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DamienLovecraft

theguywhoreads

When I pick a book up, I am travelling to a distant place and some times I become one of the characters in a book. My love for stories are the ones that begin and end where fiction is more honest than reality.

Currently reading

All Our Wrong Todays
Elan Mastai
Progress: 138/373 pages

A Fun, Enjoyable Historical Young Adult Book Not To Be Miss

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - Mackenzi Lee

Historical fiction is a genre I am most interested to read but have a fear that I might put it down. One week ago, I have heard a lot of good reviews and opinions about The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue and with an upcoming book discussion and Skype with Mackenzi Lee. Here's some thing I have to be honest about - I would never pick up a book with a book cover that features a real person. I admit I was skeptical at first but after a while, just trusting my intuitive I give it a go and read it.

 

I have no regrets in the end.

 

Set in a 18th century period, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue begins with Henry 'Monty' Montague, a care less, young drunk charmer who happens to be a born gentleman from a high-class family waking up next to his best friend Percy, one day before their Grand Tour around Europe. Tagging along is Henry's sister Felicity, who is on her way to a boarding school. Every thing was thought as plan by Henry's father, only that it goes very wrong because of Monty's behavior that leads to (surprise) an unexpected turn of events filled with adventure, mystery, conspiracy, a little bit of science and of course, romance. For a young adult book, its a fun read. What is more surprising is that its so light and easy, its enjoyable in many ways. While its pretty straight forward, its the combination of all that makes this relaxing that doesn't need much deep thought but just sit back, rest and drink your preferred tea (or coffee).

 

I would recommend this without a doubt for anyone who wants light reading or a historical buff but in a young adult manner. I can't say much as it will spoil a whole lot more but this is a book, despite how people say never judge a book by its cover, should pick it up and read it.

The Third Sequel of The Queen's Thief Almost Fall Short.

A Conspiracy of Kings (Queen's Thief) - Megan Whalen Turner

This was a hard decision on whether I would give it a 3 or a 4 star rating but in the end, the overall of the book won a 4. It took me a while to finish this (again, I am beginning to delay in reading) when I began since October and now its December already! Anyway, once again I love how the world building is but the 3rd sequel focus on a young Sophos, last seen in The Thief, in his perspective on how he became the King of Sounis. After been captive by Medes (twice), slaved and fought back, A Conspiracy of Kings has every thing as it turns out except that I felt the first few chapters were very slow. As how it was delivered, the promising part of unexpected events turns out well in the consistency of writing, character and plot. While (been bias now) I rooted for more Eugenides to appear in this book, his appearance is much lesser but when he does appear, its once again a favorable wind that perks up the reading. Still, this is one series I am still in any way following due to its writing and world building. Of course, I can't wait to see what will happen next and I am one book away to read Thick as Thieves and hope I can read it when time permits. This, again, is a book I would recommend to anyone who started from the beginning.

When Death Predicts, What Will You Do?

They Both Die at the End - Adam Silvera

It's my first time reading Adam Silvera's book. When I picked up this book, it was the title, not the synopsis that drew my attention - They Both Die At The End. That's a title that I felt so bold and daring that gave me a reason to picked it up. I managed to finished it after my book discussion. To my relief, its a good book. Nothing glorifying and nothing horribly written.

 

In the near future, Mateo receives a call from Death-Cast (a company that predicts death) that he is going to die today. On the same morning itself, Rufus receives a call as well that he is going to die today too. Both are total strangers in their own way. Both have no idea how they would die but only they know, that they want to reach out to someone... and they found each other through an app. As they start their journey together in one day before their demise, they do what they can to start living and make the best of it.

