Tag: The Cookie Book Tag

Many thanks to Harini@@BooksandReaders for tagging me for The Cookie Book Tag!
She has been so nice and sweet to me since our first meet which was a couple weeks ago. If you haven’t already, go hurry over to Harini’s blog! She’s such a cutie and her book reviews are pretty awesome!

Rules :

  • In addition to linking back to the person who tagged you, it would be awesome if you link back to Nicole’s original post!
  • Pick a book that corresponds to the cookie’s ‘theme’.
  • Have fun!
  • Tag one to three people.

Questions:

Chocolate Chip: A Classic book that you love ?

I haven’t read many Classics but it’s a toss-up between On the Beach by Nevil Shute and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.
On the Beach
is an apocalyptic novel and the setting is pretty bleak; the lethal fallout from the cobalt bomb is expected to reach the Southern Hemisphere in the next six months. This book depicts the last six months of those in Australia and how they prepare their imminent deaths. The stark contrast between those two facets highlights the poignancy and it’s pretty gut-wrenching. I fell in love with Nevil Shute’s calm and quiet writing style. This book turned me his fangirl.
Wuthering Heights was my very first Emily Bronte and again, I fell in love with this dramatic, dark and complex tragedy. Almost all the characters are unrelatable, yet the plot reeled me in the story, there was never a dull moment at least for me. It was a great reading experience. I’m going to re-read this book this Fall season.

 

Thin Mints: A Hyped-Up Book You Want To Read ?

I’ve got so many!! I cannot pick only one… but I’d say The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. It’s really high time that I picked up this book to see if this book really lives up to the hype.

 

Shortbread: An Author You Can’t Get Enough Of ?
I have yet to have an author whom I think I can’t get enough of… I’m still a fledgling bookworm and literally a baby in the book community. There are so many authors whose work I need to catch up with.
That said though, for the sake of the question, I’d probably go for either Ken Follett and Adam Silvera (for the time being, at least).

 

Samoas: An Emotional Rollercoaster of A Book 

Again, a toss-up between The Pillars of the Earth and Me Before You.
Especially, the last several chapters of Me Before You are… I was literally on a roller-coaster of emotions and I bawled.

 

Oreos: A Book Whose Cover Was Better Than Its Inside

Pancakes and Corpses by Agatha Frost. I actually DNFed this book at 87%…
I don’t know why, I really enjoyed reading this until halfway through the book, but for some reason, it just fell apart and I found my interest rapidly withering away.
I might come back to this book later, but not just anytime soon.

 

Tagalongs: A Book That Wasn’t What I Expected

The Fireman by Joe Hill. I was expecting full-on thriller which keeps me on the edge of my seat with a constant stream of suspenseful jolts, but it was, at least for me, more like a human drama that slowly unravels the dark, disingenuous side of human nature.  I enjoyed reading this overall, but this was not exactly what I had expected.

 

Snickerdoodles: A Book I May Never Stop Rereading/ Loving

The Pillars of the Earth. I haven’t even finished this book YET, I know. But I’m frickin’ loving this book! It’s got everything – literally EVERYTHING that I look for in a book, and I just can’t get enough of it. I’ll definitely read the sequels, too!

 

I tag…

As always, feel free to skip it if you don’t do tags or have already been tagged 🙂
If you are interested to do this tag, consider yourself tagged and go right ahead!

That’s it! Hope you enjoyed this bookish tag.
Thank you so much for reading as always, I’ll see you in my next post!
Happy reading!

Noriko

Tag: The TBR Tag

Hello, everyone! It’s time for another book tag!
Many thanks to Katie@Never Not Reading for tagging me! She has a great blog with amazing book reviews and a lot of fun stuff! Be sure to head over and check her out!

