Oleander Girl

Title: Oleander Girl
Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Reprint Edition March 4, 2014
Paperback: 320 pages

Sometimes --she knows this from her own life-- to get to the other side, you must travel through grief. No detours are possible. 

After getting stressed of  reading Gillian Flynn's books, I am so grateful to find the latest book written by one of my favorite authors Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni at Aksara bookstore with 50% discount (wow). I know that Divakaruni's way in telling stories will calm me down. 

I just finished reading it and it's proven that Divakaruni is indeed a gifted storyteller. The central character here, seventeen-year-old Korobi Roy is always curious why her late mother named her after Oleander, a beautiful yet poisonous plant. Korobi is an orphaned at birth and raised with abundance of love by her  grandparents in Kolkata, India. Although surrounded by her grandparents' warmth of love, deep down inside she still feels insecure with the mysterious death of her parents and why her grandparents said nothing about it. 

Out of the blue she found a love note hidden in her mother's book of poetry. This love note reveals such secret and makes Korobi prepares her trip to America to clear things up. As usual the author with her calm language, enhancing strong and detailed characters, cultural background and complex crisis. 

I always love Divakaruni's works. She delivers a great story with a genuine plot. Beautiful as always. Highly recommended.  

Raisa Live in Concert

It's been a long time I have never seen any concert. Last Sunday my sister, a friend and I for the sake of nostalgia decided to see Raisa concert. Why Raisa? Well...in my age now, I don't think I can stand any brutal crowd, loud noise and all thus I though that Raisa's music and her fans are just the right one for me. The concert was almost fully booked in fact there were 5000 fans at Istora Senayan yet the crowd was still manageable. 

Salute and respect to the Event Organizer. One of the best concerts that was held profesionally. Raisa's performance was stunning as always. She is just a real star. Full of talent and very humble. Everything in the concert was prepared well. Super happy to be part of it. 

You can check more on Raisa's concert at her twitter account here.

Eat Republic

There is a new shortcut road between Cinere and Pondok Cabe. The shortcut is prepared well by developer which soon planned to open a new residence complex. In the middle of the boulevard there is a huge food court called Eat Republic which was open last April. The banner of this new eatery spread all around with Pak Bondan 'Maknyus' Winarno's pic as the ambassador.   

A couple days ago my girls and I were tempted to try the place on. We arrived about 1 pm and found that several visitors were eating while listening to the live music. The place reminds me of Sentul Floating Market --a project introduced by Pak Bondan as well, a food court concept with lots of variations of food and drink thus we can choose what we like.

The place is quite nice equipped with free wifi, live music, oldies ambience, lots of electricity socket for charging and several beautiful spots for doing selfies #duaygterakhirpentingbangetbuatorangindo. They also provide a simple playground, bamboo hut for those who like leyeh-leyeh or just sit somewhere, sip your tea or coffee and enjoy the breeze. 

The place claims to have 700 different menus and soon will become the biggest culinary spot in South Jakarta. Let's wait then. All in all it's nice to have more alternatives for culinary. I think I will come there again not to enjoy the food since for me the taste of them are fair but more on enjoying the ambience. However I found the trend now that you have to choose either to enjoy a yummy food or just to embrace the restaurant ambience (and of course to take tons of pics). It's not too easy to get both: good food and good place.

Interested? Check their website here.

Sharp Objects

Title: Sharp Objects
Author: Gillian Flynn
2013 Crown Publisher New York
396 pages

Just like other readers, after finished reading Gone Girl, you just feel the need to check other books written by Gillian Flynn. This is Flynn's  debut -novel written down back in 2006.  

The story is quite dark in everything such as the characters, the relationship, the twist and turns. It's just the general mood of the novel. A kind of traumatising psychological thriller. The protagonist, Camille Preaker was just thirteen when her sister died. She was drown in grief and finally spent the last ten years at a psych hospital due to her acts in cutting her own skin using sharp objects (ouch).

Ten years later Camille --now a journalist-- returns to her small hometown to report on the brutal murders of two young girls  who show no sign of sexual abuse but all their teeth had been removed. Yep, this book freaked me out a little due to its very deep and disturbing mental issues to work through. Can't imagine how the author did her research since the characters, settings and all are quite vivid yet frightening. 

The conclusion that I got from Sharp Objects and also my latest book review Ripper is the way a child upbringing will definitely build his/her character and traumatic experiences could really have a serious impact. 

Still need to find the other book of Flynn, Dark Places or perhaps somebody wants to lend me? #ngarep.

A Milestone

All students participated in this big event
On the way from the class room to the school mosque
Last Friday was one of the important moments for our girl, Najla. She and her classmates finished reciting the whole Qur'an (khatam Qur'an). The school has a tradition to celebrate this big day.

All 4th and 5th grade students were ready to prepare for the D-day since early in the morning. And to make it even merrier, parents were also welcome to come, enjoy and being part of it.

Pot luck meal (favorite part)
Looking at those kids in white uniform made my eyes teary. Totally touched and proud. Way to go, kiddos!!!


Title: Ripper
Author: Isabel Allende
Publisher: Harper
Forth Estate London
Paperback Edition 2015
478 pages

This is the first crime novel written down by my favourite author, Isabel Allende. According to Allende, this is her first murder mystery and that it was a lot of fun to write. Set in San Francisco, this is the combination of detective story and romantic saga.

Let's meet the Jackson women, Indiana and Amanda. They are mother and daughter who are having a total different characters yet still very close to each other. Indiana --the mother is a beautiful holistic healer, a free spirited bohemian. She's been having a long divorced from Amanda's father. Whilst Amanda is a brilliant and introvert girl who is fascinated by the dark side of human nature, like her father, Deputy Chief of Homicide. Amanda is addicted to crime novels and Ripper-- the online mystery game she plays with her beloved grandfather and friends around the world. 

When strange murders occur across the city, Amanda did her own investigation, before the police do, discovering that the deaths might be connected. She and her friends in Ripper are trying to hunt down the mysterious serial killer. But the case becomes all too personal when her mother, Indiana, suddenly vanishes. Amanda must find out whether it is linked to the serial killer. 

As usual Allende fascinates me with her depth and variety of details for the characters in the book. I still prefer her writing the magical realist novels featuring strong women characters yet this crime story is enjoyable as well.

Find more about Isabel Allende's works here.

The Clockwork Three

Title: The Clockwork Three
Author: Matthew J. Kirby
Translator: Julanda Tantani
Gramedia, 2014
448 pages.

It's been a while I have never read any children book. Curious about this debut story made by Matthew J. Kirby and surprisingly the book is unputdownable. Incredible characters, unexpected twists and turns, leaving me with a mixed feeling of sad and happy when I finished reading it.

It is a story about three children. Giuseppe, an orphaned street musician. Frederick, a clockmaker apprentice, and Hannah, the breadwinner in the family who works as a hotel maid. The book setting is in US during 1900. Instead of going to school, these less fortunate children need to work. One day all of them meets each other and later on becoming best friends. 

Let's follow these three children adventure. They will deal with a green violin, hidden treasure and several criminals. The author brings a very vivid characters. I felt like I watched them go through troubles and feel their fear, anger, hatred and joy. One of the best children books with interesting concept. An all-time favorite reading.