Little Women

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I’ll try and be what he loves to call me, ‘a little woman,’ and not be rough and wild; but do my duty here instead of wanting to be somewhere else.

I do not know why it took me so long to read this novel, but I finally did it. And what a lovely read this was!

March sisters Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, are bonded for life by the love of their close-knit family. The bond between the sisters is unbreakable. Although each sister is a completely opposite version of one another, with individual goals and plans for the future, one thing always keeps them together – their family. Although the March family is poor, the lack of money does not make nor break their future plans. The lives of four sisters are full of love, personal achievements, despair, grief, and hope. I was pleasantly surprised by their closeness, love for one another, lack of jealousy, and simple quality to love life as it is. Besides the close friendship, the sisters share a very unique bond with a boy next door, which has created a very close bond between the five characters.

A phenomenal read. The novel was written in a way that the reader is able to feel each emotion and relive each moment of the sister’s lives with them as they were right there in the middle of the novel living as a part of March’s family.



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Tender Is The Night

Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


He was so terrible that he was no longer terrible, only dehumanized.

Dick and Nicole’s marriage is not an ordinary one. Although he declares his love for his wife, there was one more reason for which they have tied the nuptials. Nicole has spent her young years in the asylum, from which she was passed on into the hands of a young and handsome doctor. Together with a gorgeous wife, Dick has inherited Nicole’s family fortune and her peculiar medical case that he spent years of studying.

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t Nicole’s character closely based on Scott’s own wife Zelda? Dick and Nicole’s relationship reflected the one Scott and Zelda had for years. Nevertheless, Dick’s character was well built. I loved to hate him, but at the same time felt sorry for the life he has wasted. He was not meant to be tight to one person, one place, one job. He is a free spirit that needed to be fully unleashed.

This is a beautiful work of fiction: the language, the story, the characters… Scott Fitzgerald’s novels tend to move me in a way not many authors do. I think of the characters past the final pages of the books, his stories stay with me for a long time.



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The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I didn’t expect to enjoy the novel as much as I did. At first, the read was slow, but once I began to get to know the characters – my interest has spiked.

Four families – four mothers and their daughters. Each generation was born on different continents and raised in a different culture. As an immigrant myself, I absolutely understood The Joy Luck Club mothers’ plans and dreams for their children. They came to the US in hope of giving their children the American Dream. Unfortunately, they have lost their kids in the transition. As their daughters naturally accept the American culture as their own, their mothers’ past, teachings, and wisdom seem foreign to the younger generation.

At first, what seems silly, makes a whole new meaning. Chinese culture is rich, full of great customs and traditions. The novel has opened my eyes to Chinese heritage and I’ve learned a lot of interesting information. This is a great read and comparison not only of culture but the generation.



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Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)

1984 by George Orwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Nineteen Eighty-Four is social science fiction novel written in published in the late 1040s.

The novel takes place in the future, 1984. After years of wars and revolutions, the world is divided into three parts: Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia. Winston, our main character, lives in Oceania and works for one of four ministries that are in charge of their nation. His job is to rewrite history, and by learning of the past, Winston questions his present. In time, he develops hate for his party, and Big Brother, hence he decides to join the resistance, also known as a brotherhood. Unfortunately, this step leads him into captivity and re-education.

I will admit, I was terrified by the novel. A famous quote: “the big brother is watching you” came from this book, and I must say – I am glad the world didn’t turn out to be as George Orwell has described it in his novel. This book touches on subjects of perpetual war, government surveillance, totalitarianism, historical negationism, and propaganda. Basically, the life that was envisioned by Stalin and Hitler. Nevertheless, this was a great read.



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Ragtime

Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The novel takes place in the early 1900 and follows the lifelines social lights of Evelyn Nesbit, Harry Thaw, Stanford White, and many others. Although the three are not the main leads of the novel, they do take a large part in confectioning our main characters together.

While it took a while for the novel to make sense, I did enjoy the plot. The storyline moved fast, and each character’s life stories were different, fascinating, and took drastic changes throughout the novel.

