Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘book reviews’ Category


Intriguing title, right?

But I just borrowed from a book I am reading at the moment that I simply could not put down. It is actually a memoir  but it is a contemporary YA book.

Zimbabwe.

It’s the first time I read something about this country, formerly called Rhodesia, a land-locked country located in Southern Africa.

How one letter changed two lives is the main theme of this book. Two teens exchanging letters from two continents.  They are pen pals. A Zimbabwean boy and an American girl. The former is dirt-poor, on a hand to mouth existence  while the girl came from a well-off family. I cried so many times reading this book and I have only finished two-thirds of it but I can’t ignore writing about it. Besides, if I could, I promised myself to write every day until the end of September. Another challenge, I guess.

Caitlin and Martin –  and the lovely narrative simply written. I almost forgot that this is a memoir.

Back in college, I had an opportunity to meet two Japanese girls and an Australian  via pen pal writing. It came about when a fellow student librarian gave my name to them and they started writing to me. I could still remember their names until now – Junko Yao, Satomi Hasegawa and Suzanne Gilding. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could find them now? Junko was the more diligent writer and she sent me some packages before – Japanese green tea, chopsticks, Japanese candies, a hair accessory ( a lovely Japanese comb)  and stationeries. I am just sorry I stopped  corresponding with them when I started work at the bank.

I  Will Always Write Back is just an awesome read.

Read Full Post »


Just done with another book by Charles Martin called Where The River Ends. a beautiful story about love, commitment, sacrifice and a journey of faith as well.

I can totally relate because I’ve been there too almost eleven years ago. The only difference is that this is a work of fiction while my experience was real.  You know that thing they call slash, poison and burn. Went through the slash thing followed by poison but luckily, I didn’t undergo the burn option. when you think of those days that you have been incapacitated and you lived by faith and trust in God, you feel lucky that you were given a second chance at life.

Martin writes from the heart. The harsh realities of undergoing chemotherapy treatment, the almost lifeless  feeling once you are done with one session of it, the hope, the despair and when relationships go awry because your partner cannot cope with the emotional side of things. This is true in real life. This is actually my 8th read of his books and I love them all. I am actually looking for more.

 

Read Full Post »


Have you ever read a book based on its title and book cover?

I did. I do.

Lately, I started my 2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge. I have read 15 books so far, an eclectic mix of memoirs, fairy tales, children’s books, fiction and historical books. I just thought it would be a good change to see book titles and book covers, how they were presented, not necessarily authors.  I always read same authors anyway when I find some of their books interesting. Historical books to me always come in first because I love history no matte if the setting was just incorporated in the book itself. There is something wonderful knowing about the early years of man’s existence, how people were able to cope with lesser amenities that we have now. Period stories are fascinating to me.

Of course  it is always a thrill to discover new authors, some recommended by fellow book lovers and some I find online. It is always nice to see a place described in another perspective.  I recently saw Stephen King’s the Green Mile but I am not ready yet to read another Stephen King.  It was years ago when I discovered some of his earlier works and I liked The Shining best. That was followed by my fascination with Robert Ludlum and Richard North Patterson. I had so many Ludlum books before but I lost some of it back in 2009 during a typhoon that flooded our place. Leon Uris came next, history at its best.  I also love the works of Frank McCourt. ‘Tis and Angela’s Ashes are the best.  I also read The Teacher Man. I haven’t discovered yet if he has new books in the market.

Occasionally, I read love stories too. I enjoyed A Hundred Little Flames.  A unique story, an engrossing read.  I am presently reading Dance Upon The Air by Nora Roberts. It has some good reviews on Goodreads. Sometimes though I am challenged by reading some unknown authors and not so good book reviews.

What have you been reading lately? Can you recommend authors that you like?

Read Full Post »


Take a guess!

I promised myself to blog every day at least during the month of January and I did until the other day.

Bam!

I missed one yesterday. I was again sidetracked reading new books for my Goodreads’ 2020 Reading Challenge. As I have said in one of my previous blogs, I want to read at least 100 books this year, perhaps a far cry from the 150 books I read last year. I am choosing what to read first, start the year right by inspiring myself in the process.

