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Poilin Kitch's Blog

BOOK REVIEW: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas (YA Mystery)

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Description

It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives. But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations.

As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer; she discovers hard truths about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

As she awaits the judge’s decree, it becomes clear that everyone around her thinks she is not just guilty, but dangerous. When the truth comes out, it is more shocking than one could ever imagine.


 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Do I recommend this book? Yes. Please do read this!

It’s been a long time since I finished this book and it took me this long to write a proper review because well… Dangerous Girls is way more confusing than you could ever imagine. Even up to this point, I still can’t find the right words to describe how this book affected me, mostly psychologically. And somehow, there’s still this tiny part of me trying to digest what happened, whether should I be shocked, impressed or disappointed. And it’s already been months since I got finished with this book.

This would’ve easily earned 5 stars from me had not I reacted a different way. But that doesn’t make this book less deserved of the hype it’s gotten so far. Maybe I was just… I don’t know… highly expectant?

Since I don’t want to spoil any of you, I just want to give a brief view of what to expect from Dangerous Girls.

Get a grip because our main character here, Anna, who happens to be narrating the story as well, is just too perplexing. You will find yourself sympathizing with her as if you were also put in jail and the next thing you know… you’re getting even more confused about her as the story drags on. Good job there, Abigail Haas. Thanks for creating such a book character to mess up our heads and leave us dumbfounded.

The story also portrays loads of court trials scenes which is really exciting even when most of the time, I found myself really sorry for Anna, when she is cross-examined, betrayed and accused by her friends and subjected to prejudice. My sympathy for her was crammed full that I couldn’t help but feel extremely frustrated. Isn’t it disheartening to see everyone glance at you accusingly, all of them thinking that you killed your bestfriend? But did Anna really kill Elise? Is she innocent after all and doesn’t deserved to be trapped in a country awaiting the final verdict?

But there’s more to this book than what I can tell you or others. Dangerous Girls is a dark story pivoted around the lives of teenagers and the ugly truths about their relationships. The ending will most likely shock you and freak you out. It’s definitely worth the read.

“I can’t help my mind skipping over the here-and-now and racing on, to what might come next. Consequence and regret and other might-have-beens: plotting out every angle and scenario, knowing all along that the path I take means missing something else.”

“Wouldn’t we all look guilty, if someone searched hard enough?”

“One moment. One picture. One glimpse—that’s all it takes to make someone think they know the truth.”

BOOK REVIEW: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (Thriller)

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Description

EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

 

My Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars

Do I recommend this book? Yes, if you’re okay with being exposed to some degree of atrocity.

I’m trying to make a helpful review out of what I still remember about this book since I’ve already read it long before it garnered attention from readers and subsequently got enough hype to be turned into a movie. My rating kind of says that I liked this book – which I don’t have any intention on denying due to the fact that it really is worthy to be acclaimed.

Maybe one of the reasons why people lay hands on this book is that it is being compared to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. I see that they both dwell on the disappearance of a girl and that all the characters from either books have got a mean streak. But what sets these two apart from the other? Here’s what I saw: The Girl on the Train is much creepier than Gone Girl and that’s saying something. Hawkins impressed me by her exceptional way of  alternately narrating the point of views of the three women (Rachel, Megan and Anna) that have the most impact in the story. I found myself contradicting my own assumptions after having read these three women’s side of the story. Even the main character, Rachel, cannot be trusted because she’s drunk most of the time, not to mention that she’s  also depressed and lonely. She even thinks she’s afraid of her herself and of what she might have done the night Jess (later revealed as Megan Hipwell) went missing.

What I liked most about this thriller is that it messed my brain up and made me come up with endless speculations. And it was pretty hard for me to decide who to trust and rely on because 1) Rachel isn’t much reliable due to her always going on a binge and hardly remembering what she does during that period of time; 2) Anna, the new wife of Rachel’s ex-husband hates Rachel’s guts you can’t exactly tell if what she tells is true or just a product of paranoia; and 3) Megan hides a lot of secrets even her husband doesn’t know of.

