It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

Naked truth? I love Colleen Hoover!

Book #15.

unnamedThis is the very first book I’ve read in my entire life where I didn’t even bother reading the synopsis first. I saw the title then the author. Must read!

This book really came to me at just the right time. I loved it from the very first page and somehow I can relate with Lily. I loved how determined she was in making her decisions and it was just a week or so when I myself had to make one of the biggest and most important decision in my life. I say I can relate with Lily because I am also very determined with the decision I just made, I had to make hard choices for the right reasons.

“Just because we didn’t end up on the same wave, doesn’t mean we aren’t still a part of the same ocean.”

It Ends with Us is just my second CoHo read but I can definitely say that I am now a really big fan of hers. The book is so real to me. Very honest. Very personal. And yes, it made me cry.

Colleen Hoover, thank you. You were able to put into words what a lot had failed to. And for that, thank you. I’ll just keep swimming for now… until I reach the shore.

Quotable Quotes:

“Just because someone hurts you doesn’t mean you can simply stop loving them. It’s not a person’s actions that hurt the most. It’s the love. If there was no love attached to the action, the pain would be a little easier to bear.”

“Maybe love isn’t something that comes full circle. It just ebbs and flows, in and out, just like the people in our lives.”

“Sometimes even grown women need their mother’s comfort so we can just take a break from having to be strong all the time.”

“Cycles exist because they are excruciating to break. It takes an astronomical amount of pain and courage to disrupt a familiar pattern. Sometimes it seems easier to just keep running in the same familiar circles, rather than facing the fear of jumping and possibly not landing on your feet.”

“I’m sure there’s more substance in the love between two adults than there is between two teenagers. There’s probably more maturity, more respect, more responsibility. But no matter how different the substance of a love might be at different ages in a person’s life, I know that love still has to weigh the same. You feel that weight on your shoulders and in your stomach and on your heart no matter how old you are.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

Quote of the Week

There is no such thing as bad people.

We’re all just people who sometimes do bad things.

Colleen Hoover, It Ends with Us

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Book #14. Another Neil Gaiman.

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Stardust is about Tristran Thorn who promised Victoria Forester that he will retrieve a fallen star on the other side of the Wall. On this other side of the Wall, fallen stars are beautiful girls whose hearts are taken by witches. The book chronicles Tristran’s adventures from talking trees, unicorns, witches and a lot more.

The book wasn’t too fast-paced but not too slow as well. It makes you wonder just like his other books. It’s nice and entertaining to read. The last forty pages or so were the best parts for me. I also liked the characters the way I liked the characters in his other books. The bantering between Tristran and Yvaine were fun. I just enjoy bantering between characters in books. 🙂

I don’t know if other readers will agree but I think the ending was perfect. It’s bittersweet but I think it’s the best way to end the book. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

All in all, it’s another good read!

Quotable Quotes :

“She says nothing at all, but simply stares upward into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars.”

“He stared up at the stars: and it seemed to him then that they were dancers, stately and graceful, performing a dance almost infinite in its complexity. He imagined he could see the very faces of the stars; pale, they were, and smiling gently, as if they had spent so much time above the world, watching the scrambling and the joy and the pain of the people below them, that they could not help being amused every time another little human believed itself the center of its world, as each of us does.”

“He wondered how it could have taken him so long to realize he cared for her, and he told her so, and she called him an idiot, and he declared that it was the finest thing that ever a man had been called.”

“It’s not hard to own something. Or everything. You just have to know that it’s yours, and then be willing to let it go.”

“Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at the stars because we are human?”

Rating : 4/5 stars

Quote of the Week

Stab the body and it heals. 

But injure the heart and the wound lasts a lifetime. 

