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

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

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

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

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

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!

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

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

The first time I started reading Station Eleven, I closed and returned it back to my shelf when I reached page 3. I tried it again a few days back and I’m glad I persisted.


The story loops around the past and the present and then back again. The very skillful plotting of Station Eleven gave way to knowing each character more and what the characters think of the others. It’s how these characters are related that made this book really interesting for me (and no zombie in sight!). Their stories fit together perfectly and it’s really fascinating to see them all fall into place.

This is an amazing read that I finished it asking myself do people ever realize life while they live it? Hmmm…

Station Eleven may have started in darkness but it ended with a beam of hope.

Favorite quotes:

“Hell is the absence of the people you long for.”

“Survival is insufficient.”

“The more you remember, the more you’ve lost.”

“First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.”

“The beauty of this world where almost everyone was gone. If hell is other people, what is a world with almost no people in it?”

Rating : 5/5 stars

Moloka’i by Alan Brennert

This novel spans the 80-year life of Rachel Kalama, who was born in Honolulu where when she was seven, she was taken away from her family and lived most of her life in involuntary exile on Moloka’i as a leper. In this island where lives are supposed to end, Rachel’s life begins.

molokai

I enjoyed Rachel’s character and everyone else’s in this book. Rachel refuses to let her condition get in the way of a life well-lived. Seeing her grow up with leprosy along with her new-found family and friends made it an interesting read though I teared up here and there.

Alan Brennert evidently researched quite well since a lot of historical facts intertwines with the story which gave me a snapshot of Hawaii in the past.

Given its rich history and well-developed characters, this story will stay with me for a long time.

Favorite quotes: “There’s only one disadvantage, really, to having two mothers… You know twice the love… but you grieve twice as much.”

“With wonder and a growing absence of fear she realized, I am more than I was an hour ago.”

“But there was still a bottomless hole inside her, and she began to think that there always would be.”

“I’ve come to believe that how we choose to live with pain, or injustice, or death….is the true measure of the Divine within us.”

“Fear is good. In the right degree it prevents us from making fools of ourselves. But in the wrong measure it prevents us from fully living. Fear is our boon companion but never our master.”

Rating : 5/5 stars