“When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it”

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The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

Pages : 167

Internationally best selling phenomenon I could not agree more. With it’s minimal pages, one is able to finish the novel in a day, but I found myself reading it sparingly. It was like reading something spiritual, that helped replenished my whole existence when times were difficult. You’ll understand when you start emerging yourself into the story. It was more like traveling through words, about learning the meaning of life and most importantly, your own achievements, failures, goals and dreams.

Follows the life of an Andalusian shepherd boy, named “the boy”, who makes a courageous decision to travel from his home country to Egypt. His decision started from a given dream, of the Pyramids where he would find buried treasure. Along the way he meets peculiar characters, who assists him with his Personal Legend and what it means to follow your heart.

There are criticisms about this novel, in particular to the idea of ‘following your heart’. I honestly understand where they are coming from. Some may say that logic is more important these days, as it will save you a lot of trouble if you ‘think things through’. But that’s where it is debateable, you may be a logical person but can also get things wrong. This story was written as a magical fable and is open to interpretations. You don’t have to follow it like, it was written by something supernatural. It was written (in my opinion) as a suggested guideline, to give hope and courage. It is ultimately up to you, like what the book states, that through action one is able to become sapient.

So glad, that I’m one of the millions who had the experience of reading this beautifully written novel.

AMAZON

“Closure is just as delusive-it is the false hope that we can deaden our living grief.”

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The Examined Life: How we lose and find ourselves – Stephen Grosz

Follows in a disarray order of Stephen Grosz’s personal patients (not publicly named), of their intimate struggles and accomplishments that provides some light into the minds of patient’s undergoing psychoanalysis… which also teaches and reveals reflective life lessons.

Enjoyable read! I was hesitant at firs to purchase this novel, firstly because I haven’t been reading in a while and so I thought that I didn’t have time for me to read anything! But this find was truly heaven-sent because I wasn’t able to put the book down. Chapter after chapter it kept making me wanting to read more and after a day or two I realized I was finished and honestly I didn’t want it to end.

It truly makes you see people differently afterwards and most importantly gives you, I guess a sensitivity to others’ emotions. I think because everyone has this deep feelings within them that makes each and every person unique, and you never know that person may see the world the same as you do… or not. Either way, everyone’s life is surely wondrous. I couldn’t say which patient’s story I liked, because I loved each one of it as I could relate, not identically it made me realize that life, though it may come off as complicated with ups and downs but in the end there’s a purpose.

AMAZON

“For big mistakes to happen, it only requires sensible people to do nothing”

More of History’s Worst Decisions and the People Who Made Them – Ian Whitelaw

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I don’t usually buy books that contains facts and history, but this was an exception. It got me from the bright orange and it’s captivating bold title. Plus there was a massive sale at Parramatta Dymocks, now who can say no to that.

This book contains about 50 decisions, for example:
– The Vietnam War
– Henry VIII wants a son
– Humankind domesticates plants and animals
– Massacre at Srebrenica

I have read most and though some may not agree to what Mr. Whitelaw thinks, I think it’s an interesting point of view that may educate some people or can be used as a conversation debate. I really liked the first decision that the author points out as a ‘worst decision’ the ‘Humankind domesticates plants and animals’ he really makes a point. I’m not going to give out too much information because there is a lot of depth and I may miss out on crucial points.

But if you’re afraid that it is a textbook, it honestly is not, each part the author explains in about 2 pages!

RATE: 3/5

Winter is coming

Photo on 22-05-13 at 8.17 PM

Literally.

I haven’t had the time to update my blog. Been busy with university assignments and studying for upcoming exams for first semester. It is boring my brains out, reading endless texts that does not stimulate my brain… That is why I bought the whole set of Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I loovvvee the series that is airing on HBO and didn’t want to miss out on the novels. PLUS I hoped to read the whole series before the film series finishes. I have not finished the novel but half-way there, and so far the film series remains true to the novel.

As the title suggests, Sydney at the moment is too cold to function. In a few days, winter is upon us and it is already so cold!

“The thing with pain is that it demands to be felt”

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

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A novel that I will definitely never forget. I was recommended this novel by a friend who told me that this novel is not an ordinary love story. I was surprised by how John Green made this ordinary plot into something remarkable. I would describe it as being simple but not simple at the same time, you just have to read it to experience it.

Hazel a 16-year-old is diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13 and is now supported with an oxygen tank to keep her tumour under close observations. She regularly attends a cancer kid support group, where she meets Augustus Waters a gorgeous “hottie” who is in remission.

When the two meet they undergo a very unexpected journey, where they both question aspects of their lives and the meaning of defining themselves and how one is able to imprint a legacy onto this world.

There are mixed reviews for this novel, good and bad, but as I have never read any other of John Green’s novels all I can say are good things about this. Yes, it is an ordinary story of two cancer patients and how they fell in love, but at the same time the author has thrown in cancer jokes for light humour and also other characters that are relevant to the main characters. This novel made me think about the meaning of life and how some people may want to leave an imprint of their life in this world where some others are afraid how our lives can end at anytime, just like an unfinished  sentence. Honestly at the ending, it felt like the book was unfinished!!

I felt so many emotions reading this book and it was not until 2/3 into the book I started getting teary. There is one scene where you will absolutely love, it was just wonderfully written. I’ll give a little sneak peak of what Hazel says in the scene:

“But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

It makes us realise how lucky each and everyone of us that is alive (cancer or no cancer), and how we should not take our earthly lives so lightly because at any time our life can just stop mid-sentence.

AMAZON

“If all we are allowed is hours, minutes, I want to be able to etch each of them on to my memory with exquisite clarity so that I can recall them at moments like this, when my very soul feels blackened.”

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LETTERS FROM YOUR LAST LOVER – Jojo Moyes

Second novel I have just read by Jojo Moyes and I have noticed she has a talent in making her novels seem like a movie. You can envision through her words, the characters the emotions they present. Her usage of multiple time frames and locations, provides a complex but detailed plot enabling the readers to feel constant emotions and gain a wider understanding of the novel. Honestly, if this was made into a movie I believe it’ll be a tear-jerker!

Ellie in the year 2003, has problems with her current relationship where she asks for advise from her friends whether her lover is ‘the one’. As she rummages through files in the newspaper’s archives, she discovers passionate love letters that was forgotten and not sent. She decides to uncover the truth and reunite the lovers so they can have a happy ending, which in turn would help her determine the worth of her own modern romance.

Jennifer Stirling, 1960, finds herself in a hospital and does not remember the events which has led her to her current state. She remembers a few aspects of her life with the help of her husband, who secretly feels like a stranger to her. After settling in her ‘home’ she discovers letters, with one clue ‘B’ signed at the end, which asks her to leave her husband.

This passionate and moving novel, captures a kind of timeless love which is rare and special. The the lovers (Jenny and ‘B’) are like star-crossed lovers where they just cannot find the right timing for each other. I got very frustrated with how fate kept putting distance between them, but when they had those few encounters you see their passion and adoration for each other. The multiple jumps between time, was a bit confusing but you get the hold of it once you gain an understanding of the plot. The usage of placing letters within the novel was brilliant as it gave off raw emotions, that made you feel nostalgic as letters these days are rarely used between lovers.

I like the way Jojo Moyes compares how lovers in current times sends out their message to the other, compared to letters that held meaningful words as if their heart was sealed in the letter. In my opinion messages between couples these days are very shallow, I think lovers has lost their touch with written-word communication.

AMAZON

“Nina knew the power of black and white images. Sometimes a thing was its truest self when the colors were stripped away.”

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Winter Garden – Kristin Hannah

As young children, Meredith and Nina Whitson grew up listening to a fairytale told effortlessly by their distant and disapproving mother, Anya. When their beloved father dies, the only connection they have with their mother is the Russian fairytale. What the daughters find out is that the fairytale told by their mother, is more than a bedtime story, but a secret that will define the very foundation of their family history.

The first half of this novel, I had to be very patient as it tended to move quite slowly. The first half gave the introduction of the sisters and how different they were from each other, but most importantly it illustrates the relationship they had with their mother compared to their father. Kristen illustrated the mother and daughter relationship powerfully as I got to see the struggles the daughters had with trying to bridge a connection with their mother, numerous times, but with little results.

The second half of the novel got more emotional and at the same time more thrilling, as little by little the mother opens up more of her history to her daughters. The ending was not what I expected, and so bonus points for this novel. There are a lot of present and past texts and it falls beautifully together, making it an enjoyable and fantastic read.

AMAZON

“Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just LIVE.”

ME BEFORE YOU  Jojo Moyes

When I came across this novel at my local library, I was hesistant as the cover was not enticing compared to other novels I had already borrowed on that day. But I gave it a risk as the introductory of this novel was a bit interesting. I was entirely surprised as both the cover and the blurb was no where near in capturing the full story of the novel, meaning I picked a novel that was not a traditional love story.

Lou Clark’s life is about being safe, where she loves to work at The Buttered Bun tea shop and is in a long-term relationship with her boyfriend. Suddenly she loses her job and in desperation to find a new one, to provide for her parents and sister, she is hired to become a carer.

