Book Review : Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrison

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*I received an ARC copy of Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrison.

Book Details:

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill (March 18, 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 1595142754
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595142757
Review:
I must say that Sing Me To Sleep is one of the best books I’ve read these few years. Angela cleverly weaves a touching, absorbing story about friendship, family, love and life. Sing Me To Sleep makes me see the harsh realities of life, the unyielding power of friendship, and shows us that true love transcends all.

Beth was once an ugly girl who was bullied some mean boys in school. After she received sessions of beauty treatment in order to be presentable as the Bliss’s soloist during the Choral Olympics, she becomes a beauty. Even though we always say that inner beauty is more important, this novel suggests otherwise. Just take Beth as an example, why did she receive such unfair treatments in school? I’m sure you know the answer well.

Beth follows her choir to Switzerland to participate in the competition. There, she meets a mysterious, handsome boy from the Amabile Young Men’s Ensemble, Derek, and falls head over heels for him. Her love for Derek grows stronger and stronger each passing day, just as Derek's love for her.

Ah, Derek! He is gorgeous, talented and confident. Just the type of guy that any girl would fall for. Behind his glorious fa├žade, he hides a terrible secret, and Beth doesn’t know what is it. Angela keeps me interested by making him play ‘hide and seek’ – he accompanies Beth for a day or two, then he disappears for days and weeks. I’m not sure if he is just fooling around with Beth or that he really loves her. He seems…elusive. This makes me want to know about his secret even more.

Another thing I love about this novel is the support and love shown by the Amabile guys. They are like a huge, loving family, always supportive and caring.

Angela Morrison succeeded in delivering an original, touching story through Beth's voice with her wonderful writing. She makes me realize that true love is not about appearance, status and ability, but rather the deep feeling of love, care, affection and willingness to sacrifice for the person you love, because of who he/she originally is.

Towards the end of the story, I cried. Yes, you heard me. I cried. And I used a lot of tissues. The story is heart-wrenching... and everything is so real. Two different feelings mingle into one in my heart. I was heartbroken, but I also felt a tinge of happiness at the same time. Beautiful, poignant, touching and thought-provoking, Sing Me To Sleep is a book not to be missed.

Rating : 10/10

Many thanks to dear Angela for sending me a copy of Sing Me To Sleep. I really love this book. Thank you!

Visit Angela Morrison's Website
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Reviewed by Aik

Book Review : Peony In Love by Lisa See

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Peony in Love by Lisa See: Book Cover

Read the synopsis of Peony In Love

My review:

Peony In Love is a captivating story set in the seventeenth century China, encircling a young maiden (Peony) from a prominent family. Despaired of being caught in an arranged marriage, Peony starves herself to death, only to learn right before her death that the man her father has picked for her is the man she loves. Her journey in both the mundane world and the after-world gives me insight of the traditional bounds and spiritual beliefs of the people in China. This story introduced me to the women who secretly yearns for true love, besides trying to win respect and achieving freedom in a male-dominated society.

“An educated woman is a worthless woman.” Because of this popular adage, almost all of the women in China lost their chance to get a proper education and thus, only the men has ultimate power. Any woman’s writing, even if it were an excellent piece, would be considered not worthy of reading. However, some of the women writers did get their works published to express their opinions and thoughts on various subjects to make sure that their words can be heard by everyone.

Peony died at a young age, but instead of resting in peace, her soul kept roaming the human’s world because her ancestor’s tablet was not dotted, and she could not continue her journey. Even though she was a ghost, she still loved her poet, and tried to make him happy in all ways.

Lisa See’s writing is still as skillful and beautiful as ever. The love between Peony and her poet seems fairytale-like. At first I thought that it was merely a puppy love, but soon I realized that I was wrong. They loved each other deeply, even though they have only met each other for four times. Peony's life resembles that of the main character of the famous The Peony Pavilion, an opera she was quite obsessed with.

The Chinese’s foot-binding tradition has always enchanted and horrified me at the same time. The girls had to endure great pain to shape their feet into perfect three-inch lilies. In the "Spring Sickness In Summer" chapter, you will know more about the procedure of foot-binding, when Peony’s mother binds her niece’s feet.

I also read about marriage preparations, obsequies rituals, as well as the ghost marriage, which is still performed in some places nowadays. Well, I won’t deny that I find that some parts of the story are not logical, especially the part where she helps Qian Yi conceive a son. But after all, Peony is a ghost, isn’t she?

Through this novel, I learned about different aspects of love, uncover the truth that has been kept a secret by Peony’s parents and hear the voices of the women who wanted to be heard through their works of literature. Peony In Love is hauntingly beautiful…it’s definitely a book worth reading.

Rating : 9 / 10

A great THANK YOU to dear Lisa for sending me a paperback copy of Peony In Love. I really appreciate your kindness and generosity.

Read more about Peony In Love on Lisa See's Website

About the author:

Lisa See, author of the critically-acclaimed international bestseller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005), has always been intrigued by stories that have been lost, forgotten, or deliberately covered up, whether in the past or happening right now in the world today. Ms See is probably best known for Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, for which she traveled to a remote area of China—where she was told she was only the second foreigner ever to visit—to research the secret writing invented, used, and kept a secret by women for over a thousand years.


Purchase Peony In Love from:
Amazon (Hardcover)
Amazon (Paperback)
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Barnes & Noble (Paperback)
Random House (Hardcover)
Random House (Paperback)

Reviewed by Aik