2022 Reads

2022 comfort and adventure.

Reading has always been a part of me, a hobby, and it intensified when my father gifted me a Kindle in 2019. The onset of the pandemic in 2020 helped me resort to reading more as a comfort to the anxiety-induced situation during the health crisis. The last two years have been good still–reading wise and this year has led me to good practices and disciplines in terms of reading because I am twice as involved and dedicated to reading; and it does not feel like a chore, because it really isn’t. It is a comfort and an adventure.

My only goal this year was to read 25 books, 60% higher than my goal in 2021 because I don’t want the pressure. Keeping count is not even a must in terms of reading; it just feels good to note everything, jot it down, and see how we improve. Numbers do not equate anything to readings, actually; it is just a measure of discipline for me. I’m sure I’ve read more than the ones I put on the list –academic articles, research, and other academic materials for my post-graduate studies, magazines even, and other blog posts; but I will only include here those books/novels I’ve read and able to take an adventure with.

Here’s the list of the books I’ve read in 2022 and some notes:

1 and 2: Priest and Midnight Mass by Sierra Simone

Okay, you don’t get to judge me, okay? These books are steamy and sinful. Hehe the writing is good and the books are unputdownable.

3. The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry

I’d be honest. I didn’t like the book and I should have dnf-ed it, but I powered through and I still didn’t like it after that. Maybe you’ll find it amusing or interesting, maybe it wasn’t just my cup of tea.

4. Before the Coffee Gets Cold (#1) by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

5. Too Late by Colleen Hoover

6. The Unhoneymooner by Christina Lauren

7. Verity by Colleen Hoover

Oh the twist of this book! One of my best reads this year.

8. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

9. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

10. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

11. A Kingdom of Dreams (Westmoreland, #1) by Judith McNaught

12. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Now I know why this book is a bit controversial. This may be where every plot like this stemmed.

13. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

14. A Borrowed Life by Kerry Anne King

This is what I bought from my Amazon credits and get me through difficulties during my travel to Bacolod this year. Haha! I remember not sleeping for two nights because of a rambunctious and inconsiderate roommate. So, there, it was a kind of memorable book because it soothed me and comforted me.

15. Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover

16. Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia

17. The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

18. The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks

Kind of Verity and Rebecca vibe.

19. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Worth the hype.

20. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Not worth the hype. At least for me.

21. Dekada ’70 by Lualhati Bautista

22. What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 by Tina Seelig

23. The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

24. Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

25. Normal People by Sally Rooney

26. All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

27. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

28. Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid

29. Rock Paper Scissor by Alice Feeney

You’d love the twist!

30. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

31. My Evil Mother by Margaret Atwood

32. Hidden Pictures by Jason Rekulak

Don’t read this at night, please.

33. The Viscount Without Virtue by Katherine Grant

34. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

35. The Grown Up by Gillian Flynn

36. Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

37. Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster

I grew up watching Judie Abbott, the Japanese animated series. That was usually 9 or 10 in the morning on weekdays, which I look forward to seeing whenever classes are suspended. That series was based on this book. But reflecting on it, it was kind of creepy, right?

38. Book Lovers by Emily Henry

39. The Wedding Date by Jasmin Guillory

40. The Housemaid by Freida McFadden


41. Dusk by F. Sionil José

42. Daisy Jones & The Six

43. November 9 by Colleen Hoover

44. Maybe Someday (Maybe #1) by Colleen Hoover

45. Bata, Bata, Pa’no Ka Ginawa? by Lualhati Bautista

46. Maybe Now (Maybe #2) by Colleen Hoover

47. Maybe Not (Maybe #3) by Colleen Hoover

48. The HatingGame by Sally Thorne

49. Class Mom by Laurie Gelman

Downright hilarious!

50. Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher

51. Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

52. Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood

53. Ain’t That a Mother: Postpartum, Palsy and Everything in Between by Adiba Nelson

54. It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover

55. The American Roommate Experiment by Elena Armas

56. Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

57. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

58. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

59. Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry

60. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

61. Dear Girls by Ali Wong

From the target of 25 books for the year, I raised it to 40 books and was able to finish the goal last July 28, 2022; and I kept going. It was a win for me to keep the discipline of reading at bay. This 2023, I wish to read more, but no pressure!

Books That Made Me Ugly Cry

I think I should pin down the books that made me cry and proved I’m not dead inside

It is the second to the last of 2022 and before I made the final list of all the books I’ve read to cap off the year, I think I should pin down the books that made me cry and proved I’m not dead inside.

Words have a way through me and before I knew it, I was crying so hard and all resonated with me. So, here are some of the books I (mostly) read this year that made me ~ugly~ cry (in no particular order):

1. Meet Me In Paradise by Libby Hubscher

With all my abandonment issues, there is this fear or anxiety of losing a loved one and this book just flared up all of those. Haha! If you have a sister and you are close to her, this is a nicer book to read. It is sweet, entertaining, sad, happy, and lonely all at the same time. Plus, breathtaking vacation views that you can duly imagine through how the book was written.

The right decision is not always the easy decision.

Meet Me in Paradise, Lubby Hubscher

If you are looking for a heart-wrenching read and want to have your own breathtaking vacation in the comfort of your seat, read Meet Me In Paradise. But, I can’t promise you that you won’t shed a tear.

2. Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Oh, you know this. This book is probably on all bookstands and it does not disappoint. If you play tennis or enthusiast of the sport, for sure you’d love this good read, though it is not a pre-requisite. But surely, if you have a father or a father figure, you surely will let those tears roll.

I was just ‘chill’ reading the book, but not until in the middle of it or towards 80% of it, I turned crying. You get to appreciate people more by the end of the book, especially those who are truly dear to you.

Some reminders when we get so competitive:

And we don’t cry when we lose, but we also don’t gloat when we win.

Carrie Soto Is Back, Tayloy Jenkins Reid

And something to ponder on in this world of ours:

One of the great injustices of this triggered world we live in is that women are considered to be depleting with age and men are somehow deepening.

Carrie Soto Is Back, Taylor Jenkins Reid

3. Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Another one from Taylor Jenkins Reid–who is one of my favorite authors who I discovered this year through her book Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. If you want to get passed a reading slump, you may read this Evidence of the Affair–it is less than 100 pages and consists of letters that are “evidence” of an affair. Though it is short, I can’t guarantee that you won’t cry, ugly-cry at that, in the end.

4. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

I have admired Madeline Miller for her creativity and it is evident in the book, The Song of Achilles. Incredibly good, actually! It was painful, lonely, and happy all at the same time. Plus, if you are like me that have an interest in Greek mythology or any ancient Greek folklore, this book gets a +1. And, get ready with your tissues!

5. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

If you are a reader, I guess you always come across Tuesdays With Morrie in some of the book recommendations. Well, there is a reason why–it’s that good. I read this book, hmmm, probably, 10-11 years ago (?) and I’ve read it thrice between those years, because when you are losing hope about life, it is a good book to read to appreciate life better. It breaks me every time–a good kind of break, if I may add. Do you need some pushing? Read this one by Mitch Albom.

Being with a team and somehow leading, this is what I always put in mind:

If you’re trying to show off for people at the top, forget it. They will look down at you anyhow. And if you’re trying to show off for people at the bottom, forget it. They will only envy you. Status will get you nowhere. Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between everyone.”

Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom

Someone asked by what is the purpose of life (seriously) and this one gets to me as if I have only read the book yesterday:

The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.

Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom

6. Before the Coffee Gets Cold (#1) by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

I have always been curious about this book and then I found myself buying it from Amazon in a jiff. I am a fan of Haruki Murakami and he is a tough act to follow for Japanese authors — well, at least to me. I did remember, it was January 2022 when I first set my hands on Before the Coffee Gets Cold, and I finished it in a day because it is that good and I bawled my eyes out.

