Before the Coffee Gets Cold – A book review

Before the Coffee Gets Cold – A book review

Yet another time travel book this year. If you had a chance to travel back (or forward) in time, whom would you meet and what will you ask them? Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi runs around this theme and let us get on to my book review right away.

About Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Book Name: Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Author: Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Genre: Fiction – Drama,

Characters: Kazu, Nagare and Kei, Fusagi and Kohtake

Setting: Tokyo, Japan

Plot Summary of Before the Coffee Gets Cold

The Funiculi Funicula is a basement cafe that has an ambient temperature whatever be the time of the day or season outside, despite no apparent air conditioning. Urban legend holds that its patrons can travel in time by following some rules and certain ritual.

But the catch is that, the trip would bear no impact to the present or future. And the opportunity to travel in time is also rare – only when a particular seat is vacant.

Four different patrons take their chances to time travel even though they know they cannot change their history. Did they make it back safely? What did they want to do so important that they risk getting stuck in a forever loop?

Read Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi to know more.

Book review of Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi consists of four interlinked short stories of four patrons of the cafe who want to travel in time, and seek someone special.

The premise is quite interesting and simple. But it works well because of the characters, despite the straight forward plot.

I loved the three café workers and their relationships with these patrons. While they are not traveling in time, they understand why it is important for these four to do so and they almost hold their breath until they return from their trip (or not.)

The book is quintessentially Japanese, or East Asian. When I learnt that Before the Coffee Gets Cold was initially written as a play, it made more sense about why everything was overexplained and had minimal descriptions.

What worked for me

  • Before the Coffee Gets Cold is a character driven book and if you are not one for them, this book might bore you soon enough.
  • I loved Kazu, Kei and Nagare and I really hope to seeing more of them in the next part of the book.
  • The book is hopeful and bittersweet. And if you are particularly emotional type, this book might overwhelm you (in a good way).

What may have been better

  • There are times when the writing gets sloppy and repetitive. I am not sure if it is an issue with the translation or the writing itself.

Bottom line

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi might be the next bittersweet book you might be looking for. If you are looking Asian or Japanese books to read, Before the Coffee Gets Cold should be next pick.

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Before the Coffee Gets Cold – A book review

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – A book review

I had been putting aside Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, who is one of my favorite authors, for a while, even when I was almost sure that I will like it. I just wanted savor it but when the dreadful slump threatened, I had to bring in the big gun.

So did Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn work well for me? Was it worth the hype and will I be watching the Amy Adams starring HBO series? You will have to read my book review of Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn to know more.

About Sharp Objects

Book Name: Sharp Objects

Author: Gillian Flynn

Genre: Fiction – Psychological Thriller

Characters: Camille Preaker, Amma, Adora, Alan and Marian Crellin, Chief Bill Vickery, Frank Curry, Richard Willis, Natalie and John Keene

Setting: Wind Gap, MissouriThe USA

Plot Summary of Sharp Objects

Camille Preaker has been offered a chance to redeem her career as a journalist and her position with her chief, who has been always by her side even during her recent stint at the psych ward.

All she has to do is return to her hometown and cover the unsolved murder of a pre-teen girl and the recent disappearance of another.

While Camille is no way ready for visiting her hometown, but she does it anyway. She hasn’t spoken to her obsessive mother (Adora) in years and barely knows her half sister Amma.

With an uncooperative local Sheriff and handsom Kansas City detective on tow, Camille finds herself not just covering the story but finding the murderer who removes the teeth from his victims.

Will Camille be able to dig through the mystery, without awakening her demons from the past? What’s the deal with her family and her past? Grab a copy of Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and read it right away.

Book review of Sharp Objects

I should start with a huge disclaimer: I am a huge fan of Gillian Flynn and I have read all her books including her novella. She is one of those authors that I would recommend to anyone looking for a fast psychological thriller or a new reader.

And I am glad to announce that Flynn didn’t disappoint me at all with Sharp Objects. Yes, it is apparent that it is not as nuanced as her later works, but it is still as dark as her books are usually. Fans of dark pasts and dysfunctional families, you won’t be disappointed.

I guessed the killer at about 70% of the book but I think Sharp Objects was more than just finding the murderer. It has always been about the characters themselves for me, which were fully developed and intriguing in their own ways.

If you have read Gone girl and/or Dark places, you know what you are in for and you will love it.

What worked for me

  • No one writes dark and damaged characters like Flynn and I have come to expect them in all her novels.
  • I love how motherhood was a subtle theme all through the book. Even the last article that Camille was working on before returning home was about a mother who abandons her kids for some drugs to her own mother who hugged her “ferociously”.
  • Sharp Objects is set in a small town (I am a huge fan of those) that is creepy and closed in equal parts.

