BOOK REVIEW: Dear Heart, I Hate you by J. Sterling


You could meet a thousand people and they’d all mean nothing to you. But then you’d meet that one and they suddenly meant everything.

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GOODREADS: I didn’t plan on him. Or for him. Or anything that had to do with Cal Donovan from Boston. Meeting him had been a complete and utter surprise, taking me one hundred percent off guard. I met new people every single day in my line of work and none of them affected me.

This is going to be brutally honest. – I absolutely did not like the book! There was no depth. I am definitely not a fan of Insta-love and I obviously do not believe in such. Maybe that’s why I hated this. If you’re looking for a growth in character then maybe this one is for you, how two workaholics who did not believe in love suddenly fell in love.

But no. I don’t get it. There’s no build up. No twists. No major setback. It was just an on-going and continuous LDR where the plot is fairly predictable. I did not fell in love with ANY of the characters. I did not feel the love or longing from both Cal and Jules.

Nothing. No emotion.

  • When did making yourself a priority become such a horrible thing?
  • Those lips. They’ll be my ruin.
  • It was heartbreaking when you recognize that moment when pieces of your reality turned into memories.
  • I’m not even all the way in and you already feel like home.
  • Her beauty rivaled her brain. She was a double threat.
  • Who we loved wasn’t always a choice. Sometimes it was an irresistible pull, a gravitational force, something we couldn’t see or control that drew us toward one another.

I’m utterly disappointed. I saw how one of my favorite authors, Coho praised this book. And that is exactly the reason why I gave this book a chance but my oh my… I was wrong.

BOOK REVIEW: Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto


What would you do if you married an immortal? 

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GOODREADS: Three years after her husband Max’s death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max, named Paolo. As outrageous as Paolo’s claims seem; how could her husband be alive? And if he is, why hasn’t he looked her up? Shelley desperately wants to know the truth.

I will not go into details because this book has so much surprises in the beginning, in the middle and a lot in the end. This book is out of this world and I’m not even exaggerating here. What I love about this book is that it has a lot of pocket of information about history and all sorts of everything! And when I mean history, it’s not even boring because it was recounted in a story telling way and that is the absolute secret. ❤ I love how the history is conveyed. Well that, and that Samantha Sotto transports you to Europe.

  • Nothing was lonelier than the limping beat of half a heart
  • It was exactly what she needed – a chance to postpone reality.
  • No one is inconsequential. We change at least one person’s life just by being born.
  • That scene: Whatever you see, Whatever you hear, do not move. You will grow up. You will grow old. And when you do, Remember me.
  • If we accept time for what it is, how it flows and how we flow with it, I doubt very much we would continue wasting loads of it by constantly checking our watches. Where we are now is a lifetime’s worth of steps have taken us.
  • How could coming home make things worse? You can’t return to a place that no longer exists.
  • Jonathan: When you get to be my age, you would hope that there wouldn’t be much left to cross off. Now, Afternoon tea, quiet walks, rainy mornings – nothing I haven’t done before, but everything I need to do now with my Rose as many times as I can, while I can. ❤ ❤ ❤
  • Life is a strong drink served in an extremely short and fragile shot glass.
  • Ghosts are the people who left invisible bruises on you – faces you tried your best to forget and believed you had. But it wasn’t the ghosts themselves that were scary. It was how they haunted you with old secrets.
  • Most mornings bring small miracles. They wash away shadows and chase away ghosts.

Definitely recommending this one. ❤

BOOK REVIEW: Maybe Now by Colleen Hoover


GOODREADS: What is more important? Friendship, loyalty or love?
Colleen Hoover and Griffin Peterson collaborate once again to bring fans of Maybe Someday back into the musical world of Ridge and Sydney.
And Maggie.
And Warren and Bridgette.

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This should be read after Maybe Someday and Maybe Not. I loved love love Maybe Someday although I did not particularly like Maybe Not.

Now, this book Maybe Now did not resonate to me so much. Maybe because I expected more romance (just like Maybe Someday) and other might argue that this book is very cheesy. But in my opinion, the book focuses more on the importance of loyalty, kindness, understanding and friendships.

