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The Geography of Bliss

The Geography of Bliss written by Eric Weiner

A book review by Johana

This is actually a nonfictional book. It is also my father’s book. I decided to pick this one for October because it was already tenth month of the year, and I felt like I didn’t enjoy 2021 as much as my previous years. In fact, I didn’t even know why I didn’t enjoy my months, and I thought maybe it wasn’t the year that had a problem, maybe it was just me who forogot how it felt to be happy. In order to save my last two months of 2021, I made my mind to read this book since the book title is “Geography of Bliss”.

I was expecting topics such as “How to make your days happy and What is the definition of happy”. I was anticipating the psychological and philosophical facts of Happiness. Overall, I thought it was a self-development book. I was wrong. Sometimes, it feels good to be wrong because I enjoyed reading this book although it was a little bit boring for me. ( It took me two total weeks to finish the book)

What it is about?

This book is about Eric Weiner, who writes for BBC, travels throughout the world, from richest to poorest country, to search for Happiness. The author didn’t really know why he, himself, was not happy. So, he decided to see which people from which country was happiest in the world, and if he found one, he would go live in that country.

The journey started with Netherlands and ended with America, his home. I hope you know what I mean. After all those years of travelling ten countries, he found his happiness back in his home. Wow, I just spoiled the whole book. But it is only the smallest part of the book. There is actually the philosophical and psychological facts of happiness which are different with different countries. You need to really be aware of those facts while you are reading.

It is a pretty thick book. Nevertheless, I finished the book because I love to learn customs and culture of each country. And behind those cultures and customs lie unknown happiness which the author has carefully noted. The book is also funny, the way the author found weird to some customs but lived like them anyway made me laugh out of the blue while I was reading, and my sister would ask me “is it that funny?”

This book is also like a travelling guide book. It is not hundred-percent true though. It is just that the culture of each country is explained and described in detail wonderfully. At some points of the book, I noted to myself “If I miracally visit one or more of those countries one day, I will surely look out for those cultures and places.” There are ten countries. Please do look at the list of the countries. And if you are going to visit one of them, you should read this book, particularly the country you are visiting.

Facts I learned from the book

Patience will bring you happiness.

Freedom is happiness but careless freedom is a disaster.

People of Switzerland never make the others jealous because jealousy is the downfall of happiness.

Trusting each other will make you happy.

A five-minute thought of death is one way to calm your mind. ( which is true by the way. Whenever I am down, I think about death, and everything inside me calms down, and I become ready for everything including death)

Note

There are many other facts you will learn if you read the book with your soul. I read it like that way, and obviously, it took me longer than I anticipated to finish the book. But, it is worth your time. Read it. Happinees is a wide field of study to look at. Even if you could only finish one country, it is still worth your time.

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People we meet on vacation

People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry

A book review by Johana

Hello again! How are you? It has been a long time since I wrote book reviews on this website. The fact that I didn’t enjoy the first two books I’ve chosen for October as much as I had anticipated is making me procrstinate to write a new post.

Summer holidays were over since last month, yet the book I’ve read and am going to talk about is based on the summer vibe. It doesn’t match the season, does it? Nevertheless, time zone in my area is pretty differnet from you all since I had no summer when you were enjoying your summer. What I mean is it was the rainy season in my area when it was summer in yours.

This book “People We Meet on Vacation” was super hyped by booklovers on Tiktok, Instargram and YouTube during the summer season, which was around June to August. I should have read when they were reading and highly recommending it, but I had many other books on my mind, so I could only insist myself to read the book later to know whether it really was worth the hype or not. (NO, it doesn’t)

I must say that although this book is not one of my favourtie, it is still worth my time and it entertained me. Let’s move on why it is not my favourite.

What is it about?

Poppy and Alex are best friends, but they are polar opposite to each other. Poppy, a tiny fighter ( nickname given by Alex) likes to party and get wild while Alex is more like a calm, polite and composed man. ALex also wants to grow old in his grandma’s old house in their samll hometown while Poppy never stays in one place long enough to decorate her apartment beautifully. She is funny and frank, and never takes things too seriously like Alex. With this huge differnece between them, they are still inseperatable BFF because ALex becomes naked ALex (nickname by Poppy) when he is around her. Just find out why they are nickenamed like this, tiny fighter and naked Alex.

Poppy had a painful past which is the main reason she wanted to leave her childhood home and move to New York. And thus, they became long distant best friends. Alex would sacrifice everything for Poppy, and so does Poppy for Alex. That’s beacuse both of them feel something for each other. But, they would rather keep their firendship like old, great days rather than destroy it by telling their true feeling. The book opens with ALex and Poppy taking a summer vacation. And from there on, you will be delivered to the world full of summer and vacation vibe since it is all about their every summer vacation, you will also see there is a secret and complicated love they felt for each other and see how they will end.

What disappoints me?

The book is too predicatable. Form the beginning, I just knew that they would be together in the end. Still, I told myself that maybe there would be a twist in the middle of the book, or maybe it would be a sad ending or maybe there would be dramas. And I kept reading, looking forward to any of those I’d anticipated. The fact that the character Sarah was introduced in the first chapter made me believe more that there would definitely be dramas between them.

Obviously, the plot is what disappoted me. The book was written alternatively in flashback ( five, four,…. summer ago) and present (this summer). And I was anticipating more dramas such as I wanted Sarah to be so evil that she ploted some fake stories against Poppy to make Alex hers. But there was none. There was only a little bit of jealousy, insecurity and heartbroken moments, which all of them had been expected by me. Maybe it was just me, who have watched too many drama series.

But it was not the plot only. Although many characters are involved in this book, most of the scenes are taken by Alex and Poppy only, and I got bore at some point. When the chapter told me it was one of her previos summers, I just knew that they would take another vacation, and Poppy would tell how much she was happy with ALex and how she sometimes felt for ALex.

So, to conclude, the plot is what makes this book excluded from my favourite ones.

What I like?

So, why do I read till the end if it is predictable? Well, it is writing stlye that I love so much. The whole book is so brilliantly written. Emily Henry is the best author in portraying the emotion and the personality of the charcters. She wrote amazingly whenever Poppy felt something for ALex. And the way it seemed like ALex felt nothing in the early chapters, but actually, he was feeling the same for Poppy, which was described heartbreakingly in later chapters. I must admit that early chpaters are not that exciting, but when I reached beyond chapter 25, it got interesting. Not as much as I’d anticipated though, it was just that later chpaters are more interesting than early ones. Also, there is a smut scene beyond chapter 25, and it is so awesomely written. Read at your own risk.

What disappoints me + What I like = 3 stars out of 5 stars

In summary, this is a summer read, so I wouldn’t recommend it too much like I’ve done in my previous book reviews. But still, if you are missing your summer holidays, you should read this. It is still worth your time. It will entertain you. If you like bestfriend to lover trope, this book is a good choice. I might read it agian because I want to learn the writing style and how the author portrayed each and every emotion of Poppy and ALex.

Thank you for reading! Hope you like this review. Please, leave a comment if you want to suggest something regarding my blog posts.

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It ends with us

It ends with us by Colleen Hoover

A book review by Johana

Hello again! How are you doing? I hope you’re fine. I am fine too.

In my last post, I said I was reading a triology. Actually, I finished the first two books of the series but before I could read the third book, I somehow got into a reading slump. So, I didn’t finish the last book and therefore I couldn’t write a review of the whole book series.

That’s why the book I am going to talk is a stand-alone book which is It ends with us by Colleen Hoover.

I finished it yesterday. I am a member of a book channel in a discord and in there, I buddy read ‘It ends with us’. Trust me, buddy reading will help you out of reading slump(but it depends on you). Audiobooks will also help you out of reading slump. I always listen to the audiobooks when I get bored at some point. In this case, I listened to the audiobook in early chapters.

I love “It ends with us”. In the buddy reading channel, most don’t like the book. They said “It ends with us” was the worst of all Colleen Hoover’s books. Well, for me, this book is my first Colleen Hoover’s book so I cannot contradict them. But also, I cannot agree with them. I like this book. In fact, I love this book. This book is four out of five stars book and it really is worth my time. I will give you my reasons.

Summary of the book

Lily, who moved to Boston to open her own floral shop, met a handsome, smart and funny neurosurgeon, Ryle, and fell in love with him. When her childhood sweetheart, Atlas, unexpectedly showed up in Boston, her relationship with Ryle began to crack. A short-tempered Ryle with his traumatic past couldn’t control his jealousy and committed unforgivable actions which triggered Lily’s biggest fear of her past. Contemplating between her love for Ryle and her fear, Lily had to be strong as she promised to herself when she was young and made a decision which would be the best for everyone including herself.

Writing style

First of all, the writing style is smooth. There are two or more smut scenes mostly in the beginning and I think they’re brilliant. In this book, what caught my attention is that the author recalled the past of Lily through her childhood journal. Lily was wriitng to Ellen DeGeneres when she was fifteen. Yes, that Ellen DeGeneres of ‘Finding Nemo’. The present(Romance between Lily and Ryle) and the past( Romance between Lily and Atlas) is alternatively described in early chapters, which is brillianly written. When Lily found herself alone in her apartment, she read her journal, which will let you know more of Lily including her fear and her childhood sweetheart, Atlas.