This isn’t a futile attempt of ripping Gone Girl off. They’re surprisingly different and they both have a unique kind of story that will shock you.

By the way, the movie trailer for The Girl on the Train has already come out!

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“There’s nothing so painful, so corrosive, as suspicion.”

“A tiding of magpies: One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told”

“I am not the girl I used to be. I am no longer desirable, I’m off-putting in some way. It’s not just that I’ve put on weight, or that my face is puffy from the drinking and the lack of sleep; it’s as if people can see the damage written all over me, can see it in my face, the way I hold myself, the way I move.”

Finding HOPE…

We make mistakes in life that sometimes get us into big trouble. Although we are completely aware of the consequences that it might bring, we still keep on doing selfish things without caring about the future.

This has happened to me loads of times. I used to tell myself, “You’re still young, you shouldn’t be stressing over lots of things. Get a life!” And when situations get a little bit out of hand, I find my way out by seeking God’s help. Though it might’ve sounded a really brilliant approach, the thing is that… I never learn from my mistakes. I still do the same mistakes again and again because I know that God is forgiving and compassionate. But as I soon realized, this is not a Christian way of thinking. I am a coward, an opportunist, a happy-go-lucky person. I’m being ungrateful of God’s grace. I’m taking advantage of His kindness. I already crossed the line and now it’s time to pull the brake and go back along the path I have misused.

GOD is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He has opened my eyes to see all the blessings that I hadn’t been paying much attention to. He has lead me to the truth, to the reality of life. He has made me realize that I am a Christian and that I should remain steadfast in my beliefs instead of just going with the flow of this world – where I shouldn’t bother fitting in.

Brothers and Sisters, it’s never too late to ask for forgiveness. The time hasn’t lapsed for us to change. We may have been lost for so long now but God’s power is enough for Him to get us back into His arms. We are His children and it’s only right for us to follow Him and see the goodness of living our lives with Him as our strength and guide.

My Scanty Diaries (#1)

This is my first entry so I think it’s quite understandable if it doesn’t get too long as what normal diaries look like. (Is there even a set of standards for writing diaries that I don’t know about?) But actually, here are some more pertinent reasons:

1. I don’t have much time at the moment to write a lengthy entry.
2. Since I describe my diaries as scanty, I want it to look a bit less like the usual diary. I know, the premise is not as impressive… at least, I’ve got an idea!
3. My phone’s battery is already critically low so the faster I get done with this, the better.

I’m not that keen on writing a diary or a journal well because my life isn’t that exciting and I do the same stuffs everyday. Why keep track? I mean, my routine is boring and tedious enough nevermind writing it down daily for me to what? To confide into myself? To keep? To hide from other people?

But due to some unforseen circumstances, I kind of got jealous seeing people sort of writing diaries online and telling the whole world how their day has been. I went from commenting, “It’s needless for you to post that on the internet” to muttering, “Oh, that’s really cool. It makes people think that you’ve made good use of your time for the past 24 hours. Now everyone thinks you’re a visionary with exceptionally good plans in life.”

That lead to the birth of My Scanty Diaries. Silly, I know. I just wanted to roll on, really. So… as I’m writing this, I’m feeling extremely nervous and dreadful because tomorrow is Monday, which means school, which means my brains are back to getting knackered.

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Not that I hate school… I just can’t accept that holliers are over! I’m so gonna miss the foods I only get to eat on Christmas and New Year’s Eve!

Oh whatever, it’s not like I just can skip classes whenever I want. Education is very important. I’d rather spend my day at school than to sleep all day long in the comfort of our house. That’s so unproductive. How will I get rich if I don’t go to school and study hard? How will I get to buy all the books I’ve been dying to buy because I messed up and dropped out of school? Okay, that’s very unlikely. I love school. I just can’t be bothered to exhaust my brain cells tomorrow and in the following days, weeks and months.

Wait, this is getting a bit long now. Shall I say goodbye now? Ah, okay… hasta la vista! (I like to say in Spanish).