What if there is a cafe that brings us back to before? What if we can witness the things we wanted to then? How would it make a difference in our lives at the present?

7. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

If I were to be asked what book changed me, my way of life, and my reading, it is The Art of Racing in the Rain for me. I was 17 or 18 when I read this book which I got from Powerbooks (think the bookstore closed down branches in the Philippines). I was mourning the death of our dog then, and the book was torture for me, really, but it was also life-changing all the same.

Your car goes where your eyes go. Simply another way of saying that which you manifest is before you.

The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein

The book was funny and touching. It is as if it speaks to your core through the living thing–your dog, your best friend.

Books I Resonated With | 2022 Edition

This 2022, I was able to read (over) 60 books and I couldn’t be any more satisfied. It is not about the number, really, but the stories I have come across this year, and some I resonated with, others I dnf (did not finish), and others that made me swoon and/or bawled my eyes out.

Like I have always said, books can take us all to different places–reading is always an adventure. This year, here are my handpicked books and stories that I have resonated with (in no particular order):

1. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

It is about a chemist-turned-cooking show host, Elizabeth Zott, and her and women’s place in society in the early 1960s. As a woman, there are many battles we fight for especially if we are both with a career and a child (she’s in, too). Elizabeth Zott even walked me through having a smaller circle with the only ones who matter, and I can definitely relate to that because, in reality, that is what I also do.

I was glad I persevered reading the book because, in some way, somehow, I could definitely resonate with it. I was even crying at the end of the book as if it was a relief that I’d been longing for, especially for Elizabeth Zott. I could not think of a better ending for her than how this book concluded it.

Sure, grit was critical, but it also took luck, and if luck wasn’t available, then help.

Elizabeth Zott, Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

This line below in the book made me laugh because I KNOW SO MANY PEOPLE! Haha

While stupid people may not know they’re stupid because they’re stupid, surely unattractive pople must know they’re unattractive because of mirrors.

Elizabeth Zott, Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Or something to think about, perhaps?

Religion is based on faith. But you realize, that faith isn’t based on religion.

A conversation between Madeline Zott and Reverend Wakely

And of course, what I will always put in mind:

Courage is the root of change–and change is what we’re chemically designed to do. So when you wake up tomorrow, make this pledge. No more holding yourself back. No more subscribing to others’ opinions of what you can and cannot achieve. And no more allowing anyone to pigeonhole you into useless categories of sex, race, economic status, and religion. Do not allow your talents to lie dormant, ladies. Design your own future. When you go home today, ask yourself what you will change. And then get started.

Elizabeth Zott, Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

2. Class Mom by Laurie Gelman

INCREDIBLY FUNNY! I laughed out loud at every chapter. As a mother with a child in preschool, I can resonate with Jen Dixon on how motherhood is in the presence of PTA association. Hehehe!

I love her witty comebacks and the e-mails she sends. Tell you what, when my child was about two to three years old, I’d always like to be a PTA President (same with Jen Dixon) because I think it was a whole round of leadership style to be done altogether (and of course, the bragging rights, come on)–I have joined a local organization’s board of directors already, risen in the academic ladder, and belted out leadership strengths through handling a huge team, and many other training and roles as a leader; but I felt that the dynamic of leading doting mothers is a 360-degree haul for me and I was challenged by that. HOWEVER, everything changed when my kid went to pre-school, and hello! yes! Jen Dixon, I NOW UNDERSTAND. My desires are off the table and I think I enjoy more being at the receiving end of all messages-to-parents I receive. Hehe

I purchased the title from National Book Store (NBS) Warehouse Sale shop via Shopee for only Php50! Really, a good buy.

3. What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 by Tina Seelig

I wish I read this book when I was 20. As an entrepreneur, I have learned so many good things from this book that I know will help me in my future endeavors. If you’re 20 or in your 20s, much better if you are in your teens, take time to read the book and it will help you have a grasp of reality there is and how you can able to survive and manage, at least.

