Find you in the dark (by A. Meredith Walters) Review

This is a review by Dee. You can check Elle’s review here.

In an attempt to catch up with my beautiful friend’s book addiction, which by the way, was caused by me (long story on that), I finally finished a book in her recommendation list. I’ve started reading a couple of books she recommended but I’m lack the motivation to finish them.  This book however, I finished without much complain. Not in the speed of light she she did, but I finished and actually enjoyed it and felt like I didn’t waste my time.

The plot

The plot is engaging, there was no dull moment, there was always something happening that makes you anticipate. I dislike the moment in romance book where all the characters do is make sweet cheesy love and say sweet cheesy thing. I like to add cheese in my cooking, but too much of it can overwhelm the taste of the whole dish. It’ll be like eating a cheese block.

I like happy endings but actually didn’t mind the not so happy ending in this book. I don’t feel the rush to want to read the second instalment. Had it not have Epilogue, I would tear my hair off but the Epilogue gave me closure. Actually, had it have a happy ending, it would have been forgettable to me. The ending made me think. I like that in a book. I like pondering about random stuffs in life. Things with no answer.

The Subplot

What’s even cooler than the plot is the subplot. I love books with great subplot! It makes the book double interesting. The story of Rachel and Daniel, the female’s heroine’s best friend, is adorable! Often stories have a half-hearted subplot that’s added just because the writer needs a side character to come in between the main characters. Often it makes you want to skip the page so you can get on with the main plot.

There was one thing that I was slightly disappointed with the subplot: we didn’t get to see first hand how Rachel and Daniel made up after Rachel revealed her feelings for him. It would be cool to see how the two interacts at that point of the story. All we got was the summary by Rachel when she was telling Maggie about it.

The Writing

The writing was simple and easy to follow. No unexplained big words, no convoluted sentences. Thumbs up from me. I dislike book that makes me feel stupid because I have to consult dictionary every five words or reread a sentence five times because I can’t figure out what it’s trying to tell me.

There were some spelling mistakes, I spot about four. I’m sure plenty grammar nazis out there have willingly pointed them out to the writer so I won’t bother listing them. To me it’s forgiveable for a 99c ebook. It’s not that many to disturb my enjoyment.

The Characters

Maggie

Maggie is damn cool. She’s impulsive but that’s normal for a teenager. I like the fact that she’s a teenager so her actions and reactions are normal for her age. It will be different had she been a woman in her twenties. I would have complained how blind and stupid she is. So I’m glad the writer made her a teenager! I like how she knows the consequences of her actions. I like that in a person. If you decide to take a risk, you should at least know what your risks are. Not jump in there blindly and then complain about the consequences. For example, everytime she lied to her parents, she knew if she gets caught she would get in trouble. When she did get caught, she accepted the punishment and not hold grudges against her parents. That, I think, is way cool.

I also like that while she often behaves like a love sick person, in her head, she’s still thinking logically and is not afraid to stand up for herself. The best moment in the book for me is the time she slapped Clay. That’s golden!!!

She also try to move on when bad things happen. She may be moping inside but she tries her best not to let it affect her daily life. She still studies, goes out with her friends and does things with her parents. I dislike people who victimise themselves, lock themselves in their room and cry for seven days and seven nights, and use it as an excuse to ditch their responsibilities.

As I was reading the book, there were many many times where I have to smile or even laugh, not because the story is funny but because Maggie sounds so much like my cohost of this blog. Oh yeah, she’s pretty cool that woman. More on that in another post.

Clay

Clay is clinically ill and behaves like one. So not much I can say there. As much as I like to complain about his clinginess and stupidity, I can’t because it’s expected and it’s vital to the story. Without this trait there will be no story.

Maggie’s parents

I like how the writer makes them act like any normal parents would. She doesn’t make them the super cool parents nor the super annoying parents. They’re cool within their limits. They react to things like any parents would.

Clay’s parents

This is where my complain would lie. Not because they’re heartless, selfish, and ignorant, that’s alright to me as these traits are necessary to make the story, but because I can’t recall an explanation why they are the way they are. It would be nice to know some background information about why they behave this way.

Rachel

She’s adorable. She’s such a good friend. She’s as lovable as the main character. I’m so glad the writer makes her the way she is. She makes your heart warm and bring a smile to your lips even in the darkest part of the story. Very refreshing.

Daniel

He has the same effect as Rachel and doubles as an object of Clay’s jealousy. A multi purpose character! Very clever. Much better than introducing an extra character that does nothing than being a jerk who makes Clay jealous.

Ruby and Lisa

Clay’s aunt and her partner sound like really cool people. I would love to see more of their interaction with Clay and I would love to see how they stand up for Clay in front of his parents. I think these two could have been featured more in the story.

