Publié dans Books & Reviews

Book #152: Michael Jackson: The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story, 1958-2009

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But was he, really? 🤔

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Pages: 765

Unless you have been living under a rock for your entire life, EVERYONE knows who Michael Jackson was. He was a man of many talents and one of those was beatboxing. MJ could’ve beatboxed the instrumental of a song before it came together. 

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Now, this book took me many years to read believe it or not. A friend of my mom gifted the book to me in 2010 and I left it for a while. I started reading it sometime in 2012 or so, then left it again and returned to it sometime in 2014. Then, late last year was the final straw. I finally picked the book up and read until the last page which I completed earlier this year. I was glad to get this off my TBR.

« I want my whole career to be the greatest show on earth »

Michael Jackson

The author had known MJ since they were little – MJ was 10 – and so he decided that he was MJ’s official biographer. However, Randy struggled with accuracy throughout the book and you can tell that Michael’s youth up until he was 20 was the best-researched part of the book for as the years rolled by, they weren’t that close anymore. MJ had shut a lot of people out of his life, for he was always insecure, mistrusting, and suspicious.

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Some things/thoughts I took away from the book:

* The author overwrote. There was no need to talk at length of the Thriller video. We know it scene for scene. At one point, I wonder if I was reading a bio or a journal. 

* MJ didn’t want to do the Pepsi deal for he had a bad feeling about it, but his money-hungry brothers and father forced him to sign the contract anyway.

* MJ wanted to rename the « Victory Tour » to « The Final Curtain ». Many, many years later, he got to call his final shows « This Is It ».

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* Paul McCartney is a proper right hypocrite.

* Berry Gordy and Diana Ross taught MJ to lie about his age when he was about 9. I still don’t know why he idolized this woman.

* Elizabeth Taylor was a brat and a handler who always knew how to get under MJ’s skin. She made decisions for him as if she wishes she was Katherine Jackson. She was high maintenance and expected MJ to gift her with extravagant things. At one point, she moved MJ to her home. She nagged MJ about opening up himself to a romantic relationship and when he finally had something with Lisa, she felt jealous and left out. She even took charge of his life and legal proceedings in 1993. I never trusted her friendship with MJ, but I also think MJ was infatuated with her and she knew it and she held him at arm’s length for she had control and power over him. 

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And I think I’ll stop here for there was nothing to really surprise me about the man and the myth. Now, my rant… or something like it.

The Magic

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Trust me, there was nothing magical about MJJ. He was programmed and brainwashed by Disney just like many of us were as children into believing in magic and that’s probably why he preferred fantasy over reality. MJ was an enigma and he beheld the world with a childlike wonder and curiosity, but his talents had nothing to do with magic. He was just crazily gifted. Did you know he also drew and painted? Exceptionally well, too?

See, crazily gifted. No magic there.

The Madness

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MJ was highly valued by his mother as the son who can do no wrong and put on a pedestal by fans making him a god. In the 80s, he was said to be battling with lupus and vitiligo. 

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He often shied away from talking about his skin condition and that was fine by me. I did not need to know every medical detail. But it spiraled him to another height of madness for over the years people were crazy over his skin and his eccentricity. It was as if he was in a circus peep show except that he was viewed in front of the entire world as a freak at a P.T. Barnum circus show. 

The greatest madness of MJ’s career were/are his fans. 

The Whole Story

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Hmm… will the REAL MJ, please stand up?

Did we really know the whole story? Do we really know the real MJ? Alas! We don’t. Michael was a slave to Hollywood and the devil for he used his God-given talents to carry out the devil’s work through his lustful and sexual dancing. He was the ultimate sex symbol and sexual fantasy for both men and women. He ripped his shirts, thrust his pelvis and gyrated his hips in ways no man – or woman for that matter – ever should.

It seems like he had childhood trauma, but sometimes I wondered if he also had DID. He was a terrific father, but he avoided communication and conflict. He loved giving and visiting the orphanages, but he was also a narcissist who quickly became bored with people so he discarded them like unwanted toys.

Over the years, I couldn’t decide if Michael was too feminine for my liking (he really blurred the lines between masculinity and femininity), but his smile endured and up to this day, I still think he had one of the most beautiful smiles in the world if not the most beautiful. I mean, come on, that smile could bless a nation!

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Overall:

MJ was a gifted, talented genius, but he was also battered, bruised, broken, and the poster boy for why you shouldn’t love the world and all that is in it (1 John 2:15; Mark 8:36). He was tortured, twisted, molded and created in their image – turning him into a caricature of his former self; the image God created him in – for our entertainment and we contributed by enjoying his work or ridiculing him (especially by mocking the way he looked in photos when he was just probably miserable, silently pleading for help while dying inside) whichever suited us best. He never found the happiness he passionately yearned for, for he was looking in the wrong places.

