The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

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“How to tell a shattered story? By slowly becoming everybody. No. By slowly becoming everything.”

— Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

    20 years after the release of the classic Booker Prize winner The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy releases her second work of fiction, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Although I have yet to read the former—I do plan on doing so in the near future—my first experience of Roy’s writing wasn’t exactly a very compelling one. Tackling the social climate and various taboo subjects in India and its proximity, Arundhati Roy brings readers the story of multiple different characters who will all have their lives connect together at an unlikely juncture. Focusing greatly on these characters and the unbelievable misery that clouds their lives, Arundhati Roy does the impossible and presents us with the relativity of happiness and the rarity of normality. She does so by embracing the Indian culture in all its forms and shows us in different forms the problems that people are submerged in for countless years.
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Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

MY RATING: ★  

“Because,” said Thor, “when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time.”

This novel was very hard for me to rate because I’ve never rated a mythology translation/retelling before. Therefore, you can’t really rate a book based on the plot or the story since the author didn’t decide it by himself. It was a tradition passed on from oral stories to poems. Then I tell myself, how would rate or review a book like Norse Mythology?

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CARAVAL // SPECIAL GIVEAWAY

Hello everyone ! 😀

I know all about the buzz surrounding Caraval and I partnered up with Flatiron Books to giveaway not 1 but 6 sets of Caraval goodies- 3 winners with 2 sets each ! I’ll be putting my review up soon enough (also read-along with OrangUtanLibrarian and believe me you’ll want to see this LOL)   but here are my  other fellow bloggers reviews 😉 If you reviewed Caraval too, do not hesitate to link yours so others can read it 😀

Well, where to begin? Caraval is on many, and I mean many, people’s most anticipated lists for 2017, and it was… well, it was good (in fact pretty damn great at some parts) but it was not as good as I wanted, and those two are very, very different things […]

As as setting, Caraval was simply whimsical. Nothing is quite as it seems in this world, and since the magic has no real rules, anything and everything can happen. Garber’s writing was immersive, vivid and lush with details, a delight to all senses. It wasn’t quite ‘un-put-down-able’, but it was compelling enough for me to want to read on, and I really enjoyed visiting this world of hers. – Reg @ She Latitude

Honestly, I could go on and on about how amazing the plot was and how completely engrossed I was by this novel. I mean, I did read it in 24 hours. But all I’m going to say is that this book completely pulls you in and doesn’t let you go until the very last page. The hype is real, y’all. However, I did have a few issues with this book even though I enjoyed it so much that they did not affect my overall rating of it. – WonderfilleReads

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Books review: Exit West & Men Without Women

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For when we migrate, we murder from our lives those we leave behind.

– MOHSIN HAMID

EXIT WEST BY MOHSIN HAMID- MY RATING:  

I love this book and honestly even if it’s a small book and a fast read, I think we need more readers for this kind of book. It’s a work of fiction of course but there is some magical realism into it. We follow the journey of Saeed and Nadia, yes there’s some romance starting but it’s a very deep relationship, where they need each to be connected emotionally and intellectually in a time of wars. The character development was amazing.  What’s magical is the writing of Mohsin Hamid allows us to spread some magic dust on those two lovers as they struggle to survive the attacks.   Continue reading

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood | Read-Along

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Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”

— Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

    Margaret Atwood wrote a devastating and greatly depressing dystopian world that begs to be taken seriously with its unprecedented ability to depict a possible and near future. Written through the eyes of a protagonist who goes by the name of Offred, The Handmaid’s Tale depicts a bleak, colourless and entrapped reality where women only have one purpose: to breed. In this totalitarian society where women are stripped of their most basic rights, individuals revert to traditional values in order to keep every single women in check. Offred, severed of her husband and child, adapts into a community where she deceptively pretends to be perfectly submissive, while her thoughts beg to differ. It is what goes on in her own mind that brings great depth and insight into this story that revolves not only around the political atmosphere of this vile reality, but the total control of sexuality. The Handmaid’s Tale easily goes down as a classic dystopian story that can be seen as being in the same vein as 1984 or Brave New World. This is a story of survival and a hunt for freedom and power, one that will jolt the dead back to life and one that will greatly touch the hearts of many, especially women.
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Unpopular Book Opinions – WTF Was That

