1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

“If you don’t believe in the world, and if there is no love in it, then everything is phony.” – Murakami 1Q84

A mysterious, strange but intriguing read … 4 Stars!

Books 1-3 review:

When they say that Murakami writes profoundly complex novels, I think I’ve got a glimpse of this reading 1Q84.  This was a long read and it has left me contemplating the meaning behind the story and how to decipher the various elements in the story like the Air Chrysalis, the Maza and Dohta, and the insistent NHK collector symbolism (just to name a few). It’s intriguing and unique compared to anything I’ve read before and leaves me wanting more explanations behind the story. It actually feels like you’re a part of the story and similarly to the characters, you end up having more questions than answers about the world of 1Q84. The writing is very matter of fact (like reading non-fiction) but strangely creative because of the world within a world, story within a story premise. I would say that reading this novel is like going on a strange roller coaster ride in the dark, you don’t know where it’s taking you, it’s intriguing enough for you to stay for the ride. I think this novel defies traditional categorisation; it can be seen as a dystopian sci-fi since it’s set in a parallel universe, and fantasy because the world has two moons with supernatural Little People coming out of a dead goat, a thriller because one of the main characters is an assassin and is getting hunted by a cult. There’s also a major romance angle… This book has so much going on, yet leaves very little explanation on why it happens, you must simply accept the story for what it is. The one thing that screams loud and clear however from the novel is the exploration of loneliness experienced by all the characters. I really felt for the characters because they live in such a lonely world, perhaps not so different to ours. There are a few nuggets of wisdom to be discovered in the story if you have the patience to read it. I recommend this book for curious readers who likes complex, thought-provoking and nuanced reads. This is not a read for the faint-hearted or for readers who likes a fast-paced plot.

Some other interesting quotes from the book:

“Unless you die once, you won’t be reborn.” Tengo confirmed. “But people face death while they’re still alive.”

“Where there is light, there must be shadow, and where there is shadow there must be light. There is no shadow without light and no light without shadow…It is as evil as we are positive… the more desperately we try to be good and wonderful and perfect, the more the Shadow descends to hell and becomes the devil. For it is just as sinful from the standpoint of nature and of truth to be above oneself as to be below oneself.”

– NJ

 

 

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The Diabolic by S.J Kincaid

– EPIC – AWESOME – WOW!!! … 5 STARS …

Diabolic (noun) a creation that is specifically designed to protect the one they are assigned to and are destined to kill in order to protect

This was a pretty neat story about a Diabolic known as Nemesis.. A creation that is designed to protect yet destined to destroy. Nemesis was created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter: Sidonia. When Sidonia is summoned to the galactic court of a tyrant emperor, there’s only one way her Diabolic, Nemesis, can protect her – she must become Sidonia. When Nemesis assumes the role of the one she was created to protect, she has a lot to learn – downgrading her strength to assimilate in Court.

Whilst there, Nemesis learns the Empire is beginning to fracture and a rebellion looms closer, in forming the most unlikely of allies, Tyrus, Nemesis finds there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire.

This book brought back memories of that 1997 Blockbuster “Face Off” starring John Travolta and Nicholas Cage where one was to assume the role of another to infiltrate gangsters and protect a family – so think “Face Off” but set somewhere in a distant galaxy where one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is blending in among people in a world of corruption that is ruled with an iron fist. I found the book to be written very well, it was really fast paced and action packed with twists, turns, betrayal that leaves you feeling slapped in the face by the end. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend this to fans of YA Fantasy Fiction/Sci-Fi.

-Annie

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

An epic sequel to an awesome debut.. 5 stars!!!

I took part in a read along with a friend and I have to say, this story was just as (if not more) gripping that the debut novel “An Ember in the Ashes”!!! From start to finish this book kept me guessing – cringing – gaping.. right up until the end and I was still pleading for more. The story is told in various perspectives and I found all voices of each character very easy to distinguish and the flow of multiple storylines just flowed so well and ultimately came together as one major -plot line. As I was reading, I frequently developed theories about the main characters – only to be proven wrong with the major twists throughout the book.. I even found myself loving and wanting to cause grievous bodily harm to some of the characters!!! Honestly.. the third installment really can’t get here quick enough!!!