Although it lacked romance for me, I still applaud the character of Sydney. To be honest, I don’t think I will ever have the decency and maturity to allow my boyfriend take care of his ex girlfriend – in ANY scenario. I don’t care if it seems immature, but no – I won’t allow it.

But I do liked that I get to follow through the story of Ridge and Sydney and how they overcome their history of emotional cheating and communication barrier. And just like Warren and Bridgette, we also see them in this book, following Maybe Not and how their very sexual relationship progress to something more meaningful and ending up in marriage. ❤

This book is more focused on Maggie and her story revolving on her bucket list, her sickness and her new love interest – Jake. And by the way? I love Justice! What a witty, straight forward kid. Haha.

  • People need to put themselves first sometimes. If you aren’t living your best life for yourself, you can’t be your best self for those in your life.
  • Even if the rest of our lives were predictable, I’d never get tired of you. You make routine something I look forward too.
  • But sometimes the wrong thing is the right thing.
  • I forgot how stupefying attraction can be.
  • Sometimes caring about someone means saying things you don’t want to say, but that need to be said.
  • We shouldn’t revolve our lives around their possible endings. We should revolve our lives around the experiences that lead to the endings.
  • No one is the best version of themselves all the time.
  • The Brain and Heart Theory – how they are both detrimental to each other.
  • As a father, I’ve learned to take what I can get while I an get it, because none of the phases a child goes through last forever.
  • It’s the small things people do for others that define the largest parts of them.
  • PROPOSAL: just say WHEN. — When.
  • Our Maybe Someday just became our Absolutely Forever.

BOOK REVIEW: Unwritten Letters to You by T.B Laberge


GOODREADS: Unwritten Letters to You is a collection of writings ranging from heartbreak to longing for love. Within each page comes the words that are often so hard to speak, and with each chapter you will find that blood can be turned to ink.

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WOW. JUST WOW. Everything you may have been feeling? It’s in here. I am happily married but I can also easily relate to the words of a person who has been left behind, cheated on or in the personality of someone who is searching for a person to love.

  • I’m still looking for that smile, that wink, or maybe it’ll just be a sigh that will set my world on fire. Whatever it is, I’m still looking for it.
  • I fear that I will love someone that will always be the wind to my sails, pushing me on but never staying.
  • What if? What if my love and desire for you broke through the doubts that cling to me? What if I chose to love you even in the prospect of the unknown?
  • I wanted to be a forever, but I was only a moment.
  • You were alive before they came around, so don’t let them stop you from living again. Just because they didn’t want you doesn’t mean you are unwanted. Just because they didn’t want forever with you, doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a forever. Just because love wasn’t written for you both doesn’t mean your life is written with any less love.
  • You are more than the marks left on your soul, more than the tears of a broken heart, you are a soul that is eternal.
  • You must not reduce yourself to a puddle just because the person you like is afraid to swim and you are a fierce sea to them. Because there will be someone who was born with love of the waves within their blood, and they will look at you with fear and respect.
  • Love is saying I do, even when you feel like you don’t.
  • If you are happy, then I’m happy. If you’re sad, then I’m sad. Because it’s not about whether or not I fix you. It’s about me, being here and sharing the weight of these moments with you. I fight beside you, because that is love. It’s sharing the struggles, the joys and love we have. It’s about walking this life together and I want you there for as long as possible.

Damn, is he good with words! You can feel the passion, love, longing and sadness with every word he’s written. A must read!

BOOK REVIEW: Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow


GOODREADS: Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

Honestly, it took me longer than I expected. It’s not a light read and to put it out there, this book and the story can be a trigger for those with history of self harm, depressed or any suicidal thoughts.

Spoiler Alert? At seventeen years old, Charlie wakes up in Creeley, a rehab center for women who self-harm. Her father committed suicide by drowning himself, her mother gave up on her, her best friend, a fellow cutter is brain dead, she lived on the street, got sold for sex and her only friend who she likes only wanted to be friends.

