Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Back to books again

This year I unintentionally pick up my reading habit again which is something that I have been meaning to do long time ago. I'v picked up lots of books from Popular book sale for the past 2 years but haven't read all of it till some are collecting dust on my desk. I can't really remember but I think for the past one and a half year, I think I have gone through 10 novels. So, I'm gonna share my review of those novels here.

My favourite genre are chick literature (don't judge okay,I love Sophie Kinsella), thriller mystery and family drama (all thanks to Jodi Picoult). You see, I was never a fan of Jodi Picoult before. I've heard of her books and watched My Sister's Keeper which made me wept whole night. But I never have the urge to pick up her books up until last year. And the only reason I did that was because the books were on sale. (Tips: Never ever buy novel on full price, always wait for Popular sales which the discounts are as great as 70% off)

So, I'm gonna start my review with Jodi Picoult's novel, Plain Truth.

I picked up this book without expectation and started reading it only to be unable to put it down for the next few days. One thing about Jodi Picoult is I always learnt new things through her books. This time it is about the Amish community. The novel centres around an Amish family when police are called to investigate when they found a dead baby in their barn. The police investigation quickly round up to two conclusion. The baby was not stillborn and Katie Fisher is the unwed mother. This discovery is not acceptable within the Amish community, however the bigger issue is that Katie Fisher is charged for the murder of the baby.

Ellie Hathaway was brought in to defend Katie in this case as a favor for her aunt. But what challenged Ellie was that her client denied giving birth despite the medical proof and did not want to be defended as her client insisted that she is innocent. Staying with the Fisher family in the Amish community brings a new perspective to Ellie. The reason that I was unable to put this book was the way the Plain people live, their belief and their faith. If I'm Ellie, I'll be really pissed at Katie because all the medical proof are pointing to her giving birth to the baby but she keeps on insisting it never happened because it is against their culture and belief. It's like " Hello girl, doesn't matter your religion allowed it or not, you carried that baby in your tummy for nine months and gave birth to him"

To cut the chase loose, yes Katie did gave birth but someone else murdered the baby. I don't want to spoil anything but this was a good read although I still mad at Katie for living in denial.

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

I'm not kidding when I say I have jump on the Jodi Picoult bandwagon because this next book that I will review is also from her which I've just finished recently. The Storyteller started off quite slow for me. I wasn't fully impressed until I've read on Minka's life as a child that grew up during The Holocaust.

The story started with Sage Singer, a loner baker that befriend a well-loved veteran Josef Weber. 
From the beginning, I really dislike Sage Singer because this girl has some serious self-esteem issue. 
She was involved in terrific accident which left her mother dead and a permanent scar on her face to remind her of the incident. Sage herself is having hard time to move on with her life. She met Josef Weber in a grief group. However, Josef Weber is not whom he portrayed himself to be. Everyone has past but Josef Weber's past life is haunting him. And he chose to share it with Sage along with a dead request. Like literally a dead request.

Josef Weber was a Nazi during Holocaust and has done lots of terrible things on Jews. The fact that Sage's grandmother is a survivor during the Holocaust made Josef confide in Sage and request for her aid in killing himself. Sage is torn in between because she know how much Minka (her grandmother has suffered during the Holocaust but taking Josef's life will make her no different than those Nazis. I know nothing about the life during Holocaust, so Minka's story really intrigued me. I have visited the Genocide Camp in Cambodia and have read about all the torture done on those prisoner. I imagined it is the same in Jews concentration camp. But not all Germans are murderer and not all Jews are victim. The different perspective from Minka and the Nazi officers give me an insight of what actually going on on both side of the story.

However, the extra story about the mysterious creature which obviously penned down by Minka is unnecessary in my opinion. And the twist at the end, honestly I wasn't expecting Sage to do that. Overall, I highly recommend this book and please hang on to the first part because I promise it will get better from there.

Play Dead by Harlan Coben

This is the first novel by Harlan Coben that I picked up. Coincidentally, this is the very first book that he wrote in his early years as author but never get publish until later on. Again, I picked this up without expectation and ended up loving it. Some of the review on Goodreads said that this is not Harlan Coben's best work but I have read his Mickey Bolitar series after this book and sorry, Mickey Bolitar is the worst. Although in this book, he seems to be obsess with the beauty of Laura Ayers, the main character whom got it all, beauty, money and fame. Everything changed when her husband, the basketball superstar is missing during their honeymoon in Australia. Laura is on the mission to find out what happened to her husband despite everyone telling her to stop. Reading the narration of Laura's day and her feeling when dealing with the loss of her husband, it feels so real. This is where Harlan Coben hit the right spot for me. 

Also, the twisted plot toward the end really surprise me. I mean I thought I knew what was coming and someone must have killed Laura's husband but I was so wrong. This book keeps me in suspense and I really couldn't put it down. I highly recommend this one if you love mystery/thriller.

Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

When I picked this up, I assumed that this will be another book about a housewife having a midlife crisis. Well, it is but not as boring as I assumed it would be. In fact, it is very much hit home for me because let's admit it, you do feel like you're stuck in a rut after a while of doing the same thing or when you stop putting effort in your relationship. 

Alice Buckle been married to her husband for 20 years and now they have 2 teenage kids. She used to be an independent strong girl with a career however she slowly letting herself go with the excuse of marriage and being a mother. One day she was approached by an online survey about marriage and assigned the pseudo name Wife 22. She was engaged to a handler called Researcher 101. She started by answering some survey question and found herself answering them honestly because she was on an anonymous platform and nobody can judge her. Each day she opened herself up more and more online about her feeling in marriage but in reality she and her husband are slowly drifting apart.

Most of us can relate to this where we tend to be more open when we're behind the keyboard but unable to be at least honest when dealing with loved one in real life. The problem with Alice in her marriage is the lack of communication and effort from both of them. They know that they are parents and life partner in life but they forgot that they are lovers too. 

And what happened when you spend more time talking to someone online than someone in your real life? You slowly fell in love with that online persona. This is what happened to Alice Buckle and she even seriously considering to leave her husband for Researcher 101. This is where I started to develop dislike to Alice Buckle character, everything about her just scream 'attention seeking teenager' Why can't she just try at least make an effort to reignite the fire in her love life with her husband rather than pouring her heart out to a stranger online and risking her own marriage. And her husband too! No effort at all.

Well, I kinda predicted the ending and everything fall into places in the end. This is a good read in my opinion because sometime we too stuck in the rut like Alice Buckle and maybe this will help to shed some light into our life about what will happened when we stop putting effort into relationship.

There are other books that I've finished reading and absolutely love it but I'll save that for another book review next time. In the mean time, go to my Goodreads profile to see other books that I've read and wanted to read in the future.

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