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Archive for the ‘book review’ Category


Saw this on “my memory”  app at FB yesterday.  I can’t help but repost it. The value of reading….priceless.

I marked this quote when I started another book yesterday. It’s by  Martin Luther King.

Faith is taking  the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

Gosh, I just love, love this book. For a first time author, Amy Markstahler is pretty good.

Love, family life, second chances – they’re all here. I cried at the scene when Tyler gave a eulogy on the death of Elsie’s dad. That was so sweet.

Another book that I read in one day. It was that good. I was clearly surprised seeing that the author just followed my review at Goodreads. I hope I could find more stories like this.

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Read this in one day and that’s a feat. Another John Grisham book that I love. Although most of his stories are about the lives of lawyers, I love most of his books although I don’t regularly read them.

I love courtroom scenes but this has not much of it. It’s more on  the three characters, Mark, Todd and Zola, law school students thriving on student loans. Though their school is not a top-notch one, a diploma mill,  they try to finish their degree despite individual problems in their families. Zola, although she was born an US citizen, her parents and two brothers are undocumented immigrants. Mark’s brother has his own problems. Todd works as a bar attendant. They were on their last semester of law school and with no job to look forward to and  mounting student debts, so they decided to put up their own law firm despite being unlicensed and undergrads.

This is quite fast-paced, never boring but a little bit unbelievable that just mere law students could dope people. They succeeded for a while until they were on the run. You’d think of course they will be caught in the end but of course the ending is favorable. I am giving this four-stars. Another winner from John Grisham.

 

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This book is simply “it”. Amazing, lovely,interesting story line.

The last time I read about time travel was when I encountered The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. We have two copies in the shelf, one is a mass produced book and a trade paperback.

I understand this was published lately back in January 2019. A science fiction fantasy that takes you to two worlds, century apart and how life was then and now. An adventure-filled story in the life of Kin Stewart, his family back in the 21st century and his future in the year 2142.

I really hope there would be a movie adaptation someday. I gave this five stars at Goodreads. It’s my 46th book by the way for this year’s challenge.

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The last time I really read a good memoir was when I discovered Peter Mayle’s books two years ago. I read all of his three books entitled A Year In Provence (giving it  a five-star rating on Goodreads), Toujours Provence and Encore Provence. Back then, I couldn’t get enough of how he described his adventures and life in the south of France. I even googled all those places that he mentioned in his books.  I got sad though when he died last January 18, 2018 at the age of 78. He was a British author.

Then here comes another book that got me hooked up to the last page.

Becoming by Michelle Obama.

Of course we all know who Michelle Obama is, the first African-American First Lady of the United States. The book of course is not about politics. It’s about the life of a future First Lady from when she was a child growing up with her brother Craig on the South Side of Chicago.  She belonged to a middle class family, graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. The book speaks of the times when she was a child until her family left the White House after eight years.

From time to time, I would read some quotes of hers but I was never curious to know how she lived her life as a mother to two beautiful kids and the wife of Pres. Barack Obama. Becoming is an intimate account on how experiences have shaped her, a warm story-telling of her life as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother and eventually as the First Lady of the United States of America. With honesty and wit, she described her disappointments and triumphs in life.  Her beauty, elegance and intelligence were clearly manifested in her detailed descriptions of how life was back then.

Here are some  quotes that I jotted down while reading the book.

“For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.”

“For every door that’s been opened to me, I’ve tried to open my door to others. And here is what I have to say, finally: Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.”

“Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.” 

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When you accidentally find another book that takes you back to places and events that you never get tired of reading about, it is truly a joy to read it.

At first, it was the cover of the book that I noticed. I have always loved reading about World War II. Yes, historical novels fascinate me. And since Amy Harmon is a new author in my list, I was not expecting that I will enjoy this book.

From Sand  And Ash, a touching, beautiful and heart-wrenching story of an Italian Jew and a Catholic priest and their families. The setting was in 1943 at the height of WWII in war-torn Italy. They were childhood friends, raised like family, of different faith and religion. The male protagonist Angelo, chose to become a priest while Eva grew up in the company of Angelo’s grandparents. The author says most of the events that happened in the book were factual. Italy’s Jews were hidden by members of the Catholic clergy. One thing that I’ve always read about in similar stories were how the Jews were killed in concentration camps in Poland and Germany. Although Italy was mentioned, it was never this detailed.

