Liebster Award Nomination!!

Now I’ve really started to sound like a broken record – but I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award by Mischenko@ReadRantRock&Roll! This is simply unbelievable, I feel truly blessed and humbled to be nominated for this amazing award! Thank you so much Mischenko for even thinking of me 🙂
If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, I highly recommend you do so. Her posts runs the gamut… Food recipes, music and most importantly (for me) book reviews! It’s highly entertaining.

What is the Liebster Award? (Excerpt from Michenko’s blog)

“Liebster” is a German word meaning beloved, dearest, sweetheart, or darling.

For bloggers, the Liebster Award is an online recognition given by other bloggers to new bloggers for enjoying or appreciating their work. It highlights up and coming blogs.

Once nominated, a blogger is asked to answer 11 questions provided by the nominating blogger. They are then expected to nominate 11 other favorite new bloggers and come up with a list of 11 new questions for those nominees.

The Rules:
  1. Acknowledge the blog who nominated you and display the award.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you.
  3. Nominate 11 blogs.
  4. Notify those blogs of the nomination.
  5. Give them 11 questions to answer.

 

Questions from Mischenko

1. Do you consider yourself an artist in any way when it comes to music, art, crafts, or hobbies?
Absolutely NOT. I’m completely lacking the so-called “creative-gene”; I couldn’t possibly create anything from scratch. It’s incredibly hard for me to even come up with an idea! I can’t play any musical instruments, nor can I read music scores, I cannot paint, the only thing that I can handle is crocheting. It’s much simpler than knitting.

2. What’s your favorite type of music or your favorite band?
I basically listen to whatever genre as long as it strikes a code with me, but I would say my favorite type of music is Classic Rock or Westcoast AOR. I have a big brother 7 years older than me and he would listen to such music AN AWFUL LOT and his taste in music seemed to have rubbed off on me.
My favorite band is TOTO. I experienced my very first VIP Meet and Greet with them last March and boy, IT WAS HEAVEN!! They’ll probably be coming back to Japan next year and I cannot wait.

3. What’s your favorite thing to do?
Obviously, reading with watching YouTube/NetFlix/Hulu a close second. When I can have the entire weekend all to myself and get to read, it makes me extremely happy 🙂

4. Tell us something interesting about yourself.
I’m not sure if this can be ‘interesting,’ but I was born to a Buddhist priest and have probably seen way higher numbers of Buddhist monks than you have in your life lol
But then again, I have a big brother who already took over the temple, so I only know so much about temples or Buddhism/rituals as you do… (which means, don’t ask!)

5. Does blogging ever stress you out?
If struggling with making posts on books counts, yes. I seem to have been in a huge writing slump lately and what I assumed would be easy-peasy often ends up taking like forever.
But I have never considered quitting blogging now that I got to know all of you – my fellow bloggers! (sounds a bit presumptuous of me to say though). Thank you so much for enriching my life ♥

6. Do you like to cook?
I do. But it doesn’t seem to be translated into my cooking skills as well as I would have liked…

7. What’s your favorite reading genre?
It’s so hard to choose! Can you let me off the hook by saying, ‘I love emotionally charged books that will shatter me’?

8. Are you on Goodreads?
Yes! I joined Goodreads in April 2014, you can find me here if you’re intersted 😉

9. Do you like where you live?
I once wanted to move to big cities like Tokyo to meet many more people and explore my potential, but a lot of complications got in the way and I gave up on that.
I used to regret having chosen to stay here, but I now think I’m being here for a reason; this must be the place for me (at least for now).

Here’s the sneak peak of where I’m living: taken from a popular tourist attraction.

10. What kinds of foods do you like to eat?
Italian, Chinese and I really want to try authentic American food such as burgers.
And most importantly, desserts like cookies, muffins and donuts!

11. What’s your favorite season?
I would say Fall, because the climate is just perfect for me who tends to get hot so easily. Summer in Japan is just a nightmare for me… The mid-Fall would be perfect; it’s not too warm, it’s not too cold…  and I get to wear a lot of brown and purple which are my favorite colors (other than pink).