Questions:

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?
Actually, I don’t keep track of my TBR nor do I check my Want-to-read shelf on Goodreads so much.
I am basically not a kind of person who adds books to my ‘want-to-read’ shelf at the instant when I think ‘Oh, I wanna read this,’  I only add books to ‘to-read’ shelf once I actually order/receive the books.
That said, nowadays, I try to add books to my ‘want-to-read’ shelf if a book caught my interest or I am personally recommended a book from my online friends and my friends (yes, you guys!) here at WordPress or Goodreads, and try to remind myself to buy them when I feel like reading them.
As for physical books, I organized my two bookshelves a few months ago (you can see what they look like here) and one of the bookshelves is used to store the books I’ve already read. Which means, the other bookshelf only stores the books I have yet to read. That helps me to keep myself reminded how many books I need to read. But the problem is, the pile keeps growing and growing… I no longer have any idea how many books I actually have on that shelf… lol

Is your TBR mostly print or e-book?
As I said in my answer to #1, it’s been a while since I lost count… but I think it’s probably 50/50, or e-books make up a little more than 60%, I guess???

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?
I’m basically a 100% mood reader. It totally depends on the mood I’m in when I’ve finished a book. Even if I set out a monthly TBR and have already chosen the books I’m going to read, if none of the books on my TBR suits my mood, I’ll switch them with something else.

A book that’s been on your TBR the longest.

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella.
Sophie Kinsella and I have been on a sort of a ‘love-and-hate’ terms. I’ve only read three Sophie Kinsella books, so I’m only speaking from my own experience, but t I basically dislike the heroine in Sophie Kinsella books; they simply IRRITATE OR FRUSTRATE ME like crazy. I cannot simply relate to them.
Nevertheless, I also know that I would flip-flop my mind probably around halfway through the book. I always end up enjoying Sophie Kinsella books immensely once the story or romance element kicks in. It’s typical.
But then again, my distaste for her typical heroines just stops me from actually reading her books. This book has been on my TBR since April 28th, 2014. I don’t know how likely it is that I ever pick this up…

 

A book that you recently added to your TBR.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I love dark, emotional, heart-wrenching, heavy books. Steph@Lost Purple Quill’s stunning review (you can read her review here) completely sold me on this book; I knew I had to read this. My Twitter friend also told me this is one of the best books she has read this year so far. I already ordered this book at Book Depository and am waiting for its delivery now.

 

A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover.

All the Good Parts by Loretta Nyhan. Look at this cover. I love pink. Pretty, isn’t it?
But the problem is, this is women’s fiction and I am not particularly in the mood for that genre right now…

 

A book on your TBR that you NEVER plan on actually reading.

There are actually two books:

If you have known me for some time, you know I am not a non-fiction reader. But for some reason, these two books are sitting on my TBR AND on my Kindle for more than 2 years… it’s astronomically unlikely that I’d actually read them. Maybe I should delete them once and for all…

 

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for.

This book excites me sooooo much. The synopsis sounds so intriguing, too. I cannot wait to read this father-son collaboration that’s coming out this September!

 

A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read except you.
I have no idea what book everyone else has read… so I’ll pass this question!

 

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Obviously, almost everyone around me has read it and I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Some of my friends here at WordPress also recommended this book, too.

 

A book on your TBR that you’re just dying to read.

World Without End by Ken Follett.
It’s plain to see how I’m loving The Pillars of the Earth right now. How could I ever resist reading its sequel??
I NEED TO READ THIS!  I’m literally dying to read this like ASAP, but first, I need to finish the Pillars…. duh.

 

The number of books on your Goodreads TBR shelf.
153 books so far. But then again, as I said in my answer to #1, it’s not at all reliable. There must be a lot more…

 

I tag:

As always, no pressure! You can feel free to skip it. Just have fun with it 🙂
If you are up for doing this tag, you’re very welcome. Consider yourself tagged and go ahead! Just link back to me so that I can read your lovely answers ❤

There you have it. It’s been so much fun doing this tag!
Thank you so much for reading as always, I’ll see you in my next post 🙂

Noriko

Goodreads Monday: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Hello, everyone! It’s time for another Goodreads Monday!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created and hosted by Lauren@Lauren’s Page Turners. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off! Don’t forget to check out Lauren’s blog and link back to her so that others can see what you picked!

