Book Review : Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine By Gail Honeyman

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .

The only way to survive is to open your heart.


Another book graduates from my TBR list. And what a book this was! The guilt of leaving it off for so long is huge. I was really surprised by Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. In so many ways! I think that merely talking about the ways I was surprised would cover my overall opinions of the book.

First surprise: I did not find Eleanor endearing from the start. I also didn’t find her irritating or unlikable. Rather, I didn’t know what to make of her. I was simply bemused.

Second surprise: There were no bad guys. Normally, when I read a book about ‘unsocial’ or ‘weird’ main characters, I usually end up disliking the people who the protagonist has to deal with. Here, I found myself feeling sorry for the people Eleanor interacted with. Moreover, it was a sad realization that if she was someone from my office, I’d most probably act exactly the way her colleagues did.

Third surprise: Speaking of interactions, I found Eleanor’s thought process when dealing with people to be so refreshingly funny! The irony in her thinking during most of her conversations that the other person was being rude and unsocial was not lost on me!

Fourth surprise: I’d expected there to be a romance. But there was none. But that doesn’t mean that there’s no love here. The relationship, or rather the friendship between Raymond and Eleanor was so genuine and I loved how the author developed it.

Fifth surprise: I loved how NOT perfect Raymond was. He wasn’t good looking, had bad habits, was unhygienic, and not at all the kind of guy Eleanor found to be special or to be her type. But at the same time, he’s the quintessential nice guy! I can’t explain how refreshing I found it. The friendship which started as a reluctant acquaintance from Eleanor’s side was heartwarming. These two balanced each other perfectly.

Sixth surprise: I’d been expecting a huge showdown or some embarrassing spectacle that Eleanor would make of herself to bring forth the climax. But there was none of that. The clever way the author transitioned from the good days to the bad days only through Eleanor’s conscience impressed me to no end.

The author thwarted my expectations at every point. The subtlety and care through which the character of Eleanor was handled and the plot twists engineered made me fall in love with the writing. This book made me think about the huge difference just one helping hand can make and how a simple friendship can save us from ourselves. Eleanor Oliphant will stay with me for a long long time. Maybe forever.


My Rating: ★★

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ARC Review : The Red Ledger Part 1 By Meredith Wild

*I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in return of an honest review.


He’s death for hire…

Some people measure life in hours. Days. Weeks. I measure mine in kills. A covert military mission gone wrong robbed me of my memory and any link to my past. This is my existence now. I execute and survive. Nothing more, nothing less. I was ready to write Isabel Foster’s name in my ledger of unfortunate souls until she uttered the one word that could stop the bullet meant for her. My name.

She knows my face. She knows me. She’s the key to the memories I’m not sure I want back. Now nothing is simple. I still have a job to do, and my soul isn’t worth saving. I’m not the man she thinks I am. I can’t love her. And sparing her life puts us both in the crosshairs.


This book currently has an average rating of 4.12 from more than 1700 reviewers. Suffice it to say, I feel like I’m in the minority here.

On paper, the premise of this book is everything I’d want in a Romantic Suspense. But somewhere between the plotting and the characterization, the storytelling lost the charm that the synopsis promised.

Tristan is a contract killer who has no memory of his past. When he is in Rio De Janeiro for his next target, it turns out to be Isabel who invokes old feelings and memories in him. When she recognizes him in a crowd, he knows that she is someone from his past.

It turns out that they used to date each other in high school before a tragedy compelled him to enlist in the army. The last contact between Isabel and Tristan had been when he broke up with her from the army which left her so broken that she still is haunted by that pain.

By the way Isabel was acting during the beginning, you’d think she had suffered a severe traumatic experience that forced her to abandon her old life to pack up her old life and become a teacher in Brazil. Being dumped by her teenage love was not what I had at all expected to be the traumatic experience.

The transition of Tristan from being determined in killing Isabel to helping her escape his ‘comrades’ was not very convincingly written. But I could conjure more feelings for him than Isabel who I couldn’t care less about. I could see Tristan’s conflict as he had no memory but was still conflicted over the shadow of his feelings for this girl who is the only link to his past. But Isabel, on the other hand, was so acquiescent and easy to trust Tristan’s demands, she came off spineless..

Also, these two felt a little too horny for people who were on the run for their lives. She apparently had her heart broken by him and he had no recollection of their love. But who cares about all that complex history when you can get your rocks off?

I get that this is the first part and the author wanted to leave out a lot of the details and back-story for the later parts. But there should be at least a solid start to the series with convincing story-telling for me to continue to the series. Sadly, I already can predict how the series will proceed and don’t feel the slightest inclination to continue. That’s a pity because this would’ve been a really promising read with a better execution.