-Mineko Iwasaki

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

zafon_bBook #13. My first Carlos Ruiz Zafon read. Another recommendation from my Goodreads friend, Julie. 🙂

Hidden in the very heart of Barcelona is the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and one cold morning, a bookseller brings his son, Daniel, to this cemetery where he can choose one book for himself. He should keep it and make sure not to lose it. He soon found a book he wanted, The Shadow of the Wind, and this changed his life forever.

This book has romance, cruelty and betrayal in it but a lot of funny moments as well. I enjoyed every page and all the characters. Fermin Romero de Torres is my favorite character here. He was initially introduced as a homeless man but later became Daniel’s sidekick! 🙂

I totally enjoyed this book and I think there’s nothing left to say that hasn’t been said already. I hope to find the prequel, The Angel’s Game.

So anyone reading this who hasn’t read the book yet, find a copy and read it. You won’t be disappointed.

Quotable Quotes :

“The moment you stop to think about whether you love someone, you’ve already stopped loving that person forever.”

“Memories are worse than bullets.”

“Destiny is usually just around the corner. Like a thief, a hooker, or a lottery vendor: its three most common personifications. But what destiny does not do is home visits. You have to go for it.”

“Sometimes we think people are like lottery tickets, that they’re there to make our most absurd dreams come true.”

“So long as we are being remembered, we remain alive.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Book #12.

So… first it was Anna. Then, Lola. And now, here’s Isla. It took me quite a while to finish this book, not because it was boring or whatever, other things (and books) just got in the way.

Isla had been so in love with Josh though it took her quite a while to have enough courage to finally initiate a conversation with him. It happened at Kismet, a cafe in New York, and from there, the story unfolds.

Isla and the Happily Ever After is the third and last book in this series and like the first two books, I think the very heart of it are the characters. They all seem real and yes, lovable. I didn’t expect to like Josh as much as I liked Etienne. And Isla was someone I know a lot of people can relate to. I definitely adored the romance between Josh and Isla. Kurt, Isla’s best friend, and of course, Hattie, were also notable characters.

Since I’ve been able to read all three books, I can say that Ms. Perkins definitely has a way of drawing the reader into her stories. It’s not too simple but also not too complex. I’ll certainly look forward to her other works.

The entire series isn’t all about love and pretty boys, but a story of life, people, flaws, insecurities and so on. It’s about how our thoughts, actions and words would shape us or ruin us. So whether you’ve read the first two books or not, you’ll enjoy this. And I think it’s a nice ending to this nice series.

Quotable Quotes :

“People say that the only thing that heals heartbreak is time. But how much time will it take?”

“There’s no story… I saw you one day, and I just knew.”

“He tastes like my deepest craving fulfilled.”

“Our fingers are in each other’s hair, and his breath is in the hollow of my neck, and I wish the world will swallow us here, whole, in this moment. And that’s when it hits me that this – this – is falling in love.”

“Phones are distracting. The internet is distracting.The way he looked at you? He wasn’t distracted. He was consumed.”

Rating : 4/5 stars

Quote of the Week

Some people are going to reject you, simply because you shine too bright for them. 

And that’s okay. Keep shining! 

-Mandy Hale

Happy Sunday, homo sapiens!!! 🙂

Quote of the Week

Love is not to be proven or measured… It exists, and that is enough.

-Jorge Amado

Quote of the Week

Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart.

-Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

TheGraveyardBook_Hardcover

 

 

       Kiss a lover,
       Dance a measure,
       Find your name
       And buried treasure.

       Face your life,
       Its pain,
       Its pleasure,
       Leave no path untaken.

 

 

Book #11. My second Neil Gaiman read.

This is the story of Nobody Owens, a boy raised by an entertaining cast of ghosts in a graveyard because his family was murdered when he was still a toddler. Mr. & Mrs. Owens who died centuries ago became his adoptive parents while Silas became his guardian.

I enjoyed most of the characters and I love everything about Silas and Miss Lupescu. I also like how the author gave life to Bod growing up with the dead. I didn’t like Scarlett that much but that’s fine. If there’s one complain I have for this book though, it’s that I wish we knew more of the stories of Silas, Miss Lupescu and Liza Hempstock.