                      – Paulene Xxx

P.S. Shouldn’t it be Adios? Or are they just the same?

BOOK REVIEW: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Young Adult)

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Description

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

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My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Is it just me…
or does this book look like one of those clichés you see all over Wattpad? Hmm…

Wealthy teenagers with broken families but are ridiculously attractive? Main female character who’s so stupid, quirky and charming according to the main male character who is described as hot, very good-looking and just undeniably perfect?

How many times have I read a book substantially akin to this? Countless of times. And it’s sickening because I prefer fictional characters with complex but special attributes that outdo most of the clichéd YA novels. There’s so many odd things Perkins has incorporated into her characters like Anna who’s unrealistically stupid even though she’s a movie buff and then there’s Étienne the Mongrel who happens to be acrophobic. Seriously?

On the bright side (yes there is!), I honestly enjoyed reading this book! I mean, it’s not bad at all. The setting is in Paris and you’ll get to learn a few things about Parisian life! (Who doesn’t even like France?) That’s 3.5 stars for the entertainment and adventure. It’s also very informative as Étienne knows a lot about history of almost everything.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a decent read. The characters are mostly nice excluding some bitches and jerks. If I were a parent, I’d have no problem with my child reading this because it’s fairly wholesome.

And yeah it’s still cute, charming and stupidly humurous! So much feels that I sometimes wondered if this book had turned me into a complete, delusional idiot (maybe for a moment).

Will you please tell me you love me? I’m dying here

For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we are finally home.

I mean, really. Who sends their kid to boarding school? It’s so Hogwarts. Only mine doesn’t have cute boy wizards or magic candy or flying lessons.

BOOK REVIEW: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (Mystery/Thriller)

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Description

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

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My Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

I had a hard time justly rating this book so that explains the two decimal places. Four stars is a bit high and 3.5 doesn’t seem quite right either. Not only rating the book was the tough part of writing this whole thing but as well as explaining my side and comments.

So for readers who have read Dark Places and Gone Girl, also by Gilian Flynn, this book – Sharp Objects – is my least favorite of the trio. Hold back your horses! That doesn’t mean I didn’t like Sharp Objects or that it was badly-written. In fact, it was brilliantly-written that even though that I’m against any form of self-harm or self-destruction (e.g. cutting), I found myself reading this in 2 days (in average, I read a book in 1 and a half days). If this wasn’t near good, I would’ve stopped and found another book. But I did finish reading it.

This story intrigued me. The more I come across things I don’t understand, the more interested and addicted I get. All the while I was reading, I kept telling myself, “Gillian Flynn wrote this so it has to be good.” And I was right. The characters are oozing of flaws here and there and bedecked with hideous past. Sometimes they appealed a tad too weird to me but they piqued my interest til the end nonetheless.

What put me a bit off about this book is that it’s teeming of backstories. Ugly, sad backstories that confused me and lead me to nowhere. I thought I’d finally get the pieces together and figure out the supposedly riveting mystery but it turned out to be a deadend. And it’s slow-paced but the last few chapters wrap up a bit too fast. Unsuprisingly, my hunches weren’t all accurate. Gillian Flynn is fond of blowing her readers’ mind and drawing the attention away from the answer so you really have to finish the book to be able to understand what really happens.

I expected much from Sharp Obejcts and pictured myself, beforehand, inhaling sharply, brows knitted and beyond thrilled while reading. Instead, I was just left there nodding in understanding and still absorbing the last pieces of information from the epilogue. But all in all, this is a good read. Very dark and scary. When you think you already unraveled the mystery, Flynn then turns the table and pulls you back to square one.

(Note: I couldn’t completely describe what I felt about this book. I know it’s really good but there grew unsatisfaction and frustration inside of me. STILL, I love Gillian Flynn and her books.)

BOOK REVIEW: The Gift by Cecelia Ahern

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Description

If you could wish for one gift this Christmas, what would it be?

Everyday Lou Suffern battled with the clock. He always had two places to be at the same time. He always had two things to do at once. When asleep he dreamed. In between dreams, he ran through the events of the day while making plans for the next. When at home with his wife and family, his mind was always someplace else.

