Archive for the 'Personal Favorites' Category

Book Review: Safe Haven

Nicholas SparksSafe Haven didn’t make me cry like his previous, but it gave me the creeps. The book is someone a silent advocacy to stop marital abuse. Safe Haven touched the sensitive and most controversial marital issue of domestic violence that is existing all over the world and in various households. The whole book reminded me of the poem, I Got Flowers Today. It almost became a mantra inside my head.

The battered-wife syndrome that ties a woman to an abusive husband who beats her to death and robs her off of her self-esteem. He made sure for her to know that it is her fault she is suffering his beatings, not his. In the end, he would offer an apology and acts as if nothing happened. What kind of man would do that to his wife? Certainly not a man who respects and loves the woman he married.

Erin/Katie depicts the kind of woman who suffers from the above-mentioned syndrome in the beginning of the story, but she chose to escape the cycle. The courage she found was admirable. She carefully planned her escape, made sure that her husband (who is a very good detective by the way) would not trace her. She saved every scrape of money she could lay her hands on and managed to  stay strong until she found the right time to run. She never looked back.

Kevin, on the other hand, pretended everything was okay back at home. He did not tell anyone that his wife left him. He kept on drinking and blame everything to Erin. Nicholas Sparks described the husband so vividly that it reminds me of the list of ‘husbands who most likely hits his wife’ back in college. He is successful in his business, great with his wife in front of people, would not allow his wife to have a driver’s license or mingle with friends, would not allow his wife to talk to men and would hit his wife in areas that can be covered with clothes.

She assumed a different name and lived peacefully as someone else. She also found herself a new love, namely Alex who had been good to her and also suffered from grief (since he lost his wife due to an illness and left him with two adorable kids).

But their so-called happiness didn’t last long when Kevin (the husband) found out where Erin was and haunted her. This is my favorite part! It had me glued to the pages, anticipating and getting nervous at the same time. Kevin’s ride to find Erin was heart-pounding. You can feel the anger burning in his veins, and if you can just call Erin to tell her to run as far as she could or even warn her, you would’ve done so because it just seemed to real.

Kevin found her, and of course, he wanted her back at any cost. He burnt the store and even smashed Alex’s head. But since he was delirious due to vodka intoxication, the heroine found a way to finish him off. Finally she was free! Great, right?

The last part of the story was the letter from Carly (Alex’s deceased wife — yes, it is so Nicholas Sparks to write letters!). You can look forward to this one as well. Because I think writing letters that can break or make your heart is Spark’s forte.

I love this book because it will (if not yet) encourage women to stand and fight, escape the marriage that could cost them their lives. There is more to this world than the hell that they are experiencing. As to breaking vows, the husband broke their vows first because they hit their wives. You are just doing the right thing by leaving him, and starting a new life. Finding a man who deserves you and would not lay a finger to hurt you. Safe Haven allows women who had been through domestic violence to gain insight and make the right choice of walking away.

Book Review: The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)

The Duff

My 49th book this 2011.

The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) is hidden beneath my copies of regency romance novels. What made me read this YA book is the title. Okay, DUFF? Never heard of it before, it caught my interest and started reading the pages and finished it in one day.

The first question that instantly popped into my mind was that, was I the DUFF in my clique? Did I just sit in one corner and watched my friends enjoy themselves? Well, I really don’t think so. I really didn’t think we had a DUFF, I think we all were at some point of our lives.

See Synopsis.

The story revolves around a cynical teen named Bianca. Bianca Piper, a seventeen year-old girl in her senior year, is a fantastic character that can make you laugh. She has two great friends who really love her and a dysfunctional family who loves her as well. Wesley described her perfectly: What you are is an intelligent, sassy, sarcastic, cynical, neurotic, loyal and compassionate girl. She tends to bottle up her problems and finds a way to escape them.

Rather than dealing with her issues, Bianca or B to her friends, mastered the art of escapism. Understandable for teens, most of us had been there. But unlike the usual teens who lose themselves in a good book or movie, she loses herself in the bed of her arch-enemy, the man-whore himself, Wesley Rush. The guy she hates so much. So I guess there is REALLY a thin line between love and hate.

