WWW Wednesday 03-Mar-2021

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words.

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As usual, just answer the three W questions:

  1. What did you recently finish reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Recently Finished

Currently Reading

threeapplesfellfromthesky

Reading Next

How was your reading week? Have you read any of these books? Thoughts? Feel free to share!

Happy reading and keep safe, Homo sapiens!

Top 5 Tuesday – Books From My Childhood

Happy Tuesday, Homo sapiens! It’s March and here’s my first Top 5 Tuesday of the month!

Top 5 Tuesday was originally hosted by Shanah at Bionic Bookworm and now found its home with Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.

Today I’m sharing five of my favorite reads during my childhood. There were a lot of books I enjoyed reading as a child but these five books are some that I can turn back to again and again and again.

Books From My Childhood

What’s your favorite childhood read? Feel free to share!

February 2021 Wrap-Up

Hello there, Homo sapiens! Love month is over… how time flies! Today I’m sharing with you the books I’ve read in February.

5-Stars

salttothesea

4-Stars

3-Stars

thesunalsorises

How was your February reading? Did you read any good ones? Any new favorites? I’d be delighted to know so feel free to share!

The Push by Ashley Audrain

thepushThe Push centers on Blythe Connor, the narrator, as she recounts to her husband the events that broke their marriage and their family. The book also jumps to the past to show Blythe’s difficult childhood which helps us realize how much impact it had on her. She grew up not knowing the warmth of a mother’s love. Every now and then, we get flashbacks of her mother and grandmother, both suffering from mental illness and trauma.

When she first got pregnant, she was afraid at first but she vowed to become a better mother to her child and to not be like her mother/grandmother to her. However, she struggled to connect with her daughter, Violet. As she grows up, their relationship turned from bad to worse. Several incidents happened and she started to question herself whether all these are just inside her head. She was later convinced that there is something wrong with her daughter, something evil. Sadly, her husband didn’t believe her.

She later on got pregnant with her second child, Sam, where she finally felt the connection between mother and child. She was happy and content as a mother. However, she continued to struggle with Violet and she fears for Sam’s safety with Violet around.

This was a short, easy and interesting book which showed the darker side of motherhood. I was hooked from page one and I would’ve finished it in one sitting if not for work that needs to be done urgently. I loved the short, snappy chapters which helped make the story flow well and easy to read but will leave you feeling too much emotion as you read. Gripping and suspenseful.

Quotable Quotes:

“Marriages can float apart. Sometimes we don’t notice how far we’ve gone until all of a sudden, the water meets the horizon and it feels like we’ll never make it back.”

“A mother’s heart breaks a million ways in her lifetime.”

“We could have counted our problems on the petals of the daisy in my bouquet, but it wouldn’t be long before we were lost in a field of them.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

Quote of the Week

Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.

~Truman Capote

WWW Wednesday 24-Feb-2021

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words.

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As usual, just answer the three W questions:

  1. What did you recently finish reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Recently Finished

Currently Reading

salttothesea

Reading Next

Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading this past week? I’d be delighted if you share your WWWs, too. Leave a link or share your lists on the comments section so I can check them all out!

Happy reading and keep safe, Homo sapiens!

Top 5 Tuesday – Authors I Want to Try

Happy Tuesday, Homo sapiens! It’s time for the last Top 5 Tuesday of February!

Top 5 Tuesday was originally hosted by Shanah at Bionic Bookworm and now found its home with Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.

Authors I Want to Try

Toni Morrison

tonimorrison

Salman Rushdie

salmanrushdie

Joe Hill

joehill

Kristin Hannah

kristinhannah

Ta-Nehisi Coates

tanehisicoates

Have you read any from these authors books? Which ones did you like? Any recommendations? And how about you? Who are some authors you haven’t read any book from yet? I’d be delightful to know so feel free to share.

Happy Tuesday!

Quote of the Week

Life consists of two days, one for you one against you. So when it’s for you don’t be proud or reckless, and when it’s against you be patient, for both days are test for you.

~Hazrat Ali Ibn Abu-Talib A.S

Any Human Heart by William Boyd

If you’ve never read a William Boyd novel, this is a good one to start with.

anyhumanheart

Any Human Heart is a fictionalized journal of a fictional character, Logan Mountstuart. It is a story of a life well-lived and a journey deep into a very human heart. The book is easy to read, the chapters weren’t too long, it is powerful, realistic and a beautiful story.  Logan is generous, smart, naïve and selfish which makes him so real and interesting. And like any human journeys, his life has its own ups and downs, accidents, coincidences, tragedies and triumphs.

Aging is also addressed in this book in which there are moments where it is absolutely depressing, you see Logan at his worst. But there are also moments where you’ll see how aging made him wiser. He was never envious of youth.

William Boyd was able to make it like everything is true and that it is indeed from a dead man’s journal. I don’t know if others will agree but this is such an amazing novel where it’s hard to believe that Logan Mountstuart never existed.

And in the end, we get to ask ourselves, “What defines success?” “What is a life well-lived?” Logan reassures us that, “Every life is both ordinary and extraordinary – it is the respective proportion of those two categories that make that life appear interesting or humdrum.”

