Review: The Diving Pool (by Yoko Ogawa)

Review: The Diving Pool (by Yoko Ogawa)

If you’re familiar with books such as ‘The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories’ then you will know how ‘The Diving Pool’ works. If not, let me explain. Within this book, there are three novellas but each carry a similar tone of innocence-turned-cruelty. Just like ‘The Bloody Chamber’ carried the theme of sex and power, ‘The Diving Pool’ explores the darkness within us all and the darkness around us.

To read my review of ‘The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories’ click here

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Plot

The first novella is a story focused around two siblings. Aya is a girl who is in love with her foster-brother, Jun. She watches him in the school gym when he’s practicing his dives, and becomes a little obsessive and sadistic as the story goes on. It gets very dark and odd, and there’s no single word I can describe this story other than odd but it was enjoyable.

The second novella is written in the form of diary entries (which I thought was a good way of laying it out) and follows the journey of a woman who is witnessing her sister going through pregnancy. The behaviour of the pregnant sister is quite normal, but the woman witnessing her sister being pregnant takes on a bit of an obsessiveness for her sister, writing down her behaviours and keeping watch of her, and especially making passion fruit jam just so she can watch her sister eat it and get fat. Creepy yet interesting, I was certainly entertained by this story yet the last part of the story left me confused. I wasn’t sure what to think, but I’ll leave that for you to read and find out.

The third story focuses on a woman who recommends her cousin to stay at the same dormitory she did back in her university days, only to find herself becoming attached to it, regularly visiting the place and living a relatively bland life. The most interesting and entertaining out of all three stories, I loved the mystery behind this one and the fact that it had me questioning after every page made me love it even more. It was left open for the reader to interpret and mull over, and I believe it worked for this story. There was so much to the plot, and it was definitely one that made me think.

Plot Rating: 3 out of 4 Stars

Characters

I hated Aya (from the first novella). She was selfish, unempathetic and just plain creepy. She was someone I came to dislike rather quickly, and was a part of the reason as to why I didn’t really like the first story. Jun, on the other hand, was a sweetheart and the total opposite of Aya. He was kind and giving, so Aya being obsessed with him made me fear for him but also think that he was hiding something too because…he was too sweet and these stories all had characters that had something dark about them that either was already present or occurred later. Overall, I just really didn’t like Aya. At all.

As for the other characters in the other two novellas, I never really formed an opinion about them other than the fact that they slowly started to descend into madness and become creepy. All appearing relatively normal at first, they quickly became creepy and despite being a recurring theme, it was one I didn’t get tired of.

Character Rating: 2 out of 4 Stars

Grip

You can easily get sucked in to these stories, therefore I would call this book gripping. Yoko manages to make each story creepy and odd, and I was certainly not surprised as the Japanese can do this so well. Each was different in how creepy they were, but the last novella managed to make me feel absolutely weird and creeped out so it succeeded better in making me feel uncomfortable (which was actually a good thing!).

Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars

In the end, I really did enjoy this book and the novellas within it but found one to be stronger than the others in regards to the creep factor. I found the last story to be the strongest out of the three, whilst the other two I could easily forget.

Overall Rating: 3 + 2 + 2 = 7 out of 10 Stars

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For any other reviews and information regarding The Diving Pool by Yoko Ogawa, please visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1337973.The_Diving_Pool

Have you read this book? If so, leave a comment down below and let me know what you think?

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Thinking of writing a book? Me too!

Thinking of writing a book? Me too!

Hi there!

Now you may have read from the title that I have thought about writing about my own book, and it’s true! After discovering Wattpad and finding stories written by every day people, I felt inspired to do the same.

Now, thinking about a story plot and all of that business sounds easy and it kind of is, but actually plucking up the courage to start writing it out is a different story! I have the perfect plot, characters and twists for my story, but I’m having trouble actually starting it.

Here’s where this post gets more active. I’d love for anyone who has the same desire as me (the urge to write), or is writing/already written books to comment below or email my business email (will be listed below) to let me know how they manage to actually start writing and/or if they haven’t already, what’s stopping you?

If you’ve already published books on Wattpad and would like a review of your story/stories, please do get in touch! 