It’s a very engaging read all throughout the chapters and is fast-paced. Several themes were dealt with like change, taking risks, childhood, growing up, things we lose, things we gain, bravery, courage, etc. It’s full of those little details that will make you think back about life one way or the other.

There’s definitely a lot to learn from this wonderful, quick read. And now I’m looking forward to my next Neil Gaiman book.

Quotable Quotes : 

“It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”

“You’re always you, and that don’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

“We who make stories know that we tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort. And that is why we write.”

“And he waited. It was only for a few seconds, but it felt like a small forever.”

“If I come back, it will be a place, but it won’t be a home any longer.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Everyone probably knows what Fight Club is about, if not from the movie (starring Brad Pitt & Edward Norton), then probably from the book itself. My tenth read this year… fight club

This is my first Chuck Palahniuk read so I didn’t know what to expect. The reviews in Goodreads were quite convincing and I found a copy of it online and so I decided to go with it.

And I was not disappointed. It is a good book.

It wasn’t difficult to read this since the chapters weren’t very long though the pacing was a bit slow for me. But if you’re really into the story, you can finish it in a day.

The main characters were the narrator who was never named, Tyler Durden and the uninteresting character, Marla. I would have given this book a 5 if not for her. But overall, this is a wonderful read, the kind that will mess your mind. Maybe I can also watch the movie this time around. 🙂

There’s nothing more to say that’s haven’t been said yet about this book and besides, the first rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club. 😉 So I’ll let the ratings speak for itself.

Quotable Quotes:

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

“You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We’re all part of the same compost heap. We’re all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”

“At the time, my life just seemed too complete, and maybe we have to break everything to make something better out of ourselves.”

“Only after disaster can we be resurrected. It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. Nothing is static, everything is evolving, everything is falling apart.”

“I don’t want to die without any scars.”

Rating : 4/5 stars

Quote of the Week

There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.

-J.R.R. Tolkien

Quote of the Week

It’s all quite simple really: the more hate you hold in your heart, the less room there is for love. 

-Beau Taplin

Ramadan Kareem!

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Wishing all my Muslim friends, in-laws, colleagues, followers and everyone who follows the teachings of Islam a very blessed Ramadan! May Allah guide us all!

Quote of the Week

Hell is the absence of the people you long for.

-Emily St. John Mandel

Quote of the Week

Do not regret growing older. 

It is a privilege denied to many.

Every Day by David Levithan

This year’s 9th book is my first David Levithan read…

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A soul, named A, is the main character in the story. He drifts from one body to another every single day of his life until one day, he found Rhiannon and fell in love with her. The idea of living a different life everyday while remaining true to who you really are is very moving and touching. A’s story is hauntingly beautiful. (He’s added in my list of favorite characters.)

This is pretty much a book about love and all those little things that we sometimes never think about in order to make those feelings work for us. So if you haven’t read this yet, find time to do so. Reading this was a delight in every way.

Quotable Quotes:

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: We all want everything to be okay. We don’t even wish so much for fantastic or marvelous or outstanding. We will happily settle for okay, because most of the time, okay is enough.”

“There will always be more questions. Every answer leads to more questions. The only way to survive is to let some of them go.”

“The moment you fall in love feels like it has centuries behind it, generations – all of them rearranging themselves so this precise, remarkable intersection could happen. In your heart, in your bones, no matter how silly you know it is, you feel that everything has been leading to this, all the secret arrows were pointing here, the universe and time itself crafted this long ago, and you are just now realizing it, you are just now arriving at the place you were always meant to be.”

“If you stare at the center of the universe, there is coldness there. A blankness. Ultimately, the universe doesn’t care about us. Time doesn’t care about us. That’s why we have to care about each other.”

