Recently Read #4

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Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre

I do enjoy a classic. This was my first time reading this wonderful book and I’ll surely return to it many a time in the future. I don’t even know where to begin, I put the book down two minutes ago and I’m still taking it in. Firstly, I’m a huge fan on Brontë’s writing. Every sentence is so well constructed with words that clearly have been carefully considered and fitted to place. I truly enjoyed reading this book because the writing was so eloquent. I usually tend to have trouble and frustration when reading older books as English isn’t my mother tongue but I didn’t face anything similar with this one which made my reading experience extremely pleasant.

The book is a beautiful combination of a development and a love story, the main emphasis being in Jane, the protagonist finding herself and her true purpose in life. The character of Jane Eyre is brilliant, as an orphan she has kind of had to take care of herself from an early age and it shows in her life throughout the years. I love her desire to learn and comprehend things, Jane knows that by developing her mind she is able to survive, which she sadly needs to do especially in the beginning of her life. Her mental strength is also strong and admirable, especially when she decides to leave Mr Rochester after the failed attempt of marriage. She could easily have stayed with him but her independence and unbelievable strength led her yet to another opportunity that developed her even more as a person.

I also enjoyed how Brontë added slight elements of horror and magic in the book. Mrs Rochester’s eerie actions and portrayal certainly added mystery and tension to the story, and the connection that Jane and Mr Rochester have towards the end of the book seems truly magical and seems to strengthen their unconditional love.

I’m thrilled that I finally read this book as I haven’t read a book in a while that really made me think about the world and how time has completely but not really changed it.

Kristin Hannah: The Nightingale 

 

Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres to read. This book combines two things that truly fascinate me; France (Paris) and the World War II. The story is set around two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle and their life throughout the years of the war in Nazi-occupied France. The book binds around the themes of love, survival, betrayal, the power of women, war, friendship and family to name a few. The main story is told as a flashback triggered by an old identity card that Vianne finds from her attic.

The character of Isabelle appealed to me the most. She was clearly the troublemaker from the two sisters and certainly a rebel. During the war she joins the Resistance and ends up living quite a dangerous life as she starts to help soldiers from the allied forces to cross the French border to Spain. She shows an incredible amount of strength through being determined to fulfil her purpose without a fear of getting caught, without forgetting love and family. I like the tension that is constantly created through Isabelle having to interact with Nazi officers during the train journeys, as the reader expects her to get caught at some point, which eventually of course happens and the rest of her life is a tragedy.

Vianne on the other hand wants to live as normal life in their home village as possible during the occupation. In addition she has to provide accommodation for two Nazi officers, the first a gentleman, the second the opposite. Vianne is living under pressure and trying to hold her life together as well as take care of her daughter. Eventually she also finds her purpose by helping Jewish children to hide from the transportations, after she had betrayed her Jewish best friend. She survives through the war and has to carry the pain with her through her life until the conclusion of the book.

The book especially emphasises the many roles that women play in the war. It’s constant struggle for them and nothing comes easy when their husbands, father and brothers are fighting the war in the front. In the end, the story is a sweet portrayal of sisterhood and love under the horrors of the WW2. Like said in the beginning, I do love a read like this and this certainly was a page-turner for me.

 

Recently Read #3

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Both of these books are from authors whose other work I’ve admired for some time. I had quite high expectations for these books, but I have to affirm that I was a bit disappointed when reading them. It’s a wistful situation when you really want to like a book by an author you respect but end up being disappointed instead.

Carrie Hope Fletcher: All that she can see

The idea behind this book is really sweet. The protagonist, Cherry, has a magical ability to make people feel better trough her baking and she succeeds in what she does until she runs into a man called Chase, who can do the opposite of what Cherry is able to do. This first leads to a rivalry and then to a romance between them. This all is mixed with fraud psychics and a society of people trying to control people like Cherry and Chase who are later titled as Feelers.

I had a really hard time keep reading the book from the beginning. The story begins really flat and the characters are very simple and lack complexity. Everything seems to happen very quickly and the romance that forms between the two main characters is kind of forced and comes almost out of nowhere. I struggled through the first half of the book and then was pleasantly surprised with the second half. The story became darker and more magic was added into the mix which really brought the book alive. I finished the book pretty quickly and really enjoyed how the plot developed further. I also liked the use of letters in the end as a way of communication as this added depth to the writing.

Carrie’s writing is really enjoyable and easy to read. I love how she constantly introduces me to new words and phrases. I would have hoped to seen a bit more complexity in the development of the characters, the protagonist didn’t really express any kind of change which was disappointing, she seemed too polished in my opinion. I really wanted to love this book but this just wasn’t for me.

Lena Dunham: Not that kind of girl 

First and foremost, this book is full of boldness, honesty and girl-power. This is what I really enjoyed during reading. I was so intrigued I read this in under 24 hours, I just couldn’t put it down. I though this book was going to be a guidebook type of work but it turned out to be more of a memoir with valuable life lessons written in between the lines and chapters. To be honest I really couldn’t relate to anything she was writing about. Her life seemed to just be full of drug and alcohol fumed mess with multiple awkward sexual encounters and odd family anecdotes. Again, everything was pretty alluring even though in places contained a bit too much information and I couldn’t just find anything that would make me contemplate my life choices.