I’ve seen a tag going on about this topic recently, so I was thinking about talking about the books that I found not so my liking as opposite to all the hypes. I’m usually what you call a nice reviewer, the books I read always end up having 4-5 stars. But not today. Maybe some of you will be like, oh my god I’m not the only one!? Or this might shock you or enrage you but my opinions are very subjective so are yours 😉 Let’s keep it that way!

*Disclaimer : I will rage a lot ahah so don’t take it personally.2015-05-16-1431809026-4581001-thewrathandthedawn

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN BY RENEE AHDIEH 

I even titled my review as Why I didn’t like it  LOL

I think it was a joke to the original story, from the characters to the plot , nothing was to my liking.

An excerpt of my review: The way she tells the stories at night is supposed to be mesmerizing and enchanting. But I didn’t feel any connection. In fact, it was so dry and fast, I was surprised that  kind of story would keep a prince awake until dawn. Like I’ve read it in 10 mins.. I’m pretty sure she can do better than that. AND THOSE CLIFFHANGERS SHE LEAVES AT THE END ?? If I were the prince I would be like Avada Kedavra!! Continue reading

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

MY RATING: ★/5

A father protects his daughter from the legacy of his past and the truth about her mother’s death in this thrilling new novel from the prize-winning author of The Good Thief.

“Everything breaks if you hit it hard enough.”

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Isn’t it weird how you love a book too much but you just run out of words to describe your love? This is the case for this novel. I don’t think I can ever express how grateful and deeply touched by this novel I am. If you liked the movie Logan, you’ll love this novel. It has the same father and daughter vibe but the dynamic is very special. We have a father Sam, who doesn’t know what’s good for his daughter Lou, because he always lived in the dark sides of criminal activities. The death of his wife is the turning point of his life and where he decides that he would never go back to those dark activities again and take care of Lou instead.  Continue reading

The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley

MY RATING: ★/5

Hi guyss 😀 I’m back with a quick review ! (I’M ON FIREE)

Goodreads Blurb: Star D’Aplièse is at a crossroads in her life after the sudden death of her beloved father—the elusive billionaire, affectionately called Pa Salt by his six daughters, all adopted from across the four corners of the world. He has left each of them a clue to her true heritage, and Star nervously decides to follow hers, which leads her to an antiquarian bookshop in London, and the start of a whole new world.

Goodreads rating: 4.43 with 1,572 ratings 

This novel is the 3rd in the Seven Sisters series. But, I haven’t read the other two and I still got to enjoy this one. The novel can easily be a standalone novel because every book describes the perspective of a specific sister. The author makes it easy for you to follow, and as their stories are completely different, you don’t miss a lot of what’s been going on before. Continue reading

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

MY RATING: ★ /5

Capture d_écran 2017-04-10 à 00.42.28Pulitzer winner,  Viet Thanh Nguyen came back with yet another amazing novel, a short stories collection depicting the lives of the Vietnamese refugees.

For those of you who didn’t know already, I’m Vietnamese. Born and raised in Ho Chi Minh City #REPRESENT. Reading this collection has made me extremely nostalgic about my childhood roots but also extremely grateful for my parents, my family and all my Vietnamese people out there. This novel reminds us of our own traditions. Somewhere between our everyday lives in America and dealing with obstacles in life, there’s always our cultural root that remains and embodies us. Continue reading

Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer (ARC)

MY RATING: ★ /5

Blurb from Goodreads: Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.
And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood–and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.
As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.