My pick for this week is:

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Famed Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon answers an unexpected summons to appear at the U.S. Capitol Building. His planned lecture is interrupted when a disturbing object—artfully encoded with five symbols—is discovered in the building. Langdon recognizes in the find an ancient invitation into a lost world of esoteric, potentially dangerous wisdom. When his mentor Peter Solomon—a longstanding Mason and beloved philanthropist—is kidnapped, Langdon realizes that the only way to save Solomon is to accept the mystical invitation and plunge headlong into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and one inconceivable truth . . . all under the watchful eye of Dan Brown’s most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol is an intelligent, lightning-paced story with surprises at every turn–Brown’s most exciting novel yet. (Goodreads)

This is the third book in the Robert Langton series and I enjoyed both Angels & Demons and Da Vinci Code.
I probably should have gotten my hands on this book after finishing Angels & Demons (I didn’t know that Da Vinci Code was actually the second book in the series), but I let it sleep on my Kindle and it’s been almost two years since I left off the series.

I’ve only read two Dan Brown books but I remember both of them were such thrilling reads, I really enjoyed reading how Robert Langton tackles and untangles the mystery that he faces.
It might be a good time to go back to the series but wait, should I go back and re-read the previous books?
I have a feeling that he introduces a new cast of characters in this book, but should I refresh my memory before I dive into this book?

What do you guys think?
Let me know in the comments below!

 

Thank you for reading as always, and I’ll see you in my next post!

Noriko

Award: The Sunshine Blogger #2

Thank you,  Yesha@BooksTeacupandReviews for nominating me for this award!
Although I’ve been blogging almost 10 months now, it’s actually been only a few months since I became pretty active in this blogging community. It is truly humbling to have someone (all of you, guys!) appreciate and recognize what I’ve been doing. Thank you so much once again, Yesha for the nomination. If you haven’t already, check out her blog; she’s such an active blogger and has got great content!

Rules:

1.) Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
2.) Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
3.) Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
4.) List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

 

Questions from Yesha:

1.A quote or any saying you love and follow
I’m not big on quotes or saying as a matter of fact, but my favorite one – well, this is actually not a saying, I’m afraid – is ‘whatever floats your boat.’ I like the rhythm that it has, and at the end of the day, we all live only ONCE. So, it is always nice to do whatever we want to so that we won’t regret at the end of our lives for not having done what we should have.

2.What life lesson took you the most to learn?
Be honest and true to myself.
Being an introvert and due to my predisposition to avoiding conflicts, I tend to hold in my feelings and go along for the ride. I thought it was the key to a harmonious relationship. That said, a big heart-to-heart talk that I had with my sister-in-law several years ago taught me that it is not always the case. Respecting others’ will and feelings is very important, there’s no doubt about that, but at times you need to open up and state your true feelings; you need to be honest with others. Some would want you to be honest and straightforward than clamming up.
It is hard to be completely honest especially to someone who is awfully straightforward (because the probability of receiving criticism is awfully high), but this is something I learned from my relationship with my sister-in-law.
We’re still on a bumpy ride every now and then, but I know she means well and I try not to take it personally too much, so it’s been much better than before.

3.What do you love most about YOU?
To be perfectly honest, I have never explored that side of myself. I neither love nor hate myself. There’s nothing special to brag about.  That said though, What I think I can brag about is being a firm believer of ‘no one can be inherently evil.’ This is what I strongly believe and I want to keep it that way.