The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon.

Started reading Amy Harmon last year and I am quite surprised about her books. This is my fifth book of Amy Harmon, different subjects except for the two books done in two series. A unique, powerful, intense and emotional story about an abandoned baby who grew up to be an artist and a girl who believed in him despite the odds. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and happy endings. I ‘d like to think this is a love story but there is more to it than just cuddles and kisses, it will tug at your heartstrings. Moses, someone you’ll probably hate in the middle of the story but those redeeming qualities show in the end. Georgia, love her character and her strength, a forgiving soul who just loved.

Noel Street by Richard Paul Evans

Perhaps you’ve read a lot about him here before. He is one of my favorite authors. This is his latest book given by a friend last week. It is the third book in the Noel Collection. Luckily, I have all three. It was just published last November 2019.

How’s this for a start?

Every story is a road. And on all roads there are potholes and bumps, detours and unexpected encounters.

I love those quote in every chapter of the book. It’s another Christmas book. The story line maybe predictable but it was a good read. Done reading it in one day.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

My first book about nature and the first novel by Delia Owens. She writes non-fiction and is a nature writer. I wonder why some readers at Goodreads are not so impressed by her writing. I was though. A coming-of-age and a possible murder. I love the court scenes. I always loved court scenes in books I have previously read. It’s 2018 Goodreads Award Nominee for historical fiction.

Some quotes I like here:

“His dad had told him many times that the definition of a real man is one who cries without shame, reads poetry with his heart, feels opera in his soul, and does what’s necessary to defend a woman.”

“Autumn leaves don’t fall, they fly. They take their time and wander on this their only chance to soar.”

“Most of what she knew, she’d learned from the wild. Nature had nurtured, tutored, and protected her when no one else would. If consequences resulted from her behaving differently then they too were functions of life’s fundamental core.”

Would you believe, I gave the three of these books four stars?

Read Full Post »


Wow! Goodreads has just released its annual report on how I fared in books this year.

One thing I like about the site is that you get to maintain a virtual library and you can always browse about book summaries and their corresponding reviews.

TOTALS

I read 50,503 pages across 147 books. The shortest is around 57 pages while the longest (a set of books actually)  composed of 2,098 pages. The most popular book I read this year is Pride and Prejudice. My average rating for all the books I read this year is 3.5  (5 being perfect) while the highest rated one with a score of 4.56  is Michelle Obama’s Becoming. I  wrote  a short review of this book somewhere here.

I was just surprised that they released this early when there are 22 more days to go before the year ends. I have just finished one of Nadia Hashimi’s books but it was not included in this report.

I didn’t expect I could finish 148 books when I started last January. I pegged it at 120.
There are several more books I have to read maybe at the start of the year 2020 but I am hoping I could finish three more before the year ends.
Do you participate in reading challenges? Are you also excited to discover new authors?  I started this challenge back in 2015.  I’am at No. 47 Best Reviewers and No. 31 Top Reviewers. Not bad, not bad at all 🙂

 

 

Read Full Post »


I have some of her books sitting on my shelf for the last ten years or so but I never was compelled to read them –  The House of the Spirits was published in 1982, Of Love and Shadows in 1984, Maya’s Notebook in 2011 and A Japanese Lover in 2015. The last two are e-books. I have previously read Maya’s Notebook and In The Midst of Winter but I have clearly forgotten the stories. I went back to Goodreads and I have given them both four-stars before.

Since I am done with my Goodreads’ challenge this year, I am choosing what books to read first without having to think that I have a challenge to meet. Some lazy days of reading, I guess.  Finally, it is about time I have to consider other authors  again like Isabel Allende. She  is a Chilean- American author who was born in Lima, Peru. She has written over 20 books translated from Spanish. The last time I enjoyed stories from that part of the world was when Nissa gifted me with two books by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a Colombian novelist, sadly though, before I finished Love In The Time of Cholera, they were both destroyed by flood Ondoy back in 2009. They were never replaced but I like to reread One Hundred Days of Solitude.

