Book Review: Verity

Verity: Hoover, Colleen: 9781791392796: Books - Amazon.ca

Title: Verity

Author: Colleen Hoover

Genre: Romantic Thriller, Adult Fiction

Pages: 324 pages

Level of difficulty: 2/5 Dictionaries

My Rating: 2/5 Stars

Brief Introduction:

Lowen Ashleigh is a writer who gets a big break when the husband of a severely injured author, Verity Crawford, seeks her to help continue the author’s beloved thriller book series. Lowen who is struggling financially accepts the opportunity and goes to their house with the husband, Jeremy, to read over Verity’s manuscripts. However, she ends up stumbling upon an unfinished autobiography that paints Verity in very bad light. As Lowen begins to realise that Verity is evil and grows suspicious of the author’s current medical condition, all while developing feelings for Jeremy, she battles with what to do.

Favourite Quote:

N/A

Review:

Unfortunately, this was a thriller that had so much potential but failed to deliver.

At the very beginning of the novel, Lowen and Jeremy meet in a traumatic manner but the weight of that incident is brushed upon, which seemed very unrealistic (despite the impression that since they both have had worst traumatic experiences they could look past the one that had happened in the beginning scene). This situation is very concerning since it’s a romance that grows on the foundation of (unresolved) trauma.

Furthermore, the romance that brewed between Lowen and Jeremy seemed very instant-love. There wasn’t any significant reason why Lowen liked Jeremy so much, apart from the fact that he was nice to her (which I would argue is a low standard). Considering the situation that Jeremy was in, and the other issues in his family, I was surprised that Lowen was not even a bit concerned about how a relationship with Jeremy could develop in a healthy manner (until towards the end of the novel), and thus began questioning if her feelings were just lust or infatuation.

Regarding the thriller aspect of the novel, it felt like Hoover tried hard to add every element that is stereotypical for a thriller novel without truly exploring them. There were many deaths, toxic relationships and mental health issues that could have been better analysed. Sadly, the medical condition that Verity was in and Lowen’s suspicion of it was badly tackled.

In addition, the lack of first-person narration by Jeremy made him quite an unrealistic character. There were many questions left unanswered about him, especially how he was dealing and dealt with all the heartbreaking events that had been happening to him and his family.

Worst more, Hoover added a chapter that turned the whole novel/storyline on its head. While, there is nothing wrong with such an element in a novel, for the nature of the story and the issues in it, it left a bad taste in my mouth. It felt solely for shock value and thus very unnecessary.

Nevertheless, Colleen Hoover is a beloved romance writer and while I might not pick up another thriller by her, I would definitely give one of her romance novels a chance.

Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 389

Level of difficulty: 3/5 Dictionaries

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Brief Introduction:

Evelyn Hugo, is a big time Hollywood actress who has not been in the spotlight for a long time. Now that she is older, she is about to do a tell-all (especially about her 7 marriages) alongside an auction of 7 of her most famous gowns to charity. However, she has chosen an unknown journalist Monique Grant to do the interview.

Favourite Quote:

“When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn’t give things, you take things.”

Pg. 41

Review:

Why this journalist? Why did she get married 7 times? Did she love all her husbands? These are all the burning questions that push readers to pick up the book. The author does a good job of explaining the dynamics between Hugo and her husband: why she felt compelled to get married and how the marriages came to their end. Yet at the same time, while we are learning all of these and trying to understand the complex individual that Hugo is, the author ignites our curiosity on why Monique Grant is the reporter for the interview. Furthermore, there were many interesting twists and turns in the book (even though I was able to guess most of them).

Waterfront Station

The fact that you were late
and the way you dressed were a disappointment

I didn’t want you to hold my hand at all
The idea made me feel an uneasiness like never before
Your hands brushing against mine
Caused me to put my hand in my pocket the whole time

My innocent demeanour made you call yourself a ‘rebel’ but your attempt to impress cracked your act
Your insecurity was like a giant shadow that towered you
Your inability to talk about yourself removed the maturity from your years
Your questions were bullets I used my laughter to dodge

The fact that you had no plan made me want to cry
The accent you tried to pull off made me want to turn back around
The constant attack at yourself and your values made me feel sorry for you
The mere thought back to the moment makes me sick in the stomach and I wonder if I shall ever laugh at the experience