4.What personality trait are you currently trying to change or improve?
Short-temper. Timidity. It’s kind of related to the answer to #2, I think 🙂

5.When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I no longer remember!! I don’t think there was any specific occupation or dream when I was growing up.
That said, my school book when I was in 4th grade in elementary school (yep, my mom still keeps it. Yikes.) says I wanted to explore and communicate with people all over the world… wow, does that mean I’ve made my dream come true? Yay me 🙂

6.What courses were your worst and best in school?
Worst: math.
Best: either Japanese or English.

I was miserably crappy at math since I was in elementary school. In high school, I was always on the verge of flunking and I even took some follow-up courses during the spring break. My then teacher once said, ‘you should probably start over from elementary math.’
My best subject has always been Japanese (obviously) and English. I didn’t particularly love English, but something clicked me when I was prepping for college entrance exams and learning and using English has become an integral part of my life since then 🙂

7.If you had to stick with one book genre for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I don’t know much about genre nor am I good at pigeonholing books so I’d say I’d want to read epic books like The Pillars of the Earth because it’s got all the elements that I look for in a book rolled into one. I could read books like this my entire life.

8.What is your superpower?
Can I pass this question? I cannot even come up with an answer…

9.What are you currently watching on tv (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc (that you would recommend?)

I hardly ever watch TV now, but I love watching ‘Air Crash Investigation’ type of thing on YouTube. As I said earlier somewhere in my previous post, my first job was an assistant flight operator for a Japanese airline company. I learned a lot about aircraft and I always love the feeling of exhilaration that I get when planes take off/land.

10.What’s the weirdest or most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?
I’m pretty sure most of you will find this flat-out gross and disgusting. So, peace out if you don’t think you can stand what I’m going to tell you…
The answer is, a bug. Yes, you heard that right. A BUG. The thing is, it happened when I was about 10 years old. A bug crawled into a bag of potato chips while I went to the bathroom and I grabbed a handful of potato chips and popped them into my mouth without knowing there was a bug lurking in them… I know it’s gross. Sorry! But this is the only unusual thing I have ever eaten in my entire life. (And obviously, I SPAT IT OUT in case you’re wondering.)

11.TWO PIECES OF ADVICE

  1. Try to see things/people in a positive light. Try to find good things about them. This is something I keep reminding myself. When I look at something or meet someone for the first time, the first impression can be of great significance to me. Once a bad impression sets in my mind, it’s hard to wipe that off. That said, I also know it totally depends on my mindset. If I look at things/people in a negative light right from the beginning, nothing or no one will please me, and I think it’s really deplorable. It can be hard at times to always try to do so, but we are responsible for our moods and feelings; it’s not like ‘oh, such a such a person puts me in a bad mood,’ we can make what we see more pleasant with a bit of an effort and if that leads to a happier life, what more could you ask for?
  2. Find passions in your life. Not everyone can pursue their dreams. Even if you aspire to achieve something, and even if others keep telling you that it’s your own life and you ought to take control of it, things don’t necessarily go the way you want them to go. Sometimes you just cannot have your own way; you could be condemned to stick to where you are. That’s life.
    With that being said though, if you have something you can be passionate about and really love, it can bring light to your life. If you have an outlet where you can let yourself go and immerse yourself in, that might make your life less daunting, less bleak. In my case, I gave up an opportunity to move to Tokyo a few years ago; life and a lot of complications got in the way and I finally decided to stay where I am now.
    I felt miserable and impotent. Although it was me who eventually made the decision, I brooded over it for some time. But ever since I found my love of reading and blogging/interacting with you all, the quality of my life has been raised significantly. I have never felt better in years!
    My long-winded advice is, find something you love and keep doing it. No matter how small and inconsequential it may seem, it’ll definitely enrich your life.

My nominees:

Annie@Uniquely Magic
Misty@MistyBookSpace
Kathy@Books & Munches
Delphine@Delphine’s Babble on Some Good Reads
Maxxesbooktopia
Nika@Bookster

As always, don’t feel obliged to do this if you don’t awards or have already been nominated!
Just remember all of you (including those I didn’t specifically nominate here) are the sunshine to me 🙂
Stay the way you are and keep inspiring me!