Quotable Quotes:

“I have to start my real life soon, before I die of boredom and frustration.”

“It’s true: lives do drift apart for no obvious reason. We’re all busy people,we can’t spend our time simply trying to stay in touch. The test of a friendship is if it can weather these inevitable gaps.”

“I felt shocked and then saddened. life does this to you sometimes – leads you up a path and then drops you in the shit, to mix a metaphor.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

WWW Wednesday 17-Feb-2021

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words.

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As usual, just answer the three W questions:

  1. What did you recently finish reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Recently Finished

Currently Reading

thesunalsorises

Reading Next

Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading this past week? I’d be delighted if you share your WWWs, too. Leave a link or share your lists on the comments section so I can check them all out!

Happy reading and keep safe, Homo sapiens!

Quote of the Week

Better never means better for everyone… It always means worse, for some.

~Margaret Atwood

Have You Seen Luis Velez? by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Have You Seen Luis Velez? is my first book from Catherine Ryan Hyde. I don’t remember how I first came across this book and I’m very happy I did.

haveyouseenluisvelez

We meet Raymond, a sixteen-year-old high school student. He feels like he doesn’t belong anywhere. Not in his father’s home with his new wife. Not in his mother’s new family. Not even in school. When his best friend moved away, his only friends were a stray cat and a ninety-two year old blind woman whom he met when she inquired if he happened to see Luis Velez.

Have You Seen Luis Velez? is a wonderful story of life, friendship, loss, acceptance and kindness. I very much loved the idea of the connection created between two unlikely people who found common ground, the friendship formed beyond their differences. It was nice to see the mutual respect and love for each other. It’s endearing to read how they learn from each other, help each other find peace of mind, peace for their past, accept life and face the challenges and possibilities ahead.

Raymond’s search for Luis Velez gave him an opportunity to meet people of all sorts and helped him be aware of a wider world, the real world. Raymond is a character you can’t help but love. He’s endearing and I admire his compassion. He also starved for affection. That’s why I felt so happy when he became friends with Millie, the ninety-two year old woman, because he finally had someone to confide to.

The simplicity of this book makes it so powerful. It deals with the issues our society is facing these days — racism, prejudice, sexuality, gun violence and the importance of a society that support each other.

If you want to read something to uplift your spirit and help you reflect on life or the role you play in it, this is a great read. It’s actually a story for everyone. 

Quotable Quotes:

“People laugh at things they don’t understand. It makes them feel safe. But it’s a false feeling. They are no safer. They just feel as if they are. The world is full of people too foolish to judge the difference.”

“Life gives us nothing outright. It only lends. Nothing is ours to keep.”

“Living long is a gift denied to many, and so it comes with a responsibility to make the most of it. At very least to appreciate it. People gripe about growing older—their aches and pains, how much harder everything is—as if they had forgotten that the alternative is dying young.”

“The world is a tough place, my friend. I’m not ready to change my mind about that. And yet we’re called upon to be grateful that we’re in it. That seems to be our challenge.”

“Never be afraid to look, Raymond. It’s always better to look. Whatever you’re afraid of, turn toward it, not away. Once you’re willing to do that, it loses all its power over you. Trust me. I know this. I don’t always do it. But I really, truly know.”

Rating: 5/5 stars

WWW Wednesday 10-Feb-2021

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words.

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As usual, just answer the three W questions:

  1. What did you recently finish reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Recently Finished

Currently Reading

shuggiebain

Next Reads

At the moment, I haven’t decided yet what to read next. Actually, I might take a break from reading, maybe for a week or two. Why? I dunno. I just feel I have to but we’ll see.

Anyways, happy reading and keep safe, Homo sapiens!

Top 5 Tuesday – Series I Want to Start

Happy Tuesday, Homo sapiens! It’s time for another Top 5 Tuesday!

Top 5 Tuesday was originally hosted by Shanah at Bionic Bookworm and now found its home with Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.

Series I Want to Start

I’m not very fond of series. I’m a bit dismissive about it. Why? First and foremost, I’m impatient. Second, I hate too much or too little backstories. Third, I, well, forget several details from the previous books. This is why I have only read a very few series like A Song of Ice & Fire and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (does that count?).

However, this year, I hope to at least start with one of the the following series:

1. Earth’s Children by Jean M. Auel

2. Time Quintet by Madeleine L’engle

3. War of the Roses by Conn Iggulden

4. The Sea of Fertility by Yukio Mishima

5. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Have you read any of these series? What do you think about them? Or any recommendations? What series do you want to start this year? I’d be glad to know.

Happy reading!

Quote of the Week

I keep telling you the future isn’t set in stone. It’s not all decided yet. The future is just what’s down the road we decided to walk on today. You can change roads anytime. And that changes where you end up.

~Catherine Ryan Hyde

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The-Seven-Husbands-of-Evelyn-HugoI was intrigued when I first saw this book and I read it without any other information except that it’s about Evelyn Hugo, a Hollywood star, married seven times. But after reading it, there was so much more about Evelyn Hugo.