Only God could’ve granted him what he was searching for.

Michael died as he lived for the worldly desires: the King of Pain, never freed,  always chained.

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love coffeelove coffeelove coffee

***GIFs and images via Google Search

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Publié dans Books & Reviews

Books #148 – #151: predictable cheesy YAs and spies

I found this post while sorting through drafts! Apparently, I had written it a few months ago and forgot all about it! I’m just thankful I have something to post today! 🙂

Book #148: You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner

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This book won the Schneider Award for teens and I want to know how and why. This book was nowhere near excellent or mind-blowing. What drew me to this book was the Deaf Culture aspect. I’ve been working on a story in which the male protagonist is deaf – I may have mentioned this already – and I wanted to read similar stories along the line like it, but this book was so terrible, I did not get very far.

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Kinda how I feel about this book although I haven’t picked up ASL in a while!

Julie is Indian American and a graffiti artist who attends the Kingston School for the Deaf. Someone writes a slur about her best friend and she covers it up with a graffiti mural. This is illegal. And what do you know? The so-call best friend snitches and Julie is expelled. I DNF’ed this book before the halfway point, so I can’t really say much about the story, but the writing style was a turn-off and the art accompanying the story was pretty boring!

This story is recommended for 12 years old and up. I wouldn’t even recommend this to anyone and the usage of foul language was a dead turn off. No, universe, you’re not welcome. 

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Book #149: Love, Life and the List by Kasie West

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Let’s get right into it. Things that bothered/annoyed me:

^ This sentence: He was the best friend in the world. (Page 3)

^ The texting: Most teenagers (and most adults for that matter) do not text in full sentences completed with full stops!!

^ When the story is written in the first person, the protagonist tends to overshare and in doing so, they become little narcissists. Hence why the author ends up overwriting most of the time.

^ Pages 85-86: Why is this girl on the phone… IN THE LIBRARY?! This irks me. And on top of it, she was talking rather loud.

^ Page 90: Throwing books? You don’t throw library property at each other! What hooligans! I’m sure the author wouldn’t want me to throw THIS book at someone!

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We have Abby. She’s an artist and is in love with her best friend Cooper who doesn’t « like her like her » that way. However, there’s a nice boy named Elliot who does and he is also into art. He sculpts. 

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I thought this book was going to be about Abby getting over unrequited love and falling for someone else who was not Cooper who took her for granted and even missed her big art show! Some best friend. Cooper and Abby as endgame were forced. I came away from this story not caring for Abby as she was irritating and I didn’t care for Cooper either. I mean, was I supposed to swoon over him? There was no chemistry between them at all. What in the world was West thinking?

Abby’s grandfather Dave and Elliot were the most exciting thing about this book. Like, where can I read their stories? love coffee

Book #150: The Gordian Knot by Bernhard Schlink

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The Gordian Knot is a term used to describe a complex (sometimes unsolvable) problem and is often associated with Alexander the Great.

What we have here is a strange spy novel which starts in the dashing French countryside, but ends up in New York. The writing was terrible, the plot weak, the characters pathetic and nothing really made sense. It was supposed to have been a Cold War spy thriller, but I ended up with a story that was not memorable. love coffee

Book #151: Femme Fatale: Love, Lies, and the Unknown Life of Mata Hari by Pat Shipman

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Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod better known by her fascinating stage name Mata Hari hailed from the Netherlands and was an exotic dancer and courtesan. She was convicted of being a spy for Germany during World War 1 by the French and was executed by a French firing squad in 1917.

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Ever since I came across Mata Hari’s story in the newspaper when I was really young, I’ve been intrigued by her background. Reading her story many years later, I’ve come to understand the dancing spy’s persona better. She was intelligent and an excellent linguist. A spotlight seeker who drew the admiration of many men wherever in the world she went.

She loved turning heads.

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The author did a good job in explaining Mata Hari’s story from her early life to exotic dancer and mistress, as an alleged spy for France to her death. A lot of research went into this book, but pages devoted to what life was in the Dutch East Indies and the Dutch presence in Indonesia was extraneous. Mata came across as a spoiled egotistical opportunistic sugar baby to military men. 

In short, it was a well-written story, but I was left wanting to shake some sense into her for being so dumb and trusting all for the sake of wanting to live as a material girl. The author was very sympathetic towards Mata, but I was not. Her life and death were controversial, yes, but she was naive to a fault.

Fun Fact: In Indonesian, matahari means « sun » or « eye of the day ». love coffeelove coffeelove coffee

***GIFs and images via Google Search

Publié dans Books & Reviews

Book #147: Everything is Mama

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I actually didn’t read this book. I just listened to Jimmy Fallon read it, so it counts for something, right? Right?? Anyway, I was on YouTube minding my business when I came across a recommended video of Fallon – of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon – hosting an interactive story time for kids. He read from his book Everything Is Mama, the follow-up to Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada. I don’t watch his show, but his voice is Blue’s Clues material so I decided to give him a listen and before you know it, I was smiling as I took a trip down childhood memory lane.