My Rating: ★★★☆☆


Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)
You can find this book on Goodreads & Amazon

ARC Review : His Dark Magic (Northern Circle Coven # 1) By Pat Esden

*I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in return of an honest review.*


Its power is legendary. It can fulfill every impossible magical desire. But for one young witch seeking redemption, the Northern Circle coven will challenge her skills—and her heart—beyond measure.

One tragic impulsive mistake made Chloe Winslow an outcast to her influential magic family. As a medical student, she wants to combine science with sorcery to heal those she hurt and right her wrongs. But brilliant, charismatic Devlin Marsh re-routes her plans with a once-in-eternity offer: membership in the exclusive Northern Circle, a mysterious Vermont coven known for pushing the limits.

Enthralled by Devlin and their mesmerizing mutual attraction, Chloe makes a dangerous sacrifice to help the Circle’s high priestess awaken Merlin himself—and learn his timeless cures. But a foreshadowing soon causes Chloe to doubt the Circle’s real motives, as well as Devlin’s . . .

Now Merlin’s demonic shade is loose in the human world, while Chloe and Devlin’s uneasy alliance will pit them against ancient enemies, malevolent illusions, and shattering betrayal. And with the fate of two realms in the balance, Chloe must risk her untried power against a force she can’t defeat—and a passion that could destroy her.


I’m conflicted about this book. I liked the mystery elements and the parts with the coven bonding. But I felt confused for half of the book.

I wasn’t happy with the world-building. For a long time in the beginning, I had many questions swirling inside my mind –  What exactly is the context of this world? Does everyone know that witches exist? Do witches and non-magical people have some sort of verbal agreement about living together and minding their own businesses? How does this alternate universe work exactly? – I’m not sure I got proper answers to these questions by the end.

At one point we get to discover that the High priestess of the coven – that the protagonist Chloe is about to join – has a grandfather named Zeus. The name of the high priestess happens to be Athena. I was thrown by that bit. I found myself wondering – Does this mean there are Greek mythological elements in it? – But then I felt foolish and realized that it makes no sense. These are witches not gods and goddesses. I think I’d have liked the author to address this pop-cultural reference in a fun way. But nothing of that.

I’ll give credit to the author for setting up the atmosphere, though. The way she sets up the surrounding nature and locale was impressive. I could almost feel myself being a part of the places.

This was a book where I liked the side-characters a lot more the main ones. I did not like the protagonist Chloe. I found many of her actions and decisions to be superficial. She felt like a very self-involved character to me. Not that I mind self-involved characters. But I like them to be intriguing and complicated. But I never found Chloe interesting.

Even the love interest Devlin left a lot to be desired. Neither did I see any depth to his and Chloe’s relationship and nor did I find their chemistry appealing. Their relationship felt just as shallow and flat like the two characters themselves.

I liked the coven members a lot. All of them had interesting quirks and histories that I wanted to know more of. Sadly, we see very little of them. I think many of them would make better main characters than Chloe herself.

I’ll end it by saying that this book did not feel like the first of a series but rather a sequel. I felt like I was missing something throughout the first half. The premise was very promising and could’ve been executed in a better manner.


My Rating: ★★★☆☆


Publication Date: 11th December, 2018.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)
You can find this book on – Goodreads | Amazon

ARC Review : A Postmodern Love By Nick Totem

*I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in return of an honest review.*


Have you ever fallen in love and then had not just your life but your conception of life altered forever? Come and find out more in A POSTMODERN LOVE, a contemporary adult novel–romance, noire, psychological suspense.

In the end, a man is shot through the heart. Another man is driven to the edge of madness. Caught between them is Lana Fauves, a beautiful, intelligent woman, but one who is haunted by her past and the loss of her true love, a musical genius. In this fast-paced novel—romance, thriller, and noire—Thomas Wilde, a doctor and veteran of the Iraq War, will stop at nothing to win over the woman he has desperately fallen in love with. But amid the machinations of the modern world, will he find true love, or only heartache, deception, and murder?


A Postmodern Love slowly snuck up on me.  The prologue packs quite a punch. But the story itself takes time to build. I had a difficult time investing myself at the initial parts before the story slowly wielded its magic and began to engage me.

Obsessive love was the main theme here. And the protagonist who’s the narrator of the book is an obsessive person by nature. He makes it clear in the very first few pages where he gets infatuated by Lana the minute he lays his eyes on her. He even talks about a girl he was obsessed about back in college.

Thomas Wilde is a doctor who also served in the Iraq war. He quite possibly suffers from PTSD as nightmares about one tragic event from his time there keeps haunting him regularly. But when he meets Lana, it’s her mysterious beauty that begins to haunt him.

Lana was the most fascinating character. She’s written as a Femme Fatale to the T. You don’t know what’s going through her mind right till the end. The author quite cleverly keeps the readers wondering about her just as the protagonist.

