Tag: romance

A Thousand Splendid Suns

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A Thousand Splendid Suns Cover“One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.” How can one not possible fall in love with Khaled Hosseini’s words that depict his sheer love for his homeland, Afghanistan in all of the three amazing novels he has written so far. Like his best-selling masterpiece “A Kite Runner”, that I’ll never get tired of reading, his second novel A Thousand Splendid Suns” did not cease to amaze me either. No one portrays the rich culture, customs, beauty, misfortunes and tragedy that surrounds the exotic country of Afghanistan than Khaled Hosseini himself.

“A Thousand Splendid Suns” is… well, splendid, really. Laced with the intricately detailed story of two tough Afghan Women, born and raised in radically different walks of life in Kabul, this novel delicately sheds light on the issue that has pertained in the war-torn country of Afghanistan since too long; that of oppression of women and terrorism. Hosseini truly does justice in writing about the social injustices that took root in the Afghan culture, even before war came, all the while revealing all that’s rich, beautiful and unique, associated with his motherland.

The novel plot’s follow the lives of Mariam and Laila; the former who was born an illegitimate child to a wealthy businessman, who grew up in the hopes of getting accepted by the society, witnessed her mother’s suicide on her birthday, got married to a vicious man thirty years older than him and suffered domestic abuse that left her hopeless. Laila, on the other hand is born in a nearly-perfect family, if there ever was one when war started taking its toll on the people of Afghanistan. Sharing her father’s love for books and education, her world revolved around going to school, studying, dreaming but most of all spending time with her childhood best friend ‘Tariq’, who to no one’s surprise, really, turned out to be the love of her life. If there is one aspect common in Hosseini’s novels is that life always changes in the most drastic way possible for the main characters. In this case, it was when the Afghan Mujahedeen factions turned against each other, civil war broke out, claiming the lives of Laila’s parents and brothers, leaving her a helpless orphan and as ‘fate’ or ‘kismet’ would have it, she ends up getting married, in her teens to, guess whose husband? Why of course, Mariam’s husband ‘Rasheed’! To say that the extensive plot has way more twists and climaxes that can be anticipated, would be an understatement of its own but the story as whole is heartbreakingly beautiful indeed.

Unveiling the depths of terror and the Taliban’s atrocities in Afghanistan, especially on women, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” is all about the main characters’ struggle to seek their identities and rights in a male-dominated and terror-stricken society, all the while testing their own strengths and courage for the sake of their children and the hope of a better life. For all those, who can’t wait to divulge in a compelling, soul-stirring novel (and shed some tears along the way too), this one would definitely pass for a top recommendation, if not a must-read.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

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To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is a short novel that is easy to get into and finish in a few sittings. It is a realistic fiction and romantic read, and has a contemporary style to it although there is a sequel to it called P.S. I Still Love You. This book is a perfect mix of the ups and downs of the everyday life of a teenage girl, and about how the choices and decisions made by her and the people around her can affect her life. Family, friends, high school, and relationships ties this book together to form the story of a girl who writes secret love letters.

Lara Jean Song is content with her life. She is very close with her older sister Margot and her younger sister Kitty and she attends high school and receives good grades. But she has a secret—she writes love letters. She writes down all her feelings and declares her affection for every boy she loves, and she hides them in hatbox where nobody will ever find them. Her secrets are safe and her life is as normal as it can be. Or so she thought. When her older sister, Margot leaves for university, thus breaking up with her boyfriend Josh, Lara Jean finds that her feelings from the past are resurfacing because Josh was one of the boys she wrote a letter to. One day while she is at school, Peter Kavinskyanother boy she had a crush on—approaches her and asks her about the letter he received. Lara Jean is confused, but then she realizes that her hatbox is gone and her letters were mailed. When Josh confronts her and asks her about the letter, Lara Jean doesn’t want to ruin whatever feelings her sister and Josh had left. Peter had just broken off with his girlfriend so in desperation, Lara Jean asks Peter to be her fake boyfriend. She explains to him that she doesn’t like him anymore but she actually likes Josh, but she knows that she can’t have Josh because she wants Margot and him to get back together. Peter agrees and together, they become a “couple”. But as time passes on, Lara Jean’s thoughts become muddled and she realizes that her feelings have started to change. But will she be able to find courage, be honest, face jealousy, and vanquish rumors before what she has is lost?