Questions to the nominees:

Yikes… this is the hardest part for me. So, I’ll mix up some of the questions Yesha asked me with mine. Here we go:

  1. What are your plans for this summer?
  2. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
  3. What is your favorite book genre?
  4. Who is your recent fictional crush?
  5. If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  6. Coffee or tea drinker?
  7. Night owl or morning person?
  8. What is your superpower?
  9. What’s the weirdest or most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten?
  10. What do you most love about YOU?
  11. What are your passions in life?

That’s it, we’ve made it!
Thank you so much again for the nomination, I really appreciate your support and all the likes and comments, more than anything, all the time you have taken to interact with me 🙂  Thank you so, so much ❤

I hope you enjoyed this post. I’ll talk to you in my next post 🙂

Noriko

Weekly Wrap-Up: July 17th – 23th

Hello, everyone! It’s time for the weekly wrap-up.
Let’s see how well/bad this week was for me.

 

Reviews that I wrote

As I haven’t been writing as many reviews as I would like, I kind of squeezed The Red Notebook in on Saturday and managed to write two reviews this week. You can read my thoughts by clicking those titles and let me tell you – I enjoyed them both. Especially, Me Before You was simply, simply heart-wrenching. It shattered my heart and sent me into a temporary meltdown. Seriously, I bawled.
If you haven’t read Me Before You, TISSUE ALERT for you guys- you’re definitely going to need it, quite possibly, A LOT.

Posts that I made

Just like last week, as far as the number of posts goes, it was satisfactory.
Here are the posts that I made this week.

Goodreads Monday: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson: Posted on July 17th
WWW Wednesday! : Posted on July 19th
Throwback Thursday: It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini: Posted on July 20th
#Tidbits about Japan: Sushi: Posted on July 21th

I wanted to catch up with my reading, so I started taking full advantage of the scheduling function this week, and started writing posts when I had time and getting them ready for publishing in advance.
It worked quite well for me, so I’m going to keep it that way for the time being 🙂

Awards & Tags

Again, just like last week, I was nominated and tagged for several awards & Tags.
I like doing tags, but when such awards and tags need me coming up with my own questions, it tends to take some time.
If you have known me for some time, you know the reason why… you do, right?

That said, it’s not like I’ve forgotten about them! I’m still working on them. Just give me some time, Pleeeeaaase (with sugar on top ❤ )

The Versatile Blogger Award: Posted on July 18th
The Awesome Blogger Award: Posted on July 18th
Tag: I Messed Up Book Tag: Posted on July 21th

 

Book that I bought

These are the books that I bought/received this week.

I initially planned to buy All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda, but I flipped flopped my mind and picked up The Dinner by Herman Koch. (Yes, Delphine, it was your babbling, remember?) What really bothered me about this book is, I specifically chose this cover. I didn’t like the other cover designs and guess what, it cost me almost twice as much as the other edition… for a paperback!  I did buy that one, though.

As for The Angel’s Game, this book has been on my radar since I finished The Shadows of the Wind which I read and fell in love in April. There seem to be mixed reviews on this sequel, but I wanted to read and decide how I feel about it.
As for The Forgotten Garden, this was totally on a whim. I have never read a single book by Kate Morton (Yes, I know, almost a horror), and then my amazing friend James and his friend on Goodreads told me this book would be perfect to start with Kate Morten. So… I picked it up. I haven’t decided when to actually read this one yet, but we’ll see.

 

What I’m currently reading…

I’m 60% into this book and really, really enjoying it!
Although I haven’t finished reading the book, I got curious to know how Jack and Aliena end up, I watched a fan video on YouTube… Awwww, I don’t know whether it’s from a movie or a TV adaptation, but this video made me want to know how this grand story unfolds even more!!!

Others:

I received 1,337 likes on my blog this morning.