The on and off relationship between Lana and Thomas only helps to exacerbate his infatuation for her. There are genuine postmodern elements of relationships at work here. On one hand, you can see Thomas willingly let his blind love for Lana leading him towards a point of no return. On another hand, you actually witness how Lana plays him perfectly. I didn’t like any of the characters but they were all intriguing. There is a depth to this book that I particularly enjoyed.

On a side note, I was distracted by the many grammatical errors which I hope won’t be in the final version.

My inability to empathize with the main characters created an emotional disconnection in me. But I would still call this psychological thriller an absorbing piece of storytelling


My Rating: ★★★☆☆


Publication Date: 29th January, 2019.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)
You can find this book on – Goodreads | Amazon

Top Ten Tuesday : Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

Happy Tuesday, peeps! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I like this week’s prompt – Longest Books I’ve Ever Read – a lot because I’ve read a number of long books in my days.

I’ve generally had positive experiences with long books. Well, if I start a long book and it doesn’t grab my interest at the beginning, I do have the bad habit of dropping it. But, even so, most lengthy books I’ve read actually rarely disappointed me as a whole.

I think there are a lot more 700 odd-pages books I’ve read but I have skimmed through parts of more of them than not. So, I’ll only talk about the books I’ve read without skimming.

P.S. I won’t specify the pages as different editions have different numbers of pages, I’ll just talk about the page-range based on the editions I own.


 1000-odd Pages

Lord Of The Rings | J. R.R. Tolkien : I have a humongous book with the compilation of the trilogy. It might be the largest book I own.

Gone With The Wind | Margaret Mitchell : I talked in previous post about what an emotionally draining this book was for me. It took me a week to finish it and another week to recover from it. I’d never felt this accomplished as a reader before this, and rightly so, because this is the lengthiest single book I’ve read. After reading this a second time a year later, I decided I was a masochist and never dared to read it again. It has a lot of themes and controversies, but it stands out to me as the the most cynical and yet one of the best romances I’ve read.

 800-odd Pages

  

Outlander | Diana Gabaldon : I’ll be honest with you. I don’t remember the details of the books. I know what happened as a major arc but the minor details evade me. And that’s because I only read this book one time. But I’ll admit that it’s more due to my own whims as a reader than the book itself.

Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix | J. K. Rowling : Initially, this was my least favorite book of the Harry Potter series. But as I grew older and reread this a few more times, I learned to appreciate this book for what it was – a real gem. Suffice it to say, it’s no longer my least favorite. Not even close.

700 odd Pages


Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows | J. K. Rowling : I finished this book in one sitting. Took me probably 8/9 hours. Later I regretted having devoured it so fast and wished I would’ve taken more time to savor every line the first time I read them. Self-control has never been never my strong suit.

Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire | J. K. Rowling : For a long time, this was my favorite book of the series. Even more than Prisoner Of Azkaban. I remember reading this book during a blackout in candlelight and gasping out loud when Harry’s name was announced from the goblet. Ah, good times!

Angels & Demons | Dan Brown : There was an extraordinary buzz around this book when I read it. Everyone around me was declaring this the best book they’d read. While I liked it, I wasn’t blown away by it like the rest of the population. This always happens to me with books with such hype. I’m now more cautious with my expectations for books with praises all around.

Dragonfly In Amber | Diana Gabaldon : I read this book one time just like its predecessor. Gabaldon is a magnificent writer. I loved the series the first and only time I read it, (well, the first three books – I never read the rest of the series). I just think that it just requires a lot of energy and attention from the reader which I never felt like mustering a second time.

Court of Wings and Ruin | Sarah J. Mass : I absolutely loved this book when I first read it. I was aware of the flaws in the back of mind as I read through them but I didn’t mind them. I enjoyed and gobbled it up pretty fast for such a huge book.

Breaking Dawn | Stephenie Meyer : Such a mess. This book was like a horrible trainwreck I couldn’t take my eyes off. And that’s the only reason I could finish it. I don’t think I’ve read many worse conclusions to a trilogy than this.


I was surprised to discover while writing this post that books I thought were among my lengthiest reads – actually weren’t. Maybe it’s because of factors like font size, spacing and page sizes. Who knows? But this was fun!

ARC Review : Sonnet Coupled By Roxanne D. Howard

*I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with an ARC in return of an honest review*


Sheltered and cosseted, Sonnet Mendoza abided by her papi’s wishes her whole life: no boys, studies first and always. Now an ER nurse in a busy Chicago hospital, medical school is so close Sonnet can taste it—just like her father always wanted. Just like she can taste all the things she wants, like Griffith Parker, the man of her dreams and her new housemate.

Working “graves” in a large hospital as a security guard while attending the police academy during the day doesn’t leave ex-Marine Griffith Parker any personal time, but after meeting the beautiful Sonnet Mendoza business as usual is anything but. Sassy, smart…and interested in him, too? Except, she’s made an art of keeping her distance, and she’s been clear that her plans don’t include him. But the heart wants what the heart wants. His wants Sonnet. He’ll put it on the line to win her.


