Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Review: A Golden Web by Barbara Quick

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This is a lovely little book. A Golden Web is a fictional account of the life of Alessandra Gilliani, who is considered to be the world's first female anatomist. In a time when the knowledge of medicine among women was deemed equivalent to witchcraft, this young lady braved the greatest disease of all - ignorance - to pursue her greatest desire, an education. As a teenager, she became a prosector to one of the greatest medical minds at the time, a feat in itself nothing short of a miracle, if you consider what she was up against. According to the author, there is some controversy as to whether or not this young woman actually existed, as there seem to be little documentation of her acheivements and life in general. Even if she didn't (which I hope is not the case), this book serves as a reminder of a time when women were not granted access to education and more importantly, how the determination to better oneself always triumphs over the greatest obstacles. 

Despite the fact that she lived in the fourteenth century, I believe that our protagonist would've thrived in present society. And given the number of female physicians in the world today, I'd like to think that she would've been proud.

Review: After by Amy Efaw

(image from goodreads)

The dumpster baby issue was a pretty big social problem when I was in my teens. I remember writing countless essays and giving presentations on this occurrence, which were normally accompanied by some very graphic photos from the newspapers. One thing I never considered was whether any of my classmates could have committed such a terrible act. It just wasn't something that we would do. But then again, given how rampant the problem was, there were obviously many girls who were desperate enough to toss a living, breathing, tiny, dependent human being out with the trash. 

Amy Efaw's After examines the story behind the headlines - how does a smart, well adjusted, successful-by-all-accounts teenager end up being arrested for attempted murder? And while I'd like to think that I'd never be able to do what the main character Devon does, the author made me identify with her. Which teenager hasn't experienced some form of denial and refused to accept that she has made a mistake? We all know a little about not wanting to ask for help, thinking that we can handle a problem on our own, even though deep down we know it is out of our hands. Adults make these mistakes every day; it must be a great deal harder doing so as a teenager. 

Denial is powerful., and the effects of it have never been clearer than in this book. Read it. It will give you a whole new perspective as to why some women can throw their babies seemingly without a care. More importantly, it may help you become less judgemental. Because let's face it, we're all in denial about something or the other.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Review: The Rivals by Daisy Whitney

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You know how you look forward to the release of a book, only to be thoroughly disappointed once you've actually read it? This was NOT one of those times. While Daisy Whitney set a high precedent with her first book, she more than succeeded in achieving it with her second. If The Mockingbirds introduced us to the exciting world of an underground justice system, The Rivals showed that even the best things can fail if we're not careful. I empathized with Alex who was struggling to become 'whole' again after her terrible ordeal the previous year, and given a new responsibility, was striving extra hard to prove herself. It was also great to see the return of some of my favourite characters like Maia, TS and of course, Martin and Jones. There were some new ones, whom I won't name because it in a way, gives away the story. 

I'm not sure if there is another book in this series, but I sure hope there is, since the end of The Rivals signalled the start of something new. Also, there were twists at every turn, and while some of you may guess where the story is going, there are parts that you only discover right at the end. Great job, Daisy! I'm definitely looking forward to your next book!

P.S. They should have kept the original cover for The Rivals. It is only at the end of the story when you realise just how much that cover revealed. 

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Review: Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez

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This is an absolute must if you like music in your books. While not everyone will be familiar with the classical pieces mentioned in the book, the author did a great job of bringing the atmosphere of a music performance alive. I felt like I was in the audience, so well was the music described. I now regret not having had music lessons! It also has two great leads - our female lead is a rather sheltered girl having grown up living and breathing music. She is a great contrast to the male lead who is more of a showman when it comes to performances. You can't help but root for both, as I did. Looking forward to more books by Jessica Martinez (hopefully with lots of music in them)! 

P.S. I have to add that Jeremy reminds me of a classical music version of Adam from If I Stay, and there can't be anything wrong with that. 

P.P.S. I'm not sure if this cover is still available; I tried looking for this version everywhere, but couldn't locate it, so I had to settle on a different one, which in my opinion, isn't as pretty. 

Thanks to GalleyGrab for this one.

Review: Hold Still by Nina LaCour

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Man, was this a tough one to read! And I bawled my way through most of it too. What started out as a coping mechanism for Caitlyn (the journal Ingrid left behind to explain why she did what she did) turned into a process of discovery for me as well. This is a true testament to the writing ability of Nina LaCour who makes her readers emphathize with the struggles of both the lead, and her dead best friend. 

This is one I will read...and cry through again.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Review: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

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The blurb (check it out on goodreads) doesn't quite do this book justice. The description of the places travelled in Wanderlove make me want to forget my fears and join a band of backpackers in Central America! That itself is a testament to the author, who has been both a backpacker and a travel writer. I have a tendency to read the acknowledgements and author's notes in books, and it was interesting that some of the experiences the MC has in the book were actually experienced by the author during her travels. Throw in some really beautiful drawings, and this book is one you can read over and over again. I can't wait to buy a copy! 

Thanks NetGalley!