sábado, 27 de julho de 2013

And the Mountains Echoed - Khaled Hosseini

My say on books is that any book that makes you stop what you are doing to read and stays in your head until you are able to pick up that book again is good. Stories that stay in my head turn out to be my favorite ones. For some reason, until so far, all of Khaled Hosseini's books have had this effect of me: the story sticking to my head - sometimes even for days after I have closed its last page.
"Echoes in the Mountain" was no exception - I devoured it quickly and when all pages were read and finished, the content of these pages stayed in my mind as I tried to figure out the characters, plot, timing and up to the climax of the story.
One of the things that made me love this story so much is where it happens: Afghanistan, Paris and the USA. Three totally different places but yet which the author is able to combine and intertwine so beautifully making it a captivating and heart rendering story. 
Lots of characters, life stories, contrasts, suffering and pain - the truth about life and how we live. 
Glad to say, once again, I was not disappointed. 

Book Review:
An unforgettable novel about finding a lost piece of yourself in someone else.
Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

sexta-feira, 26 de julho de 2013

Butterfly - Kathryn Harvey

Impacting, impressive, overwhelming. That is what the story inside the pages of this book can be described as. Once you get your hands on it you are not surprised that it became a New York Times best seller - it's really THAT good!

The story is told in a somewhat flashback manner, starting by the end and ending with the start...or something along those lines. Danny and Rachel (aka. Beverley Highland) are the two main characters whose story intertwine all along the book's five-hundred and so pages. Carmelita, Maggie, Anne, Bonnie and a few other characters are added and diminished along the way but each one leaving its mark on the pages of this enrapturing book. 
So I don't spoil the fun I will let you buy the book and find out the story for yourself. I am sure you will be hooked in seconds...the same way I was.

Book Review:

It is written by Barbara Wood who is writing under the name Kathryn Harvey. The cover is intriguing - although there are different copies, I received the one which had the same cover as above - a lady in a lace masquerade mask with deep red lips, looking mysterious. I already knew from the blurb that one of the main themes based within this book was fantasy so the cover went hand in hand with this but also drew me in more because I was eager to discover what fantasy exactly it represented.

Being that Butterfly is also a New York Times Bestseller, I also knew it would be an amazing book. The copy I received was 511 pages long as well, which I thought was ideal as I knew it would be a long book. Being a fast reader, I often find that I read some shorter stories over a few days and I regret reading them so fast - whereas with Butterfly, I really indulged myself and loved that it lasted longer.

But onto the story - the story of Butterfly was amazing. It's been a long time since I haven't been able to put a book down but Butterfly did this. The story was so mysterious and gripping - every time I told myself I'd finish a chapter then put the book down, the chapter would end on a cliffhanger or just draw me in more and before I knew it I was reading the next chapter! 

The blurb reads -

Above an exclusive men's store on Rodeo Drive there is a private club called Butterfly, where women are free to act out their secret erotic fantasies. Only the most beautiful and powerful women in Beverly Hills are invited to join: Jessica, a lawyer who longs for the days when men were men, and women dressed to please them; Trudie, a builder who wants a man who will challenge her - all of her - with no holds barred; and Linda, a surgeon, who uses masks to unmask the desires she hides even from herself.

But the most mysterious of them all is the woman who created Butterfly. She has changed her name, her accent, even her face to hide her true identity. And now she is about to reveal everything to realize the dream that has driven her since childhood - the secret obsession that will carry her beyond ecstasy, or destroy her and everyone around her.

I loved how many different issues the story drew upon - revenge, fantasy, abandonment, courage and more. It definitely opened my eyes to a lot of things - such as the way prostitution, paying for sex or just sex alone is viewed differently between men and women. Each different character have their own issues to deal with - some that are so common that you may find yourself relating to them - and others that may just open your eyes like they did to me.

Each character was so different as well with different qualities, dreams and fantasies, which refrained from getting confused between each character as there were a few central main characters. I thought the characters were extremely likeable as well - each of them were proof that you never really know what's going on inside someone's head or someone's life so you should never judge someone when you don't know them.

I loved the two sides of the main business it explored as well. The story explored behind the business - why it was set up, who it was set up by etc and also the way the business was enjoyed, such as why the women 'used' the business so to speak, the fantasies they enjoyed and their own issues that led them to the business. 

The idea that, in this story, an exclusive members club where women can essentially pay for not only sex but a way to act out their most out there and erotic fantasies, was quite interesting. The fact that we live in a world where prostitution is very prominent but not really in a safe environment, it's almost weird to think that somewhere like Butterfly doesn't already exist. The business employes only good looking male models who have to go through a long process to work there - including background checks, tests that they are 'safe' so to speak, and the promise to complete secrecy. Members who attend never reveal their names and have the chance to safely act out any fantasy they please, each of which is completely centered around their idea, down to even the smallest detail such as decor, costume, accent and more. It's interesting because the story addresses that women are much more imaginative when it comes to sex - yes, as women we can be basic like men and just do it, but women tend to be more about the fantasy element with details being just right, whereas this isn't something that particularly concerns men.

I found myself constantly reading about plot twists and shocking revelations, as well as feeling different emotions. Some parts I laughed at, others I felt close to tears when reading - Butterfly was definitely the ultimate life changing revenge story and among everything, you'll find yourself feeling inspired by this book as well.

I felt there wasn't really anything I disliked about this story, even though it's not the type of book I've really read before. It was very inspiring in that it definitely had a major underlining 'girl power' feeling to it which I loved!

I'd definitely recommend this sizzling story!

terça-feira, 2 de julho de 2013

A Street Cat Named Bob - James Bowen

I am no fan of cats and to be very honest I never liked them much. That is, until I met Kitty Kitty and Snow White - my adoptive mother's two cats. In these two cats I finally noticed how these furry little animals have a lot of personality, a will of their own and a canny intelligence to top it off.
And that's the reason I understand the perfect relationship James has with his cat, Bob.
James tells his story very simply - nothing elaborate, no fancy words - but behind his simple words is an amazing story - the kind of story that touches hearts and makes you a feel a bit warmer at the end of reading it. He also opens you to a wider reality of people who live on the streets, how they survive, what goes through their head and how they are able to make it day after day. 
James Bowen, a street musician on the road of recovery from heroin finds a orange cat in front of his apartment one night. He took care of the cat's wounds, fed it and gave it a warm place to call his home. And that is the beginning of their story: a journey which both cat and its master head on in which they find adventure, danger, fun, the fight for a honest life, change and a forever friendship.
Beautiful, beautiful story! It's really impressive to see what a little bit of love and companionship can do...


Book Description

13 Sep 2012
When James Bowen found an injured, ginger street cat curled up in the hallway of his sheltered accommodation, he had no idea just how much his life was about to change. James was living hand to mouth on the streets of London and the last thing he needed was a pet.
Yet James couldn't resist helping the strikingly intelligent tom cat, whom he quickly christened Bob. He slowly nursed Bob back to health and then sent the cat on his way, imagining he would never see him again. But Bob had other ideas.
Soon the two were inseparable and their diverse, comic and occasionally dangerous adventures would transform both their lives, slowly healing the scars of each other's troubled pasts.
A Street Cat Named Bob is a moving and uplifting story that will touch the heart of anyone who reads it.