Monday, April 21, 2014

606#Ai no Kotoba ~ [Book Review] Little Beach Street Bakery

[edited: Dec 30, 2015] 

Little Beach Street Bakery is the newest release written by Jenny Colgan, the author of Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop of Dreams. This is not a story about a sweet shop, but it tells a story of a bakery near the sea of Cornwall. 

Rating : 4.5/5

Polly Waterford is recovering from a toxic relationship. Unable to afford their townhouse, she has to move miles away from everyone, to the sleepy little seaside resort of Polbearne, where she lives alone above an abandoned shop.

And so Polly takes out her frustrations on her favourite hobby: making bread. But what was previously a weekend diversion suddenly becomes far more important as she pours her emotions into kneading and pounding the dough, and each loaf becomes better and better. With nuts and seeds, olives and chorizo, with local honey (courtesy of local bee keeper, Huckle), and with reserves of determination and creativity Polly never knew she had, she bakes and bakes and bakes . . . And people start to hear about it.

Sometimes, bread really is life . . . And Polly is about to reclaim hers.

Polly Waterford loses her business, her love life and her house. With the stresses and worries, she tries to find a house with reasonable price. After countless of searching, she chooses an old flat, barely liveable somewhere on the little known island of Cornwall named Mount Poulbearne. In her efforts to regain her life, Polly meets Tarnie the fisherman and his crews, Huckle the bee keeper and Mrs. Manse the grumpy bakery owner. Polly looks for a job but all of her applications being turned down. In the end, Polly helps Mrs. Manse to operate her old bakery under her flat. Polly always has a thing about baking but she never thinks to bake for a living. This is not the end of Polly's story. It's just a beginning.

Would Polly continue her stay or return to her roots in Plymouth?

Neil the puffling (puffin's little bird) is so cute! He makes Polly relaxes and when I imagine the little bird being so attached to Polly makes me smile ;)

What I love about this book is the way Colgan pictured Mount Poulbearne. When I read a bakery and a beach in the same sentence, I could not relate these two. Unless it's an ice cream shop and a beach. I should expect there would be a bakery somewhere in a beach but an ice cream shop makes more sense.

I wonder what would it become if Polly was to open an ice cream shop?

The plot is greatly arranged. The pace is not too fast and I understand what Colgan wants to tell in her story. Would love to read her next book ;)

Till then.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

605#Ai no Kotoba ~ [Book Review] The Storyteller

[edited: Dec 30, 2015]

The Storyteller was the first Jodi Picoult's book I've read and I never expected it to be totally AWESOME! I have major book hangover after reading The Storyteller. 

Read: From April 10 to 14, 2014
Rating : 4.7/5

Sage Singer befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone's favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…and then he confesses his darkest secret - he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.

What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who's committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And most of all - if Sage even considers his request - is it murder, or justice?

The Holocaust. The Nazis. The Jews.

The Storyteller tells the story of the friendship between Sage Singer, a baker with a well-beloved elderly man named Josef Weber. Josef is everyone's favourite. He has never done a single thing that make him being hated by the community. Or so Sage thought...

The dreadful Holocaust's aftereffect is told from the perspective of Jews and the former Nazi SS soldier. From the ones who pulled the triggers and the ones who suffered the most during and after the Holocaust.

"I love that your grandmother as tough as nails one moment and soft as suede the next. It is what got her through the worst era of history."

"It just feels so anti-climatic, you know, Leo? To survive the Holocaust, and then die in her sleep. What's the point?"

"Maybe she didn't die upset. Maybe she let go, Sage, because she finally felt like everything was going to be okay."

Under the chaotic times of World War II, the Germans who willingly helped the Jews to flee still existed even though the Jews had been labeled as the collateral damage by the military. They lived in fear. The ones who survived the Holocaust has witnessed dead bodies lying in the concentration camps, being shot to dead by the SS guards.

Jodi Picoult's portrayal of what happened during World War II and in the dreadful concentration camp made me in awe when reading this book. I've never read a book about World War II, but I think The Storyteller captures the perfect scenes of the worst era. I could imagine when the Jews being tortured in the concentration camps, being looked down worse than the animals. They have to sleep in fear, force to be naked and numbers being tattooed on their hands.

I could feel my heart beating fast when Sage's grandmother did everything to be kept alive. The efforts in writing such a book is no joke. Lots of research and confirmations with the authorities need to be done. Big applause to Jodi Picoult for writing such a piece that would make me remember The Storyteller as a really good story.

Highly recommended! Even though it was complicated to be understood as it is about history but I could not put the book down. I was impressed by myself because I managed to read such a heavy book with sensitive issue during World War II. Maybe it's time to diverse my genre, no?

Till then.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

604#Ai no Kotoba ~ [Book Review] The Valentine's Card

[edited: Dec 30, 2015]

Rating : 4.2/5

The Valentine's card was meant to be Orla's fairy tale ending, but really, it was only the beginning . . .

Orla adores her actor boyfriend, Sim, who's away filming a sumptuous costume drama. Although the long-distance relationship means that she can eat toast for dinner and watch as much reality TV as she likes, she misses him like crazy.

But Valentine's Day changes everything . . . The same morning Orla learns that Sim has died, she receives a card from him. As Orla travels from Ireland to London, to live and breathe Sim's final moments, can she bring herself to open the Valentine's card and read his final message?