What may have been better

  • You may not like the protagonist at all. And Camille just makes it hard to root for her and her actions gets only desperate and irrational after a while. (I like such characters, but just a warning for those of you who don’t like books with unlikeable protagonists.)
  • The whodunnit part can be figured out or at least guessed before it happens. So if you are in just for the mystery part of it, Sharp Objects might seem predictable.

Content warningy

Self harm (cutting), parental neglect and abuse, mentions of underage sex and rape, recreational drugs.

Bottom line

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn is an engrossing thriller that will stay with you for a long time if you like twisted and dark characters and dysfunctional families. Flynn doesn’t disappoint her fans with Sharp Objects at all.

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Before the Coffee Gets Cold – A book review

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn (Bridgerton) – A book review

I don’t usually read Historical romances but with the hype from the Netflix series and the bookstagram, I had to pick The Duke and I by Julia Quinn, the famed Bridgerton series. How did that work for me? Read my book review to know more.

Duke and I Bridgerton Featured

About The Duke and I

Book Name: The Duke and I (Bridgerton #01)

Author: Julia Quinn

Genre: Fiction – RomanceHistorical

Characters: Daphne Bridgerton, Simon Basset

Setting: London, England, The UK

Plot Summary of The Duke and I

Set in the Regency London, Daphne Bridgerton is the fourth of eight siblings in a close-knit family and is ready to meet her suitors. While everyone likes her wit and kindness, no one actually adores her. She is too friendly with her young suitors to be a romanced.

Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings is new to the scene as he has just returned to England from his stay abroad. He is not interested in marriage nor progeny, but he is constantly paraded by the mothers and daughters as an eligible bachelor.

So when Daphne, Simon’s best friend’s sister offers him a way out he takes it. They fake court, so that Simon will deter the parade and Daphne will get more prospects to choose from.

The plan works well, until it goes wrong horribly. Does the Duke and Daphne understand the folly in their plan and do they end up in a HEA? Read The Duke and I by Julia Quinn to know more.

Book review of The Duke and I

The Duke and I was my first book set in Regency London and my first time reading Julia Quinn’s writing as well. And imagine my surprise when I flew through the pages in an afternoon.

Julia Quinn’s writingwas witty and hilarious. I loved the banters and the sibling’s taunts. Even if they followed a half of Julia’s dialogues in the Netflix version, I won’t be surprised at what a hit the Bridgerton series has been. (Yes, I haven’t watched it yet.)

I loved the Bridgerton family dynamic and the drama. I would definitely have to keep a watch out for the other books.

On the other hand, I didn’t like the female lead at all, not even before that ONE SCENE. Don’t even start me with the Duke. He was lying and manipulative as well. So made for each other I guess.(?)

I loved the book and had a merry time with it, until that one scene.

Yes, it was cringe-y, manipulative, non consensual scene that spoiled everything for me. I understand the book was written in early 2000s, the “rules were different” then (no, they weren’t) and blah blah, but I completely lost it after that. (I am hoping that Netflix guys changed this one.)

What worked for me

  • The funny, witty banter sprinkled all through the book. I loved them. Julia Quinn made chuckle, grin, laugh and even snort at one point.
  • I loved the Bridgerton family dynamics and the younger ones were funny as well. I want more of the Bridgerton world y’all!

What may have been better

  • Both the leads were flawed, manipulative and lying. But given the time period it was set in, maybe it was normal I guess. Anyway, I was able to look past it.
  • Why did I have to read a non consensual sex (rape?) scene. It spoiled everything for me.

Content warning

Non consensual sex, parental neglect

Bottom line

While I loved the writing, the character building and the Bridgerton world, there were things that put me off The Duke and I by Julia Quinn. But I will definitely read Julia Quinn’s other books and continue the Bridgerton series soon (assuming they were not problematic or off putting).

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Before the Coffee Gets Cold – A book review

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – A book review

I had been meaning to pick up My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite for a long time now, having seen the countless reviews and posts on bookstagram. But after hearing Ms Braithwaite speak (virtually) at the Emirates Litfest this year, I grabbed it immediately. Read my book review of My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite to know more.

About My Sister, the Serial Killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite book review

Book Name: My Sister, the Serial Killer

Author: Oyinkan Braithwaite

Genre: Fiction – Thriller, Drama

Characters: Korede, Ayoola, Tade, Muhtar Yautai

Setting: Lagos, Nigeria

Plot Summary of My Sister, the Serial Killer

Set in the modern day Lagos, Nigeria, My Sister, the Serial Killer opens with Korede helping her younger sister Ayoola get rid of her latest victim’s body. Ayoola tells her it was a self defense, but Korede is not convinced entirely.