 

Yes, there is no doubt as the title says, they really did die at the end. There is no twist, there is no sneaky trick that will make you believe one of them will survive but indeed, they both die at the end. But why read a book when I know the ending? For one, its the writing. Its good and nicely done and although the execution is similar to Nicola Yoon's The Sun is Also a Star, its the characters that work. Sadly, the world building background is rather vague that we need to accept that this is how it is in our alternate reality of our future. Much like a Twilight Zone episode for me. Still, with short chapters, easy to read and yes, it can be a sad ending... I did not feel emotionally attached to the book. In other words, I did not shed a tear. Don't get me wrong - I do enjoy reading it. Its just not enough to pull me under the covers and think about what would I do if someone I loved knows I am going to die today and what will be my parting words? I felt it was not that strong enough to pull me there at the end but overall, its just good writing that I enjoy. One thing I know, there are some aspects that Adam Silvera explore about death but since this is a YA book, its theme is light and good enough to accept in any other way. Although I did not read his two previous books, I would say They Both Die At The End is a good book to read in one sitting.

Understanding An Introvert Story Through Illustration

Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert's Story - Debbie Tung

Here's some thing about me - I am an ISFP personality introvert after a personality test. I never thought myself to be an introvert before (for those who know me) but looking back, I was pretty much shut-in myself then before I met someone from a past that brings out the best in me. Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert's Story has been a book I look forward to read. I stumble upon Debbie Tung's work through Facebook and her work spoke true about introverts and this nicely drawn book says so much about introverts that I can connect with. Its a beautiful written work that I can read and read again. The humor, ups and downs of an introvert and the angst of being an introvert spoke true. This is an autobiography drawn book about her life, from the final days of college to adulthood, marriage and self-love captures every thing true for introverts today. I for one would recommend this as it can be a self-help guide for those who are going through some thing they do not understand about themselves. Quiet Girl in a Noisy World is a comic book for all personality types to enjoy.

Debut Author On About Love, Lost, Healing and Redemption At A Good Start

I Liked My Life - Abby Fabiaschi

There is a unique voice in I Liked My Life and it comes from Abby Fabiaschi. As I read it, I never thought it would be poignant for me and it does, in a sentimental way. This is a book that talks about loss, connection, healing, redemption and forgiveness in ways it was never predictable. Most books would have their characters stayed on to the very end in a formula that ends with a practical approached in writing. I find this emotionally well-written, and although I did not shed a tear (for my own personal reasons), I do find this book important and should be read.

 

I Liked My Life talks about one family in three perspectives - Madeline, whom recently died from committing suicide still lingers on in spiritual form, Eve, a distraught seventeen year-old daughter in disbelieved that her mother died suddenly and was ashamed of her death and BradyEve's father and husband to Madeline who blamed himself for Madeline's death. As I read on, what draws me in are the depth in the characters that are written. Then, I loved most of the characters that interacts so well together as real as what families are. And what makes it work is how it was handled in it. Every single chapter reveals parts of the characters that really makes you closer to them. Every single dialogue was written in how real people deal with their loss. Its a love story about family, what keeps them together, the secrets family members keep and the importance of compassion. I was trying to gauge the story but in every single chapter, I thought I could predicted it. Turns out, as realism gets, its different in some levels that life isn't what we expected but through help, what we needed is the least expectation.

 

For me, I would have given a higher rating of 5 out of 5 star, but then towards the end of the book it was anti-climatic for me. Not to mention, it was used before. In a way, it was clever to hide the true reason but after reading that chapter, I was just feeling at a bit of loss at the reasoning. I Liked My Life is a book I would recommend to a certain group of people to read because of its writing, its sheer wit and for those who wants to hug their family members more.

My First Agatha Christie's Read

Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot, #10) - Agatha Christie

 I have a confession to make - this is actually my first Agatha Christie's book. I have never read any of her books and even though I have heard of her, I never once touched her books. So what compels me to read Murder on the Orient Express? Hype perhaps of the upcoming movie? A few months back my favorite bookstore was promoting her works? I can't be sure of which but in the end, I picked it up last August and finally read it this month. It took me a while but eventually, I finished it.

 

While I never realize this is part of a Hercule Poirot series, it had a setting and a premise that is intriguing. A man dies one night on a train and M. Poirot were entrusted to investigate to find out who is the real murderer. Divided into three parts, the flow of the story for me is well-thought of. There was the introduction of characters, then the depth of the investigation of getting to know each character that were in the train and the deduction through guessing came to the conclusion that is so impossible, it feels real in the end. Every thing else falls into place.