I did admire Mother’s Younger Brother for taking the stand for justice and joining Coalhouse Walker in his revenge. And poor Jewish immigrant Tateh, who made a big name in the cinema industry in order to take his little family from poverty and give his little girl the life she deserved. And finally the Mother’s strength, protection, and love for a little orphan.

Good overall read. There were a few entertaining chapters. Not my favorite historical fiction, as it was hard to follow the plot at time. It did come together by the end of the book.



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The First Actress

The First ActressThe First Actress by C.W. Gortner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sarah Bernhardt – an actress, theater star, courtesan, humanitarian, single mother, sister, friend. She is one of a kind. A person who played so many different roles on and off the stage.

Sarah has lived a very full life. A daughter of a famous courtesan and wealthy french nobleman, Jewish by birth, Christian by choice. Her adamant and bold attitude lured me into the pages of her life story. From a very early age, young Sarah showed her strong willpower and determination, she set goals and achieved it, and stood up to her oppressors. Sarah was never afraid to take on serious responsibilities, help friends and family in need.

Sarah Bernard built her name using her talent and ambition. Sarah’s story is fascinating. A bastard who not only became a famous actress but was able to portray both male and female roles, started in theater proceeded into the film world, and became the highest paying actress of her time. I am very happy that I came across this wonderful novel, thank you NetGalley and Ballentine Books Publisher for a free and advanced copy of the novel and an author for a wonderful life story of Sarah Bernard.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird (To Kill a Mockingbird, #1)To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I began reading “To Kill a Mockingbird“.

This classic is about the small 1960s Alabama family: widower and father Atticus and his two kids Jem and Jean Louise ‘Scout’. The main plot of the novel revolves around Atticus’ criminal case: he is defending a black man who has been accused of insulting a young white girl. Besides the big trial, the novel covers other main topics of the 60s – race, gender, and social class. Our young characters Jem and Scout are raised by an open-minded father who teaches them the differences between love vs hate, good vs bad, kindness vs inhumanity.

Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out of us.

Despite the unhappy outcome, the end of the novel brings closure and a lesson for the reader. It is sin to kill a Mockingbird, and sins do not remain unpunished for long.

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The Paris Mysteries

The Paris MysteriesThe Paris Mysteries by Edgar Allan Poe

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Edgar Allan Poe’s writing is unique, I absolutely think he was ahead of his time. His novel composition style is very dark and detailed. I’ve enjoyed all his stories that I’ve read in the past, therefore when I saw a new deluxe publication of his works – I wanted to give it a try.

“The Paris Mysteries” edition includes three stories: “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt” and “The Purloined Letter”. All three cases are investigated by dazzling Chevalier Auguste Dupin. Some sections of the stories were graphic, which was very unusual for the 1800s writers, however, it made Mr. Poe’s stories to stand out.

I have mixed fillings about this collection of mysteries. I loved the writing and plots, however, I felt it was too short. I wish there was a lot of info provided for each case. Nevertheless, the new addition is an entertaining read. It’s perfect for first-time readers of Edgar Allan Poe’s works. Thank you NetGalley and Pushkin Vertigo publishing for a free and advanced copy of the book.

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Rebecca

RebeccaRebecca by Daphne du Maurier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…

Young, timid and naïve companion to a rich American woman meets a dashing and charming widower on the holiday in Monte Carlo. Shortly after meeting wealthy Englishman, she accepts his surprise marriage proposal, and after tying the knot and marvelous honeymoon in Italy, Maxim de Winter brings the young wife back to his ominous and gothic estate of Manderley. The married life in Manderley is everything young Mrs. de Winter has ever dreamed of, however, the shadow of recently drowner wife of Maxim beginning to weight on the new marriage.

Rebecca de Winter – a famous beauty with miraculous taste in fashion, devoted and loving wife and perfect hostess… Our young Mrs. de Winter has large shoes to fit, however at every step and turn her efforts are desperately crashed.

Rebecca is one of the quintessential books I ever read. Deception, misery, revenge, unhealthy relationships – this novel has it all! My advice to you – take a trip to gothic Manderley, you will not be left disappointed.

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