Korede, a sincere nurse with a crush on her coworker, the handsome doctor Tade. Her only “friend” is a patient in comatose, to whom she confides about her suspicions about her self absorbed sister, who might be a serial killer.

What happens when Ayoola and Tade fall for each other, and her friend who knows all her deep and dark secrets, is no longer in a comatose? You have to read My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite to know more.

Book review of My Sister, the Serial Killer

I loved the plot and while not being original, I wanted to know more about the sisters and what happens to them. There are some flashbacks that talk about their childhood and their late father.

The chapters are quite short and you can race through the book in a sitting, like I did. But the short chapters made it seem like it was rushed and underdeveloped at places.

The small snippets about their abusive tyrannical father, which offer some glimpse into why Ayoola might be doing whatever she does. And the fact that we may never know the full story made it more interesting for me.

I wanted to like Korede, but unfortunately she seemed too passive about her situation and life in general. On the other hand, I loved reading the social commentary about the modern day Lagos and their inept and corrupt police force.

[wpdiscuz-feedback id=”cl9hemzmnn” question=”Please leave a feedback on this” opened=”0″]My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite is my first book set in Nigeria, is there any other Nigerian books that I should be reading?[/wpdiscuz-feedback]

What worked for me

  • I loved the premise and it had me hooked from the first sentence.
  • The short chapters with cliffhangers got me reading the entire book in a single sitting. My Sister, the Serial Killer is a perfect popcorn fun read!
  • I loved reading about Lagos and Nigerian lifestyle and I will definitely watch out for the author as well.

What may have been better

  • The short chapters made it seem like there was more to the story and it was rushed through.
  • I wanted to like characters but sadly none of them had any character development to start with.

Content warning

Parental abuse

Bottom line

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite is a short fun read that may have not lived up to the hype for me. Nevertheless, it is still a good thrilling read that you can breeze through in an afternoon.

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Before the Coffee Gets Cold – A book review

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert – A book review

It has been a while since I have loved a book unconditionally and I am glad that I heeded to everyone raving about Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert. Go on to read my book review to see what worked for me.

About Get a Life, Chloe Brown

Get a life, Chloe Brown book review cover

Book Name: Get a Life, Chloe Brown

Author: Talia Hibbert

Genre: Fiction – Romance

Characters: Chloe Brown, Redford “Red” Morgan

Setting: Nottinghamshire, England, The UK

Plot Summary of Get a Life, Chloe Brown

Chloe Brown just had a close brush with death which made her reassess her life choices. She moves out of her loving family home and “get a life”. She makes a list of things that she wants to do, whatever her chronic pain and fibromyalgia might allow her to do.

Redford “Red” Morgan is done with all the posh and society life in London, and content with being a building superintendent and painting for himself. He is hurt and hesitant to let in anyone, especially those remind him of his ex.

When they two meet, they dislike each other almost immediately. They dislike what the other embodies and do not hesitate to show their disapproval.

Does Chloe get a life and do they give each other a chance form the rest of the story in Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert.

Book review of Get a Life, Chloe Brown

Get a Life, Chloe Brown is my first Talia Hibbert book and I enjoyed every page of it.

Chloe is an absolute delight to read about. She loves her family but is mildly annoyed that they are over protective. She understands her health issues and her shortcomings. But instead of letting it define her, she understands what works and what doesn’t for her.

Reading how harmful an emotionally abusive relationship can be, from a male’s point of view was eye opening. Seeing how it changed Red was heartbreaking and so well written and he has become one of my favorite fictional male leads in a long time.

I loved how the author made her characters equally vulnerable and strong. Most of adult romances make one of their leads strong and the other vulnerable, and they become codependent. But neither of them do that in Get a Life, Chloe Brown.

I can’t wait to read about the Brown sisters in Talia Hibbert’s other books.

What worked for me

  • Both Red and Chloe have strong personalities and they are both hurt. I loved how independent, yet vulnerable they both were.
  • Talia Hibbert’s witty writing had me laughing loud at so many places. And she was as sensitive and respectful when she handled the emotional issues. She will definitely be one of my favorite authors of the year!
  • Representation matters. I do not have chronic illness, nor do I fall into any other category that these characters represent. But I have so many people on the Bookstagram and from the blogging world who say they felt represented.

What may have been better

  • NOTHING. I LOVED THIS ONE.

Content warning

Chronic pain and fibromyalgia, Emotional abuse and gaslighting, PG sexual content

Bottom line

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert is a well written contemporary romance with wonderful characters that will stay with you even after you finish reading it. Plus one for the diverse (fat, Black) representations!

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