Book Review: The Invoice by Jonas Karlsson

Thw Invoice book cover

Genre: Fiction (contemporary)

Synopsis: A passionate film buff, our hero’s life revolves around his part-time job at a video store, the company of a few precious friends, and a daily routine that more often than not concludes with pizza and movie in his treasured small space in Stockholm. When he receives an astronomical invoice from a random national bureaucratic agency, everything will tumble into madness as he calls the hotline night and day to find out why he is the recipient of the largest bill in the entire country.

What is the price of a cherished memory? How much would you pay for a beautiful summer day? How will our carefree idealist, who is content with so little and has no chance of paying it back, find a way out of this mess? All these questions pull you through The Invoice and prove once again that Jonas Karlsson is simply a master of entertaining, intelligent, and life-affirming work.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Review: The book is narrated by the main character who lived a simple life and did pretty much the same thing everyday, but that changed when he received an invoice containing a shockingly huge amount of debt he owes from a company he never heard of before. Throughout the book, the main character embarks on a journey of finding answers to his questions, asking for clarifications, meeting new people, realizing certain things in the way he led his life and learning more about the new system and life itself. It’s easy to read but it isn’t boring. Feelings of wonder and confusion arises in knowing the reason why he has a huge amount to pay. Seeking for answers will keep you reading the book and accompany the character in his journey.

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Book Review: And After Many Days: A Novel by Jowhor Ile

And After Many DaysGenre: Fiction (contemporary, cultural, literary) African literature

Synopsis: An unforgettable debut novel about a boy who goes missing, a family that is torn apart, and a nation on the brink

During the rainy season of 1995, in the bustling town of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, one family’s life is disrupted by the sudden disappearance of seventeen-year-old Paul Utu, beloved brother and son. As they grapple with the sudden loss of their darling boy, they embark on a painful and moving journey of immense power which changes their lives forever and shatters the fragile ecosystem of their once ordered family. Ajie, the youngest sibling, is burdened with the guilt of having seen Paul last and convinced that his vanished brother was betrayed long ago. But his search for the truth uncovers hidden family secrets and reawakens old, long forgotten ghosts as rumours of police brutality, oil shortages, and frenzied student protests serve as a backdrop to his pursuit.
     In a tale that moves seamlessly back and forth through time, Ajie relives a trip to the family’s ancestral village where, together, he and his family listen to the myths of how their people settled there, while the villagers argue over the mysterious Company, who found oil on their land and will do anything to guarantee support. As the story builds towards its stunning conclusion, it becomes clear that only once past and present come to a crossroads will Ajie and his family finally find the answers they have been searching for.
      And After Many Days introduces Ile’s spellbinding ability to tightly weave together personal and political loss until, inevitably, the two threads become nearly indistinguishable. It is a masterful story of childhood, of the delicate, complex balance between the powerful and the powerless, and a searing portrait of a community as the old order gives way to the new.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Review: Reading a new genre or a book written by an author not from the country/s you are used to reading is a completely different territory. It is all new and an open mind is necessary and this is what its like to read an African novel for the first time.

 The story began with the character of Paul leaving home and not returning, then it was followed by stories of their lives before and after he went missing which was told simultaneously. The story is also told through Ajie’s memories and his thoughts about their every situation plays a major in the novel. This book is not easily predictable because of the words and situations were weaved altogether. I wished that the author had also included more of Paul’s thoughts during that day he left their home but even without it the story can stand for itself and is still worth reading. I think that with its good story line this will make into a good movie adaptation. I believe that more African stories should be told either in books or movies or other mediums.

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Book Review: Page by Paige by Laura Lee Gulledge

Page by PaigeGenre: Art, young adult, realistic fiction, graphic novel

Synopsis: Paige Turner has just moved to New York with her family, and she’s having some trouble adjusting to the big city. In the pages of her sketchbook, she tries to make sense of her new life, including trying out her secret identity: artist. As she makes friends and starts to explore the city, she slowly brings her secret identity out into the open, a process that is equal parts terrifying and rewarding.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: When Paige’s family moved to New York, she felt lost. She’s in a new territory, out of her comfort zone and away from people she know and who know her well like her best friend Diana. Her story is relatable because at some point in our life we also felt the same way especially when a big change has happened. Like moving to another place, starting to live alone, going off to college away from home, etc. Being out of our comfort zones is not an easy feat, it requires a huge amount of courage and confidence plus support and help from the people around us. Page by Paige is everybody’s story in different circumstances.

