Posted in 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

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Posted in 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

Posted in 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

Posted in 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.

Posted in 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. 

 

Posted in 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

Posted in 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