Review~ When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Summary: 

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor making a living treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. Just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air, which features a Foreword by Dr. Abraham Verghese and an Epilogue by Kalanithi’s wife, Lucy, chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a young neurosurgeon at Stanford, guiding patients toward a deeper understanding of death and illness, and finally into a patient and a new father to a baby girl, confronting his own mortality.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when the future, no longer a ladder toward your goals in life, flattens out into a perpetual present? What does it mean to have a child, to nurture a new life as another fades away? These are some of the questions Kalanithi wrestles with in this profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir.

Paul Kalanithi died in March 2015, while working on this book, yet his words live on as a guide and a gift to us all. “I began to realize that coming face to face with my own mortality, in a sense, had changed nothing and everything,” he wrote. “Seven words from Samuel Beckett began to repeat in my head: ‘I can’t go on. I’ll go on.’” When Breath Becomes Air is an unforgettable, life-affirming reflection on the challenge of facing mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.

Goodreads Link

Review: 

I read When Breath Becomes air, last month after going through a really depressing reading slump where picking up a book just seemed like a chore to me *I know* but I forced myself to do quite a large amazon order with books from an array of different genres and somehow found myself ordering one from the Science/Medical genre as neuroscience was something that has always interested me.

When I first received my order and saw When breath becomes air in the flesh, I instantly felt drawn to it and made the decision to start reading it straightaway- a decision that has turned out to be one of the better ones I have made this year.

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The book is a powerful, jaw dropping and emotionally driven novel that focuses on the life of a neurologist who is extremely academic and gives a eye opening insight into how Paul’s life spiralled out of control after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. However, despite that I feel that it inaccurate to say that his autobiography places much emphasis on death, no it is more about the importance of life and making the most of it.

“To begin with — or, maybe, to end with –I got to know Paul only after his death. I came to know him most intimately when he’d ceased to be.” (Abraham Verghese)

Throughout the book, Paul focuses a lot on literature and the impact it had on life. He gives us an insight into his time studying it at Stanford and how his thesis was influenced by his two passions- neuroscience and literature. Paul firmly believed that literature and neuroscience went hand in hand and he does best to remind you of that throughout.

“I was searching for a vocabulary with which to make sense of death, to find a way to begin defining myself and inching forward again. The privilege of direct experience had led me away from literary and academic work, yet now I felt that to understand my own experiences, I would have to translate them back into language. Hemingway described his process in similar terms: acquiring rich experiences, then retreating to cogitate and write about them. I needed words to go forward”

One of the highlights of this book is the end note from his wife Lucy who offers what can only be described as an empowering monologue about her husband and how she lives on without him, as well her experience of bringing up their daughter who was robbed of ever knowing her remarkable father.

“The truth that you live one day at a time didn’t help: What was I supposed to do with that day?”

When you first hear that this book is about cancer it may deter you from reading it as it can at times be a very heavy and emotional story, do not read this book because it is about cancer. Read it because it will open your eyes to the importance of living and offer a new perspective on how you view science, especially if you are a novice like me and don’t know much about it.

I can’t say that this book won’t make you shed tears, because if you are as emotional as me, you will cry at some point but please add this book to your TBR list as I can firmly promise you will not regret it.

Rating:

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Would you recommend it to a friend? 

YESSSSSSSSSS!

With love,

Savannah x

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Oh book blogging, how I’ve missed you!

Hey Doves,

By now you probably would have noticed that it has been forever since I last posted on this blog and I am sorry for that. Last year I made the silly decision to stop book blogging completely and focus on my other blog which is more lifestyle based and I have regretted that decision ever since… since I stopped book blogging, I have felt like there is something missing in terms of blogging and I have come to the realisation that I never should have left in the first place.

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So much has happened in my life since I left, e.g I now work at ITN as a Digital and Creative media apprentice where I sort of freelance between ITV, C4, C5 news as well as their productions department. I have also read a ton of books since I last posted, some of which I am really eager to post reviews for because they aren’t exactly the most commercial or mainstream reads so I have a strong feeling a lot of you guys will probably never have heard of some of them.

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I know you guys have more than likely given up on this blog but I sure hope that you can restore faith in what we once had as I plan on resuming reviews/book tours etc from Friday this week! *eek* Maybe even earlier if I get too impatient haha, so please stay tuned… I won’t disappoint.

Savannah

Xo

Book Tour~Things We Know By Heart Review and Top Ten Quotes

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Summary: After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake

Review: I received this book by the guys over at Harper360 in exchange for a honest review, as well as an opportunity to partake in the book’s blog tour. However, none of this has impacted my view/opinions all of which stated are my own.