When I was a child, everything for me was ‘Mama!’ And still is at many times. 💙

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In this book, animal mamas try to teach their children names of certain objects, but each animal baby responds with « Mama » except for the duckling (Why little duckie? WHY?). The book does not have a lot of words – or context for that matter – as it’s aimed for children now learning to read. I love that at the beginning of the book, it says « Everything is Mama, according to you, but there are other fun words you’ll want to know too. » But I love the message at the end even more: « Everything is Mama, according to you. But one day you’ll see Mama’s everything is YOU. » 💙

The animals are adorable so well done to the illustrator.

If you’re interested, listen to Fallon read his book here:

VERDICT:

love coffeelove coffeelove coffee

BONUS:

I leave you with two of my favorite quotes from Fallon: 

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***Images and GIF via Google Search

Publié dans Books & Reviews

Books #143-#146: The DNFs!

I don’t keep count of the books I read, but I’ve read quite a lot since the beginning of the year. I had to DNF some, though, for they were pretty boring, not my cup of tea, or expletives hit me harder than the harsh cold weather currently outside my window.

I mostly do these reviews for me dearest Margaret and my goal was to review 200 books (I think) so here we go with a few more.

Book #143: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris 

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Boy, am I finally glad to get rid of this book from my TBR! It’s been there for a while now. David Sedaris is supposed to be, well, the critics said he was a humorist (as you can see on the cover), but I did not find anything humorous in his writing. I found the book inane. It was a boring disappointment!

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Reminds me of Kevin Hart. They’re reaching, but they’re not funny. Image result for thumbs down gif

Matthew Gray Gubler portraying the so-call author in the award-winning ‘The Learning Curve’ (a short 16-minute film based on a Sedaris’s essay) is funnier. What a shame! And MGG is poetic looking (whatever that is) so he pulled it off well. Wished he had written this book instead for he’s actually funnier than the real Mr. Sedaris.

Anyways, back to the book. Sedaris had a lisp when he was younger which made him the class ridicule (hence the title of the book), but I do not find speech impediment funny, and maybe that’s why this book wasn’t funny, to begin with. Some people shouldn’t write memoirs, but I guess this guy didn’t get the memo!

I had to abandon ship! DNF

Book #144: Jack Reacher’s Rules by Lee Child

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Jack Reacher is everyone’s favorite drifter! I tried getting into Mr. Reacher before Tom Cruise made him popular, but I couldn’t get past the first page. Then the movies came out and I found them acceptable and Tom was memorable as Jack, but I still couldn’t get into the books. So how did I end up with this in my TBR? 

Well, I have a friend who LOVES Jack Reacher and she wanted me to read from her collection, so I wanted to prepare myself as I was willing to give Reacher a third chance as I did Jane Austen, so I thought this book would’ve been a pretty good start in getting to know the character.

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I could be wrong, but this book read like a compilation of Reacher’s greatest hits. There are rules on being prepared (Go to bed fully clothed so you are always ready for action), fighting, food, first aid, and sleep among MANY others. Some of these rules don’t even make sense. Let’s look at some rules/quotes that I may have liked or not:

* Rules of coffee: Never say no to a cup of coffee. YASS, Jack! Never say no. Maybe your enemy would pour a wallop of poison into a nice big cup of black coffee and you’ll be dead in no time.

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* Conquering fear: « Sometimes if you want to know if the stove is hot the only way to find out is to touch it. » Sorry, Jack, but playing with fire is not my specialty.

* Dogs: Don’t run away from dogs, walk. Alright. I can understand if you’ll enjoy getting maul to death by a pack of angry dogs.

* On finding the Western Union in a city: Stand on a street corner and ask yourself, Is it more likely to be left or right now? Then turn left or right as appropriate, and pretty soon you are in the right neighborhood, and pretty soon you’ll find it. If in doubt, turn left. Jack gives direction like a five-year-old kid. Shows how out of touch he is with reality, too. 

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* Keeping on the move: Own nothing, carry nothing. Don’t do permanent, be a Reacher, not a Settler. As much as the drifter life sounds promising… 

This book kind of confirmed why I can’t be down with Reacher. It was worthless and I had to DNF it. How did Tom ever cruise through all of Reacher’s books still eludes me. And I like to think that Reacher was somewhat inspired by Michael Knight (Knight Rider). DNF

Book #145: I Haiku You by Betsy E. Snyder

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This book was written with children in mind celebrating love, family, fun, and friendship. The illustrations are cute, too. 

I love the title of the book, though, and I am thinking of borrowing it for a short story.