On his way into work one early winter morning, Lou meets Gabe, a homeless man sitting outside the office building. Intrigued by him and on discovering that he could also be very useful to have around, Lou gets Gabe a job in the post room.

But soon Lou begins to regret helping Gabe. His very presence unsettles Lou and how does Gabe appear to be in two places at the same time?

As Christmas draws closer, Lou starts to understand the value of time. He sees what is truly important in life yet at the same time he learns the harshest lesson of all.

This is a story about people who not unlike parcels, hide secrets. They cover themselves in layers until the right person unwraps them and discovers what’s inside. Sometimes you have to be unravelled in order to find out who you really are. For Lou Suffern, that took time.


 

 

It’s this time of the year again so I think it’s appropriate and timely to write a review on a Christmas-themed book!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Do I recommend this book? If you want a little good cry this Christmas, then go ahead!

Two years ago, I read this book not knowing that it would greatly affect my views in life. Reading the blurb didn’t excite me at all. I just wanted to get done with this book because I bought and paid for it. I have to admit, I kind of underestimated The Gift. There wasn’t much of a clue as to where the story revolves around and what are the things to look forward to other than having read about the guy called Gabe.

I’m not going to say that I loved every single page of this book and that I totally enjoyed it. There were dull and boring bits that discouraged me to head even further. I felt like I was just reading an awful story about a man named Lou who works really hard to get a promotion even if it means choosing his career over his family. Lou is pretty competitive and he makes sure that he will get the position he’s been aiming for and then neglects his duties as a father and a son and a husband. He’s not very likable of a character and there had been moments where I attempted to close the book permanently and chuck it away. Until the events turned a little too drastic… and amusing! I didn’t see it coming! One moment I was grimacing then the next thing I knew, I was tightly hooked! Putting my book down would be like depriving myself of air or something! It was totally amazing and I mean it!.

I’m aware that some people don’t like The Gift. Well, there’s no way I can change their minds about it. As for me, this book is a true gem. I’ve loved Cecelia Ahern’s writing ever since I read her debut novel, P.S. I Love You and it’s safe to say that reading another book by Ahern wasn’t a big mistake. The way she wrote the ending was exceptional I nearly bawled my eyes out!

If you’re kind of hesitating to read this book, take it from me, it’s worth it! You’ll be driven crazy. It’s totally heart-warming, cleverly-written and magical (if you’re a huge follower of Ahern, she never loses her magic spells). It may not turn out totally happy, at least there’s a bunch of family values you’ll learn about.

BOOK REVIEW: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (Young Adult)

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Description

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

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My Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars
Do I recommend this book? Yes. Especially for people who haven’t got over their first crush.

This isn’t much of a review, really. I don’t even know how and where to start because…

I loved this book so much and I have this tendency to exaggerate things and make irrational comments just because I adore something to bits. But honestly, Eleanor and Park is a kind of book you’d devour in one sitting. I actually (with no offense) enjoyed reading this than All The Bright Places and The Fault in our Stars. And I don’t need a soul telling me that I’m crazy because I’m just simply not fond of sick characters who die in the end of the story. Period.

Set in the year 1986, these two teenagers don’t have anything in common at first or second glance. White girl. Asian guy. Broken family. Perfect family. Eleanor and Park are exact opposites. Not the kind of couple you could easily picture together. Not the kind of people who’d hang out together, let alone fall in love with each other. And that makes the story weird yet captivating and heart-warming. Have you ever experienced being too eager to go to school because you wanted to see the person you liked? Well, get ready to remember all those good ol’ times.

I didn’t want to get to the very end of this book because I didn’t know if I could handle all the feels. It’s worth the read. Seriously, Rainbow Rowell‘s writing style is freaking awesome and so I made a note to check out her other books.

Maybe the best thing this book has made me realize is that people come and go, things and situations change, days fly by, hearts either grow tired or even fonder… but never be too afraid to try.

