When Breath Becomes Air – A Review

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Title: When Breath Becomes Air

Author: Paul Kalanithi

Genre: Non-Fiction / Memoir

Pages: 200

Rating: ★★★★★

Short Review: A devastating read that breaks your heart, makes you cry but also helps you find your purpose in life.

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Synopsis

‘Finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option… Unmissable’ New York Times

For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living? 

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.

When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity – the brain – and finally into a patient and a new father.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when life is catastrophically interrupted? What does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away?

Paul Kalanithi died while working on this profoundly moving book, yet his words live on as a guide to us all. When Breath Becomes Air is a life-affirming reflection on facing our mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.

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Quoting When Breath Becomes Air

“You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.” 

“There is a moment, a cusp when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living. We are never so wise as when we live in this moment.” 

“What makes life meaningful enough to go on living?” 

“Death may be a one-time event but living with a terminal illness is a process.” 

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My Review

I tried my best to be unbiased when reviewing this book but somehow the tragic incident with the author made it all the more beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, death is not beautiful but the fact that someone’s life, even when short-lived gave so much to this world is. That a person, despite the odds achieved part of his dream and became who he always aspired to be.

When breath becomes air is written by Paul himself as he discovers and fights cancer. A surgeon about to graduate is paused midway planning his entire life due to a disease and he pens it all down, his thoughts and relationships and most importantly his aspirations on the face of mortality. While reading this book, I realized how it’s never too late to follow your dreams, that no matter the odds there’s always a chance. I also look at death now as a motivator, only if we thought we don’t have time we’d fit it all in a day.

I grieve for his wife to have to part with the love of her life and his child who’d never get to know the talented surgeon, the brilliant writer, the devoted father but above all a beautiful human being. The way Paul wrote made me travel his journey with him, I sobbed with every x-ray and smiled on every tiny achievement,  I’m glad that during his last moments he was at peace, glad that he got to publish at least one book. Today we all remember him not for the accomplished surgeon that he was, but the beautiful writer that he remains.

I recommend everyone to read it, you won’t love it at all but I guess we all need a reality check every now and then, maybe this could be yours.May you find your calling.

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Check it out on Goodreads!

Buy it from Book Depository for US$9.12

Everything Everything – A Review

18692431Title: Everything Everything

Author: Nicola Yoon

Genre: Fiction/ Contemporary Romance

Pages: 465

Rating: 3.5/5

Short Review: A thought-provoking romance of an allegedly sickly girl without an ending
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Synopsis

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

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Quoting Everything Everything

“Maybe growing up means disappointing the people we love.” 

“Just because you can’t experience everything doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experience anything.” 

“You’re not living if you’re not regretting.” 

“My guilt is an ocean for me to drown in.” 

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Thoughts on the book

Everything Everything is written beautifully, Nicola Yoon adds doodles, emails, and drawings which enhance the reader’s involvement. The book size, font, and all physical details are so convenient and certainly added to my experience. Based on this book, I’d definitely read more from the author; a bit of philosophical mixed with a hint of reality.

The story is different than most books I’ve read, I liked the presence of a terminal illness and I wish there were more of it than just a little description. I also felt that she entered dangerous territory by presenting a sickness she didn’t know enough of or perhaps failed to research. Yikes!

The young romance was a good addition but I just couldn’t follow, seems too easy and too quick. For the girl’s part, it’s still understandable as she’s never been outside so she’ll fall for just anyone but what’s with the guy reciprocating it? I mean it doesn’t just happen over a day in real life and that is what bothered me. Up until the point where the ‘love’ happens, it’s going great but then I felt being dragged out of my thoughts and just read the words failing to ‘feel’ the story. The ending was also a bit sudden and abrupt, part of me liked it and part of me was like

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But it doesn’t make the book all bad, what I liked the most was how beautifully the world was pictured, the beauty in daily life and interactions, the contentment of the protagonist despite her deprived life, the hope that was present throughout. The book had a sad and tragic theme to it but it doesn’t get melancholy, only sad enough to keep you hooked and want more but not enough to reflect on your mood.

The diversity is also impressive but the ending just took away a star from it. It was a good read overall and I recommend it despite its flaws but I wish no one with the actual desease as mentioned in the book does as Nicola implies how they’re not really living, I hate everytime a book or a movie shows an overweight protagonist; which happens ever so rarely btw, gets thin in the end and realizes how her life was yukh before. Its kind of similar in this book. Well that says enough.

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Find Everything Everything on Goodreads or order it on Book Depository

Soon to be a Movie, watch the trailer here!

Nicola Yoon | http://www.NicolaYoon.com

Twitter: NicolaYoon

Genre: Young Adult

Nicola Yoon grew up in Jamaica (the island) and Brooklyn (part of Long Island). She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and daughter, both of whom she loves beyond all reason. Everything, Everything is her first novel.

 

The Girl on the Train – A Review

the-girl-on-the-trainTitle: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Genre: Psychological Thriller/Crime Fiction
Pages: 408
Rating:⭐⭐⭐
Line Review: A creepy and depressing criminal fiction with a terrible ending. Decorative-Border-Divider

Thoughts on the Book…

I didn’t hear much about it when I read it so I had no expectations and hence the book didn’t turn out to be disappointing or a complete disaster.

The girl on the train is written alright and the characters are all well laid out but oh they’re all so pathetic and terrible I hate each one of them. The female in this book are much worse than the men, they have no self-respect what so ever, each one of them. The book is slow paced and boring, we keep looking at cringy-worthy depressed Rachel in the train and she keeps cursing and further ruining her messed up life as we read.

We have a husband that cheats on his wife; Rachel, with his girlfriend and then marries her, Rachel is left lonely to rot until the husband wants her back? But that’s not the end of the story, there’s another mysterious and beautiful glamorous girl in the picture, morbid things happen to her, morbid to say the least.

The story starts veery slow and we keep waiting till it would grow pace but no, it won’t, in fact it’ll only become predictable and creepy by the time. There’s a lot of bullshit in the middle and well in the end as well.

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The reason I still gave away my three precious stars is because I didn’t throw the book away or put it aside even when it left me furious, I wanted to see if who I guessed to be was after all the villain of the story. I actually made two guesses and it was one of them so I’d give Paula some credit.

People said its very much like the Gone Girl but I haven’t read it so I can’t say, I do know it’s a depressing read and gets you in a bad mood and there’s nothing good and positive in the world of Rachel, the entire story makes you feel like you’ll never be cheerful again. Very much like the dementor.

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I remember Desperate Housewives making a similar effort to point the horrors of everyday lives but you see some reality to it, a touch that is human and familiar. What pisses me more off is the fact that The Girl on the Train seemed unreal at so many points, like only characters that were convenient were showed and the world was ignored. Family and friends who could’ve been there were missing or only touched slightly in a chapter or two.

The last bit was the time, it was confusing. Also I prefer when books show narrative of more than one person ( unless they’re written excellently lik HP etc.) here it was only Rachel and once I decided I hate her the story just became worse.

I gave one star for keeping me hooked till the end and the remaining two for the story and thriller provided. Maybe a bit suspense too. I’m doubting on 3 stars too. :O

Okay let it go.

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Quoting The Girl on the Train

“Hollowness: that I understand. I’m starting to believe that there isn’t anything you can do to fix it. That’s what I’ve taken from the therapy sessions: the holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mold yourself through the gaps” 

“There’s something comforting about the sight of strangers safe at home.” 

it’s possible to miss what you’ve never had, to mourn for it.” 

“I want to drag knives over my skin, just to feel something other than shame, but I’m not even brave enough for that” 

“let’s be honest: women are still only really valued for two things—their looks and their role as mothers.” <—-This one offended me tbh, way too much.

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Synopsis

EVERYDAY THE SAME

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

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. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

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Well that’s pretty much all on The Girl on the Train, if you’d like to linger, you may wander around my site 😉

A Court of Wings and Ruins – A Review

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Title
: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Commonly Known as ACOWAR

AuthorSarah J. Maas
Author of Throne of Glass Series

GenreFantasy Fiction

Pages: 705

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

 

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My Review

A Court of Wings and Ruins is the third (and the worst so far) installment in A Court of Thorns and Roses series of six. I’ve loved the first book; A Court of Thorns and Rosesand the second; A court of Mist and Fury.

If you haven’t already read the first two book, here’s a quick recap, if you have then you may skip the next paragraph.

Feyre is a hunter that kills a Faerie to survive and then is taken captive by the High Lord Tamlin to the Spring Court of Prythian; the Faerie Realm, to pay for the life she’s taken. There she’s welcomed as a guest and less as a prisoner and meets her new best friend; Lucien, later she falls for Tamlin and discovers that Prythian is under a curse. The Faerie Realm is almost destroyed as Feyre fights Amarantha and free not just his beloved but the rest of the Prythian as well. Later she learns that she’s bound to Rhysand, the High lord of the Night Court and eventually falls for him too. Meanwhile, Tamlin acts overprotectively and drives Feyre away, she runs off to the Night Court and gets sold out to Hybern; the evil of them all. Hybern ruins all of Feyre’s dreams and turns both her human sisters into Fae, she also looses her High Lord and mate and is taken back to the Spring Court by Tamlin who she now despises for trading her sisters and their safety to Hybern. The third book starts from when Feyra is in Spring Court and plotting against her former betrothed and Hybern. 

This book is 700 pages long and I was bored for at least the half of it. Mind that I like Sarah’s writing but ACOWAR was nothing like the first two books, it was slow and dragged and I felt that it was very repetitive. Not to forget the cringeworthy overinclusive sex scenes. I did enjoy the steamy Feyre and Tamlin/Rhysand in the first two books but as the story proceeds it just made me furious how they could manage to be so horny in the middle of all the chaos and the life-ending situations. By the end of 300 ish pages, I was furious as the story was just revolving and not proceeding at all. Emphasizing again and again over the characters and their strengths which didn’t make them sound strong impact made them look the opposite like the author is trying to sell them.The last few

The last few chapters, however, were great, the war and the details were beautifully put but I don’t see the point of dragging the book to seven hundred something pages for it, it could’ve easily been a 500 pages book and would’ve been more interesting and thrilling. There were also some plot holes unlike in the earlier books, a lot of new characters were introduced and I loved them all but I wish the story had more of it, it just revolved around the same old Mor, Azriel, Feyre, Lucien, Cassion, Rhysand… We meet the High Lords of all the other courts and well that’s it, just meet them, briefly. There is an interesting twist with Lucien which is one thing I’m looking forward to in the next installment, I also wish they talked more of the Firebird and Elain was also featured more.

Overall the experience wasn’t worth at all, I anticipated this book SO much over the past few months that when I started reading it I was absolutely disappointed. ACOMAF took me a day or two to finish but this took me six and there were parts where I just skimmed through a page and skipped lines to read dialogues, I even forced myself to finish off a chapter which hardly happens in the middle of a fantasy series, it’s almost impossible. Only the last couple of chapters comprising of about 200 pages was thrilling and enjoyable like a usual J.Maas.  I also feel like the story could’ve ended here, I don’t really like how they’re going to drag it just for the sake of making it commercial.

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Quoting from ACOWAR

“My rage had become a living thing inside my chest, an echoing heartbeat that soothed me to sleep and stirred me to waking.”  

“And will you come with me; On this adventure – and all the rest?…Always” 

“Kindness can thrive even amongst cruelty.” 

“We’re all a broken, in our own ways – In places, no one might see.” 

“When you erupt, girl, make sure it is felt across worlds.” 

“Night Triumphant – and the Stars Eternal. If he was the sweet, terrifying darkness, I was the glittering light that only his shadows could make clear.”

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Synopsis

A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

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Other Books From the Series

#1   A Court of Thorns & Roses – May 2015
#2   A Court of Mist & Fury – May 2016
#3   A Court of Wings & Ruins – May 2017

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More from the Author

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Similar to the Series

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An Ember in the Ashes – A Review

20560137.jpgTITLE: An Ember in the Ashes

AUTHOR: Sabaa Tahir

Series: An Ember in the Ashes

GENRE: YA Fantasy / Romance

PAGES: 446

RATING ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Quotes from  AEITA

 

“Fear is only your enemy if you allow it to be.” 

“You are an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius. You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it. You cannot stop it.” 

“I’d rather die than live with no mercy, no honor, no soul.” 

“There are two kinds of guilt: the kind that drowns you until you’re useless, and the kind that fires your soul to purpose.” 

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Synopsis

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

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My Review

Very few stories actually start from page 1 and even fewer maintain the thrill and anticipation till the end, An Ember in the Ashes is one of the best Crime Fantasy I’ve ever read with an exceptionally strong character line and plot.

The story starts when Laia decides to fight back for her brother, her family and goes through torture, adventure, manipulation and a lot that we weren’t ready for. There are so many other characters in the series that I love and hate, friendships and relationships and also magic.

The commandant is one of the best features of the series, reminds me of Umbridge but exceeds in cruelty by at least 10 times and oh boy will you hate her, but that’s not even the start of it, there’s war in every corner of the Empire and Magic and Rebels and Scholars and tribes…

Sabaa doesn’t deprive us of any fun and thrill and writes POV of all the characters, gotta love her for that. oh and she isn’t merciful at all, the author would make you sob and fear and Love and hope and then just take it all back in an instant but at the same time leaving you craving for so much more.

I don’t remember the last time I enjoyed the series so much, I tried not giving out any spoilers but then the review doesn’t do justice to the book at all.

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