A quick and okay read. love coffeelove coffee

Book #146: If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

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A mystery wrapped in Shakespearean theatre, this book was extremely dull and nothing special. All the characters did was quote Bard even while trying to have a regular conversation and it was annoying! I did not finish this book, but I’m thinking that Alexander was the one who died, James was the murderer, but Oliver took the fall because he was in love with James. It’s what I gathered from the first few pages so I figure that there was no need to finish this trash. 

Also, I don’t understand why people are OBSESSED with Shakespeare. They speak about him and his writing on a godlike level and while I understand that his plays were meant to be watched rather than to be read, he is not a genius and he is not original. I plan to read some of his works during my classic reading challenge and I’ll be tearing his work apart inside-out. As an avid reader, I’ve been encouraged to read his work because he’s « one of a kind », but I’ve always found his books boring. Who knows? Maybe my mind would change now that I’m older. 

Didn’t get past the first act, but I was liking James somewhat. DNF

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And there’s a lot more of DNFs to come, unfortunately. Of this, I am certain.

***GIFs and images via Google Search

Publié dans Books & Reviews

Books I’m anticipating this year

Eh, more like book, for I’m still making my pitiful way through my TBR. Not only that, but I’m not feeling the garbage passing off as books lately. As far as anticipating books this year goes, I’ve been looking forward to Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt de la Peña since April 2017. I dislike the cover, though, for Clark Kent be out here looking like a grown version of Harry Potter. Eww!

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Release Date: March 5th, 2019

Superman flies around saving people, his hair is sleek, he’s much too handsome, and his eyes too blue. In short, he’s perfect. I get it. I get why people dislike him because he’s so perfect that it’s unbelievably boring. But he’s not perfect otherwise he wouldn’t be humbled by kryptonite. And it’s the ONE THING I’ve always hated about Superman! Stupid kryptonite-inflicted injuries!

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But in this book, we go back to Clark Kent’s youthful days in Smallville where he grew up. I’m here for it, but looking back at the TV series Smallville, I had a love-hate relationship with that show. In season 1, Clark is OBSESSED with Lana Lane when Chole was right in front of him. What am I talking about? Everyone in Smallville was obsessed with Lana that at times, I forgot the show was about Clark. I eventually stopped watching before the 4th season or so, but Tom Welling made a fantastic Clark!

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Best looking Kent ever, hands down!

Lex, on the other hand, was a little too creepy for my liking and he looked at Clark as if he was a snack. If I recall correctly, whenever the wealthy bald headed eccentric stood a bit too close to the oblivious nerdy attractive hunk of a teenage Superman, Lex’s gaze tended to linger on Clark’s eyes or lips.

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Get you, someone, the way Lex looks at Clark.

So, yeah, this is the only book I’ll like to read for 2019. If other books happen to catch my interest, then I might be game.  

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Oh, wait, there’s one more:

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Release Date: April 02nd, 2019

Matthew Gray Gubler (ladies and nerds, you may know him as Dr. Spencer Reid so there’s no need to even mention the show he’s on) has finally released his labor of love. I recall MGG working on a book a few years ago and now that it’s finally here, I just have to get a copy. If I’m not mistaken, the book is painstakingly handwritten and the cover is also illustrated by him so kudos to the man.

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Yep, that’s MGG’s eligible handwriting and drawing. 

He also narrated it. 

He was involved in every single process from writing to publishing and I can’t wait to hold the end result in my hands… even if I end up not liking it. The book is also a #1 New York Times Best Seller.

He even wore a banana shirt to the narration! 

***GIFs and images via Google Search.

Publié dans Books & Reviews

Book #142: Who Moved My Cheese?

Well, this feels awkward given that I haven’t talked about books in a long time, but it also feels right, for I enjoy talking about books… even when I’m bashing ’em. However, I haven’t been reading much lately, for my interest in books are shifting. Too much garbage out here lately. I haven’t purchased any new books in months so my current TBR (after weeding) would take me into 2019 God’s willing. Anyways, enough chit-chat. Let’s talk about the book I just literally finished reading.

I dislike motivational books and I’ve been avoiding this one for years. However, recently, I was cleaning out the empty back office of the library, and this book ended up in a stack of books intended to be shelved. My friend saw it, borrowed it, read it in one day, talked wonderfully about it and suggest that I read it, too. I hesitated. I kept insisting that I wouldn’t like the book for it’s not my cup of coffee, but I decided to stop « judging » and see for myself.

And I honestly don’t know what to make of this book because it assaulted my intelligence! 😔

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Okay, let me start off by listing the few things I sort of liked about this book:

* Haw’s so-call inspiring cheesy notes for his best friend, Hem who didn’t like change. Life moves on and so should we. Embrace change. Learn to adapt. I can contradict this also by saying that life can sometimes be complicated to be resolved by embracing change and adapting for it’s a process for some.