Will Traynor’s life was full excitment, risks and living on the edge. One day a motorcyle accident changes his life completely, coming from a world of adventure and be able to control his life, Will loses his desire to live.

Fate brings both Will and Lou’s life together, as both present personalities collide they learn the meaning of life and love. But as months pass, a decision has to be made that may rip them apart.

In my opinion judging a novel can have its benefits, as books like these always suprises me when I finally give it a go. I was blown away by this novel! At the start it was slow to progress into the novel, but once I got introduced to Will I was immediately spell-bound. You can definately see the contrast between Lou’s and Will’s present and past lives and how this aspect is important throughout the book, in regards to character development. The book is structured with different POV which helped give an outside view of the story. I also found myself veering off to different directions while I was reading this book, as the story makes you understand why things had to happen the way it did, so though it had a main course it had bits where it took you to see a different side of the characters.

By the end of the novel, not only I accepted it was not a conventional romance novel, it was like reading a personal diary that follows the growth of Lou entagled with Will’s life. It made me teary at the end as I did not expect myself to be so engrossed with the characters, but also the story seemed so realistic! Controversial topics made me question my life, and if you ever get the change to read it you will definately understand me.

Just a sneak peak….

“I turned in my seat. Will’s face was in shadow and I couldn’t quite make it out.
‘Just hold on. Just for a minute.’
‘Are you all right?’ I found my gaze dropping towards his chair, afraid some part of him was pinched, or trapped, that I had got something wrong.
‘I’m fine. I just . . . ’
I could see his pale collar, his dark suit jacket a contrast against it.
‘I don’t want to go in just yet. I just want to sit and not have to think about . . . ’ He swallowed.
Even in the half-dark it seemed effortful.
‘I just . . . want to be a man who has been to a concert with a girl in a red dress. Just for a few minutes more.’
I released the door handle.
‘Sure.’
I closed my eyes and lay my head against the headrest, and we sat there together for a while longer, two people lost in remembered music, half hidden in the shadow of a castle on a moonlit hill.”

This is the first Jojo Moyes novel I’ve read and I’m going to rate it…

AMAZON

“The wolves knew when it was time to stop looking for what they’d lost, to focus instead on what was yet to come.”

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LONE WOLF – Jodi Picoult

After a night of a tragic accident, Cara and Edward’s father Luke, who is a famous wolf researcher is left in the hands of a NH Hospital as he lies comatose. Once all separated from each other due to family secrets, they are all forced to come together to make one decision that will affect all their lives.

As Luke’s chances of recovery decreases, they are all faced with medical and moral choices. Which sibling has the right to decide the fate of their father?

I found this novel really insightful, and what I mean’t by that is that compared to other novels I have currently read from Jodi Picoult, this gave great information on wolves. Mind you, I have always thought dogs and wolves are the same just wolves were more wild. Guess I was reeaaallly wrong hahaha.

The structure of this novel is similar to her other novels, where each character had their own sections so it allows us, the readers, to gain a better understanding with the characters. Thus, us not being biased with just one character. While the characters were given a chance to speak their minds, informative facts were given about wolves and how they were linked to Luke. This allows us to not only understand wolves better, but also see the differences and similarities between humans and wolves, thus understanding why Luke chose to incorporate himself to a pack.

As I read on, I understood why Luke found it easier to live with the wolves. Us humans, we generate lies, revenge, selfishness, just basically lack to structure and discipline. Whereas, Luke living with the wolves found it much more structured and found more respect. As Luke found it easier to live with wolves, he found it difficult to socialize with humans and more specifically with his own pack, his human family.

This was a great novel, where many issues were being shown, such as family conflicts and the fine line of revenge and forgiveness. But what I learn’t is that no matter how much you hate one person, the flip-side is always love, one cannot understand without feeling the other.

AMAZON

The Sunday Wife

THE SUNDAY WIFE by Cassandra King

Centred on a Methodist wife, Dean Lynch encounters the many challenges of being a spouse of a minister. These demands   grow when she and her husband move to a larger community where the town’s people keeps a close eye on her performance as a preacher’s wife. Everything changes when she befriends Augusta Holderfield, whom she learns independence from as well as looking at her beliefs from another angle.

I have read this novel a while back now, and from what I can remember this book was quite a long read. When I say a ‘long read’ I mean that it took me a while to get ‘hooked’ into it, though towards the ending it got a bit interesting. The Sunday Wife explores the journey of a preacher’s wife towards independence and the struggles of achieve it, as she is faced with judgemental glances from her religious congregation.  Through her journey we see her struggles with her identity, with the help of her new best friend. This novel was predictable in some parts, but overall it was a novel with deep relationships and was fairly an easy read, in terms with its storyline.

RATE: 6/10