However, this was a two player game
I wonder if you saw a reflection of yourself in me
I wonder if your awkward attempt at saying hi when our eyes locked was a reflection of your disappointment
I wonder if you heard the frustration in my voice and shot questions as a shield
I wonder if you mistook my laughter as encouragement

I can’t lie and say I don’t feel guilty
There is a little part of me that feels bad for giving you hope, but
There is a bigger part of me that knows you can’t see the full picture of a jigsaw puzzle by just picking up two of its pieces

A Unicorn

Unexpected, there you were
like a scene from a movie

Novelty you walked like,
straight into my heart

I wasn’t sure whether to smile or speak,
so I just stared,
I must have been starstruck

Calm like the ocean waves your demeanour
yet you lit a flame across my chest,
so strong,
it sparked to the tip of my fingers

Out of a dream you seem,
rare but possible,
difficult but simple

Right deep in my being you have marked yourself,
even though your name is a distant star

Now I wonder what story-tale I would be living if I had opened my mouth,
or moved my legs,
and not let a miracle pass me by

Deeper Than A Lifetime

In response to “The Knife” by Keith Douglas

Keith Douglas describes his poems as “extrospective” meaning that they are focused on external impressions rather than inner emotions. I believe, “The Knife” does not fall into that category and thus intrigues me the most out of all his poems. I would describe “The Knife” as a love poem; a love poem written in the midst of war at the point where dead was most evident. Hence, I believe it is one of the most sincere love poems that could be written. Although it is a love poem, its title is a word associated with danger, hurt and death for which I believe the poem was written for Ying Cheng. Ying Cheng also known as Betty Sze was an elegant Chinese lady who dated Keith during his university days. Unfortunately, her love for Keith was not as deep as his and thus the refusal of his proposal which lead to her being the unrequited love in Keith’s life. “Deeper than a Lifetime” aims to give Keith a second chance at a love that seemed so pure, to tell Betty all the things he wished he did and how differently he would have done things.

 

Dear Betty,

To turn back time and make my choices again,

I wish I could say that I would do everything exactly the same,

But unrequited love is only less painful when compared to once-requited love.

I wouldn’t have loved you as hard.

I wouldn’t have dived into the deep end of the pool just like that.

I would have tried much harder, with more suave to make you fall at your knees for me and my love.

I would have made you shed the sophisticated coat you wore whenever you met me,

The one I knew you wore to mask your true form.

I would not have hid the romantic that I was.

I would not have pretended not to be the simple guy who just wanted you to love him, who took this to be more than just a fling.

I would have took you to feel the breeze in your hair more often, and to take long walks in the parks arm in arm, so that you understood the small yet important things in life.

I would have brought you to rooftops to watch the sunsets and sunrises that although were beautiful, weren’t as beautiful as you.

I would have brought you to water bodies to swim so that you could wash away all the uncertainties that you carried on your shoulders, so that you stopped calculating every move before you made them.

I would have ensured that you knew that time stopped when I looked at you, when I was with you.

I would have made sure that my ‘I love you’  s were loud and seductive, but could only be heard in the wind as your long black waterfalls danced to its melody.

I would have made sure you thought of me every day without fail, the same way that not thinking of you each day felt like a bad day.

I would have made sure you understood that such selfless, aching love only came once in a lifetime, to make you more courageous to follow the tune of your beating heart.

I would have made sure that you cried when I had gone to the army, that you sent letters – a short remedy, and a reminder that you hadn’t forgotten me.

I would have made sure that the next time I saw you, would be as I, with you boldly held in my arms.

I would have made sure that I hadn’t die in a war when I had much more I wanted to say to you, to scream at you, to show you as Keith Douglas.

Don’t say that I am full of regret, because I am not.

It would be easier to forget you entirely,

But I guess I can’t.

My love for you runs deeper than just a lifetime, and I can’t

Say goodbye until I have achieved what I truly believe is

Worth living for.

Book Review: Book vs. Movie Edition – The Great Gatsby

Book

The Great Gatsbyjpg
The Great Gatsby

Name: The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
ISBN: 978-0-00-736865-5
Genre: Romance, Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 140
Difficulty: 4/5 Dictionaries

Plot Summary:

From the eyes of Nick Carraway, who we eventually find out is the only true friend of Jay Gatsby’s, we learn what Gatsby has sacrificed and done for Daisy Buchanan’s love.
In short, the story is about love, and how unreliable love can be especially when it is built on lies and misguided principles.