* Page 70: He pulled off his shoes, tied the laces together, and hung them around his neck in case he needed them again. We shouldn’t get too comfortable. Be always ready to move if necessary.

* And of course, the various cheeses mentioned! There could never be enough cheese! Oddly enough, I am not eating any cheese while writing this. I should rectify this. *Heads for the fridge in search of cheese* Okay, we’re out of cheese. Who ate my cheese?!

‘Cheese’ is whatever you desire. It’s a metaphor for what you desire to have in life be it a relationship, recognition, a mansion, etc. ‘The Maze’ represents where you spend time looking for what you want. There are 4 main characters: two mice (Sniff & Scurry) and two little people (Hem and Haw). They spend their time scurrying around the maze when the cheese from their comfort zone is gone. 

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Yep! Hardworking employees are reduced to lab rats in this book!

Then for the remainder of the book (which I didn’t finish), we get to listen to a group of friends discuss how the awesome philosophy behind the missing cheese relate to their boring lives. Talk about a marketing ploy to encourage managers to buy this oversimplified rubbish! I rather listen to Seto Kaiba talk about duel disks! Now, there’s a CEO who’ll call this book for what it is! 😉

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I don’t like the book. I also don’t like that the author comes off as a bragging pompous bore: « This book has helped lives and marriages and even saved careers. » Maybe it did, but so what? There’s no need to act as if this is the only self-help book on planet earth. If your friend gives you this to read, dump him/her. If your boss gifts this to you, hand in your two-weeks notice.

I wish I could un-read this book. If I need self-help, I can always count on the Holy Bible. And I just realized that the question ‘who moved my cheese?’ was never answered. Hmm… maybe it was The Man testing the system after all. Whether we like it or not, we’re slaves to the system and when things get taken away from us, we all react differently to change. 

At least there’ll always be cheese! 😋

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COVER

For a book that talked about the world of cheeses, there was a lack of cheese on the cover. Although I understand that the cover has to sync with the genre, I found the cover boring. 1/3

VERDICT:

love coffee

*** GIFs and photos used are not mine unless stated otherwise. Credit goes to Google Search. 

 

Publié dans Books & Reviews, Challenges/Tags/Fun Stuff

The Entertainer Book Tag 📚

I haven’t done a book tag in a while, but when I saw The Entertainer Book Tag on Jade’s blog, I thought I’ll give it a try. It’s a short one, but you know the drill: grab your coffee and let’s go!

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1) Your favorite form of reading (ebook, audiobook, etc.)?

This question pops up in almost every book tag I come across. My answer is always the same no matter how many years I age: physical books. I tried ebook, but we were not compatible. I’m yet to try an audiobook, so maybe I’ll give that a chance one day.

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2) If you could trade places with any other MC in their fictional world facing the same problems as them, who would you trade places with?

Haha! This is funny, for although I’ve read hundreds of books, it’s always the male characters that resonate with me the most. Like, I can name five of my all-time favorite male characters at the snap of a finger (d’Artagnan, Spencer Reid, Luc Moncrief, Alex Cross, and Ethan Hunt!), but I can’t do the same when it comes to female MCs.

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Eh, guess I adore male MCs more than their female counterparts. Oh, wait, I didn’t answer the question. Well, to be honest, when I was into mangas and the then anime for Yu-Gi-Oh! I wanted to trade places with Yami Yugi for at least one episode. He was the coolest dude around and perhaps in the world of anime, still is. No one has spiky hair like him, the deep baritone or can even dream of wearing a jacket like him. Not even one Seto Kaiba. 

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3) Favorite Movie?

I don’t watch movies anymore. The only ones I’m currently attempting to watch are the ones that I’m doing for the TC Challenge which I may not complete, but that’s okay. Anyway, my favorite movie is the Mission: Impossible franchise. If I have to choose one, Ghost Protocol.

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Only in my dreams, I am this free to fly off buildings like this!

4) What do you wish you could see more of in books?

Characters that aren’t reduced to stereotypes such as Frenchmen. Almost every book I read, Frenchmen are reduced to the same great looking, adorable, lovable, philandering, smothering, delicious heartthrobs! Why can’t we have Frenchmen who aren’t dreamboats and hair that aren’t the best? The Frenchmen who have flaws like their other fictional male counterparts. Why can’t we have that?

5) Favorite first line from a book?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

(The Holy Bible)

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6) A book that isn’t your favorite all-time read, but one that you could read over and over again?

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*** GIFs via Google Images

Publié dans Books & Reviews

Books #139-#141: Just more books

Although I haven’t been reviewing many books lately, I’ve been reading up a storm. Watching my TBR go down is satisfying although I wish I had all the time in the world to sit and read more. Anyway, here are a few books I might have liked or disliked. 😉

Book #139: Never Coming Home by A.R. Wise

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Moving away from traditional publishing is good for many authors out here today, but this book was lazily formatted. CreateSpace has formatted templates, so I was surprised that the author didn’t use one of those. By the way, is CreateSpace still a thing?