“I am a drifter, and as lonely as that can be, it is also remarkably freeing. I will never define myself in terms of anyone else. I will never feel the pressure of peers or the burden of parental expectation. I can view everyone as pieces of a whole, and focus on the whole, not the pieces. I have learned to observe, far better than most people observe. I am not blinded by the past or motivated by the future. I focus on the present because that is where I am destined to live.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

Quote of the Week

Answerless questions can destroy you. Move on. 

David Levithan, Every Day

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

I’m back! After a two-month reading hiatus, I’m glad I’m starting to get back on track. I planned to read 25 books this year and so far, I’ve only finished 7 until early March. I’ve finished my 8th book just yesterday and I think I can focus on my reading once again.

So, for my 8th book:

harry august

This was recommended to me by a friend in Goodreads and I’m glad to have found a copy of it online. 🙂

This book is about Harry August, a man called a kalachakra – a person reborn over and over at the same point in time with all his knowledge of his previous lives still intact giving him a chance to avoid his mistakes in the past and make or build a better understanding of the past, present or future.

On Harry’s eleventh life, however, while on his deathbed (again), a girl came to him and warned him that the world is ending. And this is where the real story kicked in.

Though time travel isn’t really a brand new concept nowadays, it being my first of its kind is probably why I enjoyed this book. The author also covered a lot of interesting themes such as living a good or bad life, doing what is right or wrong, technological advances and its effect in our daily lives, etc.

I’m happy I’ve read this book ending my reading hiatus, it leaves me thinking about how we can give life more meaning.

Quotable Quotes:

“I know now that there is something dead inside me though I cannot remember exactly when it died.”

“You know everyone breaks, Harry. Everyone.”

“Our actions… matter. We have a responsibility to consider the small as well as the big, merely because that is what the whole world around us, a world of conscious, living beings, must exist upon. We are not gods, and our knowledge does not grant us the authority to play the same. That’s not… not the point of us.”

“But in the name of progress we have eaten our souls up, and nothing else matters to us anymore.”

“The secret to being unafraid of the darkness is to challenge the darkness to fear you, to raise your eyes sharp to those few souls who stagger by, daring them to believe that you are not, in fact, more frightening than they are.”

Rating : 4/5 stars

Quote of the Week

Silence isn’t empty,

it’s full of answers.

Quote of the Week

Be who you are. You are not everyone’s cup of tea and that’s OK.

-Unknown

Quote of the Week

If you are not crazy, I mean absolutely crazy about what you love, then I beg you, either find a way to be insanely crazy about it or throw it away. 

You were not born with half an ass human, therefore, you have no right to half-ass the intensity in which you love. 

– Christopher Poindexter

Quote of the Week

Sometimes it’s not the people who change, it’s the mask that falls off.

Another Sandstormy Day

At 9:45 am…

Pardon the photos 😉 You’ll literally breathe dust if you go outdoors. It was actually zero visibility earlier.

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And then it rained…

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Summer is coming, Kuwait! Are you ready for the scorching summer heat, homo sapiens? I think I’m not!

Quote of the Week

Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.

-Rick Warren

Kuan Yin

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The 30.2 meter bronze statue of Kuan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) in Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang.

Quote of the Week

Forgive and give as if it were your last opportunity. Love like there’s no tomorrow, and if tomorrow comes, love again. 

-Max Lucado

Happy Thursday!

One of the most amazing things I’ve seen during my trip to Cambodia were the giant trees in the temples. The two photos below are taken from Ta Prohm. There were a lot of giant trees in and out of the temple but I’ll leave you with this one for now. I hope to post more of these huge trees in another entry so watch out for that. 🙂

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Happy Thursday, homo sapiens!

Quote of the Week

Pain doesn’t show up in our lives for no reason. 

It’s a sign that something in our lives needs to change. 