Email: contactkmblog@gmail.com

 

Thank you for reading!

Hello 2018!

Hello 2018!

Happy New Year everyone! Wow, didn’t 2017 fly by?!

I’m here to say that another year means another load of books to read, so where do we start? Well, there are still a few books on my shelf (and pending book reviews) I have yet to dig into, so 2018 reviews will be a mixed bag.

I’ll have more information for you all (and reviews) soon, so for now dig into my other reviews if you haven’t already, and get started with your 2018 resolutions!

Review: Menacingly (By Autumn Summers)

Review: Menacingly (By Autumn Summers)

A Wattpad story written by Autumn Summers, Menacingly follows the story of Angela and how she winds up falling for a Mafia man.

It sounds a little weird at first because you rarely find yourself having to deal with these kind of men (Mafia men obviously) but reading Angela’s growing love for her captor, it was rather nice and different to stories I had read before, but was it a good read? Let’s see!

Menacingly✔️

Plot

Based around Angela’s new-found love with her captor, Adriano, the book’s plot doesn’t deter from the main story and offers the reader all the seduction and tears that they desire. From the passionate encounters between the two to the clashes they have, the plot successfully leaves the reader wanting to know more and even feeling sympathy for certain characters.

The plot also looks at the Mafia life and the rivalry that Adriano’s family has with another Italian Mafia family, and despite this being more subdued at the beginning of the book, the influence that the rivalry has on the two characters is big as you progress, making the plot juicy and addicting!

Additionally, I found that the chapters were balanced just right between these two major story lines and had a great effect with each and every character in this story, leaving no character behind and ensuring the reader has feelings for everyone and fully allowing the reader to indulge in the plot and the drama.

Plot Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Characters

The main character was called Angela and she was someone who had gone through quite a tough time, leaving her relatively timid and jumpy. She was co-operate and patient, and even though at times she kind of got on my nerves because all she seemed to be was a puppy, I actually grew to like her. She was different to others I had read because she wasn’t overly strong or outspoken. She was fragile yet as the story progressed, she managed to gain a resilience whilst maintaining her fragility.

However, one thing that made me think she was completely dumb was the fact that she couldn’t figure out what Adriano did for a living. All the hints were there yet she seemed oblivious to what Adriano was – a gangster.

Speaking of Adriano, I found that I had mixed feelings towards him. He was hot one minute then cold the other (insert Katy Perry song here) and seemed to have an issue telling Angela his true feelings, and although I can see why he had such an issue doing so, it only made me roll my eyes. He was fighting his feelings then letting them be free, and even though it was tiring to see this occurring again and again, I really liked how he turned out in the end. He was protective and absolutely adored Angela, making me feel all gooey inside just reading how he felt about her.

As for the other characters, I found that even though they weren’t in much of the story, they all had dimension to them and felt real. You could get a clear image of them and what they were like, allowing the reader to have feelings towards them whether it may be love, hate or annoyance. One character in particular who brought out happiness in me and made me smile was Mike, Adriano’s younger brother and absolute flirt. Despite not being a major character, he definitely affected the story to the same degree and brought characters together. Everyone had a part to play, and I loved that.

Character Rating: 3½ out of 4 Stars

Grip

I was absolutely addicted to this book and managed to finish it within two days! It was utterly entertaining and hard to put down, therefore I consider this book definitely gripping.

Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I am a sucker for romance books, and the romantic content in this book had me thirsty for more! Autumn Summers delivered a very entertaining book worth recommending that had me laughing, crying, smiling and sometimes leaving me on edge!

Overall Rating: 4 + 3½ + 2 = 9½ out of 10 Stars

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For more information regarding Menacingly, and any other reviews, please visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31447989-menacingly

This book was found on Wattpad, a reading site where you can read and create stories for FREE. To check out Menacingly yourself or read other books by Autumn Summers, please visit this link – https://www.wattpad.com/user/ASummers1

 

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Leave your comments down below!

 

 

Review: The Shadow Hour (By Kate Riordan)

Review: The Shadow Hour (By Kate Riordan)

The Shadow Hour is a historical fiction novel that skips between two separate years (1922 and 1878) and follows the story of Grace, a woman who has been sent to a stately home called Fenix House to follow in the footsteps of her grandmother as a governess, but the reason as to why her grandmother has sent her there is clouded in mystery.

At 528 pages in Paperback, is this book worth your time? Find out below!

shadow-hour

Plot

As mentioned, this plot skips between two periods. The first period tells us about the present (which is the 1920’s in this story) whereby we meet Grace. A character who has grown up with her grandmother’s stories about Fenix House and the people who resided there so she’s quite scared yet excited to travel there as a governess. Reading her journey to this place had me riddled with curiosity, and I couldn’t wait to learn more about these stories her grandmother had lived through and the people that resided at the house now. Additionally, everything was described in rich detail, so much so that the environment felt alive and as much a part of the story as the characters. The detailing of the overgrown gardens and vines on the Fenix stately home in 1922 hinted as to what kind of characters lived in the house, and I found that it also have the house a sense of character. A building that had endured and seen so much as well as growing old with time.

As for the other period, which is set in 1878, we meet the other main character. She is the grandmother of Grace, and here we get to read about her experience working at Fenix House and what kind of life she lived while there. If I’m honest, I knew that some things were going to happen, such as romance, but some of the plot twists that appear and the behaviour of other characters really threw me off and had me scoffing, gasping and really feeling something for some of the characters. The story was something I could half guess and half couldn’t, leaving me shocked at some of the scenes that played out and utterly speechless at others.

Plot Rating: 3½ out of 4 Stars

Characters

Each character played a significant role within this story, with Grace being the one to uncover which person plays which role. I found that this element allowed me, as the reader, to bond better with Grace as we are learning alongside her and uncovering these secrets with her. Granted, I didn’t have an initial opinion about Grace when I started the book, but as I progressed I found her to be a simple character who just wants to get to the bottom of her grandma’s stories. She’s nothing exceptionally special, but how she came to be was a real shock (which I’ll leave for you to discover).

As for Grace’s grandma, I actually felt quite neutral towards her and then began to slowly develop a liking for her because of how complicated her life became during her time employed at the house. She was a character that related to most young women (at least in my opinion) whereby she just wanted to get on with work but also faced challenges she wish she didn’t have to endure and became a part of situations she didn’t ask to be involved in. Love, sadness and mystery a part of her story and I thought this matched quite well with a simple woman because it allowed to character development and potential change which would offer shock to the reader as well as excitement.

There are numerous characters within this historical fictional novel, therefore I’d like to sum them all up in one word rather than describe them in paragraphs: riveting.

Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Grip

As per usual when starting off a book, the beginning didn’t have me hooked instantly so it took a while for me to get into it, however it does get interesting rather quickly (around 20 pages in) because it gets straight into it. Grace is setting off towards Fenix House and talks about what her grandmother told her, and from here we are learning alongside Grace when it comes to the truth about the house and family, therefore gripping you as you read. So in all, is it gripping? Yes.

Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars

Altogether, I’d say that I found The Shadow Hour to be a very interesting book that had me more curious after each chapter and tempting me to re-read Jane Eyre due to the reminiscent themes. I wouldn’t re-read this particular book again, but I’m glad I read it at least once.

Overall Rating: 3½ + 4 + 2 = 9½ out of 10 Stars

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For more information regarding The Shadow Hour and any other reviews, please visit www.goodreads.com

 

Have you read this book? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!

 

Monthly Book Buys – SEPTEMBER

Monthly Book Buys – SEPTEMBER

Hi everyone! Gosh does time fly, and here we are again with another Monthly Book Buys. This month I decided to buy two books:

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Welcome to Lagos by Chihundu Onuzu

 

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 i am missing by Tim Weaver

 

I bet you’re wondering why I only bought two books. Well, the truth is that at the moment it is taking me some time to read through the books I currently possess, therefore I want to limit the amount I buy every month so I’m not speed reading through books.

Until next time, keep reading and enjoy!

 

Have you already read these books? If so, what are your thoughts? And if you haven’t, would you be interested in giving these books a read? Leave your comments below!