A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Book #16.

This amazing book is the story of Ove, an old man with a Saab, who’s never afraid to tell people about what he thinks whether you want to hear it or not. Though Ove pretty much acts like a grumpy old man, he was never annoying to me. He’s not the kind of person you’d want to come across with in the beginning but the more pages you read, the more you will love him. Ove has a big heart and helps people in his own different way.  I don’t know how to say it but there’s something irresistible about him.

The plot goes to and fro the past and present to help us understand why Ove behaves the way he does. It talks about everyday events but will not make you bored in any way. It’s an easy read that will make you laugh out loud or pull your heartstrings every now and then.

To make a long story short, this book is something that will make you appreciate the people around you, and the animals, too, and that small things really matter a lot. At some point, my heart hurts but in a good way. And I don’t think I’d ever look at a quiet, reticent person the same way ever again.

Quotable Quotes :

“Loving someone is like moving into a house. At first you fall in love with all the new things, amazed every morning that all this belongs to you, as if fearing that someone would suddenly come rushing in through the door to explain that a terrible mistake had been made, you weren’t actually supposed to live in a wonderful place like this. Then over the years the walls become weathered, the wood splinters here and there, and you start to love that house not so much because of all its perfection, but rather its imperfections. You get to know all the nooks and crannies. How to avoid getting the key caught in the lock when it’s cold outside. Which of the floorboards flex slightly when one steps on them or exactly how to open the wardrobe doors without their creaking. These are the little secrets that make it your home.”

“Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it’s often one of the great motivations for the living. Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury. Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis. Others become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival. We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.”

“We always think there’s enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like ‘if'”

“All roads lead to something you were predestined to do.”

“He was a man of black and white. And she was color. All the color he had.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

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

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

Any Human Heart by William Boyd

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

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.”

Favorite 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

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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

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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

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.

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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

My Top 5 Reads of 2015

I had a wonderful reading adventure in 2015 and I managed to read 55 books! And so today, in no particular order, I would like to share the top 5 most memorable, most entertaining, most touching and most awesome books I have read:

1. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand 

This is the story of Louis Zamperini, a young and promising Olympic runner from Torrance, California and served as a bomber crew in the Pacific during the second World War.

As a bombardier, Louie was in-charge of locating the targets while in flight. He and his crewmates had terrifying experiences during their missions until one day, they had to fly in the crippled plane Green Hornet in order to save their friends. The plane went down in the Pacific and only three of them survived thus where the real story started.

What Louis went through as the plane went down in the Pacific and as a POW would have broken other people but not him. He remained “unbroken” to the very end.

This is an amazing story and very well-written. I highly, highly recommend it to everyone!

2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I read this while I was vacationing in Vietnam and it was really the perfect time and place to read this book. It was recommended to me by one of my friends in Goodreads and bought it right away when I saw it in the bookstore. I’m not a big fan of fantasy novels but I definitely enjoyed this.

The Night Circus is about magic, love, desire & imagination. The main story is about two magicians, Marco & Celia, who were committed by their guardians to a mysterious competition designed to end in death.

The circus known as Le Cirque de Reves felt so real and alive, it makes you feel you are there in that magical world.

This is a real page-turner and yes, I definitely recommend it to everyone, old and young! 🙂

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

I think everyone knows the plot of this book already so I don’t have to bother describing and yes, it’s one of my top reads this year! I love Amy! Funny and smart bitch! Haha!

This is the kind of book that’s nearly impossible to put down. I enjoyed every page of it and surprisingly, I liked the movie, too! I’m no fan of movies based on books because I’m often disappointed in them (except for LOTR) but in the case of Gone Girl, it was okay.

So if you haven’t read this yet, read it. It’s twisted & disturbing but irresistible.

4. Stoner by John Williams

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Stoner is a plain and realistic human drama. Nothing much happensin the story and it lacks that “excitement” most people look for in a book nowadays BUT it is so deep, significant, captivating, saddening & depressing as hell.

This is not a big, life-changing kind of book but it might be a good reminder to everyone that people are important and that your contribution to the world doesn’t have to be something huge, it just have to be relevant and meaningful.

5. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin 

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I have only read two epic fantasy books, The Lord of the Rings (of course!) and this! I regret that I didn’t read this right away. This is just so awesome! The many different plots will keep you want to read more, not to mention the multiple POVs. George R.R. Martin was so adept in giving life to all the characters and for me, the direwolves are the coolest! 🙂

I’m quite surprised at how much I love this book, really! That feeling while you read this book is just different, I don’t know, like you’re transported to another world, excellently made world! I just love this book to pieces! A Clash of Kings? Yes, please.