This story was okayish, but I was not thrilled about the writing or the characters for that matter. When I first met Lincoln Pierre (the main protagonist), he came off as a humorous fool and he immediately reminded me of Rick Castle. *Ponders* Come to think of it, I wonder if the author is a Castle fan?

Image result for gif castle I didn’t get a good feel of Lincoln in the physical sense. I can’t recall the color of his eyes (was it even mentioned?) and I certainly couldn’t tell if he was blonde or a salt and pepper. As for the ending, it was not a surprise for me and if you look hard enough, the murderer is mentioned at the beginning of the book. 

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This book is not for the faint of heart. It’s gory when it doesn’t necessarily have to, but since Mystery and Thriller authors are trying to out-gore each other, why not huh? 

My favorite character was Bentley, although at times his character was kind of unbelievable given his young age. I thought he was the best overall. love coffeelove coffee

Book #140: The Pursuit of Justice by Ben Matthews

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The author is a Lawyer, but yet, somehow, he wrote this book like a rookie lawyer. Maybe that’s what he was going for given that his protagonist Raymond Jackson just happens to be just that, a rookie lawyer. 

I like the courtroom drama although there weren’t much in this story. I like Raymond Jackson a lot, but it was a turn-off with his bed-hopping ways. No matter how hard I tried, I never got a proper image of his face. He could’ve been brunette, redhead, blonde or Tom Cruise. 

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The dialogue and interaction were great!

What I dislike is the sudden and abrupt ending. It didn’t feel like a promised cliffhanger. It felt as if the story was still in the middle when the author decided that he had enough and hastily wrote ‘The End’. love coffeelove coffeelove coffee

Book #141: Lime Tree Can’t Bear Orange by Amanda Smyth

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Trinidad is a wonderful place, Celia. Everyone who lives here can’t wait to leave. But once they go – to England or Canada or the U.S., they spend their whole lives trying to get back.”

This story starts off slow, but eventually picks up. By the end of it, one cannot help but moan, ‘Poor poor Celia!’ The world seems to be against her since she was born, but she brought it on herself with the actions taken.

This story was easy to read. It was set in Trinidad and Tobago, and the places that the author listed read like a must-visit list. However, I was not a big fan of the plot and the so-call heroine. There is no growth in the 3 years that we follow Celia. West Indian stories have that recurring rape element and this one was no different. I honestly have to say that I dislike Caribbean literature. 99.9% of it leaves the reader depressed because the writer can’t seem to search within him/herself to write something uplifting or simply fun.Image result for gif i'm depressed

Take this heroine, for example, Celia is a bright young thing on track for a university, but then she is raped, and although she is commended for leaving home, the mood shifts to how attractive Celia is, her beautiful skin and lovely hair. Her well being (health & mental) are never touched on again. The author reduced the heroine to rubble: Celia now exits to only serve the men who desire her.

Also, the author mentioned ‘the seventh grade’ which should’ve been 5th standard. We’ve never used the Grade system locally.  This book does not belong on anyone’s bookshelf and I’m glad I did not pay for it. love coffeelove coffee

Publié dans Books & Reviews

Book #138: When Dimple Met Rishi

People: This book sucks socks!
Also other people: This book was the best book of the year!
Also, also other people: I was torn between giving it a 5 or a 3.
Me: I’ll make my own decision.

I read this book two months or so ago and I have to say that I am pretty disappointed with one Dimple and the plot. I’ll never stop writing honest reviews for I don’t believe in changing my opinion for anyone. I have so much to say that this might get a little lengthy.

Oohkay, let me warm up first.

Flex my fingers, adjust my computer screen, grab my coffee… Ready!

Purple and Orange Flower Girl Wedding Card

I went into this book neutral because YA rarely lives up to the hype no matter how many Book-tubers swear by the book (I’ve unsubscribed to all of their channels for they almost always have the same boring and repetitive content). I came out hating this book. Dimple was just an awful character although I liked her for the first few pages. She was a nerd and she wanted to pursue her dreams, but then she met Rishi, and in the blink of an eye, her entire character changed quicker than a chameleon changes its skin. 

She was irritating and annoying that I wanted to reach into the book and slap her silly. 

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As for Rishi, he comes from money, but he doesn’t act like it. He’s humble and obedient to his parents even when they set him up to attend Insomnia Con (kind of a party name for a tech convention don’t you think!) to court Dimple. As a matter of fact, Dimple and Rishi’s parents tricked their kids into attending the convention (although Dimple really wanted to go) so they can meet. 

Rishi draws comics and he’s great at it, but he’s keen on following his parents’ dream of him having a great future in business (I think). I love the fact that Rishi was so comfortable with his uncoolness, he was the coolest person in the room. 

