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Confess by Colleen Hoover

confess

Confess by Colleen Hoover
306 Pages
Atria paperback, 2015
Rating: 4/5

I dont normally read romances, but this author was recommended to me so I thought I’d give her a try. I knew nothing about the book except that it was a romance that was apparently a cover-to-cover read. I figured I’d give it a shot.

I was pleasantly surprised.

The writing was nothing special. There were no phrases or quotes that really stood out to me but the storytelling made me want to know what was going to happen next. The main theme of the book is about confessions, so there was always that little bit of mystery about finding out the main characters’ confessions as the book progressed. I tried to predict what the “big” confession might be, and it wasn’t what I expected, but it was still good. I guess I have a very dark sense of assuming, so the ending was actually kinda nice.

I picked up the book on Friday night at about 7:30pm. I finished reading it just before midnight. I’d put it down for a few minutes then pick it up again.

The two main characters, Auburn and Owen, were decent. Auburn didn’t really stand out to me, as she is basically inexperienced in life. Owen had more depth to him, so I ended up liking him more because I felt like I knew the character better. The POV changes between the two characters, so the pacing was really quick for me. I’m also an artist – oil paintings – so I think I connected with Owen more for that part, too.

What I really liked, was that Owen is an artist and in the book there are full coloured pictures of his art. I ordered the book online, so I didn’t realize it came with pictures. That was pretty cool and really helped the immersion.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that in my personal life I am going through a medication change for my bipolar disorder. As a result, I am extra sensitive and emotional, so I really think that this was the right book to read at the right time because I really felt for the characters and cried a bit as I read it. For that reason, and that I don’t normally read romances, I might be a bit biased in my review. However, I did really enjoy the book and I’m going to be reading the rest of her books.

Plus, omg, the cover. Isn’t it pretty? This is a book I’ll keep on my shelf. It is a quick read that is emotional, has beautiful art, and it kept me wanting to find out what will happen next.

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The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

 

 

forest

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
308 pages
Delacorte Press, 2009
Rating: 4/5

It has been awhile since I last read a YA book that sucked me in so much that I just HAD to finish reading it. Looking back, I can’t distinguish anything particular about this book that consumed me so much. Perhaps it was the world building and the creepy factor. The characters were alright, the plot was smooth with a few little bumps, and the pacing was a little weird but workable. Zombies freak me out and they were really well written in this story. I was afraid of what was beyond the fence, but knew that the characters would have to face it at some point. There were some plot holes that I glossed over, but nothing to be annoyed about.

I think it was a pretty decent book. I went into it blind which I think is probably the best idea. Apparently this book was hyped quite a bit so it unfortunately disappointed some people. I feel that it needs to be read with an open mind.

It toyed with the concept of faith and hope quite a bit. Duty vs emotional choice was another common theme. The main character was quite selfish, so that put a contrast towards the rest of the characters and made things a little more interesting. Some parts the pacing zoomed by, and other parts it dragged on. There were times when I wished more time was spent on a particular “scene in time” but if I had my way, the book would have easily been 500 pages long (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!).

So why 4 stars? I wanted to keep reading. It got to me emotionally. I thought about it before I slept and while I slept. It creeped me out.

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The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

 

timekeeper

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
222 pages
Hyperion New York, 2012
Rating: 3/5

A relatively short read about time and how it affects all of us differently. It is about three characters that are about as different as you can get, yet they are all involved in the consequences of time and come together to learn some life lessons.
The tone reminded me of the Alchemist, in that it was slow, thought provoking, and yet very simple. The writing was to the point and it wasn’t flourished with adverbs and adjectives. He even used a couple of descriptions multiple times to really get the point across (i.e. “coffee coloured hair” for the jolting emotions residing with a particular boy, Ethan). Sometimes simplicity offers the most complex and thought provoking ideas. This is the type of book that Mitch Albom wrote.
Honestly, this book wasn’t my cup of tea, but I can see the significance of the writing and how it does reach out to many people. I just wasn’t one of those people. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting upon my own life and the time I have, so to me, this was nothing new or thought provoking. It was a decent read. I’m curious as to how I will react to other topics he writes.

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Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa

iris

Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa
164 pages
Harvell Secker
Rating: 3/5

When I finished reading this book, my cheeks were red and hot and I had a chilling sensation in my body.

This book is about a particular sexual fetish which takes advantage of a young, Japanese woman in her limited world working in a hotel with her mother. Some would read this book and be disgusted, others would be fascinated.

I liked how the book exposed a topic that many are afraid to look into. Instead of being the outsider, we are giving the insider’s perspective. We agree with Mari until a certain point where things change, but we can sympathize with her and understand the draw.

What I liked and will remember about this book was the writing. It evoked a lot of emotions and sensations regarding touch – which is a sense that I am particularly sensitive towards. I could feel everything that happened to Mari. Was that a good thing? Well it wasn’t a bad thing, but it also wasn’t the most comfortable feeling in the world. As I was able to experience what Mari was experiencing so clearly, I think it is a sign of great descriptive writing.

As this book deals with adult content, I would only recommend this to curious minds that are very open minded about sexual fetishes and that want to be challenged by reading something that may make you feel like you are doing something wrong.