Honorable mentions go to:

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

How about you? What are your favorites this year? Any recommendations? I’d be glad to hear from you!

Happy new year homo sapiens!!!

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

I really think that this book is a simple story but written so well. Father and son walking along burned America who have nothing except each other, a cart of scavenged food and a pistol trying to survive. It wasn’t explained in the book what exactly happened but I like the idea of it not being told.

This left me asking myself questions like how will I react if I were in the same situation? Am I strong enough to endure the same? How much did the father value his life and his son’s? Why did he choose to go on despite of the hopelessness of the situation?   Are people naturally good or bad?

I can’t express myself more in writing about what else I think about this book, however, few books can make me feel and think so much. And this just did.

Favorite quotes :

You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.

People were always getting ready for tomorrow. I didn’t believe in that. Tomorrow wasn’t getting ready for them. It didn’t even know they were there.

Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.

Keep a little fire burning; however small, however hidden.

Rating : 5/5 stars

My Year in Books

2015 books

Proud of my reading achievement this year and happy with most of the books I’ve read!

I’d be glad to see yours! 🙂

A Game of Thrones

Okay… so who haven’t heard of A Song of Ice & Fire series, or at least the first book, A Game of Thrones? I think everybody knows or heard something about it already and I’m probably one of the last few to read the books. Well, I’ve just finished the first one last Friday and I regret not reading it as soon as I’ve heard of it!

I haven’t read epic fantasy books except for The Lord of the Rings (of course!) but I received these books as a gift last Christmas. I started reading the first book a few months back but some books just got in the way.

I liked that the book was told in multiple POVs and George R.R. Martin was so adept in giving life to each of the characters. There is always something going on in each of the chapters so it won’t bore you reading. I specially enjoyed the chapters of Eddard, Daenerys & Tyrion.

I feel really glad to have read this and now I understand why people enjoyed both the book and the series (the first book & the first season). Awesome read! A Clash of Kings, I’m on my way!

Favorite quotes : “Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”

“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

“The things we love destroy us every time.”

“Death is so terribly final, while life is full of possibilities.”

“Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Alsanousi

This book won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2013. The story of a young boy with a Christian name, an Arab surname, a Filipino face and a Kuwaiti passport.

It took me a while to finish reading this because I found it so slow-paced in the first half. It got a bit better afterwards but didn’t come up much with my expectations. Though I must say, it gave me a good laugh when he named the tortoise as Inang Choleng.

Rating : 2/5 stars

To-read

I was trying to arrange my books earlier and here’s my to-read shelf. (I overlooked A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. I’ve read it already and it’s a very good book.) IMG_7500

Book #52 – 2015 Reading Challenge – Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa

The perfect read to end my 2015 Reading Challenge! Book #52…

 If you don’t have any idea about the Palestine-Israeli conflict, this book offers an excellent introduction about it and about the suffering of the people of Palestine.

1947 — the year that was — for the Jewish, the creation of their homeland, the state of Israel; for the Palestinians, the year their land was taken from them, the year they became refugees.

This is such a powerful story about the sufferings of the Palestinians in the hands of the Israelis that will leave you raging with emotions that I have to keep reminding myself that it was a work of fiction (though most happenings were based on facts).

A beautifully written book that gave me a different view about the Palestinian people and everything they have lost. It’s one of the most heart-breaking books I’ve ever read, I recommend it to everyone.

What a perfect read to complete my 2015 Reading Challenge! 🙂

Favorite quotes : ““Always” was a good word to believe in.”

“He brushed his lips against mine, pulled me closer, and I felt as if I had lived all my life for that kiss.”

“I was a word drained of its meaning. A woman emptied of her past. The truth is that I wanted to be someone else.”

“Baba’s absence since the war had grown as big as the ocean and all its fishes. As big as the sky and earth and all their birds and trees. The hurt in my heart was as big as the universe and all its planets.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

Book #51 – 2015 Reading Challenge – The Giver by Lois Lowry

I knew nothing going into this book except that it is another book turned into a movie with Taylor Swift in it. 🙂 Book #51 for my 2015 Reading Challenge… IMG_7365

This is a fast-paced and no lulls book with a very well-described setting which makes it a very interesting read for me. Its concept is very engaging. It’s very effective in making my brain think and ask questions. A well-written book for both children and adult. It makes you realize the importance of making your own choices and not letting others make the choices for you.

This is my first experience with Lois Lowry and I’m looking forward for more.