The book is easy-to-read. Take some notes, too!

4. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Reading this book made me feel like I was part of the group, Daisy Jones & The Six. Sometimes, I do think, that maybe we are Daisy Jones at some point. This book, through the lines by Taylor Jenkins Reid, can transport you to how it was before in your life, well at least for me, I felt like my vulnerable self, then I was transported to the present, and I don’t have any words for the past but to thank “it” that “it” happened.

When you really love someone, sometimes the things they need may hurt you, and some people are worth hurting for.

from Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

And, in case you are wondering:

Women will crush you, you know? I suppose everybody hurts everybody, but women always seem to get back up, you ever notice that? Women are always still standing.

from Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I do believe in this and maybe you should, too? Hehe. In my experience, it is always almost true.

Handsome men that tell you what you want to hear are almost always liars.

from Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

In case you need a reminder:

“I’m not perfect. “I’ll never be perfect. I don’t expect anything to be perfect. But things don’t have to be perfect to be strong.”

from Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I know for sure there are a lot of books and even movies you can also resonate with. This year was an adventure for me and I am lucky to come across these books and/or novels that impacted me in all good ways possible; hence, I was glad to share.

I may be a little dormant this 2022, blogging and writing-wise, (I am currently onto my dissertation soon), but I hope 2023 will be better for me. Remembering how it was in 2010 when I first started this page of mine, they gave me more satisfaction than cringe, actually. This is probably for another entry, I suppose. Hehe. And here you go, four books I resonated with this year. What’s yours?

High Royal and in Love: Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton Book Series in order

If you are into royal regency setup and how they do courting way back in time, Julia Quinn’s book series can send you to that era with wide eyes, blushed cheeks, and tears here and there.

If you are into royal regency setup and how they do courting way back in time, Julia Quinn’s book series can send you to that era with wide eyes, blushed cheeks, and tears here and there.
All my choices are completely independent but I may earn a commission if you click a link and make a purchase. The content featured herein may contain some spoilers.

I have started reading the book series year 2021 after Netflix has released the series and I got hooked ever since–on the book series to be specifically. I have learned in the past to not judge a book by its movie or TV series, and the books I’ve indulged myself in never disappoint.

If you are into chill reading and wanting a getaway from everything heavy and serious at work, at school, or advocacy like I do, Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton Series is binge-worthy. To guide you, here they are in order:

1. The Duke and I

Just like in the Netflix series, the book series also started with The Duke and I –the love story of Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings.

There are many more details in the book that a reader can enjoy, chunkier even than the TV series. Prepare yourself with some sweet exchanges and some heartache, but like the rest of the series, you may say it will end predictably, but we can agree that we would not want it otherwise. *wink*

2. The Viscount Who Loved Me

Netflix’s Bridgerton Series Season 2 tells the story of the eldest of the Bridgerton siblings–Anthony Bridgerton and her wife-to-be, Kate Sharma (Kate Sheffield in The Viscount Who Loved Me).

The film is kind of different compared to the book specifically in the physical characteristics of the character who played or were cast (kudos to Shonda Land for being so inclusive! Hence, the change in surnames to match).

Honestly, The Viscount Who Loved Me is my least favorite but it doesn’t make any less of a story. It belongs to my shelf of books-I-will-read-again. If you are curious about this installment, it will make you less disappointed to watch the series first and then read the book after (you’ll be more surprised).

3. An Offer from a Gentleman

Photo from goodreads.com

The third season of the Netflix series shies away from the sequence and gets on with Colin and Penelope’s story first (it is more thrilling, given the revelation of who Lady Whistledown is *spoiler alert*).

An Offer from A Gentleman is book three of the book installment–and by far, having read all of the books in the Bridgerton series, my most favorite of all. The book centers on the story of Benedict Bridgerton and Sophie Beckett.