The author introduces to us the aging Evelyn Hugo who is now finally ready to tell the truth about her life, if and only if, the unknown reporter named Monique from Vivant will write her story. Everyone was baffled, why Monique? Why tell her story just now?

Evelyn and Monique soon started working with her story. Evelyn started from nothing but clawed her way to the top of Hollywood along with her seven marriages. As she tells her story, each of the marriages were discussed where we gradually understand Evelyn more. I think she is one of the most iconic characters I have read about. Sometimes I forget she’s fictional. Her story shows the struggle of women way back in the 1950s-1960s though they seem to appear like they’re the ones calling the shots. How sexual preferences wasn’t as open as it is now, how some are looked down upon. It also tells about how it was like then for a woman from a mixed race living in a white woman’s world. Layers upon layers of information were revealed in every chapter, it’s just incredible. Moreover, Monique’s story was a great addition in between Evelyn’s Hollywood drama.

This is my first read from Taylor Jenkins Reid. I wanted to read Daisy Jones and The Six last year but still haven’t gotten into it yet but now that I’ve had my first Reid experience, I am surely going to read it soon. Her writing is beautiful, I liked it a lot. She truly gave life to Evelyn Hugo’s character. She’s actually very good in characterization. All the other characters were also notable.

Read this if you haven’t yet.

Quotable Quotes:

“I’m under absolutely no obligation to make sense to you.”

“Never let anyone make you feel ordinary.”

“Don’t ignore half of me so you can fit me into a box. Don’t do that.”

“Sometimes reality comes crashing down on you. Other times reality simply waits, patiently, for you to run out of the energy it takes to deny it.”

“People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is ‘you’re safe with me’- that’s intimacy.”

Rating: 5/5 stars

WWW Wednesday 03-Feb-2021

Welcome to this month’s first WWW Wednesday hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words.

As usual, I wasn’t able to read according to what I’ve planned and it was somehow a slow reading week. Anyhow, let’s get started, shall we?

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As usual, just answer the three W questions:

  1. What did you recently finish reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Recently Finished

numberthestars

Number the Stars was a quick read, I’ve finished it in one sitting. 4-stars.

Currently Reading

I’ve made very little progress with Shuggie Bain and The Thing Around Your Neck. Hopefully, I’ll have more time to read during the rest of the week.

Reading Next

Last week, I’ve included The Song of Achilles for my next read, however, I’ve decided to read it sometime in the middle of the year. So I hope I can start with The Memory Police and The Push this weekend.

Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading this past week? I’d be delighted if you share your WWWs, too. Leave a link or share your lists on the comments section so I can check them all out!

Happy reading and keep safe, Homo sapiens!

January 2021 Wrap-Up

So… we made it through the first month of 2021! That was fast!

I had a good reading month and I am delighted to share that I finished 8 books in January.

5-Stars

4-Stars

theotherhalfofaugustahope

3-Stars

themidnightlibrary

2-Stars

earthlings

How was your January? Did you read any good ones? Any new favorites? I’d be delighted to know so feel free to share!

Top 5 Tuesday – Books I Meant to Read in 2020

Happy Tuesday, Homo sapiens! It’s time for another Top 5 Tuesday!

Top 5 Tuesday was originally hosted by Shanah at Bionic Bookworm and now found its home with Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.

I’ve had several books I meant to read in 2020 but somehow didn’t get the chance to get to them yet. Hopefully, I can read them all this year. In the meantime, here are five of them:

Books I Meant to Read in 2020

How about you? What books did you mean to read in 2020 but still hadn’t gotten into? Feel free to share in the comments section or drop a link of your post so I can read them all!

Happy reading!

The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

themountainssingThe Mountains Sing is a bittersweet family saga of the Tran family in north Vietnam. Alternating between Huong and her grandmother, Dieu Lan’s, perspectives, we follow some notable moments in Vietnam’s history as well as the outcome and effect to the people living there at that time. Dieu Lan and her family were victims of the Land reform in the north. They lost everything when the communist government came to power and were forced to flee. They soon settled and started a new life in Hanoi. Fifty years later, Vietnam is at war again. Huong grieves for the loss of her parents.

I liked the characters in this book, the different journeys, trials and hardships they each had to face and the emphasis on how important family is. Dieu Lan is my new favorite character. I loved her. I loved how resilient and resolute she was despite the horrible choices she had to make in order for her and her children to survive. Oh, the love of a mother!

I loved Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s writing. It felt very personal while reading. It felt like Dieu Lan and Huong were speaking to me directly. It made me feel the pain, how unbearable the situation was during the war, how injustice affected a lot of people, but they tried their best to live, to keep on going.

This is a family saga filled with heartbreak and tragedy. But it is also full of hope and love. It’s the kind of book that can make you feel.

Highly recommended.

Quotable Quotes:

“I realized that war was monstrous. If it didn’t kill those it touched, it took away a piece of their souls, so they could never be whole again.”

“Whenever humans failed us, it was nature who could help save us.”