After finishing this book, I couldn’t wait to get the next book because I loved it! Lara Jean is a protagonist filled with creativity and life, she is really cute and her remarks are sassy and hilarious. The interactions between her and her family and friends are both touching and funny, some moments I found myself smiling or even laughing out loud! I would recommend this book to people who like romance and comedy or want a quick read to get them out of a reading slump (as it did for me!).

My Life With the Walter Boys

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At the time when I read this, which was, actually, a few weeks ago, I kind of was bored with everything I was reading. Who knows? If Ali Novak’s debut Wattpad-turned-published contemporary romance about a girl who lost everything, and then had everything, including a new family after moving into the Walter household hadn’t come into my life, I would’ve went into a reading slump, and my Goodreads challenge would have been even more at stake. It already is, in case you were wondering. I’m like, 60 books behind schedule. Anyways, I must say that My Life With the Walter Boys is absolute literary brilliance. For anyone seeking a new, never-been-done-before kind of story that has every bit of gushing, squealing and ship-creating in it, I would strongly recommend reading this. It changed the way I look at contemporary-romance and how others look at the genre. Many tend to stay away from it because some books become cheesy and predictable, and although this was really, really predictable (I know some of you really dislike that), I loved it. So much that I want to go and read everything that Ali Novak has written. After I grabbed a copy of this at BEA last year, I discovered that Ali is also the author of another book Sourcebooks was amazing to hand out: The Heartbreakers. My younger sister read it and adored it, so I am very excited for it, too.

My Life With the Walter Boys is one of those books that you imagine becoming a TV show slash sitcom. I would love to watch it if that ever became something. It’s so real, normal though significant at the same time. I loved our protagonist, Jackie Howard, who reminded me a little too much of myself, being obsessed with school and a total perfectionist. I loved the romance, even the love triangle that formed. This was an exception to all of the bookish things I once said I hated. For some reason, this seems like the book I would dislike, in the end. Somehow, it was the opposite.

The only thing I have to complain about is the predictability. But that’s what occurs when a teenage girl writes a book about romance and releases it on Wattpad. That’s the only way that predictability occurs. Only with romance. I knew that the ending would occur the way it did, and there was nothing that was a shocker for me. But thankfully, I liked the characters too much to have to dislike this book even more.

Jackie, like the title states, is in a house with the Walters. There’s eleven guys. GUYS. (I would go nuts) She has just lost everything, including her parents and her sister, in a car crash that she was supposed to be in, if she hadn’t caught the flu. She lost her NYC luxurious life, her friends, and has to move to the other side of the country—Colorado, because her uncle cannot take custody of her. Instead, her mom’s old best friend and her family are Jackie’s new home. Of course, she hates all of them at first, blaming them on her horrible life, but as she forms a connection with the older boys, like Alex and Cole, romance sparks. Duh.

Each of the Walter boys (and Parker, of course, who is the only girl in the family, excluding their mother) had their own personality—that was interesting. It’s so interesting to ponder about how an author must conquer twelve different personalities (that’s without Jackie) into a single novel. Twelve different characters who have different hobbies, opinions, appearances… this is crazy. Ali Novak did it wonderfully. We have our popular, player boy who Jackie finds herself attracted to, Cole, who has a twin, and then there’s Alex, who is the computer-freak and Jackie also finds him attractive. It kind of was instalove between her and Cole, but that’s okay. It didn’t bother me. Yet again, here I am talking about how INSTALOVE DOESN’T BOTHER ME. Am I hearing myself correctly? I think I am, though.

It was extremely easy to relate to Jackie. Although I thankfully had not gone through what she had, I loved her as a character. She goes through a swift character transition, from good to bad, doing many things that in the past, she would never believe that she would do. Some may think that this is a a cheesy kind of thing to add into contemporary romance, but honestly, it happens to many people. Sometimes, being too good is boring. *twiddles eyebrows* I promise, I don’t have anything bad in store.

My Life With the Walter Boys is just such a fun, summer read. Purchase it, bring it to the beach, pool, or even couch with you and just devour it. Ali Novak writes with a very fast pace that keeps us readers addicted, and unable to put it down and take a breath until it’s all over. When it was over, I swear, I felt such an attraction to the Walter family that I felt like I, myself, had lost everything.