If you happen to love such stories with a little romance in between, you would enjoy reading this. It was a beautiful read from start to finish. A story of faith, love and war, a mesmerizing combination that grips you till the end.

I am giving this five-stars on Goodreads, one of the best books I read this year so far. I never include summaries when I review a book, it’s for you to find out if you are interested to read it.  I jotted down some worth-reading quotes though.

“Fear is strange. It settles on chests and seeps through skin, through layers of tissue, muscle, and bone and collects in a soul-sized black hole, sucking the joy out of life, the pleasure, the beauty. But not the hope. Somehow, the hope is the only thing resistant to the fear, and it is that hope that makes the next breath possible, the next step, the next tiny act of rebellion, even if that rebellion is simply staying alive.”

“Life is like a long note; it persists without variance, without wavering. There is no cessation in sound or pause in tempo. It continues on, and we must master it or it will master us.”

“Time doesn’t stop or give warning. It simply ticks along, marking time, ignoring humanity.” 

Done with 26% of my book challenge this year.

 

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I took a rest the whole of yesterday. I was not feeling so good. My throat hurts until now and last night was a struggle to sleep well. I woke up before 12am, then was able to sleep again before 4am.  I have to brew some ginger slices  which I drank as substitute for water.

I am so afraid when I get sick because over the years my immunity has gone down. If I have colds, it would take me weeks to get well. And to think flu is rampant nowadays because of the cold weather. Early this morning, I went out to buy pandesal for breakfast and I had to wear a face mask.  Just a precaution.

I found this very inspiring  and uplifting book entitled The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes. I could wholeheartedly relate, a case of been there, done that.  Mia was nicknamed Rabbit by her family and friends. She is a young mother battling cancer. The story mostly happened in a hospice where she was transferred  during her final days. She reflects on her life’s journey as she waits for the final hour that she’ll meet her Maker. She is an atheist though while her family members are Catholics.  The support of her family members, her friends and her twelve-year old daughter makes the story even more poignant. Anger, hope, despair  and denial, the love between a mother and a young daughter, the relationship of parents to their kids, the love between siblings. I guess this book is not for the weak-hearted for you will surely cry while reading it.  But there are instances where you would also laugh and could easily relate to what they are all going through.

Anna McPartlin was born in Dublin, Ireland.  Her inspirations are her friends and family. I wish I could find her three other books.  I love the way she write.

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Ah, to think we are already in February but my WordPress calendar is still on January 31, 2019. Of course, we are advanced by a few hours from other countries.

I used to write about month endings and beginnings, lately though I’ve been quite lazy. Lazy to write a few words that is. January has been a quiet month for me. I’m just so happy that I have found new authors and new books to read. I have just finished my 20th this year, a story about the quirks and moods of an artist, his relationship with  his family particularly his son who idolizes him. A lovely story, carving your own space in the shadow of a master. And here is my short, short review at Goodreads:

“I am giving this five stars, my second book of five stars this year. What a gifted writer, truly impressive story. Yes,this is my first book of Tom Rachman. He is virtually an unknown author to me. 

I love the main characters of the story. Charles aka Pinch is such a lovely character. His whole life was overshadowed by his talented and gifted artist father. He struggled on his own learning the craft without the knowledge of his family and friends. He proved himself that he could excel just like his father.”

I haven’t admired the art of painting much except when I was introduced to it at Sip & Go, an afternoon spent with Nissa back in November where we indulged ourselves in an amateur painting.  She paid for it as a birthday gift to me.  Painting on acrylic…just great. When you are used to doing stick figures and flowers in crayons, you would truly appreciate something like this. Believe it , I’d like to go back one of these days to paint other subjects. Ambitious, ‘no? 🙂 I am re-posting one of our photos here with shall I say, the finished product.

At Sip & Gogh

It’s a lovely morning with the cold breeze and all.

Goodbye January. February, be kind.

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