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Fairytale retellings are one of my favourite genre these past years and the concept of the book is original and authentic. It’s built on two sisters, each of them is struggling with a lack of sensory feelings. Aurora can’t feel anything she touches nor can she speak and  her sister, Isbe, is blind.

The worldbuilding is very intriguing, as you read, you are dying to know more about the characters and their surroundings. I love how the romance is not the typical a princess falls for the prince type of clichés. Nowadays, fairytale retellings would focus more about women empowerment and other forms of love than romantic ones. The fact that the author has made her characters with disabilities amplify the struggles that they are having but also fortify their loves for each other.  Continue reading

The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachino

MY RATING: ★★/5

A prismatic tale of a group of characters who emerge and recede throughout the novel and touch one another’s lives in ways even they cannot comprehend, The Lucky Ones captures the intensity of life in Colombia as paramilitaries, guerrillas, and drug traffickers tear the country apart. Combining vivid descriptions of life under siege with a hallucinatory feel that befits its violent world, The Lucky Ones introduces a truly original and exciting new voice in fiction.

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The marketing campaign describes it as “a jigsaw puzzle”. Oh my god. Hell yes it was! Julianne Pachico not only tells a single story but many stories from different point of views and… in the same chapter. It was very confusing to me. I never knew who the narrator was or how it changed from one event to another, and slowly, it started to only make sense after a few chapters. I think the fact that it was all over the place ruined the reading experience for me.

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

MY RATING : ★★ (4/5)

“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”
― Amy Engel, The Roanoke Girls

After reading this book, Roanoke will be a name you won’t be able to forget. For me it’s Flowers in the Attic meet Riverdale (the TV SHOW). Suspense, thriller and devious scheming is what you’ll find in this book.The book introduced us to Lane, whose mother just committed a suicide leaving her orphan in New York City. Until one day, a social worker informed her that her two only relatives from Kansas wants to take her in. There,  begins the journey of Laney-girl into the house of dark secrets and the most twisted relationships.

Amy Engel’s prose is as enchanting as her characters. The peculiar thing about this book is when you tell the story out loud to a friend, or reflect on it, it doesn’t have any extraordinary aspects but somehow she managed to get me hooked through every page. The writing is simple yet delicate. You can feel the charisma from the characters through the descriptions and their behaviours. You become attracted yourself to the characters without knowing why.
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The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

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    Jessica Shattuck looks into one of the most devastating time period that mankind has ever known through a completely fresh scope. Set before, during and after World War II, The Women in the Castle brings to light the story of three women whose lives have known different facets of the war that raged on over a couple of long and dreadful years. It is under the same roof of Burg Lingenfels, a castle that was once known to host highly placed Germans, that the paths of these women will cross and their stories are unwrapped, stripped to their bones and exhibited in a shocking, yet beautiful manner. Jessica Shattuck brings to life three characters with their own personalities, own tragedies, own dreams and own decisions. By alternating between characters, she offers us a mesmerizing and detailed look at the highly contrasting visions that individuals shared during the war. Through impeccable writing, she investigates the thought processes of people who had followed ideals that were hammered into them by the culture that represented them and cleverly exposes societal values that were spread among the masses. From discerning good and bad to love and hate, The Women in the Castle is the story of three women who have fought their own war during the toughest moments of World War II and how they reconcile with their own past words and actions.
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The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

MY RATING : ★★ (4.4)

Since Lullaby for Little Criminals, I loved Heather O’Neill’s writing. And the fact that the author is from Montreal made me even more proud 😀

The marketing campaign compared it to The Night Circus. Alright. Let’s get this straight. I’m sorry but this has NOTHING to do with The Night Circus. Yes I’ve read it and you can read my review for that book here.