I learned that talking really helps and it goes both ways. It’s important to talk to someone. Don’t keep whatever hatred or tension or sadness pent up. Lend an ear. Offer to listen to. People around you may be struggling too. Always be kind, a little kindness goes a long way. We never really know what battles other people are fighting everyday.

This is also the reason why I feel like I need to highlight Michael, Ariel, Linus and Felix. They are such a ray of sunshine in Charlie’s recovery. It’s nice how Mikey offered to help right off the bat, after not being in touch for so long. The lives of Michael and Linus also showed hope that things do get better and people get better. Michael has been sober and is living his best life. He realized he was tired of all the nonsense. Ariel! She’s what everyone needs! A mother figure to knock some sense in all of us. Don’t you think? Linus also told Charlie that she still struggles all the time and that sometimes, she just needs to wait it out. Felix, on the other hand has been helping Charlie on keeping busy and helping her translate all her feelings into paper.

Just one bit about Riley though – I loved his gift. You know how you need not tell the person what you like because he sees you? He watches you and knows what you want, what’s important to you and all? Like how Riley gave her this art book because he saw how her eyes sparkled when she was looking at this particular book.

I’m also happy with the way things ended. It should not always be a happy love story. It’s nice that Charlie is getting her shit together and that she did not llet Riley’s on stage performance affect her progress. And Oh! I also need to discuss Blue’s significant part on Charlie’s recovery. She was consistently there for her, making her feel at home, having someone to come home to, to talk to after work, someone who actually wants to be with you and appreciates your company – and I must say, it’s such a huge impact on Charlie’s confidence and mental health.

It’s not an easy read because it was so raw and honest. The author clearly depicts how the mind of a cutter runs. It’s so sad and I felt so lonely in some parts of the book. It tackles about hope, loneliness, self-harm and belonging – which everyone can relate to. This book opens you to a whole new world of understanding.

It’s such a help. Reading this book tells you that you are not alone and it’s so good to know that other people are experiencing this too, and maybe, just sometimes – that is enough, to know that someone else is feeling those too.

  • I’m so lonely in the world I want to peel all of my flesh off and walk, just bone and gristle.
  • I cut because I cut. It’s as simple as that. I need release. I need to hurt myself more than the world can hurt me, and then I can comfort myself. Hurting yourself makes you feel better. That somehow you can rid yourself of pain by causing yourself pain.
  • You don’t know what it feels like to every day, every fucking day, be so lonely that this black hole inside is going to swallow you down.
  • The moral of the story Charlie is this, don’t let the cereal eat you. It’s only a fucking box of cereal, but it will eat you alive if you let it.
  • You own all of yourself, Charlie. Every last bit.
  • Everything and everybody that’s busted can be fixed.
  • The world hurts enough. Why fucking chase it down?
  • Sometimes you have to let stuff go if you want to move forward, you know?
  • How can you live in fear of your very self?
  • Stuff happens. You just gotta keep on truckin.
  • Everybody you meet is like a little mirror of you.
  • Cutting is a fence you build upon your own body to keep people out but then you cry to be touched. But the fence is barbed. What then?
  • You be you, Charlie. You be you.
  • We have to choose who we want to be, not let the situation choose us.

BOOK REVIEW: The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon


GOODREADS: Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. My family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

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Do not mistake me for being a realist or cold hearted. I’m not. I like reading love stories and happy endings. BUT christ, SPARE ME LOVE AT FIRST SIGHTS or INSTALOVE. Who believes in those shit? You meet a stalker and you let him hold you in the hand, not even an hour after bumping into the guy? Jeez. Call it attraction instead! Now that! – that’s possible! Lust too. You don’t just decide to spend the whole day and let that person tag a long.

But that’s not love! Love is knowing the person inside and out, loving all the flaws, all the horrible things and dark secrets the other person has – something you’ll discover, observe and experience through time. It’s not answering questions all day, having conversations with a stranger and trusting your whole life with that person so quickly!

We all have moments! The feeling of endorphins rising up, the feeling of excitement in getting to know someone, the jitters of ‘new’ love. but moments? moments pass. That’s not love.

How about the character of Natasha? Now her – she’s cold-hearted and so unattached with everything, every emotion and everyone else. She doesn’t believe in anything or anyone except Science. She relies on science to explain everything that’s been happening around her.

And Daniel? Gad. Sure, he is sweet and says all the right things a guy can say at the right time. But don’t you think he’s too much? He’s too emotional and passionate and he practically associates everything with fate and heart and feelings. HAHA. probably exactly how a poet should be characterized. But I wouldn’t want to date someone like him.

And let me just mention the Atty. He actually thinks he met Hannah too late? WHO DOES THAT? If you fuckin love your wife and kids, where would you even find the time to fall in love with someone else? What does he mean by he met hannah too late? Does it mean he regrets his life with his family? WHY? WHY? Stupid men who thinks they have multiple hearts, thinking they can love several women at the same time. just, assholes. Why don’t you just spend the time nurturing your relationship with your family? Make yourself deserving of your family!

What I do liked about this book is that there are snippets of chapters where you learn about trivial things such as Why Korean – American families typically own Black Hair Care stores in New York, Dark Matter, the grandfather paradox, the theory of multiverses and Scientific experiments too.

PLUS, Daniel’s monologue when he finally told Natasha that the Atty couldn’t do anything? It’s the best!

The book also tackles the struggles and the issues of undocumented immigrants, broken dreams, cultural diversions, parent’s expectations, hope, fate and relationships between family members.

  • COPACETIC – in excellent order
  • MUTABLE – liable to change
  • ERUDITE – showing great knowledge
  • Where did all those feelings go? People spend their whole lives looking for love. But how can you trust somethings that can end as suddenly as it begins?
  • All your future histories can be destroyed in a single moment.
  • Are we really supposed to know what we want to do for the rest of our lives?
  • Sometimes the truth can hurt more than you expect.
  • She smiles so big that I know that whatever happens will be worth it.
  • Who are we if not a product of our parents and their histories?
  • It’s not up to you to help other people fit you into a box.
  • Growing up and seeing your parent’s flaws is like losing your religion.
  • You are never out of options.
  • We think we want all the time in the world with the people we love, but maybe what we need is the opposite. Just a finite amount of time, so we still think the other person is interesting.
  • Some people exist in your life to make it better. Some people exist to make it worse.
  • They have a sense that the length of a day is mutable, and you can never see the end from the beginning. They have a sense that love changes all things all the time.

Overall, story narration is ‘kay. I like reading short chapters too. I just didn’t like the wholeness of the story. I would not recommend reading this book but I’d give Nicola Yoon another chance. I’m open to reading Everything, Everything. ❤

BOOK REVIEW : Take the Lead by Betsy Myers


GOODREADS: “Why is it that some people challenge us and motivate us to rise to our best abilities, while others seem to drain our energy and spirit? What is that particular quality certain people have that causes those around them to engage fully and feel connected?”

SEVEN CORE IDEAS

  • We all skin our knees. What count is how we pick ourselves up, learn from our mistakes and move forward.

  1. AUTHENTICITY
  • People who are authentic don’t feel the need to exaggerate their story to make themselves look better, or treat others poorly so they come out in top. People begin to be leaders at that moment when decide for themselves how to be.
  • Genuine leadership is what emerges when we are fully and freely ourselves.
  • People trust us when we are genuine – when we show up, not as who we think we should be, not who our parents and teachers, colleagues and bosses say we should be, but as who we really are.
  • We are each born with our own internal compass, an innate sense that tells us if the direction we’re heading feels right. The most important feedback is that which comes from ourselves. Part of living an authentic life is learning to trust that internal compass.
  • It is the duty of a leader to ensure that people are in the right seats – and on the right bus.
  • We continue discovering new things about ourselves throughout our lives and careers, and sometimes a situation that felt right for us at one point starts feeling like it’s no longer a fit. Sometimes we need to be open to a change in plans and give ourselves permission to change direction.
  • We each have the power to determine or change our roles in both our personal and professional lives.

2. CONNECTION

  • Sometimes when people are unhappy at work, it’s because they are in an environment where they don’t feel connected. They don’t feel they belong there, that their contribution matters or that they are valued as part of the team.
  • No matter how good you are at your work, if you don’t have good relationships with your colleagues, it may not have the impact or support it should.
  • Conversations are opportunities to learn more about the person, share something about yourselves and discover things we may have in common.
  • A shared sense of story brings about a shared sense of purpose, and it is from there that the force for a true movement is born.
  • We walk through so many other people’s lives and often don’t know the lasting impact we have.
  • The two keys for genuine conversation are the curiosity to ask questions about the other person and the generosity to share something about yourself.
  • Look for opportunities for people to meet informally, share personal stories and build relationships.

3. RESPECT

  • Making the effort to notice – opening your eyes and seeing the people around you, taking the time to talk with them and become conscious of what’s going on in their lives.
  • People want to feel that their voice matters. Effective leadership takes the time and care to listen and make sure people feel truly heard.
  • Respect means being willing to listen and let others have their voice, even when it might be inconvenient, difficult or painful to do so. This doesn’t mean we have to agree with another’s decision. It simply means being willing to listen & appreciate people for their unique perspective.
  • You have to listen and gain their trust before you can even have a conversation. You can disagree honorably once you have trust in the relationship.
  • Sometimes sharing an observation or a bit of feedback can be tremendously helpful.
  • The way we communicate and frame an issue and our awareness of the timing and context, can make all the difference in how we are heard and what results we get.
  • It’s not about ego and it’s not about who had the idea in the first place, it’s thinking strategically about who is the best person to get the job done.

4. CLARITY

  • Every organization must have a larger purpose and part of any leader’s success is the ability to communicate that purpose with vivid clarity so that it can be passed from person to person within the organization.
  • As important as what we did were the things we chose not to do
  • Less is more: instead of trying to do a bunch of different things everyday, do one thing at a time.
  • What makes a leader effective is the ability to help people become clear about which tasks are essential to the goal.
  • Informed people feel secure. People will pull together, if they all understand what’s going on and what’s at stake.
  • The key to developing people is to catch them doing something right.
  • It is easy to make assumptions about other people’s expectations, about what matters to them or what makes them feel appreciated. The only reliable way to gain that clarity is to ask.
  • Leadership is not about having all the answers, it is about asking the questions. The clarity comes from listening to the people in the field.

5. COLLABORATION

  • Effective leadership is about inclusion. People feel they are integral part of the larger process.
  • An effective leader then clearly communicates that decision is out to the troops, including what the decision is, why it was made, and what it means to the organization and to each individual involved.
  • A key ingredient in creating true collaboration is becoming aware of our assumptions and learning to challenge them.
  • If you aren’t willing to hear another point of view, how do you grow?

6. LEARNING

  • My curiosity fueled my life long learning.
  • The capacity to engage others – which is all about listening. Second, hard work and discipline and determination to keep at it and keep showing up.
  • Leaders learn is to get outside the bubble of their own experience or comfort zone and discover what is happening in the lives of people around them.
  • Effective leaders believe that their people have valuable perspective, insights and information.
  • Every leader should be willing to sit down with his team and ask them, what are we doing right? what are we doing wrong? what behaviors need to change?

7. COURAGE

  • Leaders are not necessarily fearless, but they are people who have learned how to confront and push through their fears.
  • Courage is about pushing through our fears.
  • We gain strength, and courage and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face. We must do that which we think we cannot.
  • It is when we push through our fear t stretch and grow that we gain confidence.
  • The greatest act of courage is to follow your heart and do the right thing even if it isn’t popular.
  • Sometimes you have to make decisions not everyone is going to be comfortable with. You have to focus on what you are trying to accomplish, with as much respect and care as you can for everyone involve. But you can’t let that stop you from what needs to be done. Leadership takes courage – but courage without being reckless.
  • Courage is a matter of speaking up and giving voice to an uncomfortable truth.
  • Often, once you summon the courage to take this step, it turns out to open up wonderful new possibilities that otherwise might have remained closed or hidden.