Quote of the Week

Your first kiss isn’t as important as your last. The math test really didn’t matter. The pie really did. The stuff you’re good at and the stuff you’re bad at are just different parts of the same thing. Same goes for the people you love and the people you don’t—and the people who love you and the people who don’t. The only thing that mattered was that you cared about a few people. Life is really, really short.

-Ethan Wate

Help! Egypt or India?

Hi there, homo sapiens!

I’m planning for a short trip sometime soon and I’m having a hard time deciding. So, I’m down to two options: Egypt or India.

I’m a budget traveler and I’ll be going solo (most likely) and I just want to go sightseeing. I’m contemplating between Egypt or India. I’ve always wanted to see the great pyramids since I was young and I’m currently residing in the Middle East so I really thought of going. I wonder if 5-7 days is enough for Cairo and Luxor? On the other hand, I’ve been thinking of going to India as well to explore Delhi, the Taj Mahal and some places near it.

If you guys were given these two countries to choose from, which one would you choose and why? I’d be happy to hear from you so please help me decide!

Thanks! 🙂

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Another achingly sweet, cute, light read from Stephanie Perkins!

I liked Cricket Bell! Truly the boy next door — shy, caring, sweet. But St. Clair still comes first. 🙂 I liked Lola in the beginning then started not to like her towards the middle then liked her again towards the end. I can’t relate much to her personally but I still find her character interesting. I loved the gay dads, too!

I can’t say I liked this as much as Anna and the French Kiss but I’m giving it 4 stars just the same. I’m really liking Ms. Perkins’ writing style and though there were things I didn’t like about this book (same with the first one), I still adore it. It’s predictable but if you just read it as it is, you’ll really enjoy it.

Favorite quotes: 

“I love his laugh. It’s rare, so whenever I hear it, I know I’ve earned it.”

“I just want to be a part of your life. Again.”

“Perfect is overrated. Perfect is boring.“ I smile. “You don’t think I’m perfect?” “No. You’re delightfully screwy, and I wouldn’t have you any other way.”

“Just because something isn’t practical doesn’t mean it’s not worth creating. Sometimes beauty and real-life magic are enough.”

“Sometimes a mistake isn’t a what. It’s a who.”

Rating : 4/5 stars

Meowday

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The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer.

Quote of the Week

Memories warm you up in the inside. But they also tear you apart.

-Haruki Murakami

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I would have finished this book in one sitting but a lot of things got in the way. Thankfully, I’m almost settled already and I was finally able to finish it a couple of days back. So… Anna and the French Kiss. Sweet, cute and funny read. Learned a lot about Paris and the French. It started off slow and  at some point, I felt like I might be too old for this book but I enjoyed my high school life and everyone’s got their own high school drama and so I went on.

Etienne St. Clair is a new favorite character. I didn’t enjoy Anna’s character at first but it got better towards the end. All the characters are believable so I think that’s what I like the most about this book. (Though I doubt there’s still a lot of Etienne out there!)

I did have some problems about this book but I liked it. The book was too predictable for me but it’s okay. There were parts where I found it too immature but then, it’s written for the younger crowd, and it’s pretty normal anyway to act immature when you’re young. 🙂

By the way, I liked Stephanie Perkins’ writing style.

Favorite quotes:

“So what do I wish for? Something I’m not sure I want? Someone I’m not sure I need? Or someone I know I can’t have?”

“Girl scouts didn’t teach me what to do with emotionally unstable drunk boys.”

“Why is it that the right people never wind up together? Why are people so afraid to leave a relationship, even if they know it’s a bad one?”

“There’s only one thing I don’t love about him. Her.”

“For the two of us, home isn’t a place. It is a person. And we’re finally home.”

Rating : 4/5 American-British-French stars!

Quote of the Week

Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. 

Buddha

Quote of the Week

But life isn’t something that should be edited. Life shouldn’t be cut. The only way you’ll ever discover what it truly means to be alive and human is by sharing the full experience of what it means to be human and each blemish and freckle that comes with it.