The writing of this book was very gripping and fun. I could sense the thought that was put into the words as well as the undeniable talent that Lena has when it comes to writing. I also liked how the book was divided into specific sections even though she didn’t write in a chronological order. This book was a fun read and I wish I would’ve gotten more out of it.

Recently Read #2

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Recently I’ve been buying a lot of the books that I’d like to read as I usually believe these books are worth keeping for re-reading rounds. About a month ago I ran out of new books to read and couldn’t be bothered to order books and then wait a week for them to arrive, so I took a trip to the local library. I used to go to that library a lot when I was younger so it feels like home to me and it really hasn’t changed much from that time. This was the first time that I checked the adult’s English section (my mother tongue is actually Finnish) which to be honest, could be better but I understand that not everyone likes to read in English here. However I did found a book that hooked me from the beginning and is quite a new release which surprised me.

Elizabeth Kostova: The Shadow Land

To be honest, I first thought that this book would be more like a fantasy book based on the title but it turned out to be a really gripping mystery book instead, and I have nothing to complain about that. The book began quite slowly but it was still fascinating enough to come back to. The plot really develops just before the midpoint and some interesting subplots emerge. This story is located in Bulgaria which I enjoyed as the plot included a lot of history about the country that I had never heard before.

The main character is an American woman called Alexandra who has after some tragic events decided to move to Bulgaria to teach English and explore the country her brother loved. When she arrives she meets a family in front of a hotel who are nice to  her and when they leave, she notices that they have accidentally left her an item that is quite unusual. She then decides to go look for them across Bulgaria with a helpful taxi-driver called Bobby and along the way they discover more about the item that was left to Alexandra and about the horrible history that is connected to the item. After a while they also discover that they are followed and the family and maybe even they themselves are in danger.

I have never yet come across a mystery like this and the story was extremely gripping, especially after the midpoint. There are flashbacks to the history of a certain important character which bring great depth to the story and otherwise really bring out the history of Bulgaria. This book is a great mix of history and fiction with a little bit of a love story somewhere along the way, which definitely is my cup of tea.

Sujata Massey: The Kizuna Coast

To be honest, I mainly chose this book from the library shelf because of the beautiful artwork in the cover. This is another mystery book and I can’t believe I haven’t been introduced to this book series before. I have now discovered that the Rei Shimura mystery books are quite popular and critically acclaimed and I can totally see why. This book is an independent piece from the series but the main character and some other characters form the series remain the same.

I started reading this book yesterday and finished it today. It has over 400 pages so it’s quite a long read but I couldn’t put it down. The style of writing is really well flowing and it was immediately easy to understand the connection between the characters and places. The tension of the mystery ahead can be felt right from the beginning of the story and it builds up nicely through the book to the very last chapters of the piece.

The main character of the piece is Rei Shimura who has decided to settle in Hawaii with her husband after living in Japan for a while, solving mysteries and helping her mentor Mr. Ishida in his antique shop. They have managed to build a peaceful life for themselves until they hear about the earthquakes and tsunami that has occurred in Japan and destroyed most of the coast villages and towns. Rei gets a phone call from Mr. Ishida who has been travelling to an auction in a town that has been severely affected by the natural disaster. Rei hops on the plane to Japan in order to collect her mentor from the village and bring him back safely to Tokio. Along the way they discover that there is something wrong with the disappearance of Mr. Ishida’s assistant Mayumi who has been with him in the same area and who had some valuable pieces of art in her possession.

I loved how the mystery wasn’t clear straight from the beginning but the plot developed gradually and other subplots appeared to support the main storyline. All of the characters were well written and the writer’s knowledge about Japanese culture and the natural disasters were clearly visible which made the story really enjoyable to read and more valid. The story actually seemed to reflect the feelings of those who had been through the tsunami in real life which helped the reader to create a deep connection with the characters. There is also a lot of humour involved which lightens nicely the heavy topic of the book. Now I’m definitely intrigued to check the other pieces of the Rei Shimura series as well.

Recently Read

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Lately I’ve been really into reading more spiritual books than usual. When I first started to get interested in yoga as a physical practice, I also wanted to explore the spiritual aspects of it. Here are some books that I’ve found really interesting and that have made me rethink my daily habits and how I react to different situations in life.

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DR Wayne W. Dyer: 10 Secrets For Success And Inner Peace

This book is a short read but full of many life changing ideas. This is a second book that I’ve read from this author and I must say that he has a great ability to really inspire and make you reconsider your mindset. With such simple actions he is guiding the reader to explore their spirituality and giving the first steps on finding the inner peace.

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Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat Pray Love

Now, I’m probably one of the last people to read this book but that probably has to do with the fact that I was eight years old when this book was first published. Nevertheless, I absolutely adore this book. I found it so interesting how I could make new discoveries about myself as the author was experiencing different things in the book. I also felt like I was there with her as reading the book which made the whole reading experience really exciting. I find this book to be such a beautiful story about finding who you truly are and really exploring the depths of one’s soul.

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Nischala Joy Devi: The Secret Power of Yoga

This is a great book to read if you want to explore the Yoga sutras more deeply. The author explains the sutras in a way that is enlightening and also gives guidance on how to practice them in a mindful way,  which I really enjoyed. This book especially made me want to explore spirituality and being in the present moment even more. I know that I shall be coming back to this book multiple times in the future.