I’m not sure what this figure means, but it is amazing that my little blog has gleaned as many as 1,337 likes!
Thank you so much for your support, I really, really appreciate it! 🙂

That’s it for today.
How about you? Has this week been satisfactory for you? What books did you finish reading?
Let me know in the comments and I’ll talk to you again soon!

Noriko

The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

Heroic bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street. There’s nothing in the bag to indicate who it belongs to, although there’s all sorts of other things in it. Laurent feels a strong impulse to find the owner and tries to puzzle together who she might be from the contents of the bag. Especially a red notebook with her jottings, which really makes him want to meet her. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions?


For a slim book with only 159 page count, this is a well-written, delightful read.

The story opens up with a thrilling chapter where the heroine, Laure, whose name is not addressed in this chapter, is mugged and has her handbag stolen. She manages to check herself in a hotel room but is later found unconscious with a large patch of dried blood stuck to the towel beneath her head; she slips into a coma during the night.

In the mean time, Laurent, a bookseller in his forties and a divorce finds a woman’s handbag left on top of the bin. He attempts to report it to the police, but changes his mind at the last minute and takes it back to his room and decides to track down the owner of the handbag on his own. As his own ‘little investigation’ proceeds, the mysterious owner of the handbag slowly but steadily takes over his mind…

Like I mentioned, I enjoy this little book a lot. The first chapter is especially well-written and riveting with the perfect dose of suspense element, it pulled me into the story instantly.
That said, the overall tone and ambiance of the book is even and witty. Especially, Laurent’s consternation and trepidations were such a delight to read. The author’s sense of humor added a lot of enjoyment to the story.
I personally found ‘the number of pockets’ and ‘how much items can a woman have in a handbag?’ thing a bit of a stretch, but it didn’t take anything away nor did it spoil the fun.
The plot is, overall, well-crafted and the pacing was on point. It is simply amazing that I didn’t find it rushed at all for such a slim book. If anything, it’s rather slow-building and things develop nicely. I really enjoyed reading how the paths of the main two characters – Laure and Laurent (their names are pretty similar, aren’t they?) eventually entwine in the end.

I particularly loved how those two main characters begin to fall for each other. Their paths had never crossed nor have they never met prior to the incident, but from the moment when Laurent found Laure’s handbag abandoned, ever since he perused the items in her bag, he begins to imagine what kind of woman Laure is, and her existence and her presence which he hasn’t even known before – starts to occupy his mind and even comes close to an obsession.
And the same goes for Laure; after getting discharged from the hospital, her boss, William, makes a bit of a revelation and she also begins to track down Laurent in her own way, wondering how the presence of a man whom she had never met yet who was familiar with her belonging could have such a big effect on her.

Although there aren’t many dramatic moments in the plot which caught you by surprise, like I said, the overall tone of the writing is rather calm and even, I enjoyed reading this. The well-crafted, solid plot and the attractive cast of characters (some characters are a bit underdeveloped though) made this book a delightful read.

The epilogue is particularly noteworthy; it’s actually my all-time favorite.  It kind of reminiscent of a French movie, beautifully alternating and entwining fragments of the characters’ lives. Simply breathtaking.

If you feel like a quick read and are interested in reading a story that takes place in Paris, this might be good for you.
Not too sweet nor saccharine, but a healthy dose of romance might warm the cockles of your heart.

I’ll give this book solid 3.5, or 3.75 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

 

They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?


Incredibly gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, beautifully written book. It took me a while to pick up myself after having my heart crushed and ripped into two at the end. What a haunting, emotional read. I wasn’t expecting this.

The emotional effect this book had on me went beyond my initial expectation; this book gave me a lot of emotions – anger, shame, empathy, happiness, and grief. The last several chapters, in particular, were like an emotional roller coaster, completely sweeping me up in the emotions and throwing me for a loop. Simply haunting and devastating in a good way – as a book, at least.