My verdict

I’d say 4.5 out of 5. It’s a pretty damn good story but there are rooms for improvements. It can still be perfected.

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Fair go

With the advance technology and internet, its such a great thing to know how people can turn their dream into reality in much less complicated ways than what it takes back in the olden days.

With platform such as youtube and amazon or even blog and fanfiction site, talented individuals able to share their talents and passion with those who’s happy to acknowledge them.

Im one of those who’s happy to see Indie author making their name as well as talented singers in youtube who did a great job on establish singer’s songs.

Here’s a few of my favorites that I come to love more than the original:

A very nice rendition to the famous Gangnam Style

I never really enjoy Boa’s song but his version makes me love this song

I don’t actually thrilled about those who did a cover song and make its as if its their original by making an MV. But I like this version better than Pink’s so I’ll include this one too.

I love sam tsui and his covers, especially this one.

I like listening to music and have the lyrics handy. I think music speaks more than the actual tunes with its lyrics and knowing what the song is all about makes the song much more meaningful and enjoyable.

Thanks to internet, we all now can enjoy their talents and for them to have a fair chance in reaching their dreams. Imagine how hard it must be for them to go through all the normal channel like back in the old days. We would have never heard of Justin Bieber or Psy the way we come to know them today. (not that i actually like any of them.. lol)

Body Image

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I went to buy a swimsuit today. It was a painful ordeal. It forced me to pay attention to the ugly bits of my body. It enforced how fat I look because nothing looked nice. It doesn’t help that it’s end of summer, in this small town, nobody sells swimsuit anymore. One of the surf shops sold bikinis and bikinis only. Yeah right, like I was gonna wear bikini. It’s bad enough when I have to wear swimsuit, let alone bikini. Myer had ridiculously small collection but they’re mainly bikinis as well. David Jones had some one piece suits but the choice was very limited, especially for my body size and type. I tried at least 10 different swimsuits, all of them I looked fat in, but that’s a given. When you’re fat, you’re fat. No swimsuit can hide that. My goal was to find something that covers as much as possible. Some showed way too much boobs, some made my boobs looked saggy (they are saggy but there’s no need to show that off), some had no built in bra and nipples are everywhere. You can tell by now boobs are where the problem lies. Anyway, so finally I tried one that claimed to be ‘instantly slimming’. I thought it was one size too big but heck, it fit perfectly (it’s always depressing when you find you’re one size bigger!). Boobs are not falling out, fat lumps on the stomach are quite hidden although it’s of course still bulging, my back isn’t overly exposed, and it’s black. And oh, I CAN breath. I didn’t look good, I still looked fat, but at least I don’t look like a plus size porn star.

So I felt rather lucky to have found one in the limited choice I had, until I saw the price tag. It was equal to what I would spend to feed the family for one week. Damn it. It wasn’t on sale like the other swimsuits. Why? Why?!!! Must be the whole instantly slimming deal. Hmmph. Although it made me a little bit relieved, at least that means a lot of people have the same issue thus this item must be in demand therefore the no discount thing.

After asking the cashier to check the price I took it back to the rack. I stood there for few minutes trying to look for alternatives. Tried on a few more, but I looked disgusting in all of them. I didn’t want to be in agony for any longer so I decided to buy it.

It made me think about body image. I needed that swimsuit because my old one ripped. Swimming is my attempt to fix this body image issue. It’s the only exercise that works effectively for my situation. It’s fine I could afford the price tag but what if I couldn’t? Does that mean I can’t swim anymore? I would feel like I’m stuck in this ugly body, I would feel helpless and unhappy.

Then I walked pass the chocolates section of the shop. 50% off Easter confectioneries. Had I not been able to afford that swimsuit, I would feel so depressed because I can’t swim anymore, and I would buy some chocolates to make me feel better, because that I can afford, then I’ll get fatter, and I’ll get more depressed. Then I’ll hide from the world because I feel so ugly. I will have no confidence, I cut off ties with friends, eat more chocolates, and get even fatter. And one day I would die alone and fat and ugly. How depressing is that?

Anyway, my point was, it’s awful how society judges people based on how they look. I have a friend who likes to whisper and made fun of overweight people who dresses badly. She doesn’t whisper to me because she probably knows I hate it, but she does it with her other friends. I think it’s so cruel. Fashion sense is a gift. Not everyone has that gift. Some people tries to be fashionable but it’s not their talent so they fail. Is it necessary to poke fun at them? Make them feel like an outcast?

I was one of those who’s fashioned challenged. I don’t know what looks good or what looks bad. My aim when I choose my clothes is not so I look pretty or so I stand out. My aim is to not attract the attention of the fashion nazis, to look as ordinary and as plain as possible, to be invisible. When I put an effort to look fashionable, I end up looking like a clown and I’m sure I’ll be the target of whisper and stares of those fashion nazis.

So if you happen to stumble across this post, I hope the next time you see a badly dressed person, you have mercy on them. Don’t point or stare, don’t whisper and don’t tell your friend. It’s usually enough torture for them having to get out of their pajamas and choose something to wear. There’s no need to add to their misery.

And if you have a friend who dresses badly, offer to help. Play dress up, choose clothes for them. Teach them what looks good and what looks bad. They’ll be forever thankful.

And oh, the next time you see an overweight person with a badly fitted swimsuit, again don’t point and stare. Maybe her old swimsuit ripped, it was end of season, nobody sells swimsuit anymore and she can’t afford the ‘instantly slimming’ one that costs one week’s worth of grocery. She had to buy the next best thing, a cheap badly fitted one, just so she can go swimming and lose weight and hopefully look better.

Please, just don’t judge people by what they wear. Nobody purposely dresses badly. They don’t go out of their way trying to be a sore in your eyes. They just aren’t gifted with a good fashion sense.

China, North Korea and Vietnam

One bored afternoon at work, I began looking up about North Korea. The life in North Korea always intrigue me. Google’s boss’ daughter got a chance to follow his dad in his visit to North Korea and write up his experience here. I think it illustrates  how bizarre life is over there.

Another thing that intrigue me is the North Korean defectors, people who managed to escape North Korea by crossing border to China and the journey they took to eventually arrive in South Korea where they’re re-educated and given money so they can integrate with South Korean’s society. I imagine the big shock they’re in since most of them would have been brainwashed since birth that the world beyond North Korea is a bad bad world. A little bit like that movie ‘The Island‘ which happens to be one of my favourite movie. So I guess North Korea is The Island in real life.

So this morning I was talking about it with my husband who’s from Vietnam. He said that China will send the defectors back to North Korea if they’re caught as China is North Korea’s biggest ally. I told him that these people who didn’t get caught in China usually then escape to Thailand where they surrender themselves to police which would earn them free ticket to South Korea (the ultimate destination) as according to the law they’re illegal and the government will ‘deport’ them to South Korea. Mission accomplished!

Anyway, I also read that some of them went to Vietnam and was then airlifted to South Korea. The funny bit is, since Vietnam is a communist country, just like China and technically North Korea, Vietnam isn’t supposed to help these defectors but they did although they refused to admit it. According to South Korean government, these people were airlifted from an ‘unidentified South East Asian Country’. Vietnam blatantly denied that it was them who did it and even went into all the trouble to deport some south korean individuals in vietnam who helped the north koreans.

I find the relationship between China, North Korea, and Vietnam is rather cute. China is like the strict Big Daddy, North Korea is the mean older sibling, and Vietnam is the nice younger one. The young sibling knows how mean his big brother is but since they’re one family, the little brother couldn’t say anything bad about the older one so he does things behind everyone’s back to rescue people from the mean brother and then pretend as if nothing happened to save the family ‘face’ and to not anger his brother and father. He even went into the trouble of pretending to be ‘mean’ to those going against his big brother to cover his ‘good deed’ trail.

I wish I can draw comic, this will make a good comic.

Bad Reviews Vs Good Reviews

Having read many books the last few months made me excited about blogging the review and my obsession on them.

To me a review on a book shows just how much the book affected me and how it made me want to shout to the world on my new found obsession either with the story line or the characters. Often it goes hand in hand. I would love the characters and the story line although there’s few that I would just head over heels on the alpha male of the book that the ridiculous story line doesn’t even bug me.

With that been said, I also read some of “just ok” book, those that are entertaining enough to read and passing time but doesn’t leave you with much feeling than “the end”. Once you’re done, the story nor the characters doesn’t really stays in your mind. You could almost forgot what its all about after few weeks.

Then there’s books that just doesn’t jump at you no matter how hard you try enjoy and finish the story. Some books even turn you off so bad you just had to put it down and don’t bother to continue reading.

Surely those of you who read would understand what I mean. I love raving about great books or books that I just enjoyed so much I just can’t stop thinking, talking about it and re-reading it again. So don’t be surprise if most books that spent time writing about is 4 – 5 stars in my world.

But what I don’t understand is that how people could spent so much time writing a bad review.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate bad review just as I appreciate good one. When I go to Amazon for books, I would always check on the review and go for the lowest stars review to see what they say. So I do appreciate the bad review.
Its a good thing to know how bad people think of it for me to decide whether I would buy it or not. To me bad review are just as essential as the good one. It gives the balances of the book feel and you just have to decide what’s your take on it.

But what I don’t understand is those bad reviews on goodreads or some other blogs. To hate a book is a given.
After all, some like it hot..some like it not. Its all come down to preference too sometimes.

That being said, I saw people spent quite a time on writing a bad review complete with pictures and mocking stuff that in my opinion is really unnecessary.

I don’t get why people even spent so much time searching and putting together a creative way to put down a book just because they don’t like it.

The acceptable of bad review or bad ratings books in my dictionary is rate the book, explain why its bad and leave it as that.

Like I said, I do come across a book that make me feel like I want to rant it out too just because I don’t like it or even hate it but then again its all come down to personal preference. What I see as 5 stars to some might just sit at 3 stars .. And that’s cool.

The book that I was struggling with and to me more like a 2 star turned out to be so many people’s favorite. So I get it! Its just not my cuppa.

I do however don’t feel like wasting my time to even review let alone do anything about it if its that bad.

Those authors has put in a lot of time to put together a book and put it out there and let themself open to be criticise and there’s really no need to mock and make a big drama out of what you think its crap.

If only they have so much time and don’t know what to do with it other than blogging a bad review.. I would have ask them to come over and clean my house and watch my kids so I can spend time blogging a good review for a change.

But then again.. Why would I do that? They might start rating my kids and my house condition and not in a good way.

*sigh*

Opinion matters

After so many books with so many stories and so many dramas, it gave me lots of after thoughts on life in general.

Like stories, we all have our own stories that made us who we are and where we are today.

We’re the heroine/hero in our own story of our life. Like any good stories, there’s always a twist and moment of angst and emotional rollercoaster that makes the story even better and hopefully a HEA ending.

I then realise most heroine/hero of a popular or best seller novel.. Almost ALWAYS has a dark side. A dark background, series of unfortunate events in life, flaws and imperfection that most of the time become the important essence of the story.

As my shrink would probably say
“So how are you feeling?”
“Why do you think you feel that way?”
“What makes you feel that way?”

Well…

I FEEL I’m FEELING the FEEL to share my FEELING on those FEELINGS.

Drama queen

I came to realise that I too has a dark side. And often that part of us would create a fear and insecurities.

No matter how successful, how far you run, how good you’ve made it.. One look at your dark side would give you the doubt and make you feel vulnerable especially when it comes to love and acceptance.

We wonder if someone would understand, tolerate, put in effort for us, and most importantly won’t run for the hills when they face with our dark side.

However, like any good story, we just have to take the risk and never give up. When you find that special someone who won’t run for the hills and love you even with your dark side, you know its something worth trying and fighting for.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kzvy4f7z6Q8

What could be a better illustration of that feeling than having Kelly Clarkson said it all through “Dark Side”

Having said that, I guess this will indirectly answer Dee’s question on my taste of music.

I love music that has its own story, lyrics that describe a feeling, songs that you can relate to a situation, melody that could make you cry, scream, laugh, smile and get up to dance or even sit by the window reading a book with a cup of coffee while listening to the tune.

Songs that could make your mind travel the time or places and let your imagination run free along with the tunes.

In short.. Eclectic 🙂

Light in the Shadow (by A Meredith Walters)

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 “… The choices we make in your life don’t have to define us. It’s what we learn from them that’s important…”

“You are everything good in my life. Even when I thought all I had was the darkness, you were there. And you gave me something to live for. I couldn’t let you go. No matter how hard I tried. I know now that’s because to lose ou would be losing the very best part of myself”

This book is the sequel of Find you in the dark. Read this right after Find you in the dark.

The story took you on Clay’s journey to deal with his condition and to come terms with it.

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Healing and Endurance. And most of all courage.

Unlike the first book, Light in the Shadow written with dual POV, giving us a glimpse on how Clay perceive everything and it makes it even more powerful as we learn to understand his thought process and his feeling.

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…. Our path would never be smooth but I hadn’t lied when I said good things were never easy. And I was okay with going that hard way. Because as long as she was beside me, as long as we’re together, I knew we could face everything.

The sequel wont dissapoint you. It has a HEA ending, so its all great! I don’t think i could read it if it doesn’t guarantee a HEA. Most importantly ifs full of even more strong message of hope at the end of a tunnel. I love it!

Another 5 stars reading that i could truly say not a waste of time and worth the zombie state i was in the next day due to the lack of sleep thanks to the book.

Its not a knight shining armour saving the day kinda book, its deep and meaningful and simply real. After all, life is hardly a fairy tale. It’s all come down to how bad you’re willing to work things out for the road to happiness and this story showed that even when things seems hard and life gets tough, you could make it.

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5 stars definitely! *****