“The more I read, the more I became afraid of wars. Wars have the power to turn graceful and cultured people into monsters.”

“Human lives were short and fragile. Time and illnesses consumed us, like flames burning away these pieces of wood. But it didn’t matter how long or short we lived. It mattered more how much light we were able to shed on those we loved and how many people we touched with our compassion.”

“The challenges faced by Vietnamese people are as tall as the tallest mountains. If you stand too close, you won’t be able to see their peaks. Once you step away from the currents of life, you will have the full view.”

Rating: 5/5 stars

Quote of the Week

Keep your mind open. The meaning of things lies in how people perceive them. The same thing could mean different meanings to the same people at different times.

~Roy T. Bennett

WWW Wednesday 27-Jan-2021

Welcome to this month’s final WWW Wednesday hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words.

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As usual, just answer the three W questions:

  1. What did you recently finish reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Recently Finished

Currently Reading

shuggiebain

Up Next

Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading this past week? I’d be delighted if you share your WWWs, too. Leave a link or share your lists on the comments section so I can check them all out!

Happy reading and keep safe, Homo sapiens!

Quote of the Week

Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get.

~W.P. Kinsella

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

thebookoflostnamesThe Book of Lost Names is the story of Eva Traube, a young woman born in France whose parents are Polish Jews, working her way to become a librarian. The Nazis soon began mass arrests and one day, her father was captured while she and her mother were babysitting for the neighbor. She soon found her self forging documents for her and her mother in order to flee to the free zone of France. Upon arriving in a small town of Aurignon in the free zone, she learned of the underground resistance movement and later found herself forging documents for Jewish children, in order to escape to Switzerland.

Eva soon became increasingly important for the underground resistance movement and her relationships to the people around her became complex and tricky. Her views of the world changed and there came difficult decisions along the way. Eva and Remy had decided to keep a record of the children’s real names for them to remember later on who they really are, a secret between them, The Book of Lost Names. Then the resistance movement was betrayed and Remy also disappeared.

Many years later, Eva saw the very same book where she and Remy kept a record of the names of the children they helped to escape. She was then faced with a choice to just continue with her new life or to revisit her past.

The Book of Lost Names is a very interesting and captivating read full of historically accurate details. I love that I am continually learning more, the round-ups in Paris, the quaint little town in a considered free zone in France, the forgery and the children’s escape to Switzerland to name a few.

This is a story of courage, bravery, survival, endurance, the significance of forgery at that time, patience, loss, trust. It is wonderfully written and a page-turner. Well-researched. Great twists. Well-rounded characters. I have read a lot of books set in WWII and as with all war-set stories, I fear for most of the characters’ lives. With each book, a simple knock on the door makes your adrenaline rise. This is no different. I feared for Eva, for Remy, for Pere Clement and for nearly all the characters.

I loved this book and plan to read more from Kristin Harmel. Highly recommended.

Quotable Quotes:

“Reuniting a book with its rightful owner can be magical.”

“My point is that every parent wants what is best for his or her child. But we are all guilty of seeing things through our own lens.”

“Once you’ve fallen in love with books, their presence can make you feel at home anywhere, even in places where you shouldn’t belong.”

Rating: 5/5 stars

WWW Wednesday 20-Jan-2021

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words.

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As usual, just answer the three W questions:

  1. What did you recently finish reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Recently Finished

These three books were all page-turners and I’m giving all three 5-star ratings!

Currently Reading

themidnightlibrary

I am not liking this as much as I expect to like it. Should I go on or not? Any thoughts?

Up Next

I’m so excited to start with Shuggie Bain and The Prisoner of Heaven. I think both will be 5-star reads!

Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading this past week? I’d be delighted if you share your WWWs, too. Leave a link or share your lists on the comments section so I can check them all out!

Happy reading and keep safe, Homo sapiens!

Top 5 Tuesday – Books I Will Definitely Read This Year

Happy Tuesday, Homo sapiens! It’s time for another Top 5 Tuesday!

Top 5 Tuesday was originally hosted by Shanah at Bionic Bookworm and now found its home with Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.

Books I Will Definitely Read This Year

How about you? What books do you surely intend to read this year? Feel free to share in the comments section or drop a link of your post so I can read them all!

Happy reading!

In Order to Live by Yeon-Mi Park

inordertolive

I have always been curious about North Korea, its people, their way of living, the autocratic Kim regime. I have read a few books/articles and it just increased my curiosity all the more. I am currently working in a South Korean company for almost 10 years now since I came here but North Korea is a very rare topic discussed among my colleagues.

In Order to Live is the memoir of Yeonmi Park as she and her mother escape North Korea in search of a better life. She tells of her family’s story as a child, the kind of life they lead, as well as the dictatorship in North Korea.

The book is divided into three parts: her life in North Korea, then in China and finally in South Korea.

Yeon-Mi mentioned the time after Russia and China put an end to their support for NK which greatly affected NK’s economy. Her father soon found himself selling whatever smuggled items he has in the black market. She also mentioned about songbun, the class groupings enforced by the NK government. Ms. Park’s paternal family used to belong to the “core” class, the highest class grouping, until one of her uncles was accused of raping a student where he was teaching. Since then, all related families were declassed to the lowest songbun.