 

Was I impress? Not really. It started off as a simple murder-mystery where everyone can be a suspect and through interrogation and investigation on the train, a detective (as the greatest of all) make a guess deductions through human emotions and body language to be able to discover truth and lies. I don't know that on this day and age it would work but since it was first published in 1934, its acceptable. Still, I love how its written and there are words I never thought of I can learn from. It's a good book but not really that great to a point that makes it the greatest detective book ever written, even though I heard so much about it. I would recommend to anyone to read this first if anyone wants to read Agatha Christie's stories but I am unsure whether I would continue to read any Hercule Poirot's crime-solving series in the near future.

Where The Gunslinger falters, The Drawing of the Three Triumphs!

The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three - Stephen King

When I read The Gunslinger, I was not impress. I was not really sure where this book was going until towards the end, turns out to be a quest book. Then, I have my doubts. But what I started from the first book, I had to move on to the second book and it took me a while to finished it. Yes, I took my time to read it and in the end, that long time... was worth it. I read slowly and absorb the words, the intentions and the purpose. In the end, it is once again a quest book with more questions but I am surprise how good The Drawing of the Three turn out to be.

 

From where it was left off, Roland of Gilead now has a goal. In order seek The Dark Tower, he has to recruit others from other worlds to join him on his quest - Eddie Dean, a drug junkie who loves his brother Henry more than anything else, Odetta Susannah Holmes, a girl that may seem nice but other wise, deadly and a third that I would not spoil it here. What caught my attention was what does drawing of the three means and its said inside pretty much clearly. Still, the entire book is all about how Roland, almost to his dying breath after been attacked by sea creatures like lobsters, with grit, goes through all hell to get these people from another Earth-like dimension (which is our own). For the first time, and even though Stephen King, in his style of writing long narrations of background history so that we get to know the characters involved for the readers, he managed to draw my attention in a way that is suspenseful and it is good. I truly enjoy my reading and that is why I took my time to finish it. Towards the end, even though there are more questions involve, I am looking forward to read The Wasteland soon. If you have read The Gunslinger and you have your doubts, trust me, The Drawing of the Three is worth continuing.

Letters Found in Books - A Young Adult Love Story

Words in Deep Blue - Cath Crowley

When I read Words in Deep Blue, why I pick it up because of its setting, the concept and of course, the blurb. Then, there is the title. In no time, I took my time to finish reading it and I love every thing about it. Although towards the end I felt it was short for me, I almost felt the right emotions might play it out right if only it was strong at the end but it wasn't. In every thing, I thoroughly enjoy the excerpts of in-between letters within the pages as it was written through the view of two protagonist best friends. Its quite a typical character-driven about two best friends who love each other but never admit and some where along the way, some thing happens and lost and found their way back. And every thing about it is how the people they meet finally put them together and love found their way. But what really set this book that won me over are the written letters, they are the true main strong points of this book.

 

For me, this is some thing I would recommend to any true book lovers out there. Its beautiful, its poetic and its one that connects lost souls in a world that people believe in materialism rather than passion. I wish I could say more about it but pick this up if you love a book about books, lost loves that later found and what we lose will eventually be found from someone close to us with certainty and commitment.

A Modern Day Fable of the Bizarre and of the Weird That's Truly A Wonder

Tales of Falling and Flying - Ben Loory

Modern day fables isn't some thing that is easy to write. The thing about writing such short stories it takes a lot of imagination to turn some thing that is like a fairy tale to some thing that suits the current modern day genre. But Tales of Falling and Flying some how, found its unique voice. And with that, I am glad that I pick up this book and read it in 2 days.

 

From the first short story 'The Dodo', I was in a good way speechless that this story got me thinking. There's a reflection in this story that touches on human nature, even though the story is about a dodo bird who thinks is a dodo bird but actually is a chicken since dodo birds are dead but deep down inside, its a dodo bird. Did I get you confuse? Maybe, but if you read it (in which I won't reveal much here), the metaphor is much deeper here. This is how Ben Loory found his mark as a writer. He writes what he wants to write. He writes about sad tales, love stories, science fiction with a touch of humor and even fantasy. He writes about animals that talks and do weird things. He writes about people that do weird things. In short - these are weird stories and its not a bad thing. It is his way that I love so much about it, that brings fresh new voices in the writing genre and I doubt there is anyone out there that really knows how to write a good modern day fable stories none other than him.

