IF I NEVER MET YOU

I love to mix up the genres and give my mind a good balance of thriller, romance, self-help and whatever type of book is available out there. This time I picked out a contemporary romance written by Mhairi McFarlance. I normally love a good romantic fiction but I won’t lie, I wasn’t 100% sure that I’d complete it based on just the blurb (way too cliche and overdone) BUT I was sold after the first few chapters. I could relate to every thing Laurie (the main character) was going through and I just could not put the book down.

In short, Laurie, 36 is an amazing lawyer living with her long term boyfriend of 18 years, who she was planning to have a baby with. Of course, Dan, the “perfect boyfriend” blows up the entire plan out of nowhere by saying that he doesn’t want kids after 18 years! It couldn’t get worse…they work for the same company and to add to that he gives her the news that he’s going to be a dad…(yes he said he didn’t want kids!) This is when Laurie agrees to start a fake relationship with Jamie Carter, a “player” lawyer at her firm to help her save face, and to help him with his career.

Mhairi nails the complexities of modern relationships and the thoughts that follow post certain decisions that is made by us or for us. I think what sets this novel apart from most of the other ones I’ve read is that the story touches on deeper issues that has an emotional impact such as race, intricate family dynamics and also focuses on how social media can impact one’s life-story in this day and age but is still light-hearted and a fun read. Although, some may find that adding such drama to a romantic novel is too distracting. As for me, this book is just what I needed to read. Mhairi is sensitive in the way she approaches the story of each character and the book itself is pitched perfectly. It left me with a warm, fuzzy feeling that I absolutely, low-key, nauseously, love.

This is a great book and taps into every emotion within you. If you just want to escape for a little while into a heartwarming story of Laurie and co then this is very much recommended. The only thing I hate about this book is the creation of JAMIE. HE IS A LIE Mhairi and it very much reminded me of the feelings I used to have for those Korean heroes that played the lead roles. A dream.

PACHINKO

The way some chapters end in this book got my heart stopping out of shock! This book gives a perspective into the life of Koreans living in Japan in the early 1900s when Japan took control over Korea and highlights the struggles that first generation immigrants face along with the complexities of experiencing dual cultural identities, which become more apparent throughout the subsequent generations. I must say I’m really loving historical fiction. I’d highly recommend this book and if you find stories about immigrants interesting then you’ll enjoy this book.

This book follows a family of Koreans from about 1900s to 1980s and you get to go through about 4 generations on the whole. I felt pretty attached to each of the family members because of the way the author (Min Jin Lee) sets the tone of the characters from the very beginning and you can really connect the family dynamic as the story progresses. Some characters will frustrate you for sure and I found some of their choices difficult to comprehend but you’ll find that this may just be a cultural aspect that a non-Korean/Japanese may not fully grasp hold of but this is why the book is good. It takes you beyond what you’re used to anticipating. The relationships are complex and there’s nothing black and white about this story. What was great about this book is that unlike most other books I’ve read, Min Jin Lee chose to tell the story from the perspective of several characters rather than an individual to reveal and populate the cultural, socio-economic, political and psychological situations around the time this book was set.

In terms of history, you get to learn the tension between Japanese and Koreans and the struggles plus discrimination the Koreans faced. It was really fascinating to read about the way the different generations approached the situation differently and although it’s a fiction I read that Min Jin Lee did a lot of research (considering she has a major in history…..) prior to writing the book, which tells you that there’s truth and real life stories about many generations of Koreans. I also loved that the book was titled Pachinko ( it’s a pinball game machine that is extremely popular in Japan but also considered dirty business). During those days, Koreans were not hired and jobs were difficult to find so many Koreans resorted to working for the pachinko business in one form or another.

“Pachinko, like life, is a game partly of skill, partly of chance. It is the overarching metaphor of the book; and the game is woven into the plot of the novel as well.”

In this book, Pachinko is a recurring symbol of fate and identity.

Happy reading if you are planning to!

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

This book had been sitting my in shelf for a long time and I never got round to reading it. I always started on the first habit and life just distracted me but I had no excuse this time. I knew it would be worthwhile because I’ve heard and read so many incredible reviews about it. One to read if you’re seeking to improve your productivity, efficiency and self-growth.

Essentially, Stephen R. Covey provides a structural approach for improving both your career and personal life. But what I like about it is how we provides anecdotes and includes fragments of personal elements to it, which make it relatable and you can visualise yourself applying his teachings in your daily life. The book also goes beyond just the habits and teaches you to be more self-aware and a better person in general.

There’s a lot of golden nuggets that you can take from this book. One of the core messages is the significance of focusing on fixing one self first. Change starts from inside-out. I could feel myself nodding in agreements and underlining so many points that was raised in this book as he dives into the depths of each of the 7 habits. I could sit here and write about how Quadrant II made so much sense, why we should focus on the Win/Win paradigm and the benefits of having an Abundance Mentality but it’s a book that you need to read yourself to really comprehend and absorb each lesson yourself.

It’s a book that I’ll definitely be revisiting several times because now that I’ve read it once I want to remember these lessons for the rest of my life and apply it effectively!

Must Must Read!

The Last Mrs. Parrish

It’s been a while since I’ve read a psychological thriller and this book just killed it in the best possible way. It will definitely keep you entertained for a good few days. I went for the audiobook option this time because it was easily accessible and I guess I’m saving the planet this way. Less paper, more trees. Win/Win! (Stephen Covey reference since I’m almost done with his book, which is excellent!).