Going back to Allende, I am presently reading Of Love and Shadows.  Still in the first few chapters of the book. Would you believe, I found a movie adaptation of the book  with   a voice translation. I’m gonna explore that some other time maybe.

Last night I was distracted playing Wordscapes on my tab. I am on level 121 and I don’t want to lose my earned points just to look for clues. It is hard but challenging.

Read Full Post »


The last time I blogged about a book was last March 3. I thoroughly enjoyed Becoming by Michelle Obama. It was followed by several more books, nine more titles to be exact. They are mostly historical novels set in different places. There was one in Nigeria, a sort of memoir too and I enjoyed reading it. There were two books during the WWII.  I always love reading what happened during that time in world history.

About an hour ago, I finished reading Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata, with an English translation by  Edward G. Seidensticker. I wasn’t born yet when it was first published in 1952 but there are other editions in the market. Come to think of it, I didn’t even know about Japanese traditions and heritage left by their ancestors but I learned something from this book. The delicate art of the tea ceremony which is a part of their culture is beautiful. If I remember, this is only my second book set in Japan and by a Japanese author.

There is another book that I am excited to read, The Crown’s Fate. The setting is in Russia. It’s actually a sequel but it could stand alone. I love stories about the Russian Revolution. This started when I encountered my first book of Ayn Rand, (a Russian-American writer) called The Fountainhead. I strained my eyes finishing Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky years ago. Anna  Karenina is a recent read.

Trying to look for more Asian authors.

Read Full Post »


Yes of course, I am active at Goodreads because I keep the site as my virtual library. It’s where I find lovely and inspiring book reviews, books  that are some readers’ favorites, books that  earn five stars  and recommendations from other readers. I actually voted in the selection of books in the 10th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards.  Been Looking forward to this and the results came out today. Though those books that I recommended didn’t win, I am still happy that I was able to read most of the nominated books for this year.  If you are not a Goodreads member, it might interest you to know these books which are included and which  I had the opportunity to read.

FICTION:

  1. Still Me by Jojo Moyes – this is a sequel (3rd book) to the first one called Me Before You.  Moyes is a British author and this is her first Goodreads Choice Awards.
  2. Girls Burn Brighter  by Shobha Rao. – This is actually placed at number 8, a story of India and two teenage girls in rural India. Here’s my short review:  I think this is my second book about India and my first one with this author. Not expecting much but oh gosh, this book grips you all throughout. I’ve never been aware of those traditions in rural parts of India until now. The story is brutal in a sense that it delivers without sugar-coating the events and happenings in the story.
    I was quite disappointed though when I reached the ending. Although it was implied that the two characters have finally found each other again, I would have preferred seeing their reactions face to face.
    There is still life after all the hardships as long as one believes.
  3. All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin – I’ve read almost all of Emily Giffin books and this one is another winner. How far would you go to protect your child? Are you willing to sacrifice everything, even your marriage to protect them? This is a relevant story of how teens deal with stress and pressure nowadays. Some friends could be bad influences in their lives. Some could do well staying as just friends.

BEST MYSTERY AND THRILLER:

  1. The Outsider by Stephen King – I blogged about this a few days ago while I was in the middle of reading it.
  2. Force of Nature by Jane Harper – this is on the 9th slot and I didn’t have a review of it.

HISTORICAL FICTION:

  1. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah.  – She bagged it in 2015 for The Nightingale and today she won again for this book The Great Alone. Read this last March 2018. A lovely, touching and beautiful book. One of Kristin Hannah’s best. One gets to be a little emotional while reading a wonderful story.
  2. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris – it came in second though. I wrote a review about this book here at WordPress a few months ago.A compelling read about the Holocaust. Based on a true story of two Slovakian Jews who survived Auschwitz.I wonder why I am always drawn to historical books, fiction or otherwise particularly in that time of history which is the Second World War. I love those heart-wrenching stories of survival, the hope and faith of each person to live a normal life again.And I am reminded of our situation here in our country, democracy and populism. What is good for a group of people does not apply to all.
  3. Warlight by Michael Ondaatje – It came in at the number nine slot.  I thought at first, it is a memoir since there is not much dialogue so to speak. The story jumps making you a little lost. It was only during the third part of the story that it made sense at all. Sorry, not really my cup of tea as a historical fiction.