My Nominees:

Although I’ve been blogging over 9 months now, I think it’s only last month that I started to proactively interact with other bloggers. For that reason, please allow me to nominate only a handful of people most of whom I’ve been tagging a lot lately… sorry! I’m trying to make my circle of friends bigger!

If you have done this award or don’t want to, please do not feel pressure to do it. I just wanted you all know that I’ve been having so much fun to read your posts!

 

My 11 questions to the nominees:
  1. What inspired you to start blogging?
  2. Other than blogging, what are your passions in life? (name the top 1).
  3. Suppose you won a huge windfall that would surely last the rest of your life, what would you do with the money?
  4. What is your favorite place to read?
  5. Give me your tips to stay awake and keep reading at night when you’re awfully sleepy.
  6. Which of the following do you see yourself fit as a reader – having multiple books going at the same time or single-mindedly focusing on one book?
  7. How would you describe yourself in a few words?
  8. Are you athletic or good at sports? (because I’m NOT; I’m curious!)
  9. What is your go-to method to vent your stress?
  10. Tell us the name of the city (or place) you have never visited but desperately want to.
  11. Give me one thing that is on your bucket list (or thing you really want to do in your lifetime).

 

It’s been such an honor to receive this recognition and it’s been tough but so much fun to answer/come with these questions!

Thank you so much for reading and your support, I’ll talk to you again soon!

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

Hello, everyone! Here comes another tag time; I’ve recently been tagged by mojoreb @Book Mojo for this Mid Year Book Freak Out tag and I’m definitely all game for the challenge!

If you haven’t already, go check out his blog. His in-depth reviews are simply impressive.

Without further ado, let’s get on with the tag 🙂

 

Questions:

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2017:

This is a tough one! These two books are actually almost on the same level so I would pick The Kite Runner by  Khaled Hosseini and All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  They are both stunningly beautiful, haunting books. They literally broke my heart and I love them.

2. Best sequel of 2017 so far:

winter

Winter by Marissa Meyer. It would probably have been a toss-up between ‘The Crooked Kingdom’ and ‘Winter’ if I had read the latter, but I still haven’t, so ‘Winter’ got the first prize on this one. It’s such a tome with whopping 800 page count but there was never a dull moment. I actually felt so sad as I got close to the end. This is such an epic book.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to:

Goodbye Days

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner. I’ve heard only good things about this and mojoreb’s review actually sold me on this one. His whirling emotions were heartfelt. You can read his stunning review here.

4. Most anticipated release of the second half of 2017:

Sleeping Beauties

Big confession time – I have NEVER read a single book by Stephen King.
I HAVE read two books by his son, Joe Hill last year and I enjoyed them both, but I haven’t gotten around to reading any Stephen King books yet and know almost nothing about him; his writing style, his delivery…  literally NOTHING. I’m totally in the dark.
That said though, there is absolutely NO way to miss this father-son collaboration that’s coming out on September 26. I’m on it.

5. Biggest disappointment of 2017:

The Jane Austen Book Club

I basically try to find redeeming elements and good things in every book I read. That said, no books that I read this year could top The Jane Austen Book Club in the ‘disappoint’ department. This book is definitely not my thing; it was painful to read at times.

6. Biggest surprise:

chasing-echoes

Chasing Echoes by Jodi Perkins.  I received an e-book copy in exchange for an honest review and I started this book with lower expectations as a matter of fact. But this book genuinely surprised me in a lot of ways; the plot with ‘shrinking time loop’ is well-crafted and refreshing, and the latter part is such a page-turner. I really enjoyed reading this.

7. Favorite new author (debut or new to you):
Celeste Ng.  Everything I Never Told You enthralled me and I even pre-ordered her next novel, Little Fires Everywhere that’s coming out this September. I cannot wait to read it.