Favorite quotes : “The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”

“We gained control of many things. But we had to let go of others.”

““I feel sorry for anyone who is in a place where he feels strange and stupid.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

Book #49 – 2015 Reading Challenge – A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

This book intrigued me when I first saw it in the bookstore while checking out the non-fiction shelf. I can’t remember reading anything about boy soldiers before and I’m glad I picked this up. Book #49 for my 2015 Reading Challenge…

When I was 12 years old, I was enjoying a fruitful life with my parents and brothers. I go to school, I play sports, hang out with friends, travel, etc. Life was great. But when Ishmael Beah was at that same age, he was running for his life in Sierra Leone, became a boy soldier left with only two choices: kill or be killed.

This is a quick, great and honestly-written book worth reading. My only disappointment was the ending. He mentioned in the book that he ended up living in the US with his adoptive mother but I wanted to know more how he got there from Guinea and what happened after. Other than that, I highly recommend this book to everyone, though it’s a heart-breaking story, it is an important topic/subject everyone should be aware of. It’s a great read that will make you step back, stop complaining and be thankful for what you have.

Favorite quotes : “Some nights the sky wept stars that quickly floated and disappeared into the darkness before our wishes could meet them.”

“Some people tried to hurt us to protect themselves, their family and communities…This was one of the consequences of civil war. People stopped trusting each other, and every stranger became an enemy.”

“At night it felt as if we were walking with the moon. It followed us under thick clouds and waited for us at the other end of dark forest paths. It would disappear with sunrise but return again, hovering on our path. Some nights the sky wept stars that quickly floated and disappeared into the darkness before our wishes could meet them. Under these stars I used to hear stories, but now it seemed as if it was the sky that was telling us a story as its stars fell, violently colliding with each other. The moon hid behind clouds to avoid seeing what was happening.”

“My childhood had gone by without my knowing, and it seemed as if my heart had frozen.”

Rating : 4/5 stars

Book # 48 – 2015 Reading Challenge – Stoner by John Williams

Another book that will stay with me for a long time… Book #48 for my 2015 Reading Challenge…

Stoner is a book that has nothing to do with marijuana or a drug addict. 🙂 It is actually the name of the book’s protagonist. 🙂

On the surface, it looks like a very simple tale. However, the simplicity of it masks the depth and brilliance that runs throughout the story. I personally enjoy books with real, believable characters and situations and this is certainly one of them. I can’t express well why I found this to be such a page-turner because it lacks that “excitement” most people look for in a book nowadays, but it is so deep, significant and captivating.

Being one of the finest books I’ve ever read, I hope you readers can get a chance to read it as well. It’s not that big, life-changing kind of book but it might be a good reminder to everyone that people are important and that your contribution to the world doesn’t have to be something huge, it just have to be relevant and meaningful.

Favorite quotes :

“Sometimes, immersed in his books, there would come to him the awareness of all that he did not know, of all that he had not read; and the serenity for which he labored was shattered as he realized the little time he had in life to read so much, to learn what he had to know.”

“…the person one loves at first is not the person one loves at last, and that love is not an end but a process through which one person attempts to know another.”

“You must remember what you are and what you have chosen to become, and the significance of what you are doing. There are wars and defeats and victories of the human race that are not military and that are not recorded in the annals of history. Remember that while you’re trying to decide what to do.”

Rating : 5/5 stars

Book #47 – 2015 Reading Challenge – Paper Towns by John Green

My third John Green novel is Book #47 for my 2015 Reading Challenge.

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Quentin and Margo have been neighbors since they were two years old. Q is an average high school kid with few good friends and is secretly in love with Queen Bee Margo (or with his idea of her).

So one night, a month before graduation, Margo climbs to Q’s windows and tagged him to a revengeful night of adventure. At first, Quentin was nervous about Margo’s plans but soon started to enjoy it as well, thus, it made him think that he could reconnect with Margo again just like when they were younger.

The next day, Margo’s missing. This lead Q and his friends to an adventure of a lifetime.

This book is written from Q’s perspective and so there’s a lot of teenage boy nonsense but very realistic of how teenage boys are. 🙂 It’s hilarious. And insightful. Though I can’t connect much with Q, I was able to enjoy his friends, Ben and Radar. All their clever comments and trash talk were LOL-worthy.

I want to say more about this book but a reread would be good I think before I can express myself more. Even so, this is a thought-provoking read with characters of different personalities and issues you can pretty much relate to, after all, we’ve all been teenagers once. 🙂

Favorite quotes : “What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.”

“Talking to a drunk person was like talking to an extremely happy, severely brain-damaged three-year-old.”