About halfway through the book, their family’s focus was on China. As the days passed, it has became apparent that there is no future for their family in NK. It wasn’t easy to find a smuggler who will bring them to the NK-China border but as soon they found one, Ms. Park’s sister left first with her friend but gone missing. Ms. Park and her mother followed next leaving her father behind in hopes to find her sister and come back for her father after. Unfortunately, China, as they came to know, was a horrible place, too. They ended up in the nastiness of human trafficking, her mother was even raped in front of her.

Ms. Park and her mother eventually left China through Mongolia with the help of Christian missionaries. The rest of the book talked about the NIS and the Hanawon screening processes and how she and her mother adjusted to life in South Korea.

The writing wasn’t particularly beautiful but that’s okay. Let it not stop you from reading Ms. Park’s story. I encourage you to read this remarkable book and educate yourself through this eye-opening, although shattering, important story.

Quotable Quotes:

“We all have our own deserts. They may not be the same as my desert, but we all have to cross them to find a purpose in life and be free.”

“It amazed me how quickly a lie loses its power in the face of truth.”

“I inhaled books like other people breathe oxygen. I didn’t just read for knowledge or pleasure, I read to live.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

Quote of the Week

Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion.

~Edward Abbey

WWW Wednesday 13-Jan-2021

Welcome to this week’s WWW Wednesday hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words

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As usual, just answer the three W questions:

  1. What did you recently finish reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Recently Finished

themountainssing

Currently Reading

Up Next

Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading this past week? I’d be delighted if you share your WWWs, too. Leave a link or share your lists on the comments section so I can check them all out!

Happy reading and keep safe, Homo sapiens!

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

thegirlwiththeloudingvoiceThe Girl with the Louding Voice is Abi Dare’s debut novel and wow, what an amazing debut!

This is Adunni’s story, a fourteen-year-old girl from the small village of Ikati in Nigeria who wants a proper education and a louding voice. She lives with her alcoholic father and two brothers. Her mother was the breadwinner of the family and wished for Adunni to be able to attend and finish school but she soon passed away. At the wake  of her mother’s death, her father married her off to a rich man named Morufu to be his third wife in order to collect the bride-price. A series of events occurred while she was married to Morufu and soon a tragedy, which forced her to flee. She then found herself in Big Madam’s mansion in Lagos working without pay and beaten everyday.

Adunni is one unforgettable character. She is one of the many girls around the world who didn’t have the privilege to study and learn. She is one of the many child brides. Abi Daré incredibly gave life to Adunni’s voice. Adunni speaks broken English as the story started and I liked that the author wrote it this way and showed us how Adunni’s English progressively changed throughout the book. She eventually developed her English as she begins to study in secret.  Adunni later realized in the story that English is just a language like many others and that the ability to speak good English is not the measure of an intelligent mind.

I enjoyed this book so much. There were many parts in the story that were truly sad but I loved her character so much because although she faced a lot of trials and hardships, she refused to give up, she never once lost faith. She was always positive and hopeful that someday, she will be that girl with the louding voice.

Quotable Quotes:

“You must do good for other peoples, even if you are not well, even if the whole world around you is not well.”

“That day, I tell myself that even if I am not getting anything in this life, I will go to school. I will finish my primary and secondary and university schooling and become teacher because I don’t just want to be having any kind voice… I want a louding voice.”

“I want to tell her that God is not a cement building of stones and sand. That God is not for all that putting inside a house and locking Him there. I want her to know that the only way to know if a person find God and keep Him in their heart is to check how the person is treating other people, if he treats people like Jesus says–with love, patience, kindness, and forgiveness.”

“Who knows what else tomorrow will bring? So, I nod my head yes, because it is true, the future is always working, always busy unfolding better things, and even if it doesn’t seem so sometimes, we have hope of it.”

“When you get up every day, I want you to remind yourself that tomorrow will be better than today. That you are a person of value. That you are important.”

Rating: 5/5 stars

Quote of the Week

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

~Maya Angelou

Earthlings by Sayaka Murata

earthlingsWTF was that? What did I just finish reading? While I’m already accustomed to the strangeness or peculiarity or otherness of Japanese novels, Earthlings left me confused, uncertain, vexed? The blurb was misleading because this book is dark.

Earthlings is the story of Natsuki who we meet as a child and thinks she is not from planet Earth. She struggles to fit it and she only has her cousin, Yuu, who understands her, who also thinks he himself is an alien. Natsuki was a victim of child abuse. She was punished when caught she slept with her cousin, Yuu. Fast forward to when Natsuki was now an adult, she married Tomoya, whom she met online, who was not interested in sex and romance. He just wanted to marry to stop his family from pressuring him to do so. Soon enough, they convinced themselves that they were both aliens and that humans were all brain-washed by the “society.”

This is a book where you can find every trigger you can ask for. From murder to mental illness to cannibalism, abuse (child, physical, mental, sexual), sibling rivalry, trauma, societal pressures, etc.