8. Newest fictional crush:
I don’t usually fall for fictional characters and it’s kind of embrassing to confess, but Prince (Emperor) Kai from The Lunar Chronicles series stole my heart. While I was reading the series, I even skipped ahead to the end to make absolutely sure that he’s still safe and sound. What does this say about me? I don’t know…

9. Newest favorite character: 

● Werner from All the Light We Cannot See
● Death from The Book Thief
● Olivia from Wonder
● Nina from Six of Crows

10. Book that made you cry:

21570571

Little known fact about me – I cry A LOT.  I cry over books, movies… I seem to be really impressionable and I tend to cry over whatever I find moving/touching/sad. There are actually a lot of books that made me cry this year, but Will You Remember Me? by Amanda Prowse definitely takes the cake; it left me in a sobbing mess and I kept crying over an hour even after closing the book. I’m not even joking.

11. Book that made you happy:

7824322

If you look at the books that I have read so far, you’ll find there aren’t many that will make you happy. But I would pick Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys.
It’s a World War Ⅱ novel and you wouldn’t think it’s a type of book that makes you feel happy, YET the ending is simply brilliant and beautiful. It did make me feel happy.

12. Favorite book to movie adaptation of 2017 you’ve seen:

everything everything

I’ve only watched the trailer (does that count?), but I have high hopes for Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon.  It seems like a pretty truthful reflection of the book!

13. Favorite review you’ve written this year:

The Book Thief.  Writing reviews has always been quite a challenge for me and I need to put a lot of time and effort into writing them, but my favorite one would be The Book Thief.  I don’t think none of my subsequent reviews has exceeded this one…

14. Most beautiful book you bought or received this year:

It’s hard to choose only one book, so these two are what I found most beautiful.

15. Books you need to read by the end of this year:

Hard to choose, because I have so many!! But I would say the Classic books that I bought last April…

 

I tag…

Books Teacup and Reviews
Always Trust In Books
Carissa Reads It All
Maxxesbooktopia
Book Reviews by Shalini
Confessions of a Readaholic

If you don’t do tags or have done this tag already, please feel free to skip it and don’t feel obliged to do this twice!
If any of you are interested in doing this tag, consider yourself being tagged and go right ahead!

Thank you so much for reading as always and I’ll see you guys again soon! 😀

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the bright places

All the Bright Places

 

■Synopsis (Excerpt from Goodreads)

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

■ My Thoughts (it might include some spoilers)

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

This is such an intense, compelling novel. I went into this book without knowing anything about the synopsis and I was so astonished to find how intense and compelling this book was. It literally blew my mind.

This book has an incredibly strong second half.
That is not to say the first half is weak -nothing could be further from the truth in fact – it’s got a nice, engaging first half, it’s just the latter half – in particular, from around 225 pages mark – left much big of an impact on me. I literally ate this book up. I couldn’t, didn’t want to put it down. I wanted to keep reading, I just didn’t want this book to end.

The writing is so explicit. I don’t think it’s all beautiful or flowery,  but it’s got a strong ‘draw’ to it; something that makes the readers keep reading once it captures their hearts. At least it got mine. overall.
I felt some parts a bit slippery and off though. It was like it was all getting pretty close, building up the tension toward the highest point and I was kind of expecting it to explode, yet failing to hit my notes at the most crucial moments, leaving me feel a bit underwhelmed.
I also had a slight issue with the style in which the story is narrated. This book is in dual perspectives, so each chapter is narrated either by Finch or Violet. It might have been only me, but I sometimes lost track of who the narrator was and got confused. It often happened that I read over a page feeling something amiss and then I found that I had been following the story through the wrong point of view.
Yet overall, it was really well-written, incredibly evocative and more than anything, visceral. In particular, I didn’t even realize that I was doing so myself, but I was holding my breath while I was reading the last 100 pages or so. That was where the story really picks up, getting more complex, and where we’d start to see SOMETHING SNAP inside Finch and things get spin out of control.

The descriptions depicting this portion of the story was just brilliant. I could easily visualize, or imagine how Finch’s circuits in his brain are firing up in all directions and how he gets swallowed in the darkness slowly and steadily. I even felt my head spinning; I felt as though I was smothered by emotions.
By that point, I got so invested in Finch’s character, it was so painful and hard to keep reading. I literally didn’t want to see anything bad happen to him any more because he had already gone through enough.