-Iain Thomas

A Reason for Everything

remember these words. let them fill your mind and soak into your thoughts. there is a reason for everything.:

Found this and thought it would be nice to share to everyone. Everything happens for a reason. 

Happy weekend, homo sapiens! 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Goodness gracious! I love Rainbow Rowell! I love, love, love Rainbow Rowell! I loved Carry On!

carryon

As I have mentioned several times before, I don’t read/like fantasy as much as I read/like contemporary stories. I don’t like reading about someone who will save mankind or in this book, a chosen one. However, this just worked very well for me. So well! 🙂

All the three main characters (I love Baz the most!) were interesting enough that they really got me into reading this book. The character development and the relationships were very interesting. And of course, the dialogues. The cute, silly banters were a lot of fun, Rainbow Rowell really struck me with her sarcastic wit. It really made me laugh-out-loud literally! :D:D:D I also can’t remember how many times it made me shout “just kiss already!” in my head while reading this. Oh Baz! I really adore you!

So, I loved this book. Even though I’m not a big fan of fantasy and chosen one stories, I was amazed by this one! It’s super gay. But I think that is why I enjoyed it so much. Simon and Baz’s relationship just shows that there really is a thin line between love and hate. 🙂

Favorite quotes :

“He held himself up on all fours above me and made me reach up for his mouth—and I did. I would again. I’d cross every line for him. I’m in love with him. And he likes this better than fighting.”

“Every thing is a story. And you are the hero. You sacrificed everything for me.”

“I wish I’d never figured it out. That I love him. It’s only ever been a torment.”

“One time, he pushed me down a flight of stairs. It was awesome.”

“It’s the good things that hurt when you’re missing them.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

Quote of the Week

Closing your eyes isn’t going to change anything. Nothing’s going to disappear just because you can’t see what’s going on. In fact, things will even be worse the next time you open your eyes. That’s the kind of world we live in. Keep your eyes wide open. Only a coward closes his eyes. Closing your eyes and plugging up your ears won’t make time stand still. 

Haruki Murakami

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

This is my first Colleen Hoover read and I really loved it!!! 

This book really blew me away! I didn’t expect this to be so good! This is my first Colleen Hoover read and I really, really loved it! From the beginning of the book, you will love the characters and the storyline right away. It’s one of those books that can make you feel so much and talk about it all day with anyone.

I felt happy, I felt sad. I fell in love, I got my heartbroken. I felt angry. I felt betrayed. But I loved how it all came together in the end. I had major butterflies the whole time I was reading this — so cheesy here and there! 🙂

I liked reading from both of the main characters’ perspective. It seemed like these two were just talking right in front of me and it just felt so natural. The chemistry between them was just there.

I don’t know what else to say, I just really, seriously, loved this book a lot! It still makes me smile every time I’m reminded of it. It’s been a while since a book made me roll when it starts becoming cheesy and experiencing that again while reading November 9 was truly a wonderful feeling! I’m really glad I picked this up the moment I saw it in the shelves.

Highly recommended! 🙂

Favorite quotes :

“It’s as if the world chooses this moment to go silent.”

“A body is simply a package for the true gifts inside.”

“You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.”

“When you find love, you take it. You grab it with both hands and you do everything in your power not to let it go. You can’t just walk away from it and expect it to linger until you’re ready for it.”

“If we’re going to kiss, it has to be book-worthy.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

Quote of the Week

Some people we just outgrow. Relationships might end with no real explanation as to why. And when that happens, respect the shift. Honor the growth and understand that not all roots can stay planted in the same soil forever.

-Alex Elle

Putra Mosque & Perdana Putra

putra mosque

This is the Putra Mosque in Putrajaya, Malaysia. One of the best mosques I’ve seen there when I visited back in 2014.

perdana putra

Adjacent to the Putra Mosque is the Perdana Putra — the Malaysian Prime Minister’s office.