The story takes us back to the brutal world that is inspired by Ancient Rome and its ruthless way of ruling with an iron fist. It continues Laia and Elias’ story who had come together in book 1 in the most unlikely conditions which sent them on a path that could lead to the start of a revolution. However on this path, they are now running for their lives after the events of the Fourth Trial where Martial soldiers are hunting them down and Laia is determine to break into the Empire’s most notorious prison to save her brother whom is believed to be the key to the Scholars’ survival. An epic sequel – a story of twists – supernatural – betrayal and mystery this intense book will have you on the edge of your seat…

-Annie

Lyrebird by Cecilia Ahern

A feel good contemporary fiction rating 3.5-4 Stars
Blog Duet – Read Along by Annie and Amanda

This was a unique story line where a documentary crew are sent to Ireland to film on location however whilst there, one of the crew discover a mysterious young woman living alone in the mountains of West Cork who has an extraordinary talent for mimicry – just like the famous Australian Lyrebird. The crew are fascinated by this and make her the focus point of their documentary. When they leave, they take Lyrebird with them back to the city. But as she leaves behind her peaceful life to learn about a new world, the question is – is she also leaving behind a part of herself? 

Amanda
Lyrebird made me miss Ireland. A land that is full of beautiful landscapes and where nature and magical lore go hand in hand. So, a character who has the gift of mimicking sounds fit effortlessly into the lore of Ireland. I enjoyed how this story unfolded as it is a commentary on fame and our society’s obsession with it. It also highlighted how people can be both selfish and kind. Although I found it to be slow paced at times I would recommend this to fans of contemporary fiction. I rated this 3.5 stars, was a lovely read.

Annie
This isn’t really something I normally read however I found the writing to be fluid and set at a nice pace. I also enjoyed the read along I participated in with Amanda. A nice contemporary fiction read I rated 3.5 stars, the story really brings beautiful Ireland to life. Laura (Lyrebird) is such a unique character as she lives in recluse and is suddenly fronted with a documentary crew who are fascinated with her life and she has to make the life changing decision of staying put or embracing the opportunity. I also liked her unique way of communicating – cries like a Lyrebird. I recommend this to fans of contemporary adult fiction.


Special thanks to Harper Collins Publishers for sending us Advanced Review Copies in exchange for our honest reviews

We Come Apart by Sarah Crossnan and Brian Conaghan

high impact – high emotion – intense – 5 star read
Due for Release: March 2017

Award winning authors Brian Conaghan and Sarah Crossan join forces to tell the high impact story of Nicu and Jess, two troubled teens whose paths cross in the unlikeliest of places.

I found this to be an intense, fast paced read that had me gaping in the end. I call this, the British Eleanor and Park…

A fantastic book, executed so cleverly with a dual perspective that has both voices of both characters so well defined and distinctively heard. Nicu is fresh from Romania and with limited English, he’s struggling to navigate life in a new home, is facing family pressures of an arranged marriage and faces unfathomable racism in his new school. Meanwhile Jess – born and raised in London is friends with the wrong people, already holds a criminal record and is dealing with a broken family.

Both Nicu and Jess meet during a reparation scheme when both of them are caught stealing at different times and form such an unlikely alliance. The story explores socio-economic issues and racism that exists among youth today. It also cleverly demonstrates how behaviours that label kids as juvenile delinquents indicate underlying currents that trigger this sort of behaviour which normally starts at home. The friendship that is formed between both Nicu and Jess is so beautiful – they draw strength from each other to hopefully become better people.

Initially, I thought this was a book of poetry due to the way it’s written however it’s almost like reading someone’s journal. I could see this being turned into a short film – it’s that good!

Special thanks to Bloomsbury Publishers for sending me an Advance Review Copy in exchange for my honest review. This book is due for release: March 2017.

-Annie