Finch was a really fleshed-out character. He’s quirky at a glance, adopting a different persona by dressing differently and talking differently depending on his mood.
I couldn’t really find any decisive factor that makes him ‘different’ as he is painted, but I definitely see how his thoughts wander off and how complex his character is. On top of all that, he’s incredibly sensitive, fragile and vulnerable. He is like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off; I got to feel his inner struggles and emotional process through his voice and it was just brilliant.
And his voice – HIS VOICE. I fell in love with his voice. Whatever words that come from him rang through me and captivated me; I was in the clutches of his words. I simply can’t get enough of it.
On the other hand, I found Violet was a bit weak compared to Finch. It doesn’t feel right to say this, but her struggles and depression since the accident didn’t appeal to me as much, they didn’t feel strong enough. But I really enjoyed how she develops herself and gets back on her feet through the wander and the interactions with Finch. The dynamics between those two main characters and its development was such a delight to read through.

That is all the more reason why I was so stunned when I found what happens to them in the latter part. I couldn’t read the remaining 40 pages without crying.
That was the last thing I wanted to happen. For me, it was like a nightmare coming true. I cried over Violet’s words and compunction from then onwards. Every time she reflects back and wonders what could have been done to make him last – I cried. Her words cut through my heart.
Although I’m kind of content with how she gets over what’s happened and how the closure arrives, it’s still poignant and heart-breaking. It just hurts.

This is not a feel-good fluffy YA; it deals with some serious issues like depression, suicide, and bullying – how small a thing that we consider inconsequential and nothing can push others over the edge. We can get a glimpse of what could be going on inside the brains of someone with mental illness through the voice of Finch, and I really appreciate that.

That said, it wasn’t that I didn’t have any issue with this book; as far as mental illness goes, the thing that didn’t sit well with me was that Finch didn’t confide in anyone with his true emotions and issues that plagued him. Rather than asking for help from experts and professionals, he chose to bottle up his feelings and took the matters into his own hands, which kind of bothered me; to be honest, I was a bit frustrated, thinking thing could have ended up differently if he had let someone in on what was actually going on.

Other than that, I really enjoyed reading this book. This book really affected me emotionally and I loved that.

This is really a poignant story, you may feel sick in the stomach, or end up crying your eyes out (like I did) but this is also an amazingly beautiful book. This is my type of book, this is my jam.

In my personal opinion, this is way better than The Fault in Our Stars. Hands down.

Killer Cupcakes by Leighann Dobbs

Killer Cupcakes

Killer Cupcakes: A Lexy Baker Bakery Cozy Mystery (Lexy Baker Cozy Mysteries)

 

This is a quick read. It’s got only 146 pages and you can fly through this book really quickly – maybe, a bit TOO quickly.

Lexy Baker, a young gorgeous pastry chef who runs her own bakery, meets a hunky detective Jack Perillo in a very ungraceful way in his backyard adjacent to her house – dressed in cozy pajamas with a huge rip in the side, with no make-up on hanging out with her dog, Sprinkles. They both feel a spark of attraction toward each other, but the very next day, a totally unexpected incident brings Jack to her bakery – Lexy’s ex-boyfriend, Kevin was found dead face-down in a box of her cupcake tops – a signature piece of her bakery. To make the matter worse, there were some distinct imprint of stiletto heels left outside Kevin’s front door. Pieces of evidence that are NOT in her favor.

Forced to close down her bakery for the investigation, Lexy decides to take the matter into her own hands and find the killer on her own – with the help of her grandmother and the ladies from ‘The Ladies Detective Club’…

 

This was a reread for me; I got this book as a Kindle freebie maybe four years ago.
I remember enjoying this to some extent; I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads the last time.
However, with this reread, I don’t think I could be as lenient and liberal as the last time. I think I would go for 2 – maybe 2.5 out of 5 stars at best.