BEST OF THE BEST:

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie  Thomas. – I’ve long wanted to read this but I couldn’t find a copy. Curious about how it came to be the best story (among other winners in the past).
  2. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – This was my nomination but it came up in number two slot. I think I made a review of this at  WordPress too. I can’t remember now. I think I did when it won the Best Historical Fiction back in 2014.
  3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett – I rated this four stars.  I wasn’t active in reviewing books yet back in 2014.
  4. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – 2015 winner. Would love to re-read this. I think I already forgot the story.
  5. Catching Fire by  Suzanne Collins – the number two book in the Hunger Games series. I am sure you are also familiar with it. When the series came out, Nissa bought the whole set.
  6. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green – I love this book but it is the only  one  I read of the author. Nissa has a whole set too of the series. I also watched the movie adaptation. It’s Goodreads’ Best Young Adult Fiction of 2012.
  7. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. No wonder this won the 2017 Best Fiction. Beautiful!
  8. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – I had a great time reading this. Best Young Adult Fiction of 2013
  9. Before We Were Yours – by Lisa Wingate  Best Historical Fiction of 2017. Really hard to review this but it was an enjoyable read.

You are welcome to read these books which I’ve enjoyed reading the past months and years.

Read Full Post »


I am giving this four stars.

The last time I read a Nicholas Sparks book was in 2016 when Two by Two was published. Unlike his other books that I enjoyed reading in the past, it was not really an amazing read for me.  Of course, he is a romance writer  but not all of his subjects  and plots are okay with me although they are also well-written. Here comes Every Breath which I think is better than the other books he wrote before.  Of course, I love Message in A Bottle which was the first book I read of him, I also love A Walk To Remember.  Except for a few titles that I’ve missed, I have read almost all of his books, courtesy of Nissa who deeply admire Nicholas  Sparks’ writings. Fancy a male writer more in tune with women’s feelings, emotionally in touched with scenes that keep you hooked till the end.

Regrets of course always come last. Sometimes we make bad decisions that we have to live up to and maybe dream that someday, all would be well again. Every Breath is such a story, a story of hope, a story of true love.

It is such a joy to read another winner. It is such a joy to find a book that would make you believe that fate sometimes truly makes a way for you to enjoy the remaining days of your life. Love endures and it is always a blessing when you find that one true love.

As always I jotted down some quotes which I like in the book.

“A life, after all, is simply a series of little lives, each of them lived one day at a time, and every single one of those days has choices and consequences. Piece by piece, those decisions help to form the people we become.”

“One of the great things about a leaf,” he said to her, “is that it reminds you to live as well as you can for as long as you can, until it’s finally time to let go and allow yourself to drift away with grace.” 

“Memories are a doorway to the past, and the more one treasures the memories, the wider the door will open.”

“Falling in love is the easy part; making that love last amid life’s varied challenges is an elusive dream for many.” 

“Being loved deeply by someone gives you strength, and loving someone deeply gives you courage.” 

Read Full Post »


Can’t believe I reread a book without remembering I’ve read it before. And it’s only been three years. What am I thinking? Anyway, I enjoyed reading it again just the same.

It’s been a few years since I read a Maya Angelou book, an autobiography of Maya  Angelou called I Know How the Caged Bird Sings.  I am wondering where I shelved that one, the last book  I read of her. then I found this, Letter To My Daughter. 

I hope I’ll enjoy this book too but knowing  how Maya Angelou writes, I am sure I will. Her words dance and swim before your eyes, those seemingly inspirational thoughts that get you somehow.

“A friend may be waiting behind a stranger’s face.”

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” 

“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

If you won’t be touched by these words, I don’t what will. By the way, this is my 121st book for this year.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »