Book Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

My Heart and Other Black Holes

46th – My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Rating: ❤❤❤❤ (Good read, definitely!)

What is it about: Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

What I Love: I love the characters because the writer was able to make them both relatable. You feel them, their pain, their hopelessness and even as they fall in love.

The struggles of the two main characters are revealed in a heart tugging way.

This book will make you smile, it will make you laugh, and it will make you feel for more sensitive for teenagers who may be depressed.

What I Don’t Love Much: Nothing.

Wise Words:

“Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape.”

“Sometimes I wonder if gravity is the problem. It keeps us all grounded, gives us this false sense of stability when really we’re all just bodies in motion. Gravity keeps us from floating up into space, it keeps us from involuntarily crashing into one another. It saves the human race from being a big hot mess.”

“Maybe that’s what love really boils down to-having someone who cares enough to pay attention so that you’re encouraged to travel and transfer, to make your potential energy spark into kinetic energy. Maybe all anyone ever needs is for someone to notice them, to observe them.”

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo and Story Summary: Goodreads and Unsplash

Book Review: The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott

The Way Back to You

“The beauty of being young is that you can change your mind a hundred times and life is still before you with all the options.”

40th – A book about a roadtrip – The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott

 Rating: ❤❤❤ (Good read)

What is it about: Six months ago, Ashlyn Montiel died in a bike accident.

Her best friend Cloudy is keeping it together, at least on the outside. Cloudy’s insides are a different story: tangled, confused, heartbroken.

Kyle is falling apart, and everyone can tell. Ashlyn was his girlfriend, and when she died, a part of him went with her. Maybe the only part he cares about anymore.

As the two people who loved Ashlyn best, Cloudy and Kyle should be able to lean on each other. But after a terrible mistake last year, they’re barely speaking. So when Cloudy discovers that Ashlyn’s organs were donated after her death and the Montiel family has been in touch with three of the recipients, she does something a little bit crazy and a lot of out character: she steals the letters and convinces Kyle to go on a winter break road trip with her, from Oregon to California to Arizona to Nevada. Maybe if they see the recipients—the people whose lives were saved by Ashlyn’s death—the world will open up again. Or maybe it will be a huge mistake.

With hundreds of miles in front of them, a stowaway kitten, and a list of people who are alive because of Ashlyn, Cloudy and Kyle just may find their way to back to her…and to each other.

What I Love: This book begins with a promising start. Its engrossing and intriguing.

But as it..

What I Don’t Love Much: …becomes confusing. The main characters are confuse themselves.

Wise Words: “The beauty of being young is that you can change your mind a hundred times and life is still before you with all the options.”

“Grief doesn’t seem to need much space at all; it’s more like it tightens and squeezes until there’s no more of you left.”

“More than anything, though, I’ve learned that, just like in cheer, life is all about support. Being capable on your own is important, but big or small, having the right team makes all the difference.”

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo and Story Summary: Goodreads and Unsplash

Ten Books I’m Glad I Picked on a Whim

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I am good in planning,
except when I’m reading,
sometimes I follow
where my mood is swinging,
and here are the books
I’m glad I picked on a whim.

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

Before I Go to Sleep

About: Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love – all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine’s life.

Rating: 💖 💖 💖 💖 (Good read, definitely!)

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Every Last Word

About: Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

Rating: 💖 💖 💖 💖 💖 (GREAT READ!)

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train

About: EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Rating: 💖 💖 💖 💖 💖 (GREAT READ!)

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Kindred Spirits

About: If you broke Elena’s heart, Star Wars would spill out. So when she decides to queue outside her local cinema to see the new movie, she’s expecting a celebration with crowds of people who love Han, Luke and Leia just as much as she does. What she’s not expecting is to be last in a line of only three people; to have to pee into a collectible Star Wars soda cup behind a dumpster or to meet that unlikely someone who just might truly understand the way she feels.

Rating: 💖 💖 💖  (Good read!)

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova

Love Anthony

About: Two women, each cast adrift by unforseen events in their lives, meet by accident on a Nantucket beach and are drawn into a friendship.
Olivia is a young mother whose eight-year-old severely autistic son has recently died. Her marriage badly frayed by years of stress, she comes to the island in a trial separation to try and make sense of the tragedy of her Anthony’s short life.
Beth, a stay-at-home mother of three, is also recently separated after discovering her husband’s long-term infidelity. In an attempt to recapture a sense of her pre-married life, she rekindles her passion for writing, determined to find her own voice again. But surprisingly, as she does so, Beth also find herself channeling the voice of an unknown boy, exuberant in his perceptions of the world around him if autistic in his expression—a voice she can share with Olivia—(is it Anthony?)—that brings comfort and meaning to them both.

Rating: 💖 💖 💖 💖 💖 (GREAT READ!)

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

About: A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

Rating: 💖 💖 💖 💖 💖 (GREAT READ!)

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

One Plus One

About: Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight-in-shining-armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages… maybe ever.

Rating: 💖 💖 💖 💖 (Good read, definitely!)

The Small Backs of Children by Lidia Yuknavitch

The Small Backs of Children

About: In a war-torn village in Eastern Europe, an American photographer captures a heart-stopping image: a young girl flying toward the lens, fleeing a fiery explosion that has engulfed her home and family. The image wins acclaim and prizes, becoming an icon for millions—and a subject of obsession for one writer, the photographer’s best friend, who has suffered a devastating tragedy of her own.

As the writer plunges into a suicidal depression, her filmmaker husband enlists several friends, including a fearless bisexual poet and an ingenuous performance artist, to save her by rescuing the unknown girl and bringing her to the United States. And yet, as their plot unfolds, everything we know about the story comes into question: What does the writer really want? Who is controlling the action? And what will happen when these two worlds—east and west, real and virtual—collide?

Rating: 💖 💖 💖  (Good read!)

We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride

We Are Called to Rise

About: An immigrant boy whose family is struggling to assimilate. A middle-aged housewife coping with an imploding marriage and a troubled son. A social worker at home in the darker corners of Las Vegas. A wounded soldier recovering from an injury he can’t remember getting. By the time we realize how these voices will connect, the impossible and perhaps the unbearable has already happened. We Are Called to Rise is a boomtown tale, in which the lives of people from different backgrounds and experiences collide in a stunning coincidence. When presented the opportunity to sink into despair, these characters rise. Through acts of remarkable charity and bravery, they rescue themselves. Emotionally powerful yet tender and intimate, We Are Called to Rise is a novel of redemption and unexpected love.

Rating: 💖 💖 💖  (Good read!)

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places

About: 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.

Rating: 💖 💖 💖 💖 💖 (GREAT READ!)

Summary and Photo credit: Goodreads


In response to The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday today:

May 17: Ten Books I Picked Up On A Whim (however you decide to interpret that (bought or read or something else) — I know most people read based on recommendation but we want to know those books you picked up without really hearing about or knowing much about!)

P.S. What one book would you add on this list?

Share it to me! 😀

~

2016 Reading Challenge Update: Part 2

update

Before the year ‘leaped’, I was able to read four more books for this month. (My first update for February is here.)

So here are the awesome novels that I have read on and before the 29th. ❤

13th – A classic from the 20th century – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird

What is it about: Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior—to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

What I Love: The depth of the the topic told in an innocent view is just flawless. Now I know the meaning of ‘classic’

What I Don’t Love Much: Honestly, the pace of the first few chapters are a bit slooooow for me.

Wise Words: 

“I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

“Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.”

“People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.”

Rating: 💖 💖 💖  💖 (Good read, definitely!)

14th – A YA bestseller – Ten Thousand Truths by Susan White

Ten Thousand Truths

What is it about: “Thirteen-year-old Rachel is bad news, or so her foster care worker tells her. She’s been shuttled from one rotten foster family to another ever since her mother and brother died in a car accident five years ago, and she’s running out of options. So when she gets caught shoplifting and is kicked out of her latest home, the only place left to send her is the last resort for kids like her; a farm in the middle of nowhere run by a disfigured recluse named Amelia Walton, whom Rachel names ‘Warty’ because of the strange lumps covering her face and neck.

Rachel settles into life on the farm, losing herself in daily chores and Amelia’s endless trivia and trying to forget her past and the secret she’s holding inside. But when a letter arrives for her out of the blue, Rachel soon realizes that you can’t hide from your past – or your future.”

What I Love: The descriptions of the lovely farm is just so vivid that it felt I was also there.

The literal ten thousand truths are both entertaining and informative.

What I Don’t Love Much: It is a bit short of that ‘oomph’. That feeling which give readers a book hangover.

Wise Words:

“Most of the beliefs in our shortcomings are spoken much louder from within than from anyone else.”

Rating: 💖 💖 💖 💖 (Good read, definitely!)

15th – A satirical book – Macarthur by Bob Ong

Macarthur

What is it about: A group of four boys with lives ‘destroyed’ in different ways but are united in ‘drugs’ and in a strong friendship bond.

What I Love: Powerfully written. The language used are explicit yet so real. The twists are jaw-dropping and saddening. The subtle way of tackling friendship within a group of ‘addict’ boys are heartwarming.

What I Don’t Love Much: None.

Rating: 💖 💖 💖 💖 💖 (GREAT read!)

16th – A science-fiction novel – The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

What is it about: Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

What I Love: I am no fan of fantasy and the ‘unplanned’ reading of this novel showed me I can love that genre, too.

Neil Gaiman is indeed a skill-full storyteller who can make you angry and scared. His words in this novel are short yet alive.

What I Don’t Love Much: None. 🙂

Wise Words: 

“Books were safe than other people anyway.”

Rating: 💖 💖 💖 💖 💖 (GREAT read!)

©2016 Rosemawrites@A Reading Writer. All Rights Reserved.

Photo credit: Pop SugarGoodreads, Quote Fancy, Board of Wisdom and Like Success

Story Summary: Goodreads


What are you favorite reads last month?

Have you read any of this?

Do you agree with me?

🙂

Let’s talk!

~

Ten Newly-Added Books in My TBR

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If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking. – Haruki Murakami

The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top Ten Tuesday today is  Top Ten Books I’ve Recently Added To My TBR.

I’ll be quick (’cause I have a client meeting today! :D)

Treat this as my very first update for Pop Sugar’s 2016 Reading Challenge.

update

Here they are…

1. A book based on fairytale – The Crown (The Selection, #5) by Kiera Cass

The Crown (The Selection, #5)

Twenty years have passed since the events of The One, and America and Maxon’s daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own. Princess Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected.

(I am not fan of The Heir, but I will still read this book because I want to finish the entire series. :))

2. A National Book Award winner – Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson

Fortune Smiles

In post-Katrina Louisiana, a young man and his new girlfriend search for the mother of his son. In Palo Alto, a computer programmer whose wife has a rare disease finds solace in a digital copy of the recently assassinated President. In contemporary Berlin a former Stasi agent ponders his past.

And in “”Interesting Facts”, a woman with cancer rages against the idea of her family without her.

Hugely inventive and endlessly energetic, this is a heart wrenching, surprising collection of stories that show Johnson at the top of his form.

3. A book translated to English – Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Norwegian Wood

Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before.  Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable.  As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.

4. A book set in Europe – After You (Me Before You, #2) by Jojo Moyes

After You (Me Before You, #2)

After You is the sequel to the beloved New York Times million-copy bestseller, Me Before You.

5. A book that’s under 150 pages – The Possession by Annie Ernaux

The Possession

Self-regard, in the works of Annie Ernaux, is always an excruciatingly painful and exact process. Here, she revisits the peculiar kind of self-fulfillment possible when we examine ourselves in the aftermath of a love affair, and sometimes, even, through the eyes of the lost beloved.

6. A New York Times bestseller – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes her talented pen to the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

7. A book that’s becoming a movie this year – The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

8. A dystopian novel – More Than This by Patrick Ness

More Than This

A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies.

Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.

How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?

As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?

( I quit reading YA dystopia last year, but now I am giving it another try. Let’s see…)

9. A book of poetry – Love & Misadventure by Lang Leav

Love & Misadventure

Beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully conceived, Love and Misadventure will take you on a rollercoaster ride through an ill-fated love affair- from the initial butterflies to the soaring heights- through to the devastating plunge. Lang Leav has an unnerving ability to see inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Her talent for translating complex emotions with astonishing simplicity has won her a cult following of devoted fans from all over the world.

(I posted on my Facebook that this is the book that I want for my birthday this week. 😀 I hope someone heard me! :D)

10. An autobiography – When A Good God Allows Rape by Joy Tan Chi – Mendoza

When A Good God Allows Rape

What Satan meant for harm, God meant for good. God’s grace transformed pain, emotional distress, and suffering into a vibrant, purposeful, and rich life. Refusing to hide behind the dark memories that wanted to hold her captive, Joy Tan-Chi Mendoza shares her story, helping her readers towards strength, encouragement, and the healing of sexual trauma and abuse.

(I got goosebumps when I heard of this courageous and inspiring story. My friend and workmate, Shie, will share me a copy and I am excited to know how will this book move me.)

That will be all!

What are the newest addition to your TBR?

Let me know! 😀

~

2015 Reading Challenge Update: A BOOK PUBLISHED THIS YEAR 7/50

Picture2

For the book published this year, I picked Never Never (Never Never, #1) by Colleen Hoover. Why? Well, honestly, it was the book cover that made me list this book in my 2015 Reading Challenge list.

Never Never (Never Never, #1)

I hope you will agree with me that the cover is indeed enticing. It raised my curiosity and after reading the novel I am glad to say that the words behind the ‘cloak’ is as thought-provoking as the cover.

As what I’ve said in my goodreads review, “When the book ended I was like: What the heck! Is my copy incomplete or what?”

The story is short yet it was able to raise a lot of questions. So you will keep on reading and reading until voila! you’re in the last page and majority of the question is left unanswered!

This book’s sequel is to die for! Really!

~