As the story progresses, she meets new people while roaming around the city and in her new school. She has formed a friendship with Jules, Gabe and Longo whom are nice to her. Somehow it also made Paige’s worry if they are just being polite or they are just hanging out with her out of pity. Paige is the type of person who worries too much, is scared of failing and is holding back a lot of things. Her friendship with the three pushed her to change for the better. Starting with the things she doesn’t like about herself and this is the exciting part. 🙂

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Book Review: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables

Genre: Fiction (classics, children’s, young-adult)

Synopsis: As soon as Anne Shirley arrived at the snug,  white farmhouse called Green Gables, she knew she  wanted to stay forever… but would the Cuthberts  send her back to the orphanage? Anne knows she’s not  what they expected — a skinny girl with decidedly  red hair and a temper to match. If only she could  convince them to let her stay, she’d try very hard  not to keep rushing headlong into scrapes or blurt  out the very first thing she had to say. Anne was  not like anybody else, everyone at Green Gables  agreed; she was special — a girl with an enormous  imagination. This orphan girl dreamed of the day  when she could call herself Anne of Green Gables.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: I became interested in downloading Anne of Green Gables on Free Books app because of my favorite celebrity Anne Curtis-Smith. In one of her Youtube videos she mentioned that this is her favorite book. From that video I started to wonder why she likes it very much. After reading it last February, I wonder no more. It took me 5 consecutive days to finish it. Although it has been more than a month since I read the book, I can still remember what I felt while I’m reading it.

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Book Review: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

The Memory Keeper's DaughterGenre: Fiction (contemporary, drama, family)

Synopsis: Families have secrets they hide even from themselves… It should have been an ordinary birth, the start of an ordinary happy family. But the night Dr David Henry delivers his wife’s twins is a night that will haunt five lives for ever.

For though David’s son is a healthy boy, his daughter has Down’s syndrome. And, in a shocking act of betrayal whose consequences only time will reveal, he tells his wife their daughter died while secretly entrusting her care to a nurse.

As grief quietly tears apart David’s family, so a little girl must make her own way in the world as best she can.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: Okay, so after reading this book I asked myself how will I rate this and what review I should write. I am speechless, honestly. The book left me and I was like what should I say. I know from the very beginning that the story is sad and tragic because of a secret hidden by the father to his family in many years. There were book bloggers who had reviewed this book and readers who posted their reviews on Goodreads and from there, I had a pretty good idea what to expect from this book. Although some had given negative reviews about the The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, I still wanted to read it.

The words were beautifully written altogether, to form sentences that will move and intrigue the readers. Narrations about the characters and the setting they are in, played in my head as if I’m listening to a music and imagining what the lyrics mean. It was so nice. This book has something that is only with itself, that when I’m reading it I can also feel the emotions that the characters have. The intricate descriptions of each of the characters, what they feel, do and think has shaped the story so well. I can easily understand what’s going on. There are words that I need to look up to in the dictionary to fully understand the meaning of it but mostly of it are easy to comprehend. Overall it was an easy read but also very in-depth. In some parts of the book I got bored especially in the middle part, probably because of the super detailed narrations and I already wanted to know what will happen next. 😉 I’m so curious. Nevertheless, the rest were all a great reading experience. A roller coaster of emotions from the beginning to end.

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suite francaise

Genre: Fiction (historical, war, classics)

Synopsis: Beginning in Paris on the eve of the Nazi occupation in 1940. Suite Française tells the remarkable story of men and women thrown together in circumstances beyond their control. As Parisians flee the city, human folly surfaces in every imaginable way: a wealthy mother searches for sweets in a town without food; a couple is terrified at the thought of losing their jobs, even as their world begins to fall apart. Moving on to a provincial village now occupied by German soldiers, the locals must learn to coexist with the enemy—in their town, their homes, even in their hearts. When Irène Némirovsky began working on Suite Française, she was already a highly successful writer living in Paris. But she was also a Jew, and in 1942 she was arrested and deported to Auschwitz, where she died. For sixty-four years, this novel remained hidden and unknown.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Review: I discovered this book through an article in a website which unfortunately I forgot the name. The author of the article wrote about how this novel’s manuscript was discovered which was one the reasons why I became interested in reading it. Suite Française has been sitting on my bookshelf for almost a year and finally last month I had the courage to read it. I have never a book like this one before that is why it is intimidating for me to read. Honestly, I never thought that I could ever finish reading this book. I thought it would be boring or I will be disinterested halfway through but I was wrong. I was taken to France and time traveled to witness closely one the most unforgettable events in the history of mankind, the World War II. Specifically the occupation of France by the Nazis. The book consists of two parts, The Storm in June and Dolce. In the first part the author depicted the lives of the Parisians who are going to flee Paris before it will be invaded by the Nazis and in the second part the lives of people who are living in the village occupied by the Germans are depicted. The characters on the first part are also mentioned or are on Dolce. People from different walks of life are being portrayed in this novel. The elites, the working class, the business men, children, young adults, the adults and the people in their senior years. As I read the book, I was able to take a closer look about the lives of these people, their thoughts and opinions about the war, the values and principles they stand for and their reasons for their actions. The novel let me experience what it was like to live during those difficult times, where your values are challenged, your faith tested and whether you will follow your heart or listen to what the society thinks is the right thing to do. Characters who were portrayed in this story were not only the French but also the German soldiers. As the story progresses, I was also able to take a closer look about their lives and what they think and feel about the war.

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