 

If not for a few stories which I do find it not to my liking, I would have given this a 5 rating but with 40 short stories in this book, 4 rating is what I would give plus I would recommend anyone who likes modern day fable tales or some thing that is weird.

A Semi-Biography of Yeon-Sik Hong

Uncomfortably Happily - Yeon-sik Hong

Picking up Uncomfortably Happily was a personal reason of mine - to really understand what is it like living in country side. This manhwa graphic novel is a semi-biography of Yeon-Sik Hong, a struggling procrastinator artist that struggles to meet its deadline and his supportive wife living near a mountain side further away from Seoul. As they rented a house over there, memories were made, animals were loved, and other troubles assured. As he tries to complete his and revise his drawings and studies in school, he re-discovers life on the country side is so much different than living in a city. Once there, life became free and easy.

 

I truly enjoy the story and the simple artistic approach of this book. While it does show in a realistic way life living on the mountains can be tough, they were happy and they did give reasons why they are living happily. While situations can be difficult, the couple do what they can to survive and manage to live a life happily before they were forced to move out because of change. Its a nice read and nothing deeper to it. I realize one of my dreams to live on the country side I understand such struggles are real, its a matter whether I can survive in situations that Yeon-Sik Hong experiences. I truly enjoy this book and would recommend if anyone wants to read about life living on the country side.

The End of the First Arc of the Prythian Saga!

A Court of Wings and Ruin - Sarah J. Maas

Trilogies is a tricky thing to write. When I first started reading A Court of Thorns and Roses, I have no expectations as I know its a start of a series from an acclaimed author of Throne of Glass. As I had heard its a rendition of Beauty and the Beast young adult fantasy style, it was more of a surprise of how it was written. I was hooked and I wanted more. A year later the released of A Court of Mist and Fury changes every thing I learned in reading - it was one of the rarest books that I would give 5 out of 5 star. It was a read unlike any thing before and from there, not only I wanted more - I just can't wait. It was reported that the 3rd book would be the finale then and this year after a long wait, I had finally read A Court of Wings and Ruin, the war I have been waiting for and to its end, it is the trilogy that ends as the first arc of the Prythian series.

 

There is so much I want to talk about but where to begin. For one, its the flow. Its fast, is good and for each chapter it opens up much better than the previous. There is much excitement and suspense that really works well inside. And then of course, the description of the action sequence is well done. It really brings the battle out of the page (for me) that really is what the characters are created. There is depth now for some characters, more side-romance that were crafted well, I felt the pain from Lucien of the unrequited love he had knowing his mate is Elain that still not yet embrace him. Characters that were briefly mention are now more known of their motivation and what are their motives. I felt how Morrigan having to reveal who she really is and it was well-written on that part, I do felt the pain her. Almost some back stories, the immortals and more were quick to a point that it works. My only dislike was the forced scenes between Rhysand and Feyre when they want to make love, which felt disconnected and then towards the end epilogue of the chapter. The rest played out well.

 

I am happy that this ends the first arc of the story (like Star Wars played out the prequel trilogy and the main trilogy) that really ends with a satisfying feeling. I was teary of what I thought might happened but if it did (which I will not reveal), it might make a big impact. I do hope next year when the next release will be as good as this but until then, I am glad that I finally finished this and it's a 4.5 out of 5 star for me.

 

NOTE - I know I started reading in early August but I actually took off reading much faster in late August. My fault for taking such a long time to finished)

A Classic Meant To Be Read By Everyone.

Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes

There are books that are recommended its a must read before we die. Flowers for Algernon is one of those books everyone should read. When I pick this up, I never thought it would change the way I view how people are in their own state through a perspective of intelligence. This truly change my way of seeing things now.

 

Written in a journal format, we read progress reports of one Charlie Gordon. He's exceptionally low intelligent person, who works as a cleaner in a bakery shop. As the story unfolds, we learn much about the people he meet along the way - Dr. Strauss and Prof. Nemur, whom is in charge of the experimental surgery; Alice Kinnian, a teacher for special kids who is the love of his life and Algernon, the mouse that is so smart became his one and only friend to Charlie. As months went by, we see changes in his behavior and personality and soon, Algernon starts to deteriorate. So does Charlie.