“I’m starting to realize that people lack good mirrors. It’s so hard for anyone to show us how we look, & so hard for us to show anyone how we feel.”

“I love you. Not like a sister loves a brother or like a friend loves a friend. I love you like a really drunk guy loves the best girl ever.”

“Peeing is like a good book in that it is very, very hard to stop once you start.”

Rating : 4/5 stars

Book #46 – 2015 Reading Challenge – I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Book #46 for my 2015 Reading Challenge is my first Gayle Forman novel…

Well, this isn’t a terrible novel but I also didn’t find anything remarkable about it. It’s my first Gayle Forman read and I feel sad that I ended up disappointed. I had high expectations before reading this one because of the many great reviews. The characters didn’t appeal much to me and it would probably have been better if Scottie was a main character since he was the most intelligent among them. Cody, on the other hand, is the worst best friend character I’ve ever read. Enough said.

Anyhow, I won’t tell you don’t read this. Read it. It might be disappointing for me but it could be a great read for you.

Favorite quote : “…I don’t want to lose you because of the fucked-up way I found you.”

Rating : 2/5 stars

Book #44 – 2015 Reading Challenge – Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Life is what you make of it and Book #44 in my 2015 Reading Challenge made me realize to start making more of mine…

This book really hits you in the heart. Total tearjerker. It’s an amazing story about life and death and love and everything in between. It made me laugh but it also made me cry.

Will Traynor (Oh, Will!!!) and Lou Clark are very likable characters, unlikely but interesting pair brought together by circumstance. I really enjoyed how their relationship changed and grew because it’s very realistic.

The controversial issue of euthanasia was very carefully dealt with by Ms. Moyes in this novel. I already had an opinion about this topic even before I knew about this book and that still hasn’t changed. I strongly believe that a person with a fatal illness/disease or something like Will’s has the right to choose to die in their own terms. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m entitled to my own opinion, let me know yours in the comment section. I’d love to hear them.) It was very dramatic how Ms. Moyes presented this issue up to the later part of this book, making Lou look for every possible way to let Will change his mind, keeping her hopeful and letting her be more attached to him. Little does she know that Will had firmly made his decision.

This story will definitely stay with me for a long time and continue to reflect/contemplate about it. I don’t know how it’s like to live a life being once a man-of-the-world suddenly turned into a quadriplegic where you have to live the rest of your life in a wheelchair but somehow, the author managed to make us feel that while reading this book. It leaves me with sadness but inspires me to step back a little and have a look at my own life.

If you haven’t read this book, do yourself a favor… Read —  and feel it — because sometimes, six months can be the best six months of your life.

Favorite quotes : “Push yourself. Don’t Settle. Just live well. Just LIVE.”

“Some mistakes… Just have greater consequences than others. But you don’t have to let the result of one mistake be the thing that defines you. You, Clark, have the choice not to let that happen.”

“…I told him a story of two people. Two people who shouldn’t have met, and who didn’t like each other much when they did, but who found they were the only two people in the world who could possibly have understood each other.”

“The thing about being catapulted into a whole new life — or at least, shoved up so hard against someone else’s life that you might as well have your face pressed against their window — is that it forces you to rethink your idea of who you are. Or how you might seem to other people.”

“I am conscious that knowing me has caused you pain, and grief, and I hope that one day when you are less angry with me and less upset you will see not just that I could only have done the thing that I did, but also that this will help you live a really good life, a better life, than if you hadn’t met me.”

Rating : 5/5 heartbreakingly beautiful stars

Book #43 – 2015 Reading Challenge – Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Book #43 for my 2015 Reading Challenge is this wonderful piece of historical fiction.

A beautiful story about trust, faith, friendship, relationships, change, survival, love, second chances, etc.

I never heard of orphan trains until I saw it on Goodreads. Apparently, about 200,000 homeless children from crowded cities in the US were put on these trains to find new families in the West. These children are then paraded in every train stops where people who are willing to adopt can check and question them. Those selected children will go with their new foster parents right then and there as soon as the paper works are done. Those who weren’t lucky enough to be chosen will re-board the train and try their “luck” in the next stop. Vivian, an Irish immigrant, was one of those children.

In this fictional tale, Vivian at 91, forms an unlikely friendship with Molly who is several decades younger than her. Their stories are interwoven together and thus came this beautiful book.

The writing was simple and the dual storyline was well-applied. It certainly kept my interest from start to finish. (And I love the book cover!)

Favorite quotes : “I am not glad she is dead, but I am not sorry she is gone.”