I’m not sure what to say as the book ended. I felt the book kind of lost the plot and just turned into madness. Maybe I should reread the book to make more sense of it as a whole? NO. This is a weird book. Haunting, Unnerving. It’s dark, tragic. Some find it funny but no, it’s not. It’s challenging to rate this novel because I was engrossed but I was also not really enjoying it. I didn’t really dislike this book, I liked the first part but as the weirdness grew, the enjoyment was lost.

Quotable Quotes:

“Survive, whatever it takes.”

“What I’m really scared of is believing the words society makes me speak are my own.”

Family is hard work,” I thought.”

Would I ever be able to live without constantly trying to survive?”

He’s my partner, but that doesn’t mean we’re friends.”

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

WWW Wednesday 06-Jan-2021

Happy new year, Homo sapiens! Welcome to our first WWW Wednesday of 2021 hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words. I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and I hope the new year started well with everyone!

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As usual, just answer the three W questions:

  1. What did you recently finish reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Recently Finished

Currently Reading

themountainssing

Up Next

Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading this past week? I’d be delighted if you share your WWWs, too. Leave a link or share your lists on the comments section so I can check them all out!

Happy reading and keep safe, Homo sapiens!

 

Top 5 Tuesday – Bookish Resolutions

Happy Tuesday, Homo sapiens! Today is the first Top 5 Tuesday of 2021 and I’m excited to do this again after a very long while!

Top 5 Tuesday was originally hosted by Shanah at Bionic Bookworm and now found its home with Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.

Top 5 Bookish Resolutions

1. Read more genre I don’t normally read

I hope to read more outside my comfort zone and discover something new as much as I can. I intend to read more non-fiction and maybe poetry.

2. Read the books I already own

I have this (really bad, well that depends on your point of view) habit of buying several books at once and not read them right away so it all piles up. So I hope to focus on these books I already own this year.

3. Read a book I’ve always meaning to read

Now I have a lot on my list of books I’ve been wanting to read for a long, long time. I should get started soon!

4. Read and review

I don’t really write the grandest of book reviews but writing a little something as soon as I finish a book and not wait for weeks or days is something I want to focus on.

5. Read more classics

I wasn’t able to read as much classics as I intended to last year so maybe this year would be a good chance.

How about you? What are your bookish resolutions this year? Feel free to share in the comments section or drop a link of your post so I can read them all!

Happy reading!

The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig

thegirlwhosavedChristmasThe Girl Who Saved Christmas is the second book from Matt Haig’s Christmas collection and I enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed the first one, A Boy Called Christmas.

In this second book, we return to Elfhelm where Christmas is threatened by trolls. The trolls destroyed almost everything in Elfhelm and so Father Christmas and elves will have to rebuild it. Noosh was sent to the place where these trolls live to investigate. Apart from trolls, there is also the threat of the loss of hope. Without hope, there is no magic. Without hope, Father Christmas can’t create magic. Without magic, he cannot send gifts to children all over the world.

Amelia is a chimney sweep and now only lives with her cat, Captain Soot. She was full of hope and strongly believes in magic. Soon after her mother passed away, Mr. Creeper took her in the workhouse where she started to lose all hope and no longer believe in magic. Father Christmas soon found out that Amelia no longer lives in 99 Haberdashery Road in London and so the adventure starts to find her.

This is a beautiful story of hope and magic. As with the first book, it draws us to our Christmas traditions and stories but gives it a new energy in a unique and wonderful way. This year has been dreadful for many and I hope stories like these could still give hope and magic to those who read it. Another wonderful and heart-warming Christmas read!

I hope you are all having a meaningful holiday season.

Quotable Quotes:

“Life is like a chimney – you sometimes have to get through the dark before you see the light.”

“The love of a person never disappears,” he said softly. “Even if they might. We have memories, you see, Amelia. Love never dies. We love someone and they love us back, and that love is stored, and it protects us. It is bigger than life, and it doesn’t end with with life. It stays inside us. They stay inside us. Inside our hearts.”

“Because words are a magic too, and they can contain everything.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

Quote of the Week

There comes a day in every man’s life when he stops looking
forward and starts looking back.

~Maxwell Hill

WWW Wednesday 30-Dec-2020

Welcome to our final WWW Wednesday of 2020 hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words.

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As usual, just answer the three W questions:

  1. What did you recently finish reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Recently Finished

thegirlwhosavedChristmas

Currently Reading

Up Next

Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading this past week? I’d be delighted if you share your WWWs, too. Leave a link or share your lists on the comments section so I can check them all out!

Happy reading and keep safe, Homo sapiens!

Happy New Year!

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

aboycalledChristmasPerhaps we all believed in Santa Claus once, specially so when we were kids. But before there was Santa Claus, there was a young boy named Nikolas who believed in the impossible and in magic.