It kind of resembles the fairy tale Cinderella only steamier–you’ve been warned. *wink*

4. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton

The fourth book is the third season–among all the stories in the Bridgerton book series this I say is the most nerve-wracking and breathtaking–this could also pass as the series finale, by the way.

Romancing Mister Bridgerton explored Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington‘s love story. Aside from their journey, the book also features Lady Whistledown and trailed you off breathtakingly as you finish the book, at least it was for me then.

If you want to prepare for the upcoming Netflix series, better start reading this one to not miss a thing.

5. To Sir Phillip With Love

As you go on with the book series and you see Penelope Featherington settling down, you would think about how would Eloise Bridgerton will get by, and the answer to it all is in this book.

To Sir Phillip With Love, I would say is kind of modern compared to the conservativeness of the previous stories. Among the rest of the Bridgerton siblings, Sir Phillip Crane and Eloise’s story is kind of unconventional, not in today’s world though, but just far from how the others have concluded.

6. When He Was Wicked

Through and through, I also got curious why Francesca Bridgerton was almost never present in the series, especially in the Netflix adaptation, but her journey with Michael Stirling somehow is like Colleen Hoover’s (CoHo) piece of novel, too (All Your Perfects to be exact but with a more ideal ending).

When He Was Wicked was worth the tears, faith, and the read. If you are looking for second chances in life kind of story, this one is recommended.

7. It’s In His Kiss

It is hard to imagine Hyacinth Bridgerton as someone joining the season, but as her siblings move on with their own personal lives and to keep the peace of the dowager viscountess Violet Bridgerton, she has to find the love of her life and marry.

It’s in His Kiss is colorful and youthful. It also focused on self-discovery within the characters Hyacinth and Gareth St. Clair. It might not be as impactful as Benedict’s or Colin’s story, Daphne’s even, Hyacinth’s splendid character and slightly painful childhood made her all the more special.

8. On The Way to the Wedding

To tick off the list of Violet Bridgerton to have all her children marry, Gregory Bridgerton has to be the last to settle down.

If you are into the love-hate thing-at-first, this read will definitely have you going per page.

On The Way to The Wedding focused on Gregory and Lucinda Abenarthy in the heart of the usual season–probably the last you’d witness in this book series.

9. The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After

Photo from goodreads.com

No story would ever be complete without its beginning. Once you have finished all the books from The Duke and I all the way to On The Way to the Wedding, you might wonder what is next about the Bridgerton siblings and the dowager viscountess.

THE BRIDGERTONS: Happily Ever After is a perfect way to close the journey. It will make you empathize more with Violet Bridgerton better and relate to her more in this installment.

Overall, Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton book series is worth the hype and it is refreshing to time-travel and be in a different place at once. I never got bored with this series. It was always another book after the other and I’ve finally finished all installments in two months (in between academic work and social enterprise work, of course).

Have you read any of the books in this series? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Bridgerton Series Collection

Featured Image from Pexels

5 Kilig Books You Should Read This Month of June 2022

If you are looking for your next light read that can make your heart swell, here are my picks.

Some find my book genre of choice funny, amusing, weird, disappointing, and a mixture of all that. Taking a doctorate amidst mothering, full-time work, and running an enterprise, I’d like some breath of fresh air. With that said, reading Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, and kilig books that can be considered chill, easy-to-read, and got that kick of warmth is a must, if not a resort.

If you are looking for your next light read that can make your heart swell, here are my five picks, in no particular order:

1. The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Photo by shainnehostalero

Who would’ve thought STEM is a good setup for lovebirds with all the sciences stuff? Dr. Adam Carlsen and Ms. Olive Smith will be your new favorite couple! As a bonus, Ali Hazelwood provided an Adam Carlsen POV as a bonus chapter. That chapter can be found on the author’s website.
There is a reason why this piece is a New York Times Bestseller.

I was kilig, happy, lonely, and ugly crying all at once in this book. I did not even want to put it down nor did I want it to be finished–it was good!

