Book Reviews · Books

Norwegian Wood

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norwegianwood Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
GOODREADSAMAZON
Released: First in 1987
Keywords: Adult, Suicide, Grief, Loss, Japan, Depression, Sex, Romance

Synopsis
When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported back almost twenty years to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire – to a time when an impetuous young woman called Midori marches into his life and he has to choose between the future and the past.

Review
This was my 4th Murakami book that I read and I went in with lower expectations as I knew it was just contemporary with no magical elements, I generally find contemporary’s boring but as this is Murakami and this is probably his most well-known book I wanted to read it. It has gone in as my 2nd favourite book by him after Kafka on the Shore which was very unexpected! It’s a fairly depressing book with a major focus on mental health, suicide and depression so at time’s not very fun to read but I couldn’t put it down. It left a very haunting mark on me and I can see it being one of Murakami’s that I read again in the future.
There is also a considerable amount of sex talk and sexual scenes but within this very depressing context, I really enjoyed all of the female character’s and how different they were and how the main character was attracted to them in different ways.
If you’re a fan of Japanese lit in general and for whatever reason havn’t read this one yet, definitely give it a try, it might be a good start for people new to reading Japanese lit too.

My rating: 5/5 stars

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Book Reviews · Books

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

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beforethecoffeegetscold Before the Coffee Gets Cold
by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

GOODREADSAMAZON
Released: 19th September 2019
Keywords: Adult, Time travel, Grief, Loss, Alzheimer’s

Synopsis
In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.
In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer’s, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.
But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .
Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time?

Review
I ordered this book on a whim after seeing it pop up on Amazon and I’m glad that I did! Originally written as a play, this novelisation is charming and precious and hit me right in the feels many times.
This short novel is split up into 4 parts or chapters, each focusing on a different character traveling through time but all of them interconnect, it did take me a while to get all of the characters down as you get introduced to a lot at once.
When you travel back (or forward) you can not change the present so some deem the ability to be pointless, but as we see from this story, it is far from pointless and can still change lives.
I really really enjoyed this and would recommend if you’re looking for a short novel that’s heartfelt with great characters and humour and also tackles some serious subjects.
(Spoiler: there is infact no cat, but there is a ghost woman)

My rating: 5/5 stars

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Book Reviews · Books

Book Review: Frankenstein by Junji Ito

frankensteinReleased: 16th October 2018

Junji Ito meets Mary Shelley! The master of horror manga bends all his skill into bringing the anguished and solitary monster and the fouler beast who created him with the brilliantly detailed chiaroscuro he is known for.

Also included are is the Oshikiri story cycle—a high school student who lives in a decaying mansion connected to a haunted parallel world. Uncanny doppelgangers, unfortunately murdered friends, and a whole lot more are in store for him.

Half of this manga is the story of Frankenstein while the other half is made up of short stories all revolved around a creepy house and the character of Oshikiri. I havn’t read the original story of Frankenstein so I can’t really compare it to that unfortunatly but it was very well done and enjoyable. I liked how the monster was portrayed and just wanted to fit in with this strange world and be understood but kept being regected by everyone. Who is the real monster? As with every Junji Ito book, the art is amazing.

The short stories were great, chilling, terrifying and entertaining. Ito never fails at making me cringe with how well he portrays his stories with his artwork. A haunted house, multiple dimensions with multiple versions of people. Haunted swamps and killer pen pals, people buried in walls and the dead coming back to life. Experiments gone wrong and people with long necks? Pretty much everything that could be horrifying is included in here and things you never knew you didn’t want to know about.

This manga is deffinitly not for everyone! If you love horror, gore and generally messed up things then this is for you. But how scary and gross can a manga be? ha!

GOODREADSAMAZON

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

this book was purchased by myself
Book Reviews · Books

Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

evelynhugoReleased: 13th June 2017

Reclusive Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant to write her story, no one is more astounded than Monique herself.

Determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career, Monique listens in fascination. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s – and, of course, the seven husbands along the way – Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. But as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Written with Reid’s signature talent for creating “complex, likeable characters” (Real Simple), this is a mesmerizing journey through the splendour of Old Hollywood into the sobering realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means – and what it costs – to face the truth.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid”

Book Reviews · Books

Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

adarkershadeofmagicKell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

Released: 27th February 2015

The start of my ‘read everything by V.E. Schwab in 2019’ resolution. I know readers that love this trilogy and some that didn’t enjoy it much so I went in to this with an open mind and just tried to enjoy it for what it is. It took me a while to really get into the world as there are quite a lot of points to the world to explain but once I had that sorted I was free to enjoy the ride, and I did! I really seemed to bond with Kell as the main character and I cared about what happened to him, and eventually Lila as well although she did take a bit longer for me to really like her character. The villains in this book were excellently evil and seeing the difference between the Londons was fascinating. It felt like a nice mix of Adult and YA, the story is definitely a dark one and not suitable for younger readers.

The magic seems like a bit of a weird one, one that the reader isn’t really sure of the limits of which can lead to some nice surprises. I’m interested to see where the series leads and will be completing it at some point this year. I’m really glad that I enjoyed it!

GOODREADSAMAZON

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

this book was purchased by myself