First and foremost, this is WAY TOO SHORT; I didn’t find 146 pages gave this book enough space for the story to fully develop and bloom.
I think the writing is very brisk and clean; it’s got a nice rhythm and the pacing is decent in the beginning, but the latter part – from around 80% the pacing felt a bit too hasty and off as though the author rushed to wrap up the story within a limited time frame/page count. This is where I felt the writing become a bit sloppy and dull; Everything felt a bit lackluster and I found myself losing interest pretty rapidly.

I also found the writing, the whole story a bit too cheesy and expedient for me this time. Although this cheesiness didn’t bother me so much the last time, it rubbed me the wrong way with this reread.
The sloppiness and unprofessionalism of Jack Perillo didn’t work in my favor, either. Every time I came across the scenes where Jack Perillo lets Lexy off the hook BECAUSE of his attraction toward her, I was like, “Now, this is what I call ‘unprofessional.’”  I felt a bit frustrated and I couldn’t bring myself to appreciate it.

On top of all that, the insta-love – THE INSTA-LOVE between Lexy and Jack!!
It literally gave me a cringe – it was WAY TOO FAST to develop. I just couldn’t get it. It almost made me laugh my head off.

As I haven’t read as many cozy mysteries as you probably have, I honestly don’t have any frame of reference; I don’t know how lenient I should be nor to what degree sloppiness in cozy mysteries can be tolerated or condoned. I might be a bit too harsh on this, but that’s how I felt about this book. It just bothered me this time.

Nevertheless, I must admit that I enjoyed reading this to some extent. In particular, I found Nans and the ladies from The Ladies Detective Club pretty endearing. They are all so funny and cute.
Just imagine – four old ladies fishing in their giant old-lady purses, each whipping out her own iPad. They even boast that they’re pretty good at finding clues online and solving murder cases. This portion of the story cracked me up. I couldn’t relate to Lexy AT ALL, but I liked these old ladies a lot.

 

All in all,  this might be not a decent cozy-mystery in the true sense of the word, you may have some issues with this book as I did. But it might be entertaining if you saw this book as pure entertainment, like comedy or something with a bit of mystery twists.
This is definitely not my favorite cozy-mystery, but I don’t dislike this either.
It’s a bit Meh, but an OK read for me – thus 2 stars.

#Reading Challenge: Emojiathon

So, we’ve finally hit the halfway mark of the year – it’s June already!
Although I’m not generally a TBR kind of reader, but I’ve always been interested in such reading challenges. Inspired by JessicaMarie493 post, I’ve decided to give Emojiathon a try this June 🙂

Emojiathon is created and hosted by  Dylanthereader5, Naya and Sarah and it goes on until the end of the month. You can take a look at the whole list of challenges for this Emojiathon here.

Here are the challenges that I picked up for my June Emojiathon:

HeartRead a romance or contemporary

For this challenge, I picked up My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon. To be honest, I personally think this challenge could also be applied to Luck, Love & Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert, which seems to be about a crumbling marriage, I’m going to go for My Sweet Revenge on this one.

smile  Read a book you bought because of it’s cover

This is where Luck, Love & Lemon Pie comes into play. I got this book last November solely for this pretty, tantalizing cover but this has been sitting on my shelf since then. I decided to take this opportunity to actually pick it up and read it.

freebie Freebie! Read any book

For this challenge, I picked up Paige’s Turn by Jennifer Peel. It seems to have gleaned pretty high reviews PLUS the cover looks gorgeous and summery. A reviewer on Goodreads says this book often pops up as a Kindle freebie, but it’s not necessarily the case that a freebie on Amazon.com is also a freebie on Japan Amazon, so I got lucky and I snatched it right up!

horror Read a thriller or horror

I picked up The Nightwalker by Sebastian Fitzek for this one. The plot of a young man who suffers from insomnia turning violent during his nocturnal excursions sounds so intriguing. This is also a book that has been sleeping on my shelf for quite some time, so I see this Emojiathon as an opportunity to pick this up this time around.