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Daisuki by Hildred Billings

Daisuki by Hildred Billings
(Ren’Ai Rensai, #1)
Kindle Edition
Barachou Press, 2012
My Rating: 4/5

Description (From Goodreads.com):

Aiko and Reina have been together for almost 20 years, yet one thing remains unsaid between them: “Daisuki,” or, “I love you.” As they approach their anniversary, their relationship comes to an impasse as Aiko the Japanese housewife begins demanding “I love you” with a side of marriage and romance.

But Reina doesn’t understand complex concepts like “love” or other heavy emotions. She’s spent years supporting her girlfriend via a soul-sucking salary job and tending to their mutual needs in the bedroom. Isn’t that sufficient? In a culture demanding Reina choose between the “feminine” and the “masculine” worlds, it’s bad enough she’s trying to find her role without Aiko adding extra pressure.

Some words need not saying, but “I love you” is about to destroy a relationship already surviving strange side-lovers and even stranger exploits.

Review:

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, but I am very pleased that I read it and will be reading more of the series. On the surface, it is a book about hot sex between two Japanese lesbians. If you dig a bit deeper, then you will find it is also a book about Eastern vs Western cultural norms, relationship status differences, societal expectations, family shame and honor,  and many LGBT issues including sexual privacy, gender identity, and marginalization.

The two main characters, Reina and Aiko, felt like real people to me. I was especially drawn to Reina – she considers herself to be more masculine than Aiko, works in a company filled with (perverted) men, and she reminded me of myself and some of my close friends. She has an insane sex drive (as does Aiko), but also engages in poly* activities. I liked that we saw some poly* in the book, but a part of me fears that someone new to LGBT literature might confuse lesbianism with poly*ism. At the end of the day, all characters that engaged in sex felt like real people with real issue and needs, but with a playful side too.

This is a book in the erotica genre and there are lots of opportunities for sex. These scenes can be read for pleasure, but they also add to the sub-plots in the story. If you dig a little deeper, you can see the seeds of foreshadowing for major themes later in the book.  Obviously, this book is recommended for adults due to the mature content.

The writing was quite good. A couple of times near the beginning I came across some odd word choices (i.e. fornication, gyrating) that I felt didn’t fit the mood for the passage. However, there were some beautiful passages and the ending was absolutely fantastic. These characters really grow on you, and the writing just adds another dimension that can’t be ignored. Our characters are Japanese, and so some Japanese phrases are included in the writing. They are added in a way that the reader can easily catch on to what is being said and even adds a bit of a cultural air and realism to the dialogue.

As this is a romance novel the plot was predictable to some extent. Despite this, there were a couple of sub-plots that contributed to the overall story arc and really made this book unique. There are quite a few things to consider once you finish reading the book. Yes, the story takes place in Japan but the issues there are similar to the issues here and I think most people can relate to someone in this book.

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The Ruins by Scott Smith

The Ruins by Scott Smith
528 Pages
Vintage, 2008
My Rating: 2/5

Description (From Goodreads.com):

TERROR HAS EVOLVED

In the wild interior of the Yucatan, far from the lazy beaches of Cancun, two young couples and some new-found friends venture to the site of an ancient Mayan temple, in pursuit of another in their group. What started out as a day trip spirals into a nightmare when they reach the ruins … and discover the terrifying presence that lurks there.

Review:

The premise of this book sounded promising, but it didn’t quite get there for me. We have a group of young adults (teens?) that go on a vacation to South America. One of the characters wants to meet up with his brother at some archaeological dig, so they make their way there despite warnings from the locals. The locals get referred to as “the Mayans” and once they cross a certain point, “the Mayans” won’t let them retreat. The idea is that there is something horrible lurking around the ruins, and everyone must do what they can to survive until help comes.

CHARACTERS
I felt it incredibly difficult to connect to the characters. They were your typical stupid, drunk group of people that ignored the only person with any sense of reason (Jeff). You had your space case girl (Stacey), some guy that didn’t speak English (Pablo), the token semi-normal girl (Amy), and the German guy that wants to find his brother (Mathias). Yes, the group can feel realistic but I couldn’t connect with any of them. My group of friends wasn’t like them at all, and in fact, they were all the types of people that I try to avoid in my own life. So I didn’t have much sympathy for them at all.

PACING
The first half of the book was very slow. It was realistic in that not everything was clear immediately, but still I wished something would have happened. A significant event happened to one of the characters fairly early on, but the main plot didn’t really get going until one of the girls jacked off one of the guys in the tent. I’m serious. That moment was significant enough to get the plot going.

WRITING
I enjoyed the writing. It was descriptive and had a good balance between dialogue, inner thoughts, and observation. This was probably one of the best parts about the book.

STORY
Like I said, the pacing was very slow. The thing that lurks at the ruins would be scary if you happened to be there. However, there were so many moments when I was thinking, “Why don’t they try this?” It was a bit annoying at times. The concept was interesting and I liked the little bits of information we are given about the thing at the ruins, but not all my questions were answered. I wanted to know where the thing came from, why it was there, what the Mayans had to do with it, etc. These aren’t answered. The story takes place in the present, and the present only.

Did you enjoy this book? What are some horror novels that you enjoy?

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