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I’d say this novel is more like The Series of Unfortunate Events – Adult Version. Rose and Pierrot are two orphans from the most unfortunate circumstances. The first part of the book is how they live in the orphanage, the raw difficulty and hard times from that period: child abuse and violence. It’s not an easy read, that’s for sure. Continue reading

The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep by Steven Heighton

Elias is sent to Cyprus to recover, where he attempts to find comfort in the arms of Eylul, a beautiful Turkish journalist. But the lovers’ reprieve ends in a moment of shocking brutality that drives Elias into Varosha, once a popular Greek-Cypriot resort town, abandoned since the Turkish invasion of 1974.- Goodreads Blurb

MY RATING : ★★ (4.0)

Bewitchingly touching, this book is about humanity in all of its forms. When I first read the blurb, I expected a political and historical novel but it is so much more. What we have here is a protagonist, an ex-soldier, struggling with the traumas of war in Afghanistan and is sent to Cyprus to “recover”. But he spiraled down a path of no return: a brutal event happens to him and he ends up  in an abandoned town populated by a group of exiles and refugees.

“Rationalizations are daytime creatures, less plausible by night”

The focus of the novel is of course the evolution of Elias, and, oh my, the character development was on point. What’s really special is that as a starting point, Elias is already introduced to us as a broken man with his PTSD moments from Afghanistan. But it doesn’t stop there. He will undergo even more unfortunate events obliging him to fight his own demons while dealing with new encounters. Continue reading

King’s Cage : How This Book Saves the Red Queen Series

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Before starting, know that I’ll be reviewing Glass Sword first which is the second book to the Red Queen series, you can read my review of the first book here.

MY RATING : 

This book was a mistake let’s skip to the 3rd one.

No, I’m just kidding! I still have to review it 😉 This sequel follows Mare after she ran away from Prince Maven to find others like her: people who were born as peasant, had red blood ,but ended up having the abilities that Silver people have.

All right Trang, where did this book go wrong? I mean, you still gave it a solid 3, right? To start off, I expected a lot from this sequel since Red Queen was amazing for meit was a 5 stars well-deserved fantasy action novel. And I’m sorry, but I will always compare novels within their series. But 3 stars go mostly to the introduction of new characters and discovering new abilities ! That being said, let’s go around the ONE THING I found annoying : Continue reading

Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk

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“The one you love and the one who loves you are never, ever the same person.”

— Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

    If I told you that Invisible Monsters was supposed to be Chuck Palahniuk’s first novel, before Fight Club were to ever happen, but was rejected by publishers for being too disturbing, would you believe me? Countless people have found themselves falling head over heals in love with this novel to the point of calling it Palahniuk’s best work of fiction and their own favourite book of all time. While Fight Club became a world-wide classic piece of literature and one of the most critically-acclaimed masterpiece in cinema, Invisible Monsters has all the ingredients necessary to blow your minds away just as effortlessly. The story is told by an unnamed narrator who’s had a freak accident on the highway that left her face horribly disfigured (goodbye jaw). Once a fashion model that caught the eye of every individual that crossed paths with her, now she struggles to be seen and loses sight of her own purpose in life. It’s upon meeting Brandy Alexander, also known as the Queen Supreme, a woman who undergoes more surgeries than you could count on your fingers to become the most beautiful woman alive, that the narrator learns some of the most valuable lessons regarding identity and love. Invisible Monsters is not your ordinary novel. It is one of the most artistic and unorthodox work of fiction that you’ll ever come across in a sea of books.
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The Girl With All The Gifts : Book vs Movie

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MY RATING: ★(4.2)

A beautiful re-imagined zombie apocalypse plot centered around childrens’ behavior and what young minds can do. Melanie is a young girl who waits every day for 2 agents to come get her, strap her to a wheelchair, stabilize her head and push her to class. Her teachers taught her about the Hungries, those who feed on people. The minute they can smell human’s flesh, blood, they are triggered and can’t stop. Melanie can understand that but she also wonders why children keep disappearing from the classroom or why each time she tells the sergeants “Good Morning”, they look at her strangely and turn a blind eye to her.

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