“You got to learn to take what people are willing to give.”

“I like the assumption that everyone is trying his best, and we should all just be kind to each other.”

“I learned long ago that loss is not only probable but inevitable. I know what it means to lose everything, to let go of one life and find another. And now I feel, with a strange, deep certainty, that it must be my lot in life to be taught that lesson over and over again.”

“So is it just human nature to believe that things happen for a reason – to find some shred of meaning even in the worst experiences?”

Rating : 5/5 stars

Book #42 – 2015 Reading Challenge – Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie

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Gwenda Reed was looking for a new house and chose to buy the one that seems familiar to her. From there, she starts to see/imagine things that should be in the house — stairs, wallpapers, doors, etc. Moreover, she prefers to sleep in the nursery.

The mystery slowly unfolds once she found out that she actually lived in the same house as a child eighteen years ago.

This could have been a great book if it weren’t so predictable to me. I think reading too much of Miss Marple these past few months made it easier for me to figure out the murderer. However, I’d still recommend it!

Favorite quote : “Jealousy, you know, is usually not an affair of causes. It is much more – how shall I say? – fundamental than that. Based on the knowledge that one’s love is not returned. And so one goes on waiting, watching, expecting …  that the loved one will turn to someone else. Which, again, invariably happens.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Book #41 – 2015 Reading Challenge – Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I read Gone Girl earlier this year and enjoyed it so I was really looking forward to reading Gillian Flynn’s other books. I finally bought a copy of her first novel and that makes it Book #41 for my 2015 Reading Challenge.

Fucked-up girls! Disturbing.

So this is the story of Camille Preaker, a journalist sent back to her hometown by her editor to cover a story about the unsolved murder of two pre-teen girls.  As she tries to get more information about the murders, she identifies herself more and more with the victims.

Gillian Flynn is very good in creating likeable but damaged characters, which I liked most in this book as well as in Gone Girl. The main characters are incredibly flawed but smart.

I also personally think that Flynn was able to touch very well on themes about alcoholism and inflicted abuse in this book, some things that happen almost everywhere in the world today.

Overall, this novel is not as great as Gone Girl but it is worth reading.

Favorite quotes: “Sometimes when you let people do things to you, you’re really doing it to them.”

“How confusing to live in the shadow of a shadow.”

“I ached once, hard, like a period typed at the end of a sentence.”

Rating : 4/5 stars

Book #40 – 2015 Reading Challenge – The Caribbean Mystery by Agatha Christie

Book #40 for my 2015 Reading Challenge is another Agatha Christie. a carribean mystery

So this book is set, as the title suggests, in the Caribbean. Yes, Miss Marple is on a Caribbean vacation.

The story is about a murderer who always gets away with his crime because people don’t want to listen. The pace was a bit slow compared to her other books but that didn’t stop me from reading. The relationship between Miss Marple and Mr. Rafiel, an unwell millionaire, is what I like most in this book. I think that the story belongs much to both of them. 🙂

Somehow, I guess I’m starting to understand the A. Christie formula already. 🙂 Or this just probably happened to be the easiest of her mysteries? Either way, I guessed it right on this one!

Favorite quote : “Life is more worth living, more full of interest when you are likely to lose it. It shouldn’t be, perhaps, but it is. When you’re young and strong and healthy, and life stretches ahead of you, living isn’t really important at all. It’s young people who commit suicide easily, out of despair from love, sometimes from sheer anxiety and worry. But old people know how valuable life is and how interesting.”

Rating : 4/5 stars

Book #38 – 2015 Reading Challenge – The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This is my first Neil Gaiman book so I didn’t know what to expect. I loved it nonetheless! neil gaiman

The story began when the unnamed narrator revisited his childhood home for a funeral and was drawn back to a farm where he met his one true friend and experienced a magical and haunting event when he was seven years old.

Not every child probably did this but when I was young, I like to imagine things differently from what they really are. I like thinking about them in a weird way that sometimes my memory get mixed up from what’s real and what’s not. The book somewhat depicts that. That sometimes, things are different from what we remember them to be.

Although this isn’t typically the kind of book I usually seek out to read, this made me smile. But it made me sad, too. It gave me something to think about. It even made my heart ache. So I think that’s enough reason to recommend this book and read more of Neil Gaiman’s works.

Favorite quotes : “I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

“I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy.”

“You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.”

“I saw the world I had walked since my birth and I understood how fragile it was, that the reality was a thin layer of icing on a great dark birthday cake writhing with grubs and nightmares and hunger.”

Rating : 5/5 stars