Photo by shainnehostalero

I put annotations on the pages that moved me a.ka. made me cry and I highlighted a few pieces that I want to remember in this book.

This book is the type that I can read over and over again and won’t get tired of.

2. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

If you are a fan of the Bridgerton Series on Netflix, it was recently announced that after Anthony’s story, it will be Collin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington’s story that will come next. In the book, Romancing Mister Bridgerton comes after An Offer from a Gentleman which is Benedict Bridgerton’s.

These two books are my favorites in the series, but I lean on An Offer from a Gentleman as my top 1 and Romancing Mister Bridgerton next. But, all the twists of Lady Whistledown are in it. Many of you might know that Penelope and Lady Whistledown are one and the same, but her works and how it all happened in a full circle will be revealed in this book.

It is a given that the complete Bridgerton book series will make us swoon, but Collin and Penelope’s story, I think, is the strongest, because of their good foundation–friendship.

3. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Photo from helenhoang.com

This book reminded me of the movie Pretty Woman, there has been a kind of resemblance and I think Helen Hoang also took it as an inspiration in writing the book.

Stella Lane and Michael Larson could be in the opposite worlds, but someway somehow, their paths have crossed.

The Kiss Quotient was long sitting in my TBR list and in my Kindle library. I gave it a try without reading so much about it online and without knowing that it was one of Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2018. It did not disappoint.

4. The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

Photo by shainnehostalero

I used to read via my Kindle for the entire 2020 and 2021 and was amused by good physical books that have been released in the market, so I went for it. This book is part of my April 2022 which I read so many good reviews about. Though it was your typical fake dating thing, but it was kilig all the same.

Catalina Martin and Aaron Blackford can give that to you. Some paths of the book you’d see almost the same with The Love Hypothesis, but it is just as good.

5. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

This could be a little fascinating, but you’ve heard the story a thing or two once before. But, nonetheless, a read that you will find staying awake all night to just finish.

Colleen Hoover (CoHo) does that. I’ve read so many of her works and I couldn’t remember if I did NOT like any of them. Tate Collins and Miles Archer are in it for the long haul. It was a little tragic but heartwarming at the same time and CoHo will give you a happy ending.

So, if you are looking for something to think and cry about that has that kilig vibes, too. Ugly Love is a good read.

You might have a different experience in each book and we may not be, in particular, aligned in how we see the book, but these are just from my experience and personal preference. I hope to get your insights too, on how you saw each read if you have tried them. Happy reading!

Where The Crawdads Sing

How much do you trade to defeat lonesomeness?

By Delia Owens | ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 out of 5 stars)

This book is amazingly plotted and thought of, but I must say that it was difficult to read and to finish in that sense. The book is relatable for people who are different and for those who want to be comfortable with their difference, Kya is the proof of such–that it is okay to be non-conformist, in a different world, but still be at peace in your own right–to also love and be loved in return.

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

But, like our lives should flow, it will not be perfect. There will be betrayals along the way. And sometimes, there will be times that we would do it alone. We might not get what we want all the time, but we’ll surely get what we need. Don’t hesitate to raise the bar high.

We cannot run away from every challenge. Kya faced it all alone, she only has herself as a company but she is sure to want something to change in her life.

You can’t run from every whipstitch. Sometimes you have to discuss things.

Those who listen are rewarded: either warned of predators or alerted to food.

The book has many lessons to teach. Trigger warning: there is a part in the book about rape/sexual assault.

While I found the book difficult to finish, I conquered and the story has a lot of relevance in the modern setup.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

“No one is going to give you anything if you don’t ask for it.”

By Taylor Jenkins Reid | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (7 out of 5 stars)

One word: B R I L L I A N T

This creation of Taylor Jenkins Reid was worth all the hype. I have given many books a five-star review before but this book is just too much and someway, and somehow, in the book, even if you are not a star as big as Evelyn Hugo, you can truly identify with her.

Evelyn Hugo, a Hollywood icon and an Academy Award winner, had it all good… and bad, of course. She did everything for fame, for money, for love, and for happiness, no matter what the consequences might be. She loved well, she loved deeply, but she wasn’t perfect. It was unconventional yet so raw, real, albeit difficult and complicated all at the same time. And yes, like she said:

You can be sorry about something and not regret it.

Just like Hugo, we live in a world where we want to be free and to be fair. But, sometimes, our lives aren’t cut out that way. There are times to be afraid and ace through it because just like her, we want to get out of our current and our past to get a hold of a better future.

So do yourself a favor and learn how to grab life by the balls, dear. Don’t be so tied up trying to do the right thing when the smart thing is so painfully clear.

Before I get to the middle of the book, I was sure to tell how the book flows and spoil it. However, it was so brilliant I couldn’t get my nerves and all my thoughts together except the pages I marked and sentences I highlighted that I can truly define myself with as well.

When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn’t give you things, you take things. If you learn one thing from me, it should probably be that.

She lived through fame, money, and even power. But at the end of the day, she only wants to be with her true love, with her family, with her best friend. Hugo proved to me, once again, that you can have all the money, fame, and power in the world that you think can make you happy when you don’t have it, but once you do, you’d know that all that matters are those three cannot buy, cannot measure, and cannot sustain.

The book teaches you all the lessons acquired the hard way. It was funny and heartbreaking and somehow sheds light on what you can comprehend now in this world. We can do everything for our ambition, sell ourselves even, but our core is the best identifier. No matter who we craft ourselves to be, there is no erasing our core and what we yearn best amongst the odds of our lives. It is within us we find what we truly seek.

Nobody deserves anything. It’s simply a matter of who’s willing to go and take it for themselves. No one is just a victim or a victor. Everyone is somewhere in between. People who go around casting themselves as one or the other are not only kidding themselves, but they’re also painfully unoriginal.

Read this book. It is worth it. You’ll see that you cannot put it down either once you go along the way. And everything, everything will just blow out of proportion. Again, BRILLIANT.

The Wife Between Us

By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen | ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 out of 5 stars)

It is true. When I read this book, I made many assumptions. I expected it to be thriller-like how it should be or based on the reviews that clouded me, but it wasn’t. The first part was how Nellie or Vanessa told her part of a story about Richard Thompson, his husband, who has some psychological issues of how he wants to control things. Reflecting on it, I say it’s a little bit horrifying to have a husband or a partner like that–one that stalks you, tracks everything you do and controls all the narratives in your life that you’ll eventually wonder what else is there that is true or otherwise.

So for the first part of the book, my assumption, like many others, was that Vanessa was Richard’s fiancee who was followed or being stopped by his ex-wife. However, as the book turns to part 2, it was Vanessa’s story on how she and Richard met and how she was the ex-wife who halts his marriage to his office secretary, Emma, in replacement of Vanessa as Nellie in Richard’s life. A lot of twists and turns were there–that Emma knew Vanessa before because when she was in high school, she had an affair with Emma’s dad who was a teacher, and eventually caused the separation between her parents.

The book was kind of hard to finish, at least for me, because it was predictable and not at the same time. The story was a little slow compared to those CoHo books, if I may. But, it was a good read, please be it known that it has some trigger warnings about domestic violence, reader discretion is advised.

The Spanish Love Deception

“We got this.”

By Elena Armas | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 out of 5 stars)

I have a Goodreads profile and am a member of the Kindle Philippines Group on Facebook and that was where I have seen this book. There were so many people recommending it and saying that it was a good read. It did not disappoint. However, if you are not a fan of the rom-com stuff, I am not sure if you will enjoy this because the book is typical but it wasn’t that boring no less.

I am sure that I have a lot of books in my library or To-Be-Read list with the same plot as the Spanish Love Deception. I have seen some in my e-Book library that share that same story flow as this one. It was just that I’ve read this first among those that I have on my list.