Nikolas and his father were very poor. He is eleven years old and has only received two Christmas gifts: a turnip doll and a sleigh. He has no friends except for Miika the mouse. One day, a hunter came to their house and asked his father to join him and other men on a mission for the King. He was told that he will be rewarded well and they will be able to live a better life. So his father accepted the job and asked his sister, Aunt Carlotta, to take care of Nikolas during his absence. His father didn’t return according to what was planned so Nikolas started to worry. At the same time, Aunt Carlotta doesn’t treat him well and so he decided to run away with Miika and search for his father in the far North. And so begins his adventure.

This is my first read from Matt Haig and I loved his writing. I loved how he weaved a story about a young boy who despite being mistreated still finds a way to be kind and hopeful. A boy who discovers a new home and his destiny. I loved Nikolas’ character, very real and relatable, someone we know and recognize.

This is a book both children and adults can enjoy. It’s hilarious and at the same time very touching. Happy to recommend!

Merry Christmas, Homo sapiens!

Quotable Quotes:

“An impossibility is just a possibility you don’t understand yet.”

“To see something, you have to believe in it. Really believe it. That’s the first elf rule. You can’t see something you don’t believe in. Now try your hardest and see if you can see what you have been looking for.”

“To lose someone you love is the very worst thing in the world. It creates an invisible hole that you feel you are falling down and will never end. People you love make the world real and solid and when they suddenly go away forever, nothing feels solid any more.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

Quote of the Week

Love and loss,” he said, “are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.

~V.E. Schwab

WWW Wednesday 23-Dec-2020

Merry Christmas, Homo sapiens! I hope you are all enjoying the holidays though it is a bit different this year. May we not forget the true meaning of Christmas!

So… Welcome to another WWW Wednesday hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words.

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As usual, just answer the three W questions:

  1. What did you recently finish reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Recently Finished

Currently Reading

thegirlwhosavedChristmas

Up Next

Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading this past week? I’d be delighted if you share your WWWs, too. Leave a link or share your lists on the comments section so I can check them all out!

Happy reading and keep safe, Homo sapiens!

Happy Holidays!

Quote of the Week

Time is a gift, given to you, given to give you the time you need, the time you need to have the time of your life.

~Norton Juster

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

mexicangothicMexican Gothic is a Gothic horror novel set in Mexico some time in the 1950s. Noemi was sent by her father to High Place after receiving a letter from her cousin, Catalina, claiming someone is trying to poison/kill her and that something evil lurks in her husband’s family home. Not long after arriving to High Place, Noemi learned that everything Catalina wrote in her letter were true.

This started interesting for me albeit more on the slow side that I almost lost my enthusiasm to read further but given the hype and all, I decided to finish it.

I think the plot was compelling but the delivery was a bit flat and dry. Don’t get me wrong, there were indeed creepy, icky and interesting moments but it lacks that little something that would’ve made it a great read. The idea was remarkable alright, however, the characters were boring and the pacing was really slow even though the last pages were action-packed, it just wasn’t enough.

There were many parts of the book that I think the author could have elaborated to make the story more interesting like Marta, the healer. I would have loved it more if there was a backstory for her, at least. Or the town itself. A little bit more of gossip or superstition would’ve added to the Mexican feeling of the book. Also, I would have preferred a solid and reliable friendship than a romance between Noemi and Francis. I was actually more into Francis dying but of course, that’s just me. Ha!

All in all, it was still a good read and I am still looking forward to read Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s other books.

Quotable Quotes:

“It was easy to kiss someone when it didn’t matter; it was more difficult when it might be meaningful.”

“The world might indeed be a cursed circle; the snake swallowed its tail and there could be no end, only an eternal ruination and endless devouring.”

“The future, she thought, could not be predicted, and the shape of things could not be divined. To think otherwise was absurd. But they were young that morning, and they could cling to hope. Hope that the world could be remade, kinder and sweeter.”

Rating: 3/5 stars

WWW Wednesday 16-Dec-2020

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words.

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As usual, just answer the three W questions:

  1. What did you recently finish reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Recently Finished

cilka'sjourney

After reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz earlier this year, I was really looking forward to this book, Cilka’s Journey. Cilka was the most interesting character in The Tattooist and so I was very interested in her story. I still didn’t quite like the writing and it felt somewhat unemotional, like in The Tattooist, which don’t really happen to me when reading books relating to the holocaust.

Currently Reading

I’m not enjoying The Ten Thousand Doors of January as much as I’ve anticipated where I’m now a quarter through with the book. Not sure if I’d still continue or just abandon it. Tsk.

I am enjoying Purple Hibiscus so far and I hope to enjoy it to the end. It’s my second read from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

All the Bad Apples is pretty intriguing. I really hope it keeps me intrigued to continue reading.

Up Next

My next reads are all Christmas-y. I really hope to read these three this month since I don’t really read Christmas-themed books.

Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading this past week? I’d be delighted if you share your WWWs, too. Leave a link or share your lists on the comments section so I can check them all out!

Happy reading and keep safe, Homo sapiens!

A Six-Word Story

Love yourself for everything you are.