eyes  Read a book you’ve been seeing everywhere

For this challenge, I picked up The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Ever since the adaptation became available on Hulu, I have seen this title almost everywhere; on Twitter, On Google and not to mention in this book community.
I know I’m rather late to this The Handmaid’s Tale party, but hey, better late than never, right?

baby  Read a 2016/2017 release

This Emojiathon came at the perfect time – I downloaded When Dimple Met Rishi just yesterday! This book had been on my radar since late March or sometime and I really, really wanted to read this. I really love the cover by the way 🙂

News Read a book about a current event

If I managed to get all the other challengers out of the way, I’m going to read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
Now, I’ve had this book on my shelf for 3 months, this book was actually my most anticipated release in 2017 and I even pre-ordered it at the end of last year, but I haven’t gotten around to reading it; something akin to intimidation made me have cold feet and push it down to the bottom on my TBR.
In order to right this situation, I’ve decided to include this book in my Emojiathon challenge. We’ll see how it goes!

There you have it; these are my challenges for my very first Emojiathon. I don’t know how many challenges that I’ll get to tick off, but I’m super excited!

Let me show you how determined and pumped up I am for this Readathon;

File_000 (25)

See? I actually took all the physical books for this Readathon out of my bookshelf and plopped them up on my couch 🙂

Being a mood reader, I tend to flip-flop my mind and pick my next read randomly despite having made a TBR. So as not to repeat the same mistake, I decided to make the pile visible as a reminder; This pile will stay on my couch throughout this readathon.
Also, I can easily keep track of my progress this way 🙂

Participating in this readathon definitely motivated me to read some books that I probably wouldn’t pick up otherwise. This will hold me accountable and I’m glad that I decided to tackle these challenges for that.

Are you participating in this Emojiathon? If so, what are your picks for these challenges?
Definitely let me know in the comments and I’ll talk to you again soon! XD

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All the Light we Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel

 

This book literally shattered me emotionally. I’d heard a lot of amazing things about this book, but I would never have imagined this book would be THIS good and haunting.
I just can’t gush enough how much I adore this book. No words could ever describe how enthralled I was. Whatever I say could never be enough.

I honestly don’t know how to sum up this book; I can hardly find any words to describe it nor do I even know in which category I should pigeonhole this book. THIS BOOK, this story transcends and reflects time, space, history… simply breathtaking.

Some may find the constant back and forth between the perspectives and timelines a bit confusing and it might take some time to get used to. If you don’t keep in mind which time flame you are currently in (that’s shown at the beginning of each chapter), you’ll easily let it slip your mind and get lost. However, the plot is stunningly well-woven and captivating enough to make up for a little confusion.

Tugging along the threads of the two stories of a blind French girl and a 18-year German boy, we explore what happens to them and how they feel under the difficult time in a small town under German Occupation.
Both of them – Marie-Laure and Warner are both at the mercy of fate and the shadow of War that’s slowly encroaching on their lives breaks them both in different ways.
Intricately entwined with the plot involving the Sea of Flames, which is said to curse its keeper, this book kept me glued to the story most of the time.
While the first half was very strong and gripping, the latter half, especially around 300 pages felt a bit slowed and dragged; I felt like I was reading plot-less parts and wondered why it had to drone on and on and on.
That said, beyond that part, pieces and hints started to make sense to me – everything that I once deemed inconsequential and irrelevant fit together perfectly and the story started to drive towards the stunning finale.

What happens on page 483, the very last sentence on that page literally threw me for a loop – I was shattered to bits by the development and was momentarily lost for words; my brain couldn’t function. I felt Broken. Devastated.

Haven’t you felt that all you can do is just laugh out loud or breathe a sigh of despair when you’re completely mind-blown or something really upsets you? You just can’t process all the feelings and emotions inside you and can do nothing but laugh or sigh.
That’s exactly what happened to me this morning; I was up since 4:30 am reading this book and then I reached page 483 just around the time I was supposed to prepare for work – since I was so invested in this particular character, it took my breath away. Although I knew that I needed to snap out of it, I was bombarded by the whorling emotions. The gobsmacking development totally rendered me dysfunctional. All I could think was:

Oh, my God. Anthony Doerr, WHY??? Look at what you’ve done to me!!!