What I think

To be honest, early chapters are a little bit boring. It might be because the world is starting to build. However, after I passed the point when Atlas, Lily and Ryle met accidentally, I was instantly intrigued. I wanted to know what would happen and what all three of them would react. As you can see, the title is “It Ends With Us” and I was wondering who would be the one Lily chose in the end. Would it be Ryle? Would it be Atlas?

As I continued to read, the purpose of the book became more significant. What the author wanted readers to understand and the feeling after reading this book was totally what I wasn’t expected. Maybe, the fact that I didn’t research what the book was about before I read it surprised me when I started to know what the book was telling me.

Characters

Characters play important roles in making the readers continue to read the book, love the book and finally remember the book forever.

And in this book, I love all the characters.

Lily…..beautiful, sweet, funny, love gardening, love Ellen and her shows, love her mother but doesn’t really show it and hate to be a weak woman.

Atlas….He is a precious gift from God to Lily, poor-to-rich successful chef, love Lily so much, sweet gentleman and obviously doesn’t like Ryle

Ryle…smart, too handsome, rich, doesn’t do relationship but only fall for Lily, love Lily so much (this sound too perfect to be real right?), but only one problem which is lack of control of anger

Allysa and Marshell…. perfect side characters for Ryle and Lily, super rich couples, funny and best friends for both of them

Lily’s Parents…..perfect side characters in portraying Lily’s fear of her past

Pay attention!

Now, this is the huge part of the book which drive me to make this book one of my favourite books. This book is more than about Lily and her romance between Ryle and Atlas. It may seem like it in early chapters but it is definitely more than that.

This book is about a sensitive subject of most households. In the end of the book, you will see the author’s note and by reading it, you will know that this book is not just a book. This book is inspired by the author’s own life and all the characters are inpired by the author’s most important persons in her life.

It is about how women are enduring their abusive husbands. You don’t understand why those women don’t leave their husbands?? Lily was like that too. She didn’t understand why those women were too weak to leave their violent husbands. Read this book, and as Lily went through her life and became one of those women, you will be told ‘why‘ through her (Lily’s) own life. This book beautifully portrayed how women had to contemplate between their love and their fear.

I highly recommend this book. You should read it. Even if it is not your favourite book, it is still worth your time. And please, read the author’s note. It will help you understand the book more.

Favourite quotes

“It is easy, when we’re on the outside, to believe that we would walk away without a second thought if a person mistreated us. It’s easy to say we couldn’t continue to love someone who mistreats us when we aren’t the ones feeling the love of that person.”

“But sometimes the reason women go back is simply because they’re in love. I love my husband, Ellen.”

Thank you for reading!! Please, like and follow if you like this review.

Dreams

Photo by Lucas Pezeta on Pexels.com

I dream a lot.

By dream, I mean a dream I want to come true. Not a dream I dream when I am falling asleep. Maybe that dream counts too if I want that dream to come true.

There are many dreams I dream.

A dream of ‘What I want to get‘,

A dream of ‘Who I want to beocme

A dream of ‘What I want to happen‘.

I once thought that those types of dreams were toxic because they never seemed to come true. (In fact, dreams are slow to come true but it is mostly because we are not patient.)

When my dreams were just dreams, I got frustrated to the point that I became depressed.

To stop my depression, I stopped dreaming.

But……. ‘Not dreaming at all‘ was worse than ‘Dreaming‘.

Not dreaming at all made me more depressed. I lost the light of my life. I forgot why I should live. I had no happiness at all.

So, I began dreaming again.

At least, I have happiness from those dreams.

At least, even if those dreams don’t come true, I can still dream and feel the happiness through those dreams.

DREAM. DREAM A LOT. NEVER BE AFRAID TO TRY YOUR DREAM.

Author’s note……I know this is not about a book. The book I want to talk is a triology and I am currently reading the last/third book which means I cannot write the review yet. But, I want to update my blog weekly or two times a week, so I come up with this.
I cannot label what it is called because I am not sure what it is eactly. What I can say is it comes from my heart and I write it. I want to share with the others. So, if you enjoy it, please leave some comments.

Thank you for reading!!

Read This Book!!

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Hello, dear readers. Welcome back to my website!

Today, I am going to talk about a book which I just finished a minute ago (Sep7, 2021, 5:30 p.m.)

Heartbroken, Incredible, Beautiful, Brilliant, So-touching, Lovely, True-Sad………are the words that I want to describe this book.

