Me Before You

Book: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes 

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

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

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

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

Book Notes:

You already know you've set yourself up for a heart break just by reading the title. So why did I bother wanting to read something that would do nothing but resurface that bloody F word... Yes, F is for feelings. 

This was one of those books I knew I was so scared to finish because I know it was just gonna leave me torn and heart broken. This imagined story was written so intimately that as a reader, it felt like you were tip toeing around such private moments that were shared by the characters. 

It is a remarkably tragic love story, not because it involves death but because death was a choice. Not a wasted kind of suicide, but death because the character decided that the cards he was dealt with were not worth living for. 

Death makes a person vulnerable, but what if your death can also provide the freedom you long for and the freedom for everyone else? Ultimately we live for ourselves right? Our life is our choice; we don't live it for anyone else but for ourselves. But does this justify assisted suicide? Are we allowed to play God?

This was one of those though provoking and heart breaking reads. It really makes you ponder on the quality of the life we live, and the choices we make that are ultimately yours. 

Book Quotes:

"Here I could hear my thoughts. I could almost hear my heartbeat. I realized, to my surprise, that I quite liked it."

"There seems to be something miraculous about seeing the relentless optimism of new growth after the bleakness of winter, a kind of joy in the difference every year, the way nature chooses to show off different parts of the garden to its full advantage."

"I needed to tell him, silently, that things might change, grow, or fall, but that life did go on. That we were all part of some great cycle, some pattern that it was only God's purpose to understand."

"I hadn't realized that music could unlock things in you, could transport you to somewhere even the composer hadn't predicted. It left an imprint in the air around you, as if you carried its remnants with you when you went."

"I just want to be a ma who has been to a concert with a girl in a red dress Just for a few more minutes."

"What if the genetically superior male is actually a bit of a dickhead?"

"You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible."

Rating: 4.8/5

Reading Map:

*If you feel like it, make a small donation! Every little bit counts! Love and Light.


The Selection Series

Book: The Selection by Kiera Cass

Synopsis: For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined. [via Amazon]

Synopsis: Before thirty-five girls were chosen to compete in the
Selection . . .
Before Aspen broke America’s heart . . .
There was another girl in Prince Maxon’s life. . . . [via Amazon]

Synopsis: In America Singer’s world, a bride is chosen for the prince through an elaborate televised competition. In the second book of the Selection series, America is one of only six girls left in the running. But is it Prince Maxon—and life as the queen—she wants? Or is it Aspen, her first love?

The Elite delivers the adventure, glamour, political intrigue, and romance readers of The Selection expect, and continues the love triangle that captivated them. [via Amazon
Book Notes:

I was bored and online and browsing Amazon and I stumbled across this. I've been seeing it around the bookstores and never really gave much thought to it. I briefly read through the descriptions online and a book described as Hunger Games meets The Bachelor... It was like pop culture baby making!! It sounded absolutely, ridiculously, stupid and entertaining... of course I had to read it!!! and OMG was it all that and more!

I was grinning like a maniac while reading it! It was so embarrassing! I was giggling, squirming and just so into the book series! It was like the ultimate guilty pleasure, and exactly what I was looking for! It was absolutely insane!!!

If I could make a guilty pleasure reading list, this pretty much is the cookie cutter recipe! Exciting love triangle (I'm so smitten by Prince Maxon!! like aah. I love him and hate him at the same time!!), ridiculous addicting premise (I don't even watch the Bachelor cause I think its absolutely stupid and the whole selection is based that reality show!!), a heroine you can relate with (emotionally confused, fearless, witty and vulnerable), and somewhere along all the cheese, theres also some political lesson to be learned. And there you have it folks, a guilty pleasure love story with some brain.

It's so fun getting caught up in the novelty of a book series like this. It's fun being part of the masses, rooting for all the same things and just getting carried away by the humor of it all. Books aren't just all about being brainy right? Sometimes you just need some light hearted entertainment with a little lesson to be learned, and this was exactly it.