 

Its a journey reading this classic, one I never thought can be so uplifting but sad as well. I know what it means to be intelligent and on a certain level as well but for what is on the upside, there is always a downside to it. This book shows it really well in reality. It does makes a point of how people are today. The plot is well crafted and easy to follow. The writing is well thought of and we can read the changes of the report as if its truly real written by Charlie himself. And then, there are parts that pointed how people are (selfish, egoistic, pessimism) and Charlie isn't. It was so well-developed, even the characters are to be remembered. While for me, it is sad as I read it and towards the end, it ends with a heartfelt feeling of kismet and we can never outrun fate. For me, its the meaning that is well-research for this book. Its also a book of realization.

 

I know this review might be slightly off, but I just can't seem to find the right words for it. But I do want to say that everyone should read this book.

How A Thief Became An Unlikely King And Prove He is The King of Kings

The King of Attolia (Queen's Thief) - Megan Whalen Turner

As sequels goes, its not easy to do a good follow up. The King of Attolia did not out done the previous book but it manages to stay at its form, which to me, has done pretty much expected after The Queen of Attolia. Once again, I fell in love more of the world of The Queen's Thief series and once again, I just can't get enough of Eugenides.

 

Eugenides is now King of Attolia and he has become the least favorite among the guards and his attendants. The unlikely king has been played on pranks, insults and even lost respect by those who can't trust the thief of Eddis. This is why he has choose Costis, an unlikely naive young guard to be his private attendant, who would want Eugenides dead then be the king of Attolia. But because Costis is loyal to the Queen, following orders is what he does best... until Gen has proven himself he is not just the Thief of Eddis, he can be the King of Attolia even though he does not behave like one.

 

There is so much to love about the second sequel - the intrigued plot, the twist and the pacing is just right. Although The Queen of Attolia had its unexpected moments and vivid immersive worlds, The King of Attolia focus more on a young guard point of view on Eugenides and how the Thief won their loyalty, in an unexpected way. Yes, there are conspirators among guards whom hated Gen and wanted him dethrone, but in the end, as the writing goes, is as beautiful as ever that you never expect truly is a worthy read.

 

As always, I am looking forward to the fourth book. There is so much to love and enjoy, and still some surprises that never cease to amaze me. The Queen's Thief series is some thing that works and never fails and its a series worth keeping on my shelve for a long time.

The Quest of The Last Gunslinger (The Beginning of The Dark Tower Series)

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger - Stephen King

I had been curious about The Dark Tower for a long time. Since it was published until now, I never did read one book of it. When I heard about the movie adaptation, what compels me to read now was due to the movie. Of course, this year is truly the year of the King...

 

... and for once, reading The Gunslinger, the first book of the series truly peeks my curiosity on a whole different level. And much better than the movie.

 

It begins where a lone man walks into a town, looking for a man in black. He meets the town's folk (almost a ghost town) and soon, the presence of the man in black had corrupted the whole town. Along the way, he met a boy name Jake Chambers, descriptions of another world similar to ours and of course, origins of the gunslinger, mutants and finally meeting the man in black and in the end... another quest.

 

For me, I love the universe created by Stephen King but the plot itself felt ambiguous. While the journey is all about journeying to meet the man in black and going to the dark tower without revealing the purpose, I believed maybe the rest of the novels will. Still, I do enjoy the writing and as always, Stephen King tried his best to deliver some thing ambitious then (he did admit as the series progress, there were changes in his words of when he was young when he wrote and the maturity of his writing towards the end of the series). The Gunslinger works to some extend and hopefully, the rest of the book will explain further once I started reading The Drawing of the Three.

The Sequel That Is So Clever and Deceptively Delicious.

The Queen of Attolia (Queen's Thief) - Megan Whalen Turner

Sequels are not an easy read, especially if the author able to write better than the first book. When I read The Thief, I read without any expectations but based upon reviews after reviews from other readers. It is a book that is well-written, filled with a historical universe created rich with myths and adventure. Characters to love and to hate. I felt a lot of great wealth and although, it does felt like a quest story, there is a surprise twist towards the end.