No spoilers and in short, The Last Mrs. Parrish does not disappoint. It follows a young woman called Amber who wants to marry filthy rich and her eyes are set on one particular man – Jackson Parrish. However, this wealthy hot shot is married but nothing deters Amber. Amber, the home wrecker, comes into play by befriending the wife (yup, she goes there!) and ends up stealing the man. The story gets crazier. You’ll find the narrative start with Amber’s perspective and then the story is told from Daphne’s (Jackson’s wife) viewpoint. This mystery thriller is a page turner for sure.

The book is actually written by two sisters – Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine but goes by the pen name of Liv Constantine. They’ve sprinkled in all the right elements into this book and all the plot twists had me hooked! It’s raunchy, twisted and it will have you woooah-ing at some points. It’s just a very satisfying book to read when you want to forget reality for a good few hours. I also love that it’s a fast-paced story with so much manipulation, deception and power-play going on.

Love Love Love!



THE GIVER OF STARS

Jojo Moyes is one of my absolute favourite authors but I wasn’t so sure of this book just because I didn’t quite connect with the synopsis as much as I normally would with her other books probably because I’ve never given much attention historic fiction but I gave it a go and voila…another fantastic read. Also, so much more respect for Eleanor Roosevelt now that I’ve dug a little more info on the works she carried out as the First Lady using her position as a platform for her social activism.

No spoilers –
The story is set in the 1930s, the great depression era, in Kentucky. The focus is on a group of women who run a mobile library and delivers books on horsebacks to people in rural Kentucky. The book is based on factual events that occurred during that time as Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) Pack Horse Library initiative had been established as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1935. Its goal was to bring books and reading material to one of the most desperately poor regions of Appalachia, where food, education and economic opportunity were hard to come by. Eleanor Roosevelt was a champion of this initiative of course and visited small WPA libraries as she traveled around the country.

Back to fiction…..so the story follows these women delivering books on horsebacks and changing peoples lives but they face a lot of controversy predominantly stirred up by men who have an issue with seeing women being anymore than just a housewife. Thankfully, there’s also good forward thinking men in this narrative and with Jojo always comes a good love story too.

The book really centres around two main characters. Firstly, you have Alice, originally from England, who makes an impulsive decision marry a wealthy American named Bennet and in doing so leaves her home and finds herself halfway across the world in hope for the freedom she always dreamed of. The dynamic between these two and Bennet’s dad is super frustrating! But it was really Margaret O’Hare, the other main character, that really made this book such an interesting read for me. Life seems to constantly beat her down but she carries on living with exuberant vitality and there’s no man that can bring her down. Jojo Moyes does a brilliant job with their character development and it really gives you a sense of satisfaction as you progress with the chapters knowing that these characters are transforming throughout the book.

I’d definitely recommend this book. I enjoyed how it was based on some factual historic events and it was fascinating to learn about these women who defied the norms back in those days and the characters in the book were excellent. Beware..your heart will melt for Sven and Fred. The only thing I didn’t like so much was that parts in the middle felt like it wasn’t necessary. Some drama definitely dragged a little too long.

Overall 4.6/5

THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN

Having never read Mitch Albom’s books before I was’t sure what to expect. Jenn Im recommended this as it’s one of her must reads and it didn’t take any more than that for me to hit the purchase button on my kindle. This isn’t a new book (published in 2003) but more of a hidden gem and I found that many see it as a classic throwback.

What I loved about Mitch was his ability to break down a complex narrative in much simpler terms. It was a quick happy read but the message hits you hard enough and I know for sure that for it will linger in my mind and I’ll be thinking about it for a while. This is definitely not a preachy book and does not focus on religion or faith despite the title.

No spoilers – the book is about a man named Eddie who is a maintenance worker at a place called Ruby Pier. He’s worked there for several years and is dissatisfied with life. He is living this dull, meaningless life and boom on his 83rd birthday he dies in a tragic accident at Ruby Pier trying to save the life of a little girl. He wakes up in heaven where he meets five people that were connected to his life in someway or other and they each have a lesson to teach him…..and so the journey begins.

My absolutely favourite part was when he meets the fourth person. Tears just trickled down my cheeks as I awwwww’d the whole way through. It is a happy book I swear.

Life has to end,” she said “Love doesn’t.

I guess some may find it a tad bit corny but I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was just the perfect pick me up book during this lockdown. I’d give it a solid 4.5/5




The Hating Game

Amidst this discombobulated time in everyone’s life I’ve being finding refuge in a lot (okay a few) of activities and one being reading books. Fiction is great for escapism and The Hating Game did exactly that. It’s a light romantic read that leaves you day dreaming about your own Joshua (phoarrr) and fills your heart with buckets of happiness. This book is silly simple – a slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers, office romance kind of story but it works great if you’re looking for something heartwarming and it was just what I needed after reading 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari. Sure its predictable with the enemies turns to lovers theme but Sally Thorne writes in such a thoughtful style and considering this was her debut novel I found it to be a very impressive book.

The Hating Game is about Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman (both very competitive) who work in a publishing company and they’re competing for a promotion which adds fuel to the fire to their already stressful-hate relationship. The book follows the relationship between these two people, which sounds so-so-lala but it’s the way in which Sally Thorne nails the creation of these characters that have their fair share of angsty emotions but without being over the top. Its cute, funny, witty, engaging and emotional – everything you want in a book.

The way Lucy’s character is written makes her very relatable and easy to sympathise with and contrary to the beginning where he is stand-offish and cold Josh brings a lot of heart and warmth to the book as his story slowly unfolds. You can’t not love the two characters, which makes you love the book.

The negatives? If I had to really dig for criticism I’d say the secondary characters were pretty invisible in the sense that they weren’t developed particularly well. But I guess the focus was Lucy and Joshua so I’m going to say that it wasn’t a big deal!