There are many more words which I want to write down here. Only if I learned some advanced vocabularies which would precisely match how I am feeling right now, I will be able to describe with more words.

All the Bright Places……

The book starts with Finch and Violet who are trying to take their bodies down from their High School’s bell tower, a very High tower. The bell tower is where their story beigns. From there on, Jennifer Niven will carry you to the world of Finch and Violet; who they are, how they feel, what is their past, how their past impact them, who are their parents, and what their friends are thinking of them.

Jennifer Niven did so well in making me fall in love with Finch and Violet that I wanted both of them to end Happy-ever-after. But she did so well in leaving me heartbroken. Yes, it is a sad ending. Don’t even think about not wanting to read the book anymore. (I totally understand those who cannot handle sad reads because I, myself, have to take a long time to recover form a sad-ending book, but still, I really want you to read this book.)

This book is more than a sadly heartbroken story. It is more than the life of Finch and Violet.

This book incredibly portrays the theme of SUICIDE. Suicide is not a light subject. I am saying this because I know you’re taking it, maybe a little lightly, and I am feeling you will take it lightly unless you or someone close to you is suffering the desire to suicide.

Suicide is a very important matter in our society which we sometimes or more often fail to realize. In this book, the author brilliantly described two of those mental disorders through the main characters, Finch and Violet. It feels so real to see Finch’s emotions and behaviors and his thoughts. It feels so real to see Violet who has a traumatic past which drives her to the point that she doesn’t want to be her anymore.

And somehow, there is always love no matter what is going on or no matter what world it is; cruel world, brutal world, happy world, sad world, abandoned world……name it as you like, but there is always love. It is only that……… will this love last long enough to live through? Will this love strong enough to live through? No one can say but you will find out how love will go on between Finch and Violet.

I really, really, really recommend this book for you. I think it is time you should read a book which highlights what is going on in your community which is hardly recognized by you and people. Please, don’t throw a tantrum at me. I might make a mistake for accusing you of not understanding suicide when you already know what it is and how it feels like. If you understand Suicide, I am more than happy. You can recommend this book to your friends or whoever you want to.

The next reason I want to recommend this book is the lines, quotes and phrases. They are all just precise and beautiful and incredible. One line can make you fall in love with a book. In my case, many lines and quotes of this book is making me fall in love.

Please, read this book.

Note…. I didn’t say I thoroughly understand suicide because I am not. Suicide is much more complicated than I thought and I still need to learn.

Funny but bitter fact……. People only mourn when everything cannot be undone.

A moment of the story I love……I love how Finch’s young sister, Decca, cut out all the bad words and phrases from books she had stolen from her mother. She did so, so that those bad parts will not be confused with good parts in the book. She believed Bad must be separated.

Favourite lines……I know life well enough to know that you can’t count on things staying around or standing still, no matter how much you want them to. You can’t stop people from dying. You can’t stop them from going away. You can’t stop yourself from going away either. I know myself well enough that no one else can keep you awake or keep you from sleeping.

My heart is still heartbroken while I am writing this. But it feels so good to write my feeling down.

Thanks for reading!!

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

A book review by Johana

I promised that I would talk my next read which healed the wound I received from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I apologize for my delay. I was late for a certain reason. I will not delay anymore and start talking.

The book is Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean.

The story is set in Tokyo, Japan. MY FAVOURITE PLACE!! I love everything about Japan; its people, culture, and traditional cuisines. The most I love about Japan is the way the Japanese speak; their body bends every time they greet and the pronunciation of Japanese language is deferential and super cute (Kawaii!). Ok, I am swaying from the main subject, I am not going to talk about Japan but about the book. However, i must include the fact that I love Japan is the reason that makes me fall in love with the book in the first place. There are many more reasons I give this book four and a half out of five stars.

One of them includes Royalty. I’ve always been a fan of Royal Palace, Kings and Queens, the black, shiny-polished, bullet-proof cars, the stern-faced bodyguards, the growing competition between the Royal family members, the life behind the gate of Royal Palace, the cruel Press……..if I have to continue, it would be so long that you will get bored. So, I will stop here. I will continue about the book.

In short, it is about Izumi, a lost butterfly of Japan or a new princess of Japan.

Izumi or Izzy was raised by her single, Japanese mother with no knowledge of who her father is. Living in a country where there are few yellow-skinned people like her, she always wonders where she comes from and where she belongs to. One day, her best friend Glory accidentally discovers the diary of Izumi’s mother which reveals her mysterious father, the Crowned Prince of Japan.