The writing is solid, strong, and beautiful. Her prowess and skills were especially well-displayed in descriptive writing where she describes how the snow quietly blankets the ground, for instance. It was simply breathtaking and captivating.
Her prowess doesn’t stop at descriptive writing; her flair in writing is definitely showcased and reflected in the characters’ emotional conflicts and struggles, too. I personally found she is a versatile writer – she can change and adjust the tones and ambiance of her writing depending on the characters’ emotions. One minute she ends the chapter with a gripping, emotional evocative paragraph and then she opens the next chapter with an uplifting, humorous dialogue that makes you chuckle despite yourself. I was really impressed by her writing. Another point that I wasn’t expecting from this book.

The undercurrent theme is undeniably heavy and controversial. The weight and the intensity of the topic momentarily threw me off and may have been what surprised me the most.
While I was reading this, it made me think and recognize a lot of things that I had let slip my mind.
I used to think ’empathy’ is a good thing and is a very important element in our lives. However, as I read into this, I began to wonder if that’s always the case. It slowly dawned on me that nothing could be worse and more disgraceful to the physically challenged than excessive or ostentatious ‘pity’ displayed by those free from physical impairment.  At this point, I began to reflect on my own behavior and feel ashamed of myself; I inwardly pledged to be ‘fair’ and be on an equal footing with the disabled while offering my full support.

But what struck me the most, among other things, were the elements of ‘dignity and respect.’
To what extent we should respect others’ will and decision, especially when the decision that one has reached is heartbreaking, dire, and bleak which you’d want to defy by doing everything in your power. 
But then, what do we do about their dignity? Should we defy their decision against their will just because we want them to live, knowing all too well how tormented and agonized they have been?

This book is no doubt thought-provoking. It really made me THINK and ponder on such issues.
For that reason alone, I’m really glad that I read this book.

However, I did have some issues with this book particularly at the beginning of the book.
Firstly, the financial situation of Lou’s family. I did understand it would be difficult for her mother to go out to work while taking care of her father, but the situation where the entire family is dependent on Lou’s income felt a bit of a stretch and contrived.
Secondly, the mocking tone that her family employs when addressing the disables. I personally found it disrespectful and put me off a little bit. That said, however, as I went deeper into the story and all the emotional element creeps in, such issues became inconsequential. I came to adore Lou’s family despite all the bickering over petty grievances.
Thirdly, the romance. I initially found the romance between Lou and Will unnecessary. This story is already pregnant with meaning and emotionally provoking without having the romance element thrown in. I didn’t want this book to end up to be another typical, tear-jerker love story where the romance completely overshadows everything that has been nicely built up.
That said, once again, it ended up needless fear. It develops quite nicely and the pacing is perfect. Not too slow, not too fast. Through the witty, a bit sarcastic banter, Lou and Will gradually forge a strong friendship that would later evolve into love. They have become indispensable to each other’s life. If anything, it was this romance element that made the ending incredibly haunting, heart-wrenching and beautiful, highlighting the best six months that they lived together.

The epilogue broke my heart to bits. I sobbed, sobbed and sobbed. I literally cried my eyes out.
Deep down, I think I saw this coming.  Nevertheless, there was definitely another part of me screaming and desperately wishing for the alternate consequence, where everything will be happy and hopeful.
The emotional connection by vicariously living the last six months with the two main characters was much more raw and stronger than I had expected.
I swear that I felt for Lou; the hole in the heart, the memories that were shared – they literally ripped my heart in two.

It is, needless to say, poignant, heartbreaking. Simply sad.
But I don’t think this book is all about grief, nor do I think the morbid, negative point of views and thoughts involving the disabled was what the author wanted to convey in this book. I definitely felt resilience in there.

This is a haunting yet breathtakingly beautiful story of life and respect for human life.
A beautiful love story that sprang and blossomed between two souls.

It left me in a complete sobbing mess, but I am so glad that I finally read this.
Hands down 5 stars from me – I absolutely love this book.