But but but... heres the catch!! and its a pretty darn big catch... THE THIRD INSTALMENT WONT BE RELEASED UNTIL MAY 6!! So yes, a thoroughly addicting series like this must not be started until all the books have been completed! The wait is unnerving. It's excruciating. It sucks!

So reader beware, start the book series now and prepare to anxiously wait.

Book Quotes:

"Lots of times when girls cry, they don't want you to fix the problem, they just want to be consoled."

"In my experience, true love is usually the most inconvenient kind."

"And that was how the Selection did its first act in my favour: if I had her here, at least I had the chance to try."

"Love is beautiful fear."

Rating: 5/5

Reading Map:

Pre-order the novella coming out February 4, 2014 (It'll help with the wait... I think?!)

*Yeah, cause really. Crazy love triangle kind of stories started with this right? At least for this generation.



Book: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Synopsis: Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind? [via Amazon]

Book Notes:

Ok here was another chase of a mistaken identity book. I don't know what's up with me. I'm obviously craving for a chick lit, but I seem to be picking up all the wrong things. I guess coming from Eleanor and Park, this was a bit of a let down for me. 

I didn't particularly like the inserts of Simon Snow. I don't like footnotes, and the continuous excepts felt like annoyingly long versions of a foot note. I know there must have been messages intertwining the stories, but I wasn't in the mood to weave the two together.

What I did find particularly interesting though was her relationship with her fiction writing professor. Back when I was a freshman, I actually had that kind of relationship with a professor. She was constantly pushing me to be a better reader and writer but some where along the way, I felt like I let her down. I got veered from my track, didn't see my potential, etc etc... 

Oh I don't really know. At the end of the day YA books are mostly about coming of age, finding out who you are, experiencing everything for the first time... In so many ways, my life still feels like a YA novel. I'm still discovering my true identity, my genuine desires and my passions. 

More than anything, I'm still trying to get out of my comfort zone. Just like Cath, it was so much easier to hide in this make believe alternate reality with characters that were created by someone else. It's so much more difficult to create our own stories, and I'm not just talking about literary characters, but the story of our lives. 

Sometimes thats why I love fiction so much, it provides an alternative reality, all carefully constructed by someone elses vivid imagination. Through the characters, I feel like I'm living vicariously but I'm not actually living myself. 

Sometimes its so easy to hide behind these novels because you know that no matter what, there will be an ending. And sometimes that's just what you need- to know that there is an end, that everyone gets closure, that chapters into your story, your life will mean something.

I guess thats just the thing about leaving school or maybe the thing about leaving the YA genre... after all those educational milestones, life just becomes. And next thing you know you have all these other life milestones that are beyond your control, and its mind boggling. I guess that's something I personally have to get over, these new milestones that are beyond your control. 

But as far as books are concerned, I may not have enjoyed the reading process as much, but from the bits I read, I did pick up a lot.

Book Quotes:

"If you come off all moody and melancholy in a text, it just sits there in your phone, reminding you of what a drag you are."

"In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can't google.)"

"Why do we write fiction? Professor Piper asked. Cath looked down at her notebook. To disappear."

"Drinking tequila is more about the journey than the destination..."

"'We're skinny bitches on weekdays,' Courtnery said, 'and drunk bitches on the weekend.'"

"Smiling is confusing, she thought. This is why I don't"

"And I want that kiss to have been the start of something. Not the end."

"'It's okay if you're crazy,' he said softly. 'You don't even know-' 'I don't have to know,' he said. 'I'm rooting for you.'"

Rating: 2.8/5

Reading Map:


Just Like Heaven

Book: Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn 

Synopsis: Honoria Smythe-Smith is:
A) a really bad violinist 
B) still miffed at being nicknamed "Bug" as a child
C) not in love with her older brother's best friend
D) all of the above
Marcus Holroyd is:
A) the Earl of Chatteris
B) regrettably prone to sprained ankles
C) not in love with his best friend's younger sister
D) all of the above
Together they:
A) eat quite a bit of chocolate cake
B) survive a deadly fever and the world's worst musical performance
C) fall quite desperately in love
It's Julia Quinn at her best, so you know the answer is . . .
D) all of the above
[via Amazon]

Book Notes:

Now I understand why I'm loyal to my Kindle (which I finally found thank heavens!) and why I'm still old fashioned and enjoy purchasing actual books. It's just a far more enjoyable process in totality. I think I would've enjoyed this book so much more if my eReader was not lagging. It was rather irritating reading faster than the pages were loading... it was such a waste of my time! I was so vexed that I had to slow down my pace, and I had to stare at pages of text that I was so ready to move on from. 

As far as regency romances go, I think this was rather cute although I expected a little bit more quirk. The synopsis from Amazon made me believe it was going to be a love story with so much more spunky and charm, but it unfortunately didn't live up to my expectations. I expected it to have a little more dynamic interactions, a little more dessert and well a little more pizzazz. 

Overall though, its cute, easy to read and maybe something you can pick up at your local library or borrow from a friend.

Book Quotes: 

"It had been a feeling she hadn't even realised she'd been missing- of belonging, of place, of being with someone who utterly and completely and still thought you were worth laughing with."

"It is better to marry a good man than rush into a disaster..."

Rating: 2.5/5

Reading Map:

*I didnt enjoy this book, but other's might... it did get glowing reviews on Amazon!


Eleanor and Park

Book: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell 

Synopsis: Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.

I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under. [via Amazon]
Book Notes: 
It wasn't a very pleasant day at the bookstore yesterday. It seems everyone joined the band wagon on New Year's resolutions and reading more books that everything I had on my list was unavailable. Dejected, I wander home only to realise, 'Duh! eReader!' I so easily forget that I have an instant library on hand, readily available as simple as a one-click purchase. Perhaps it's the old soul in me that still connects most to a hard copy. The smell of new books is intoxicating, and I secretly love the clutter a stack of books creates in my living space.
On any other day I would have waited to find a hard copy, but I was crazed with this delirious idea of having to read Eleanor and Park on January 06. Strange forces we're working their magic, and it was all I could think about for the most part of the day. 
I wasn't prepared for this book. I thought it was going to be a light romantic comedy of sorts, and for the most part it was... What I didn't expect was my profound attachment to the characters. Finishing the book, I wasn't sure if I felt heart broken or hopeful. The open ender left me hanging for a little bit more. A love story like that couldn't have just ended that way, could it? Or what it the way it ended that made it all the more fascinating?
I really liked that the characters were very human. They weren't the typical Barbie and Ken perfect leading couple, but real, awkward, insecure teenagers that were trying to discover themselves and their place in this world. I loved the dorky banter they shared! The book was written so intimately that I felt like I was constantly eavesdropping on their conversations. 
Love seems to be a topic I love reading about, and I think this YA book did a pretty good job depicting this certain kind of love. This kind of love was depicted so beautifully in this book. The perfect kind of immature love. 
That's the thing about your first love... It's your first. You have no idea what to expect. You've never had your heart broken, so you have no idea how painful it feels. Everything is so brand new, so curious, so exotic. You're senseless drunk with euphoria, this intoxicating, strange new feeling of what being in love is.
The characters were still learning so much about themselves, about each other, about what love really means. Their love was built on a shaky foundation, but it was their youth that kept them optimistic and hopeful. Maybe the older we get, we find this notion to be ridiculous. Or maybe, the older we get, we search for these kinds of books to help us remember.
For whatever its worth, these characters feel so real to me now. I was left with a roller coaster of emotions, that even hours after reading I cannot seem to let go nor articulate. I know these character's aren't real but I really can't help but wish them a cliche happy ending. I'm not really one for epilogues, but I wish Rainbow Rowell will revisit these two. It would be nice to catch up with them when they're a little bit older and maybe wiser.
Book Quotes:
"You can be Han Solo, he said, kissing her throat. And I'll be Boba Fett. I'll cross the sky for you."
"Every since the first day they'd met, Eleanor was always seeing him in unexpected places. It was like their lives were overlapping lines, like they had their own gravity. Usually, that serendipity felt like the nicest thing the universe has ever done for her."
"Yesterday happens."
"Who knows what he missed. Her fatness. Her weirdness. The fact that she couldn't talk to him like a regular person. Whatever. Whatever perversion caused him to like her was his problem."
"Then he slid the silk and his fingers into her open palm. And Eleanor disintegrated."
"Park's eyes got wide. Well sort of wide. Sometimes she wondered if the shape of his eyes affected how he saw things. That was probably the most racist question of all time."

Rating: 4.8/5

Reading Map:


Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Book: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan 

Synopsis: The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead “checking out” impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he’s embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behavior and roped his friends into helping to figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, it turns out the secrets extend far outside the walls of the bookstore. [via Amazon]

Book Notes:

Admittedly it was the vibrant yellow cover that attracted me to this book in the first place. I know, I know... never judge a book by its cover... but come on! I know we're all guilty of it. So there was that initial attraction, the next was the fact that it was set in San Francisco- my soul city! <3 nbsp="" p="">
I think there's always something magical about a book you stumble upon. With no plan or agenda, not even a witty book review pre-scanned before entering the bookstore, sometimes you just come across good reads without even trying.

This was a light and entertaining read, that brought you along an imaginative adventure that challenges our perceptions of immortality.

It was creative, current and curious.

Book Quotes: 

"Whenever I walked the streets of San Francisco, I'd watch for HELP WANTED signs in windows- which is not something you really do, right? I should probably be more suspicious of those. Legitimate employers use Craigslist."

"He's like a storybook spirit, a little djinn or something, except instead of air or water his element is imagination."

"At first I thought I had a crush on her, but then I realized she's an android."

"It's very quiet. I set my chin in my palm and count my friends and wonder what else is hiding in plain sight."

"There is no shame in it if your friend is not yet ready for the task. Perhaps it will grow more interesting to him with time."

"There are newer Kindles with bigger screens and subtler industrial design, but this one is like Penumbra's postcards: so uncool it's cool again."

"History hinges on such small things.  A difference of thirty degrees, and this story would end here."

"This girl has the spark of life. This is the primary filter for new friends and the highest compliment I can pay."

"But, of course, the point of a programming language is that you don't just read it; you write it, too. You make it do things for you."

"It's really hard. And that's, what, a thousand years? What comes after that? What could possibly come after that? Imagination runs out. But it makes sense, right? We probably just imagine things based on what we already know, and we run out of analogies in the thirty-first century."

"We have the same hardware, but not the same software."

"So its the surface that matters. People want things to be real. If you give them an excuse, they'll believe you."

"Books used to be pretty high-tech, back in the day. Not anymore."

"This is all so obvious when you know what to listen for."

"There is no immortality that is not built on friendship and work done with care. All the secrets in the world worth knowing are hiding in plain sight. It takes forty-one seconds to climb a ladder three stories tall. It's not easy to imagine the year 3012, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. We have new capabilities now- strange powers we're still getting used to."

"Your life must be an open city, with all sorts of ways to wander in."

"After that, the book will fade, the way all books fade in your mind. But I hope you will remember this: the right book, at exactly the right time."

Rating: 4.2/5

Reading Map:

Aldus Manutius the Elder

The Alchemyst: The Immortal Secrets of Nicholas Flammel by Michael Scott

Romanov Prophecy: A Novel by Steve Berry


2014 Book List


1. Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
2. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell*
3. Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn*
4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell*
5. The Selection by Kiera Cass*
6. The Prince by Kiera Cass*
7. The Elite by Kiera Cass*
8. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes*
9. I Saw You. Comics Inspired by Real-life Missed Connections Edited by Julia Wertz
10. Matched by Allison Braithwaite Condie*
11. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James*
12. Fifty Shades Darker by EL James*


13. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
14. Whitney My Love by Judith McNaught
15. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell


16. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion


17. Flat-Out Celeste by Jessica Park
18. Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

19. The Duke's Holiday by Maggie Fenton


20. Something Missing: A Novel by Matthew Dicks
21. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

22. One Hundred Proposals by Holly Martin
23. My Sort-of, Kind-of Hero by Emily Harper

*Kindle copy

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