Favourite Quote:

“Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

Reasons Why You Too Should Read It:

1. It’s a great book to boost your vocabulary.

Basically, for half of the book, I was stumbling on two or three new words on every page. Words such as hilarity, echolalia, caterwauling. It’s also a recommended book for those who shall be taking the SAT.

2. You learn a number of moral lessons.

You learn the ugly trait of greed and carelessness. You learn the hard truth that life isn’t always fair. You also learn that eventually the ones that we can truly depend on when all things fail is family. There are some friends that might become family, but not if the relationship was built on lies.

3. It’s a classic.

The book tells a story of the bygone age of US history. In the 20s, the parties were bigger, the morals were looser and by 1933, prohibition ended because it was clear, it had backfired. People were making their own moonshine or getting alcohol through other illegal means. The Great Gatsby is a window to the world that most Americans wanted to learn from as America became a wealthy superpower in the years after.

Movie

The Great Gatsby (2013 Edition)

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If I had three words to describe the movie, they would be: wild, jazz and elaborate.

In my opinion, the book trumps the movie because there is more sincerity and emotion in and between the characters. Such as that seen through Daisy and Gatsby’s love, Wilson’s pain and Nick’s disappointment at the end of the novel. I believe this is because the movie was produced for the big screen and is thus flamboyant. The audience is distracted by all the glam, and the focus on the moral lessons are minimized.

In addition, although I understand it is natural for there to be some slight differences between the movie and the book, I am pretty surprised by one. In the movie, I think Gatsby is portrayed to be a villain. One example would be when he takes Nick out to lunch and decides to tell him his story while speeding across town. It was clear that he was scheming – trying to confuse Nick and get him to believe his lies. Also, there were strange phone calls and expressions that supported such an impression.

In the book on the other hand, upon my first reading, Gatsby is portrayed to be a man who is foolishly in love. Even though he isn’t a saint, his mistakes and evil doings all seem to be the fault of Daisy’s or have Daisy as the reason.

When it comes to a book with a movie, I always read the book before watching the movie (which ever was published first, books/plays based on a movie are not as common). I would recommend doing so because you get the most accurate version of the story. What about you? What’s your habit? 

P.s I would love to hear your take on which was better, the movie or the book?

P.s.s The review was also uploaded to Goodreads, do have a look!

Book Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson Cover
credit: googleimages

Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Author: John Green and David Levithan
Genre: Romance, Young Adult
Recommended Reading Age: 15 & above
Pages: 310

Brief Introduction:                                     

In Chicago, in the most unusual location, on a cold night, Will Grayson meets Will Grayson and their lives change forever. Not only do they create an impact on each other but they do too on those around them, and behold, sparks of everything is ignited from friendship to love. Would a strong friendship blossom or shall hearts be broken?

Favourite Quote:

“weltschmerz: the depression one feels when the world as it is does not line up with the world as you think it should be”

Reasons To Read It:

  1. It is brutally honest.

This isn’t a cliché love story. It is honest and raw, one that significantly speaks from the perspective of Tiny Cooper, a character who represents a group of individuals whose love lives are usually taboo. In addition, we get a peek into the struggles of being a teenager in this modern day society.

  1. It’s a good bowl of chicken soup.

With Will Grayson, Will Grayson, you reflect. You challenge words and phrases that you probably failed to before in the past such as ‘best friend’. You ask yourself if you are as courageous or as passionate as Tiny Copper when it comes to pursuing what you love and in turn, you learn a little more about yourself .

  1. It’s an easy read.

It didn’t take me long to finish the book, roughly a week and this was because of the humor and unique writing style employed in the book. For those who have read John Green’s work, you are most likely aware of Green’s carefree; make you laugh out loud writing ability he holds. The same was present in this book. In addition, the change in lowercase caps to differentiate the Will Graysons made it easy to follow the story.

Do let me know if you did or did not enjoy the book. Feel free to also leave any book recommendations.  

The review was also uploaded to Goodreads, do have a look!</strong