QUICK BOOK REVIEW: Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella (ChickLit)

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Description

Emma Corrigan, a young woman with a huge heart, an irrepressible spirit, and a few little secrets:

Secrets from her boyfriend: I’ve always thought Connor looks a bit like Ken. As in Barbie and Ken.
Secrets from her mother: I lost my virginity in the spare bedroom with Danny Nussbaum while Mum and Dad were downstairs watching Ben-Hur.
Secrets she wouldn’t share with anyone in the world: I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is.

Until she spills them all to a handsome stranger on a plane. At least, she thought he was a stranger.…Until Emma comes face-to-face with Jack Harper, the company’s elusive CEO, a man who knows every single humiliating detail about her.

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My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

How can a book be so stupid and brilliant at the same time?

It’s as if this book was meant for me! We were meant for each other! I was destined to read this book while laughing stupidly in my room where everyone else in the house was busy cleaning!

Because they all thought I was just sleeping.

Anyway, setting the babbling aside, I was really beyond entertained by this book! It proved me how hard it really is to stifle a laugh when you’re pretending to sleep dead-like. This book is just utterly hilarious.

Here are some of her secrets that cracked me up:
– I love sweet sherry, the least cool drink in the universe.
– I have no idea what NATO stands for. Or even what it is.
– Sammy the goldfish at home isn’t the same goldfish that Mum and Dad gave me to look after when they went to Egypt.

I’m perfectly aware that Emma is a deluded moron and she tends to exaggerate things but it doesn’t make the book less funny. I still love her even no matter how shallow she seems to me! Who in their right mind would tell their secrets to a stranger? Apparently, only Emma. Turns out, that stranger is the CEO of the company she’s employed into and pretty much remembers everything… every little tiny secret that came out of her mouth. Just imagine how awkward and embarrassing the situation is for her.

Like what I said, this book is so stupid! It’s unrealistic yet very natural at the same time that when the ending comes near, you’ll get these mixed emotions! It’s too much to handle! I couldn’t even stop talking to my friend about this book and insisting she read it soon.

Overall, it’s worth reading especially when you’re sick and feeling awful. If you need a laugh, I highly recommend this for you!

BOOK REVIEW: If I Stay & Where She Went by Gayle Forman (Young Adult)

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My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I read these books before the movie came out and that’s been over a year now. And what’s so special about this book if you ask?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing and I’m being honest here. These books were just OK. Nice. Mostly boring and monotonous. Not memorable either. Sorry but… it didn’t impress me as much that everytime I come across them at the bookstores, I don’t feel anything tugging at my heartstings. There are thousands of books out there that are more touching than these two. It really surprises me seeing people fangirling over them that I’ve been asking myself, “Am I just plain stupid or am I just not being appreciative?”

Then there comes the sequel, Where She Went which is even more boring… I’m telling you! If I’d known earlier, I wouldn’t have read even a single page of this book and just be contented with the unsatisfying ending of its prequel. Anyone could come up with a better plot to it than Gayle Forman. It’s just like re-reading a book you’ve had for years and you perfectly know what’s happening next. And the clichés here and there outdid the possibility of it being much better and totally awesome.

Will Mia ever wake up? Will Mia and Adam get back together? I swear, you could skip several chapters and still be able to predict the plot. There’s something missing in the story. Something that could make these books stand out among the rest. Something to remember and cherish and make me cry when I go to the bookstores and see them sitting on the shelves.

Like what I said, it was just OK. I liked it but not totally liked it. I still enjoyed hurting my eyes reading them. I fell in love with the characters. I cried a bit. I poured out my sympathy but I’m sorry to say those emotions got trapped between the covers. It didn’t last long.

Nonethless, I don’t want to stop anyone from reading these books or watching the film. Just go on if you want and maybe you’ll like it. There are many factors that may have affected my verdict considering I read these right after finishing Allegiant which is way more memorable and sad but definitely satisfying. Jumping from one genre to another is a difficult task. Sometimes it affects the readers’ emotions and reactions to the book they’re currently reading.

The decision is all up to you now. But you’ve been warned.

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