This was a pretty fast read.

Sonnet and Griffith are both ambitious people who are serious about their respective careers. They also harbor a lot of pain. They are immensely attracted to each other right off the bat. But it takes a long time for them to proceed with their feelings, because the last thing they need is a relationship to distract them from their jobs. Not to mention, they are both in demanding professions, an aspiring doctor and an aspiring cop. But when they do finally act on their feelings, it’s as intense as it can get. That doesn’t mean the issues work themselves out, though. They still have to decide if they want to make it a serious relationship; or give up the rare connection they have with each other, for their careers.

There’s a LOT of detailed smut in this book, and quite well-written too. But I felt that the smut took away from the other important storylines worth exploring. I liked that these two take time to get to know each other before they jump to doing the dirty. But once the smut starts, it sorta takes the center stage

I liked the characters well enough. Sonnet struggles with loneliness after the recent death of her father which she still is recovering from; Ex-Marine Griffith still fresh from his trip to Iraq having been discharged just a couple of months ago. I personally feel that these issues could have been explored more. I liked subplots of their respective work problems what with a demanding boss, jealous colleagues and dodgy mates. I just hoped for a deeper look at the serious issues plaguing the main characters. I also wouldn’t have minded a dual POV of both the characters instead of just Sonnet.

It was a fast paced book and I never lost my attention. But the writing at parts felt a little forceful and didn’t flow smoothly as much as I’d have liked it to. But the story does work well as a steamy romance with great chemistry between the leads.


My Rating: ★★★☆☆


Released : April 25th 2017
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)
Available on Amazon

Tag: Halloween Creatures Tag 2.0

I got tagged by the awesome Sara @ Bibliophagist for this really fun prompt! Perfect first tag for October, right? I love tags and love it even more when I get tagged. So thank you, Sara! ❤


Rules
  • Answer all prompts.
  • Answer honestly.
  • Tag 1-13 people.
  • Link back to this post.
  • Remember to credit the creator. (Anthony @ Keep Reading Forward)
  • Have fun!

WITCH
A magical character or book


Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone | Literally the first book that comes to mind when I think of magic.

 

WEREWOLF
The perfect book to read at night


The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo | I haven’t read enough horrifying horror books or horror books in general. I do think that nothing beats the feeling of reading a thriller at night. And The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo is perhaps the most thrilling book I’ve read.

 


FRANKENSTEIN

A book that truly shocked you


Sadie |I was shocked by how good this book was. I didn’t expect to be phenomenally blown away when I started it. The book itself has quite a lot of shocks.

 


THE DEVIL

A Dark, Evil Character


Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter | Probably the only villain I’ve read who I never could sympathize with andwhose evilness I never doubted for even a second during the whole series.

 

GRIM REAPER
A character that should never have died


Allegiant | The only reason I could find for the death of (spoiler) at the end of this book was that the author simply wanted to prove a point. A point nobody cared for.

 

 


ZOMBIE

A book that made you “HUNGRY” for more


The Girl In The Spider’s Web | Even thinking about it makes me long for the impossible – another book by the original author.

 

GARGOYLE
A Character that you’d protect at all cost


The Trio From Transcend | They probably don’t need me to protect them but I’d do it anyway.

 

VAMPIRE
The book that sucked the life out of you


Gone With The Wind | It drained the life out of me in a good way, I think. I cried for like half an hour after finishing the book and felt depressed for the next week as if somebody had dumped me.

 

GHOST
A book that still haunts you


The Magnolia Inn | How could a book be SO boring? Nothing ever happens!

 

 

DEMON
A book that really scared you

The Silent Child | I was really scared by the behavior of most of the characters of the book. Especially, the protagonist’s paranoia was frightening to read about.

 

 

SKELETON
A character that you have a bone to pick with


Colin Fitzegard from The Chase | I had such high expectations from this book. But Colin let me down. I was so frustrated by his actions or lack thereof throughout, that at one point I wasn’t even sure I wanted him to be with Summer.

 

 

MUMMY
A book that you would preserve throughout time

Harry Potter | What can I say? I’m a Potterhead.

 

 

CREEPY DOLL
A cover too scary to look at


Unwind| I can’t think of any scary covers but I find this cover very creepy – probably one reason I never read it.

 

 


MONSTER MASH
It’s fun to be with friends on Halloween!
Tag your friends!
Meltotheany |Fictionnochaser | Rebecca | BriannaAlyssa | Mewocartblog


There’s no pressure if you’ve already done it or don’t feel like doing it. If I did not tag you and you still want to do it, that’d be great! Just link me on the tag if you do end up doing it! Happy October to you all!