Things we know by heart is my first Jessi Kirby novel but certainly not my last. Quinn’s story is told with an authentic and raw voice that is sure to tug at heartstrings everywhere. When we are first introduced to Quinn, we learn that it has been 400 days since her boyfriend Trent was killed in a car accident. Those last 400 days have been devastating for Quinn with her wallowing in grief and pity and somewhat of a sense of guilt.

In a desperate attempt to start healing, Quinn begins to seek solace in those that received his organs after his tragic death; she is able to contact all but one… The boy that received his heart. However, after a bit of social media stalking she discovers that his name is Colton and begins to embark on a mission to meet the boy that currently possesses the heart of her lost love. They eventually meet after she sees him in a coffee shop although she flees, leaving behind her purse *cue the Cinderella feels*. Colton chases after her causing Quinn to get into a minor car accident and I’m sure you can imagine what happens from there.

It is eventual that the two fall for each other, but this story is more than a predictable love story. It is a romance with depth all about the importance of learning to cope with loss, moving on and learning to love again, it is a beautiful story and one that I would recommend to fans of contemporary romance as well as authors such as Sarah Dessen.

Rating: 5/5

Top Ten Quotes: 

  1.  “For so long, I was the one with his heart. I just need to see where it is now.”
  2. “We are made of our pasts, and our pains, our joys and our losses. It’s in the very fiber of our beings. Written on our hearts.”
  3. “Do what I tell you, when I tell you, and the worst thing that’ll happen is you’ll fall in love.”
  4. “It’s too much, this. Life, and love, and how fragile it all is.”
  5. “But it’s terrifying to realise how much of your world is wrapped up in loving another person”
  6. “I’d give anything right now to go back, even just for a few moments, so I could pay more attention. Inscribe every detail of him, and of us together, onto my heart, where I could keep it safe always. Where even time couldn’t erase it.”
  7. “Today feels different because yesterday was different.”
  8. “…we found our own synchronicity together, his heart thumping out a slow. steady beat and mine filling in the spaces between”
  9. “Everything else falls away, and in this moment, when we touch, we are light.”
  10. “She has that kind of manic focus about her, like if she just keeps moving, the things she’s upset about can’t catch her.”

 

Farewell Guardian Children’s Books

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Today is the last day that Guardian Children’s Books will be live, after today the website will still be functional in the sense that you can view book reviews that have been posted on the site but it will no longer be updated nor will reviews be posted anymore. Honestly, I am heartbroken about this because it was that platform that gave me the confidence to start this blog and begin writing again. If it wasn’t for the Guardian publishing my reviews, I may never have started writing for the feminist magazine I write for now and that is a sad thought.

The best thing about the site is that it not only gave teens and children alike confidence to post their writing but it also encouraged us to read a whole lot more. The lovely book elves over at the Children’s Books site also gave us opportunities a plenty, such as interviewing authors or going to early film screenings. *I will never forget when I got to see Me, Earl and the dying girl before all of my friends* When I got the email a few weeks ago to say that the site would be shutting down, I got really upset because it was not something I was expecting, who knows if we will ever get a site like it again that allows you to freely post reviews to such a widespread platform.

Some of you that follow me may never even heard of the site and if that is the case, I hope that after reading this, you go and check it out. I will post a link below so you can hopefully see why it is so sad. Before I go I want to thank the book elves, Emily Drabble and all the people that were involved in making the site the greatness it was, it will forever remain your legacy!!!!!!!!!!

Guardian Children’s Books

Top Five quotes from Anna and the French Kiss

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I just finished this book a few days ago, and it was not a book I ever thought I would love as much as I do but it really reeled me in. So, I was going to do a book review but I might save that for a future post, rather I wanted to post five of my favourite quotes from the book as I had ALOT!!!!! Comment below if you have read this book and loved it and its quotes just as much as I did.

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Summer reading

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I have finally finished high school and my A Levels which means freedom. Au revoir education *well for now anyway* and bonjour summer… so what does this mean for me? Well it means I now have a ton of free time to post book reviews, as well as work on my website, which I will love for you guys to check out and subscribe to <3. I will attach the link below so that you guys can see it.

My Website

It feels so great and liberating to finally get round to reading, I have so many recommendations and I may have treated myself to a few new books this week *haha*. So what I thought I would do with this post is just give you guys an insight into some of the books that I plan on reading over the next couple of months, just in case any of you find them interesting and want to add them to your reading lists.

  1. Ps I still love you by Jenny Han

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For those of you that follow my blog, you will know from my recent review of To all the boys I’ve loved before that I am obsessed with this series. I have already started Ps I still love you and I can already predict that this one will catch me in the feels like it’s predecessor. Jenny Han you are a goddess. 

Review//To all the boys I loved before

Synopsis

2.  Me Before You- Jojo Moyes 

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Me before you is a romance novel that came to worldwide prominence this year with the release of the film. I am yet to read this book but I have heard only good things so look forward to starting it. I don’t tend to read romance novels, unless it is of the YA genre; I’m not really sure why but I just find I can connect with the characters more. I should hopefully be starting this book in the next few weeks so you may be seeing a review soon.

Synopsis

3. Lady Midnight- Cassandra Clare

 

It is a well known fact that Cassandra Clare is my favourite author. The mortal instruments is my all time favourite series and no one was more happier than me when Cassie announced the release of it’s successor ‘Lady Midnight’. Yet I have had no time whatsoever to read it since it came out a few months ago, thanks to revision so this is probably the book I am most excited to read.  

Synopsis

4. Unrivalled- Alyson Noel

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Unrivaled is a book I received as a proof from both Guardian Children’s Books and Harper Collins. From what I have heard about it, it definitely seems like a book I will enjoy so can’t wait to start. 

5. Fangirl-Rainbow Rowell

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Honestly, I really don’t know why it has taken me so long to get round to even wanting to read this critically acclaimed book but for some reason I just never felt the urge to pick it up off my shelf… Well no more, as I plan to start it very soon and only hope that I end up loving it as much as my fellow bloggers

Until next time,

Savannah 

 

Review//To all the boys I loved before

 

 

 

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Summary: 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all

GoodReads Link

Review:

I first purchased a copy of to all the boys I loved before last year, and how typical of me to leave it to the last-minute to actually get round to reading it. I am not entirely sure if I could even write a review that would give this beauty the credit it actually deserves; but I will most certainly try 🙂

The story follow our quaint but cute protagonist Lara Jean who finds closure in writing her crushes secret love letters, it is never her intention for the letters to be seen by them but that slightly backfires when each and every one of her letters are sent out. This comes at a time when she is beginning to take a path of self discovery, as her eldest sister Margot has moved out leaving her to take on the maternal role.

Before I go on any further I am going to take a moment to applaud the genius that is Miss Jenny Han for creating such an amazing book.

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The character development is beautiful as we get to see Lara Jean become  a woman in her own right and learn what it means to be strong. Up until the point of Margot leaving, she very much relies on her for guidance and strength, it is almost as if the loss of her mother has caused her to become dependent on the sibling that took on the maternal role. Furthermore, it was refreshing to see a father be at the forefront of the parental responsibilities, as not just YA but all genres in general tend to either focus on the nuclear family or mother headed household. I actually really liked thier dad, I thought he came across as warm and genuine but wasn’t afraid to show that he struggled at times.

In terms of the siblings, I bloody loved Kitty (Lara’s younger sister). She provided me with such laughs throughout the book because of her frequent sarcasm which always seemed to be on point for a girl of her age. However, I did not feel as connected to Margot because I found her to be highly patronising and rude… sadly I just didn’t really like her character at all.

The plot sees Lara torn between two guys *yas the classic love triangle strikes again haha* and it was pretty tense watching it all come to a head. I don’t want to give too much away about the male protagonists because I feel like being mean today.tumblr_inline_n9eo4xb9cs1qm5fvz

What I will say though is that I think one of the guys is #boyfriendgoals, whilst the other one is a bit of a control freak. Comment below which one you think I am referring to ❤

In all honesty, you guys have to read this book if you haven’t already. If you have, comment below your opinions, as well as who you think I would pick as a boyfriend.

Inactivity

Hey guys,

I know that I have been inactive for nearing three months now, I am really disappointed in myself tbh… This is probably the laziest I have been in ages, but I won’t lie to you. It has been really hard to post a book review/tag because I have been really stressed out with my exams and upcoming doom.

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In the summer I will be taking my final A-Level exams, and let’s just say I really need to pass if I have any hope of going to Essex University in October. So, everyday since about January has revolved around revision and pretty much nothing else 😦 The good thing is that I have been reading a ton during the time I’ve been gone so behold the mass of reviews that will likely be coming your way in the upcoming weeks.

Another thing that I have been dying to tell you is that I am going to be starting a new blog soon that will focus more on different aspects of my life/hobbies, for example: Recipes, Articles, Beauty and just general things that I have been getting up to in my day-to-day life. So, I hope you guys will tune in for that as well as follow me… I couldn’t do this without your support so that would be amazeballs.

Stay Beautiful Doves,

Xoxo Savannah

Blog Tour: Dumplin Book Review and Top Ten Quotes

Hey Guys, this is a very special post today as I am a part of the Dumplin Blog Tour which means that I get to not only post a book review, but also my top ten quotes of the book. So, let’s get started shall we?!

Summary:

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

Goodreads Link

Review:

Smart, funny, confident and a downright bad-ass. Willowdean is a refreshing character that makes you smile with each page. Dumplin was a book that I have been looking forward to for ages, and I can definitely see myself reading it repeatedly.

One of the things that I loved most about Willowdean was how real she was. She is often seen as being the girl with the biggest insecurities but covering up her feelings with a smile and confidence. Willow has a lot of moments where she is conscious of her body and how it may be perceived by others, specifically a boy. But that is all I will say on that matter as I don’t want to give too much away.

Furthermore, Willow’s relationship with her friend Ellen is so realistic. I mean come on what kind of friendship doesn’t involve tiffs along the way? It was nice to see friends that were relatable rather than that sickly, ‘we never argue’ friendship… so kudos to Julie for that.

The character development was good but at times contradictory because Willow prided herself on being the girl who empowered others, yet frequently criticised other girl’s body appearance. Maybe, that was her insecurities talking rather than Willow but I found that to bring down what is a pretty amazing book.

However, this book had so many great qualities like friendship, self-love, happiness and so much more. Without a doubt, I would recommend this book to anyone that wants an uplifting read this month. Rating: 3.5*

Top Ten Quotes:

  1. “I’ve wasted a lot of time in my life. I’ve thought too much about what people will say or what they’re gonna think. And sometimes it’s over silly things like going to the grocery store or going to the post office. But there have been times when I really stopped myself from doing something special. All because I was scared someone might look at me and decide I wasn’t good enough. But you don’t have to bother with that nonsense. I wasted all that time so you don’t have to.”
  2. “Perfection is nothing more than a phantom shadow we’re all chasing”
  3. “I don’t get why we call it a crush when it feels more like a curse.
  4. Then there are days when I really give zero flying fucks, and I am totally satisfied with this body of mine. How can I be both of those people at once? ~
  5. Sometimes figuring out who you are means understanding that we are a mosaic of experiences. I’m Dumplin’. And Will and Willowdean. I’m fat. I’m happy. I’m insecure. I’m bold.
  6. I’m not doing this to be some kind of Joan of Fat Girls or whatever. I’m doing this for Lucy. And for me. I’m ready to go back to being the version of myself I was before Bo. I’m entering this pageant because there’s no reason I shouldn’t. I’m doing this because I want to cross the line between me and the rest of the world. Not be someone’s savior.
  7. It’s selfish and it’s wrong, I know. But I’m not perfect and neither is she. When you love someone enough, you accept their flaws. You make sacrifices to keep them sane. I need her to keep me sane. I need her to sacrifice this for me. ~
  8. ..good friendships are durable. They’re meant to survive the gaps and growing pains.
  9. “There’s something about swimsuits that make you think you’ve got to earn the right to wear them. And that’s wrong. Really, the criteria is simple. Do you have a body? Put a swimsuit on it”
  10. “There’s some kind of peace that comes with knowing that for every person who is waiting to be found, there’s someone out there searching.”

Book Review: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Book Blitz & Reviews: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Series: 2/2 (Dangerous Girls is the first in the thriller series)

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK

Summary:

Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?

Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…

 Book Review: 

For those of you that are familiar with Abigail Haas, you will know that she has a tendency to play with your head and make you feel as though you need to constantly sleep with both eyes open. Dangerous Boys is perfect and just as creepy as its predecessor.

The story follow three protagonists- Chloe, Ethan and Oliver who are bound together by love, jealously and blood ties. The story is told through Chloe’s POV and takes place within the past and present. From contextual knowledge we know that Chloe and one of the boys have made it out of a fatal fire, except one. This drives the narrative throughout the story and leaves you with so many questions…Who died? What happened? And Why?

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I don’t want to give too much away because this is one of those books where you need to experience everything without any spoilers. But I will say that if you have read Dangerous Girls, Abigail does not go very far from this book as she delivers another psychological thriller that focuses on the twisted, naive mind of the teenage girl.

The worst thing is that I really didn’t have high expectations for Dangerous Boys as I loved Dangerous Girls so much and did not believe that Haas could live up to the bar she set so high for herself. However, I was wrong and for that I would like to publicly apologise to the mastermind that is Mrs. Abigail Haas.

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of suspense thrillers.

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Rating: 4 Stars