Orla and Simeon are being apart due to Simeon's work as an actor. When their reunion is scheduled soon, Orla is looking forward to Simeon's card on Valentine's day. She wakes up with the thoughts of what would Simeon wrote to her? Simeon is a creative man so Orla is so happy to think of that. When she gets the Valentine's card moments after hearing the news of Simeon's death, she feels her world crumbles.

Orla flies to London and lives inside Simeon's apartment. She doesn't open the card. Orla is afraid with the thoughts of letting Simeon go. Could she open it? Or she would certainly never open and read the card?

Orla's character is not my liking. I know she needs time to move on but her character has such a spoiled kid fragments in it. However I have to admit Orla does grow with the helps of the people she meets in London - Maude, Marek and Juno.

When she opens the card, you would not expect something to make us the readers hate Simeon. But, what is the truth behind the card? As Orla continues her journey to reveal the mystery behind Simeon's Valentine's card to her, she uncovers the unexpected truth.

Till then.

Monday, April 14, 2014

603#Ai no Kotoba ~ [Book Review] Eleanor & Park

[edited: Dec 30, 2015]

First love. High school. These two sum Eleanor & Park perfectly. 

Rating : 4.4/5

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-old—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

Eleanor & Park tells the story of a red-headed new-girl-in-school named Eleanor Douglas and a half-Korean boy named Park Sheridan. They meet when both of them have to sit at the back of the school bus every day. Unconsciously, the friendship between Eleanor and Park forms through Park sharing his comic books with Eleanor. Without any of them utter a single word, they share the comics and a friendship is formed between the two misfits. 

Eleanor doesn't come from a happy family. Her parents divorced and Eleanor lives with her mother, together with Richie - her good for nothing stepfather. I felt the urge for Park to use his taekwando skills kicking Richie, half dead perhaps? 

Park's situation is completely different to Eleanor's. His parents are so loving and his younger brother is nice, too. Park's father is a veteran while his mother comes from South Korea. Sometimes Park has to deal with racism issue due to his small build when his younger brother has normal build of a white guy.  
Both of them loves to be alone, actually. Even though Park has friends, but he finds discomfort in their presence. And Eleanor has only two friends in her new school excluding Park. 

What I love about Eleanor & Park is the way I could feel their love, the way they fall for each other - through the songs, comics, English class and their way of comfort in their misfits. Both Eleanor and Park are brave, they are brave enough to fall in love even though they both know first love almost never lasts. I just hope Eleanor will appreciate herself more. Park being with her every time she needs him is lovable.

To me, this is not a typical high school love story where the good girl falls for the bad boy. I have some issues with that kind of high school or college romance. This is a love story of two misfits who find comfort in little things - music, comics, conversations without involving the guy being rough with the girl.

Even though I did question the ending, I still love Eleanor & Park. A good Young Adult book which I would like to recommend to every YA lovers ;)

Till then.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

602#Ai no Kotoba ~ [Book Review] Me Before You

[edited: Dec 29, 2015]

I'm being serious here, if you want to read this book please keep a box or two of tissues to keep you company. 

Rating : 4.8/5

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

William Traynor is a C5/6 quadriplegic. From a successful man with the best career who loves extreme sports, he becomes wheelchair-bound after a terrible accident on a rainy day. He can't move freely like the old days, even to move his fingers will make him in great pain.

Louisa Clark is a worker in The Buttered Bun tea shop till the closing day. She is desperately in need of a new job since she's the one who supported her family. Lou is offered a job to be Will's carer for six months. Both Lou and Will do not know that they will learn the value of life from each other.

After working as Will's carer, Lou learns the shocking truth behind her six months contract with Will. It answers her question when she is curious to know why she only be offered the job up to sixth months. Lou wants to run away, but her attempts fail her and she returns to Will with a new determination - to make Will sees that the world is still beautiful despite his terrible condition. 

Lou knows she is responsible to make Will cancels his dreadful plan. She begins to plan adventures for Will, who dislike the idea of going out since the incident. Lou herself is not a lady who willingly going for adventure, she never think of that. But she brace herself for Will. The story unfolds carefully and I love how Jojo Moyes wrote their journey in details. 

I cannot understand Will's view of his life because me myself can't imagine being a quad. This book, especially the ending make my heart breaks, shatter to pieces. I can't believe Will still choose his first decision.  I only hope this book would have another better ending even though I have to admit it, the ending matches the story and is quite realistic even though it's disheartening. 

Till then.

601#Ai no Kotoba ~ Konon kononnya

Konon kononnya Hana nak update blog bila cuti mid sem.

Tapi sekarang dah lepas cuti baru nak update?


Insya-Allah lepas ni akan ada scheduled posts. Akhir bulan 4 ni juga domain akan expire. Nampak gaya Hana akan stop menggunakan domain di blog buat sementara waktu. Tak best ada domain sendiri tapi update blog pun jarang jarang. Macam membazir aje beli domain tu (-__-)

Minggu ni insya-Allah Hana ada mid sem Nutrition, Anatomy II dan Genetics. Doakan untuk Hana dan kawan-kawan ya? He he.

Weekend minggu lepas Hana bertapa di Kem Bina Negara BTN Kuala Lipis. Selain UniKL MESTECH students, ada students from MSU, UNIRAZAK dan UNITEN juga. Tak. Kem BTN ni bukan untuk students yang nak fly. Kali ni Kem Transformasi Mahasiswa IPTS. Pergi kem ni memang kena paksa tapi serius cakap, tak menyesal pergi. Best!

Till then.

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