Bianca may sound real to you, but Wesley Rush seemed to come out of a fairytale. Although I like his character development, he started out as a jerk in the beginning and turned into a prince-charming who learned the consequences of his actions and showed a possibility of becoming a future decent and normal teen. I love the way he harassed B in the latter part, sending her nice flowers and a note in class stating: “Wesley Rush doesn’t chase girls, but I’m chasing you”.

What is more surprising in this book is that the author discussed teen sex. Her dealing of the controversial topic is very honest. I have never expected it in a YA novel, having read some way back (and even now). It didn’t seem to appear that Keplinger excuse or forbid sex, rather she just presented reality. She included sex scenes in her book with tact that many other YA authors failed to do.

The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) is a smart, honest, funny and heart-warming novel. It revolves around the vital issues that teens deal – family, friendship, love and insecurities. The issues may look heavy to you, but this is really a light and effortless read. The book is really nice and you will want to pick it up again just in case you are in a bad mood and need to lighten up.

Favorite Quotes:

  • No matter where you go or what you do to distract yourself, reality catches up with you eventually.
  • Escape is impossible, so why not embrace it

The Wedding

by Nicholas Sparks

 

A friend of mine told me to read this story because the ending is so unexpected. I have always loved Nicholas Sparks because his poignant tales that could make me cry. It seems tangible and real that you could’ve wished you’ll have the same story with of course, a different and happier endings (since he has the chance to break your heart at the end of his book).

 

After more than 20 years of marriage, Wilson Lewis, son-in-law of Allie and Noah Calhoun (from The Notebook) is forced to admit that the romance has gone out of his marriage. Desperate to win back his wife Jane’s heart, he must figure out how to make her fall in love with him. Again. Despite the shining example of Allie and Noah’s marriage, Wilson is himself a man unable to easily express his emotions. A successful tax attorney, he has provided well for his family, but now, with his daughter’s upcoming wedding and an impending empty nest, he is forced to face the fact that he and Jane have grown apart and he wonders if she even loves him anymore. Wilson is sure of one thing-his love for his wife has only deepened and intensified over the years. Now, with the memories of his in-laws’ magnificent fifty- year love affair as his guide, Wilson struggles to find his own way back into the heart of the woman he adores.

 

The first part of the story is quite misleading, but this may be the author’s intention. Indeed, the whole book talks about the family getting ready for a big wedding. But the reader will realize at the end of the book that the plot is much more than just THE WEDDING. A charming and romantic novel is discovery of a man’s journey towards reinventing himself as a spouse and making precious memories along the way. This story is told in the first person voice of Wilson who tells the tale of eternal love that may turn the most cynical person into a romantic fool.

 

Sidney Sheldon

Kate Blackwell is one of the richest women in the world. She is an enigma, a woman surrounded by unanswered questions. Her father was a diamond prospector who struck it rich, her mother the daughter of a crooked Afrikaaner merchant. On her ninetieth birthday ghosts haunt Kate’s thoughts.

Sheldon is my mother’s favorite author. I haven’t really read him until there was no book to read but his. Now I know why my mother loves him. This is the first book that I have read. I love Katherine’s character, she’s tough and scheming. She manipulated everyone’s life around her for her convenience, this cost her son.

This is a saga of a millionaire family across five generations starting from South Africa when a penniless Scot immigrant Jamie Blackwell try to find his luck to make the beginning of a huge fortune in the diamond business, to his daughter Kate in her 90s distressed in finding a successor to run the business empire she built.

The whole book is filled with almost every human passion and emotion you can think of: greed, fear, jealousy, love, sex and death. It is a one great story and the plot progresses at very fast pace. The characters are memorable and are unique in their own ways. The twist and turns are jaw-dropping that you couldn’t help but to turn page after page. I am sure you could not put the book down. So, if you don’t have the time, don’t start reading it!