myself chuckling not only at the experiences of this woman in search of The One, but also at the tongue-in-cheek humour of the writer. I enjoyed this novel immensely and have set it aside for my girls to read this summer.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to share a few sentences from the book in the comments. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl On The Train (US cover 2015).pngMy neighbour received a copy of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins as a gift. After she had read it, she insisted that I do so. I had heard about this novel and had read reviews about it on blogs. Comments and reviews had been positive and, as a result, I looked forward to reading the story.

And it did not disappoint.

The story may seem mundane – about a girl travelling on a train. She watches from the window a couple who seem to have the perfect relationship. A couple around whom she weaves imaginary names and lives.

“The train is rattling along, we whip past Jason and Jess’s place, they pass in a blur of evening sunshine. Sometimes, not often, I can see them from this side of the track. If there is no train going in the opposite direction, and if we are travelling slowly enough, I can sometimes catch a glimpse of them out on their terrace. If not – like today – I can imagine them.”  (p5, 2014, Penguin Random House).

Then she sees something shocking which she cannot keep to herself. The choices Rachel (the protagonist) makes, and the things she does, leads her to eventually discovering the truth of what she had seen.

When I began reading this story, I was not sure whether it would be my type of story. But, as I turned the pages, I became engrossed in the story. Hawkins reveals each piece of information slowly which leaves the reader guessing. With each reveal, the predictions the reader makes is changed.  And what one assumes is a mundane story becomes something more.

This read is definitely one I would recommend, especially for it unpredictability.

What are you reading this week? Feel free to share a few sentences from the book in the comments. 

Teaser Tuesday | BooksAndABeat.com© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)