Outstanding Blogger Award

Hi there, Homo sapiens! I’m doing the Outstanding Blogger Award today! This is one of the several nominations from Carl, thank you, and I guess it’s high time to start doing them. 😉 Please do visit and follow Carl’s blog here if you haven’t yet.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Rules:

  1. Provide the link to the creator’s original award post. (very important: see why in step 5)
  2. Answer the questions provided.
  3. Create 7 unique questions.
  4. Nominate 10 bloggers. Ensure that they are aware of their nomination. Neither the award’s creator, nor the blogger that nominated you, can be nominated.
  5. At the end of 2020, every blog that ping-backs the creator’s original post will be entered to win the 2020 Outstanding Blogger Award!

Carl’s Questions:

1. If you were given the power and the opportunity to rewrite 2020, how would you rewrite it?

There are several things I’d add and remove in my life if I were to write 2020. But in a bigger picture, I’d remove the pandemic and typhoons that caused trouble to many specially in the Philippines.

2. Which fictional subterranean world would you choose to be trapped in and why? It could be Murakami’s underworld, the Greek underworld, the labyrinth of Piranesi, or some other fictional world.

Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings. Need I say more? 🙂

3. I have a varied and diverse taste in music. What song would you recommend for me?

Hmm… The Flame by Cheap Trick.

4. What is something you are looking forward to in 2021? It could be a movie, a book, or a specific event.

Coming home for vacation (or for good) after 12 years.

5. Who is your biggest role model and what made him/her your personal hero?

My queen mother. She’s just wow!

6. You just won the lottery, what are three things you are going to buy first?

  1. Apartment buildings for the homeless.
  2. Land.
  3. More lottery tickets perhaps.

7. Give five fictional characters you would want to travel the world with.

  1. Gandalf
  2. Anakin Skywalker
  3. Holden Caulfield
  4. Joker
  5. Cersei Lannister

Thanks again, Carl, for nominating me. It’s sure fun doing stuff like this. I hope to do the other ones. Haha!

The Nominees:

  1. Silver Button Books
  2. Keep It Alive
  3. One Book More
  4. Susan Loves Books
  5. Snoopy Doo’s Book Reviews
  6. Mani’s Book Corner
  7. Mariam Shittu
  8. What Cathy Read Next
  9. Lady Book Dragon
  10. NottsReader

My Questions:

  1. How did the Covid-19 affect your life?
  2. What one special thing would you like to do for the world?
  3. It’s almost the end of the year, what one thing do you want to accomplish before saying goodbye to 2020?
  4. What do you look most forward to in 2021?
  5. What is your favorite song of all time?
  6. What one book would you recommend to everyone?
  7. What one question would you like to ask me?

I would love to hear the answers from my nominees but just please do it if you want to. And to all those reading this, consider yourselves tagged, too.

Keep safe everyone!

Quote of the Week

Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.

~Cormac McCarthy

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

adancewithdragonsA Dance with Dragons is so far the last published book in the series of A Song of Ice and Fire. The sixth book, The Winds of Winter, is set to be released in 2021. I hope George R.R. Martin has something far, far better than the TV series.

I enjoyed this fifth book in the series a lot more than the fourth one because this reconnects me to my favorite characters once again but it’s abomination all the same. I don’t know why I still enjoy this series after the author has killed almost all of my favorite and other likeable characters. Ha! But I have to say that I’m also starting to like those characters whom I used to loathe before.

As I have said, I enjoyed this book but well, as usual, it’s too long and it was a bit slow-paced. It took a lot of meandering subplots but maybe GRRM needs to do that to prepare us for the next events in the series or probably for the ending. Just like the other books, it was written from different POVs and it annoys me every time it ends with a cliffhanger and moves on to another. Oh, George! However, the voice of the characters this time are way stronger than the previous books. The character development of some characters were quite notable, too. Jaime Lannister is strongly gaining my favor/admiration as he was the most changed character here, or, shall I say most misunderstood?

So, I have finished the first five books in the series. Still, the future of the seven kingdoms is uncertain. There’s Daenerys with her dragons in the east. Jon Snow in the North guarding the wall against the enemies beyond it. There are threats on every side of the seven kingdoms. Who will stop the wars? Who will stop the chaos? Who will rule the seven kingdoms? Will there be anyone left to rule at all?

I’m sad that I’m caught up for now and I don’t know for how much longer but well, I’ve got this far, right? I guess, the wait begins.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

“A man might befriend a wolf, even break a wolf, but no man could truly tame a wolf.”

“Not all men were meant to dance with dragons.”

“Men live their lives trapped in an eternal present, between the mists of memory and the sea of shadow that is all we know of the days to come.”

“Men’s lives have meaning, not their deaths.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

WWW Wednesday 09-Dec-2020

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday hosted by Sam from Taking On A World of Words.

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As usual, just answer the three W questions:

  1. What did you recently finish reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Recently Finished

Currently Reading

Up Next

Have you read any of these books? What have you been reading this past week? I’d be delighted if you share your WWWs, too. Leave a link or share your lists on the comments section so I can check them all out!

Happy reading and keep safe, Homo sapiens!

Quote of the Week

Assumptions are the termites of relationships.

~Henry Winkler