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Now, let’s rant in notes as I tear the book apart.

^ I did not get a sense of San Francisco besides the fog named Karl. Yes, the fog in San Fran is called Karl and the author did a great job of reminding us. However, I did not feel transported to San Fran as I did when I read James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series. 

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^ I think the author should’ve translated Hindi phrases for non-Hindi readers. I understood some of it for I used to learn Hindi at one point. 

^ An obnoxious group of well-manicured people – a white girl and boy, and an Indian boy – were already trying to take pictures of one another. (Page 65) What? You mean to tell me that black people don’t live and study in San Fran?  I thought it was unnecessary to point out the color of people’s skin for it did nothing here. I would’ve gotten it had Rishi never seen white people in his life, but for some reason, it just doesn’t work here.

^ « This is how it works in the US: In the spring we’re constantly subjected to bunnies and eggs wherever we go, signifying Christ’s resurrection. Then right around October we begin to see pine trees and nativity scenes and laughing fat white men everywhere. » (Page 142). Now, this does not offend me in any way for Easter is a pagan festival and Christmas does not signify Christ’s true birth. However, I think this paragraph was meant to be religiously controversial as Rishi said at the end that he gets to explain Hinduism. Author, stop being so foolish. If a Christian were to go to India now, they’ll be assaulted with Hinduism iconography. If the so-call Christian images are assaulting your senses, pack your bags and leave America for good. 

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^ So Dimple attends a party and drags Goody Two Shoes Rishi along with her. I can’t believe that the author wants me to believe that someone like Dimple who scorns people and social life like the plague attends parties. Just no! It doesn’t work. On the other hand, I can believe that Rishi has never been to a party before besides Diwali ones. 

^ Cue unnecessary dramatic exit: He turned and walked away, the fog swallowing him whole. (Page 353). 

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^ Where is the coding talk? The tech talk? The app talk? The whole point of Dimple attending Insomnia Con was to create a health app to help people and there was hardly any talk of it. This book was pure drivel. 

^ I am going to sound stereotypical, but this scene calls for it: Which respectful Indian boy or girl would be making out in a dark alley and when things get heated, the girl asks, « What? You mean here? We can’t do it here? » and « If you’re doing this because of some old-school concern for my ‘honor’, you don’t need to. » (Page 287). Nice going, Dimple. Really nice going. I can think of all the names in the book to call you, but then, that wouldn’t honor you, would it now?

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^ Insomnia Con is having a talent contest and Dimple wants to do a Bollywood dance. They started off with ‘Dil Na Diya’, but ended up dancing to ‘Dance Pe Chance’ from Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

I was relieved when I came to the last page of this garbage. It would’ve been interesting to know more about the app and Dimple’s competitors’ apps as well. This story went from its focus on creating an app to a pointless talent show. With all of the ‘careful’ preparations leading up to the show, you’ll think the author would dedicate more than just a paragraph to it (Page 308). I wanted Dimple and Rishi to lose the talent show, but of course, they won for they danced to a SRK song after all. 

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This book was a total mess and you know what else is? Jab Harry Met Sejal and I am contemplating on doing a review soon. The author said that she was inspired by Bollywood movies and she passed for most Bollywood movies are a mess. This writing was cringe to the max.

The author forgot to thank Shah Rukh Khan in the acknowledgments and this book put me off so much that I don’t think From Twinkle, With Love would be redeeming… but I’mma read it anyway.

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COVER

Probably one of the most natural covers I’ve ever seen! I love that the model isn’t airbrushed and you can see all the hairs on her face. 5/5.

VERDICT:

love coffee

*** GIFs and photos used are not mine unless stated otherwise. Credit goes to Google Search. 

Publié dans Books & Reviews

Books #135-#137: meh!

I’m beginning to understand why some people prefer to download books online rather than buy or even borrow them from the library. Some books are a total waste of time for they don’t live up to the hype that you sometimes expect. I’m on a book buying ban until my TBR goes down, but I bought two books recently: true crime stories written by James Patterson and John Grisham. I can’t wait to get started on them, but first, these books that I’m about to pass judgment on. 

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Book #135: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

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This book was ten years in the writing and the author won the coveted Pulitzer Price. Although well written and polished, I didn’t feel anything. It felt too long at times and it dragged. I couldn’t wait to finish and I started speed reading at some point.

The book was beautifully envisioned but it fell short.

Main themes in this book:

  • The Sea of Flames diamond
  • A French Professor’s voice over the airways. Turned out to be Marie-Laure’s deceased grandfather.
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  • Uncle Etienne

Doerr wrote the passages wonderfully. They were so descriptive that I saw the poverty and heard the bombings, but I think he spent more time developing the settings than the characters thus making them unmemorable. I couldn’t identify with them. love coffeelove coffeelove coffee And why in the world are Pulitzer Prize-winning books so depressing? Thank goodness I did not buy this book. 