I honestly didn’t want to read any further, I totally lost steam, but from there, the story moves on towards the present and ends with a breathtaking, beautiful closing.

The writing is absolutely beautiful and really INTENSE. The delivery is on point and consistent, seamless. There were scenes where I found myself holding my breath and hearing my heart pounding against my chest – it’s astoundingly evocative.
The characters are also beautifully drawn and well-realized. I simply adored Marie-Laure’s papa and his affection towards his daughter as well as the heart-warming father and daughter relationship between Marie-Laure. The sacrifice he makes for the love of her daughter… my goodness, how poignant it is…
The portion with Fredelik was also harrowing; Werner’s inner torment from his conscience and cowardice was simply tough to get through. I had to put the book down to take it all in and brace myself for what’s coming next.

Frankly, I wasn’t fully convinced of the whole Sea of Flames plot, I felt it a bit far-fetched, but reading how it eventually ends up and how it works to connect the two dots, I can totally make sense out of it. I’m sold.

To put in a nutshell, I LOVE everything about this book. I literally ate this book up.

I’m still not happy with that particular development (absolutely Not), but this book definitely stole my heart and ripped it in two in a sad, but a good way.
An enthralling, magnificent masterpiece to sink your teeth into – this book will always, ALWAYS have a special place in my heart and totally deserves 5 out of 5 stars.

May Wrap-Up

May is almost over – it’s May 31st, how time flies! It feels like I blasted through this month, but I’m pretty happy with the number of books that I read this month.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the books that I read in May.
In no particular order:

  • So B. It by Sarah Weeks
  • The Quaker Cafe by Brenda Bevan Remmes
  • Everything I never Told You by Celeste Ng
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  • The Comforters by Muriel Spark
  • The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

All told, I read 8 books in May. Some of the books are slim and easy to get through (like middle grade books), granted, but I could at least bring back the book count from the plunging seven to eight. Considering I was almost 100 pages into Cloudstreet by Tim Winton before I gave up, which means I had been reading it for about 4 to 5 days, I think this book count looks pretty satisfactory and I’m sort of proud of myself.

Favorites:

  1. The Book Thief 
  2. Wonder
  3. Everything I Never Told You

The Book Thief was hands down the best book that I read this month. It’s simply a wondrously beautiful, poignant book. It’s no doubt a masterpiece. It left a huge impact on me.
Everything I Never Told was also a stunning debut novel from Celeste Ng. It’s a complex yet beautiful, heart-breaking story. It still kind of haunts me to be honest.

The Least Favorite

  1. The Jane Austen Book Club

It really pains me to put it like this, but it was really a disappointment for me.
That was the book I had been meaning to read for the longest time so when it became apparent to me that I might not like this book as much as I had thought, the reading experience rapidly turned into a laborious one 😦
I wanted to read more of the book club activities and discussions rather than background stories of the book club members. (rant-alert!)  It would have been a lot more engaging and intriguing to get through that way.

 

Apart from those I mentioned above, I also enjoyed reading So B. It and The Comforters.
The former is a really good middle grade coming-of-age story and the latter is a rather peculiar, intriguing book. The story seems a bit disjointed and disorienting at a glance; it makes you wonder where the story is heading to, but pretty much everything comes together nicely in the end. I particularly fell in love its somewhat cynical, sinister undertone. This book actually made me get another Muriel Spark book and I can’t wait to read it.


Although I’m still working my way through All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, it looks next to impossible for me to finish the remaining 150 pages today, so I decided to do a wrap-up today.

 

That’s it, guys. Those are the books and my brief reflection on my May reads.
How about you? Did you have a good reading month?
Let me know in the comments below, I can’t wait to read your answers!

Thank you for reading as always, I’ll talk to you all again soon! 😀