From there, you will follow Izumi; from what she felt about her father (THE CROWNED PRINCE! Just imagine when an ordinary Asian-American girl learns out of the blue that her father is a royal) to why she flies to Japan and what she has to undergo inside the Royal Palace. From the start of her journey to Japan, I can’t mention more about Izumi’s enemy-to-lover romance which is super cute. Her soul mate is the perfect character of my type (Wink).

In fact, it is more about the Royal Palace and Japan. It is Izumi who is eager to find out where she belongs to no matter what lies in her path. The only problem is she feels like she doesn’t fully belong to America but also she knows nothing about Japan. With the demand of the princess’s responsibilities, Izumi will have to make the hardest decisions in her life. And you will see what and how she overcomes.

This book is a fast read for me. I finished it in two days. It is also very lovely and funny. Some reviewers say that Tokyo Ever After is where The Princess Diary meets The Crazy Rich Asians. Well, I cannot deny it.

If you’re in a reading slump, I suggest you read this book. If you like the contemporary Royal setting, you should pick this one. If you like an enemy-to-lover romance, just read this. If you’ve been feeling sad from your previous book, you should pick this. I guarantee that this book is worth your time.

The seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Review by Johana

Today, I am going to talk about a book “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo”. From the beginning to the end, I was like ‘What!’ and ‘What!!’’ and then ‘What!!!’ ‘

I highly recommend this book for so many reasons. It is really hard for me to describe how I felt while I was reading but I will do my best.

Are you ready to explore the world of Evelyn Hugo? Trust me, it is worth your time and you will not want to get out of her world!

Let’s start with a brief introduction about this book.

What is it about?

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is about a legendary Hollywood actress Evelyn Hugo; from her early life in Hollywood including her seven marriages to the time she decides to write her biography. The bonus is about Monique who is going to write Evelyn’s biography.

What keeps me on the edge of my seat is it is not only about a Hollywood life of Evelyn Hugo, which obviously includes medias, relationships and her life behind the cameras but also about the love of gay people in Evelyn’s time which is breathtakingly portraited through Evelyn’s life (it is so lovely and sad).

How do I feel about the book?

First of all, Taylor Jenkins Reid is so brilliant in creating beautiful sentences; the description of Evelyn’s dresses and the erotic scenes are so amazing. Also, the way the author manages the plot is marvelously memorizing; the unexpected twists throughout the book will absolutely shock you. And the ending just sticks in my head and heart, and I am like “WHY? WHY? WHY?”

The personality the author chooses for Evelyn Hugo attracts me to keep reading in the first place. Evelyn did whatever she needed in order to have a tight grip on her spotlight at the same time to not let go of her true love. This is what helps me finish the book in four days. (Completing a 383-pages book within four days is a big record for me since English is not my first language)

What is more, the story includes Monique, a very ordinary girl with a failed marriage who is trying to be promoted in her magazine industry. She was over the moon when she was offered the job by Evelyn but with a doubt on why she was chosen. And somewhere in the book, you will find out the reason why Evelyn chose her (which is like a bombshell for me).

What is left in me after reading the book? ( Spoiler Alert!)

After reading this book, the first thing I notice is Hollywood. Talents are not enough to become a star; one must know how to handle complicated and unexpected conditions to grab a stable role in Hollywood. True friendship is rare, true self is thin on the ground and true love is a gem. I am truly intimidated by Hollywood.

The second thing is family. After Evelyn passed through all the miserable years throughout her life, she eventually recognized her family was the most important among all the priceless things she had. Unfortunately, her family didn’t have much time with her. Seeing that, I promise myself to embrace the years of my life when my loved ones are still beside me.

The last and most remarkable thing left inside me is “So, this is how gay people are suffering inside.” It is not like I didn’t understand my gay friends before but I understood them only superficially. I realized that I never understood them deeply until now. This book wonderfully shows how the gay are sometimes scared of criticism; it is worse if one holds fame and how they long for their freedom with their loved ones.

Why should you read?

To sum up, it is a worth-your-time book. You will have diverse emotions; one minute, you will be like “Oh My God! It is finally going happily” and the next minute, you’ll be like “NO! What happened?”

If you like LGBTQ genre, this book is a perfect book. Also, if you want to learn about Hollywood life, this book is a good choice. If you want to make yourself feel sad because you don’t like being happy), then stop everything you’re doing and read this book. I guarantee this book is worth your time.

As soon as I finished The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, I couldn’t take it anymore so I screamed; my head buried under my pillow and my scream were muffled by my mattress. I think I had chest pain. (BTW, my mom said I was crazy.)

Fortunately, another book helped me to heal my wound. I will talk about that book in my next post. So, please stay tunes.

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