Book #136: Murder in the South of France by Susan Kiernan-Lewis

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I was left disappointed after reading this book. I only finished it because of Laurent and to confirm my suspicions. The title is misleading and should’ve been Murder in Atlanta because there was nothing to solve in the south of France given that we have to wait until Book 2 to see whose body was passed off as Elise’s. I think it’s Laurent’s common-law wife & I think Nicole is Laurent’s daughter. The author tried to throw readers off with who the actual murderer was with all signs pointing to a Frenchman, but I knew it was not Gerard nor his conman brother, Laurent. I couldn’t buy the real murderer’s motive, though. It felt off.

Although I haven’t been to France (as yet), the French felt forced and the grammar was atrocious. I didn’t feel transported to France. I didn’t get a sense of the local people and I couldn’t feel the atmosphere.

Every single character (except Laurent) was stupid especially Maggie, the main protagonist. Laurent danced back into her life after nearly six months of no contact and she readily accepted him without being an ounce suspicious.

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BAD FRENCH GRAMMAR & DIALOGUE

^ This book was not properly formatted.

^ I did not like the stereotypical American-French references. Every time I read a story where these two cultures clash, the American always act like the saint. Take this example on page 35:

“And having babies out of wedlock? Maybe y’all do that sort of thing over here and it’s no big deal, but it’s a definite faux pas where I come from.”

I actually rolled my eyes when Maggie said this. Who does she think she is? Americans are not so saintly when it comes to having children outside of marriage. Laurent gave her a typical French sarcasm reply:

“Perhaps that is why your sister come to France, non? It is, for her, a world that understands her better.”

^ I am not fluent in French, but I don’t think s’il tu plâit is the correct term. And the accent above the ‘a’ is wrong. The correct form is s’il te plaît. For the second person singular the subject pronoun is “tu” and the object pronoun is “te”. To make matters worse, it was a Frenchman (Laurent) using this wrong term.

This too, coming from an author who spent part of her childhood in the glorious Alsace-Lorraine, France.

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^ This retarded remark:

“Oh, I miss you so much, Laurent. I’m so used to possessing everything through you, it’s hard to have an independent thought.”

And Maggie Newbury is supposed to be the star of this series? Yeah right! If she cannot think on her own and has to rely on Laurent for even much as breathing, I am not going to follow Maggie anywhere else.

^ Stereotypically playing the culture card:

“Lying is bad, Laurent! I know there’s a culture difference here, but I would’ve thought even the French were on board with that. You lied. To me.”

DEAR STUPID WOMAN, WHAT DOES CULTURE HAVE TO DO WITH LYING? EVERYONE LIES! IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE ONE IS FROM! GET OVER IT!

^ There is no chemistry between Maggie and Laurent.

^ I wish Patti had murdered Maggie and her parents and Brownie and the ever jittery Gary.

FAVE CHARACTER

Laurent Dernier. He is not your typical slender sexy fictional Frenchman, but still quite handsome. I didn’t buy his charms when I first met him and I’m glad I was right about him being Gerard’s brother. He was the only character who wasn’t a bore and he has an actual interesting background story. I think the author spent too much time on this one. love coffee

Book #137: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

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One of the best debut novels I’ve read in years!

Do you think you know EVERYTHING about your daughter?

From the get-go, you feel the characters speaking to you. James Lee is Chinese American and he feels like he has never fit in anywhere in life until he met and married the pretty blue-eyed American Marilyn. The children: Nath, the eldest, Hannah the youngest, and the middle child aka Parents’ Favorite, Lydia, who inherited her mother’s blue eyes.

Marilyn was supposed to be a doctor, but those dreams were dashed when she met and fell in love with Professor Lee. Motherhood definitely was not in her cards, but she saw redemption of accomplishing her dreams through Lydia. James was never popular. As an Oriental, he never fit in and he was the subject of bullying. He saw redemption through Lydia’s beauty. The Lee family had no friends. Marilyn and James never hosted dinners or parties and the children never had real friends either.

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It left me questioning life and love. Parents need to cherish their children. They didn’t ask to come here. Parents also shouldn’t play favoritism with their children.

I think this was a brilliant debut novel from Ng, but I have to point out the race issue. I know it was the 70s, but Ng made it seem as if every single person the Lees encountered has never seen an Oriental person before, and almost everyone was prejudiced against them. I think the author could’ve dealt with this differently. The book felt unfinished as I was not satisfied with the ending. I don’t mind authors abruptly ending their stories, but this was not the end. It just…ends! But I like it. It was about a family dealing with the loss of a child and Ng captures the pain and hurt beautifully.

I like this author’s writing and I am open to reading more of her books. love coffeelove coffeelove coffee