 

The Queen of Attolia is not just more, its some thing so unimaginable that is way beyond my expectations. I finally understood why many readers felt this is a younger adult version of Game of Thrones. The politics, the lies and a war between nations cleverly woven into one epic sequel I have never thought I would be satisfied with contentment.

 

As it is, we follow where Eugenides was left off. He said he could steal anything - steal a man, steal a queen and even a nation to have peace - and he without a doubt, truthful to his words. As a worshiped thief of Eddis and known to his enemies of what he can truly do, war broke out among nations. Politics became dirty, the queen of Attolia trying to do what's best for her nation and the rest is filled with more twist than you can count and you never realize you wanted to read the next chapter it became natural for you to turn the next page. Still, can Eugenides able to do what he said he can do? I was more than surprise that blew my mind that I can't wait to read the next book.

 

There is so much more in The Queen of Attolia - there's more twist, more surprises and more intrigued than before. I love Eugenides and I never thought I would. A written character that surprises me in many ways that shows a whole lot of character is a rarity for me. I never love a fictional character this much but this is one of those that won my heart so much. There is more of EddisMedes and Attolia now and there is so much difference between the first book and this one. Now what deserves a five star rating is truly the story. Every thing in this book is phenomenal. I laugh, shocked, and more than before and even stunned by its delivery. And not just that, the style of writing just begs to be more than it was before. I just can't stop enjoying how wonderful this book is and I am so glad that I started reading this series. Megan Whalen Turner is now my third favorite author and I will read (or wait) any books she will write and will even queued for any of her upcoming books.

A Disturbingly Charming Read

Eileen: A Novel - Ottessa Moshfegh

Reading Eileen is a challenge of acceptance. One that is far from being the norm, especially when it comes to understanding human nature at its worst flaw. I read Eileen because of an upcoming book discussion and one of the things that caught my attention was the analytical approach of its description of why 'people are the way they are' in the things they do we are ashamed to talk about. I try to find the main plot line on this book but its actually about a girl (title character) on her last days on a fictional place of what had happened to her and the people she meets along the way before she leaves town. There isn't much of a plot but there is some thing about the writing that is honest and truthful that I tend to agree that what was not dared said is bare here.

 

Eileen is written in a first person of a past memory that she wants to share with the readers. Why she wanted to leave the place she was born, her relationship with her father, her infatuation with a prison guard, her lifeless job in a children's correctional prison and her habitual past-time habits she isn't ashamed of (like stealing a scarf from a store). Then came a new counselor named Rebecca, a young and beautiful girl who give her more attention than others. What happens next lead to a crime that just give a good reason to leave her home town and never look back. Sounds simple and yet uninteresting right?

 

To be fair, I do find the writing and description so well-written that the one thing that did not escape me is how ugly she made out in words makes it so beautiful and honest. There are things we might be ashamed of writing but Ottessa Moshfegh truly embodies the truth of what we don't talk about with other people. You'll get my meaning when you read it. The other thing was not entirely interesting were the dialogue. It felt flat and fake, which is a contradiction in her writing. On one hand, the description of Eileen's feelings and place and the actions she do was very good but on the other hand, the dialogue is surreal. Its like how bizarre the exchange was between father and daughter is unusual. I just can't picture it too well and that really pull part of the book down. By 2/3's of the book, that's where it becomes interesting. Although it was predictable, its just how well Ottessa capture's Eileen's character at its fullest.

 

While this is actually her first book, its a fast read and an interesting one. I can't help but read it to find out where it is leading and part of me felt this is like American Psycho plotline indie kind of story. As realism gets, its the purpose of Eileen on why she need to leave town that makes it understandable on her reasons of doing that. This is some thing I would recommend people to read because to me, its refreshing. Unlike some authors I read when it comes to writing disgusting scenes, Ottesa makes it sound beautiful in her own way of acceptance, like 'yeah, we do that and that's okay'. For me, it deserves a 4 out of 5 star rating and its a book I would recommend for any readers that accepts true reality of life.