Catalina Martin is not your ordinary damsel in distress because she wasn’t. Coming from a Spanish family, as a Filipina, I can also relate to some of her qualms regarding how close-knit or chismosa her family is just like mine. As the Spaniards were a huge influence in our Filipino culture due to being colonized by them in the past, we have adopted more than a thing or two in terms of everything, I suppose–from food, language, family dynamics, good and bad, a lot. So, the pressure that Catalina felt when she was bound to attend her sister’s wedding back in Spain was relatable.

I knew upfront that Aaron Blackford, her love interest, was into her from the very beginning and that he also has his own story of how his life has been. Like I said, the book was your typical rom-com-hating-each-other-first-but-loving-each-other-in-the-end. But it was so good, you just have to be patient because there was a lot of bickering-like flow in the very beginning. The most kilig part comes at about 85 to 90% of the book–almost the end of the story and yes, it also has some steamy parts right here and then that will make you blush–better read it inside your home. Hehe

A lot of us struggle to find love, the right one at that. I know a lot and I, myself, included have regrets when it comes to choosing partners in the past. But I think, it gets better as long as we choose to grow and be enamored in the desire to build ourselves first and foremost before being in a relationship with other people. One thing that I have also reflected in Catalina and Aaron’s relationship is that any of those wouldn’t work without a full-blown trust with one another. It might be difficult to do so, but love and life are gambles we need to play. Whether we get hurt or be happy, we always have the choice.

Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

“Life is not a problem to be solved. Just remember to have something that keeps you busy doing what you love while being surrounded by the people who love you.”

By Héctor García and Francesc Miralles, Translated by Heather Cleary |
⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 out of 5 Stars)

After Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover, timely that I received advanced birthday presents (woohoo!), and the book Ikigai was part of the loot.

Be led by curiosity, and keep busy by doing things that fill you with meaning and happiness.

I had many annotations in the books and I’d like to remember them so I can further explore them via research material that I can also share with everyone. I’d probably tackle some of these things in another post because it is deemed to be highlighted, expounded, and broaden to get more insights and exchange of trajectories.

This book wasn’t hard to finish. It was easy to read and you’d probably make mental notes if some of the things stipulated in the book you find yourself doing already; and if not, you’d probably want to try.

We were always told that life is too short. It’s true. I believe that still. But, reading stories of supercentenarians or those who reached over 110 years old, the longevity of life has something to do with passion, happiness, and the purpose you put into it or you discover. Either or, you may very well comply.

Ikigai translates to “the happiness of always being busy.” And not just being literally busy like how we do in our present work, but the craft of moving, of having passion, and following our desires which concludes to happiness is what ikigai means.

Having a purpose in life is so important in Japanese culture that our idea of retirement simply doesn’t exist here.

Dan Buettner, National Geographic

Active Mind, Youthful Body

Japanese gives importance to both mind and body. It is not just eating healthy that is essential but also taking care of one’s mind. In the world that we live in, stress could be part of our daily lives. We approach it in various manners, react to our stressors in a different light, let it consume us, or just simply let it go unacknowledged.

I work with various people with different characters, upbringing, and educational backgrounds. But given the latter, some of them, despite their educational achievement couldn’t guarantee a sound mind to be decisive, assertive, or just simply understand on a deeper level–we are too, at some point. This probably, I think, is a cause of the lack of brain workout.

Just as lack of physical exercise has negative effects on our bodies and mood, a lack of mental exercise is bad for us because it cause our neurons and neural connections to deteroriate–and, as a result, reduces our ability to react to our surroundings.

In other words: constantly use your brain, your mind–and this is not because I am harsh, it was proven by science. This section is what I took note to explore further given related literature and I shall share more on what I know about this one in another blog or article.

Our Ikigai

The authors say that if you haven’t found your ikigai yet, perhaps it is the time to discover it. For me, our life’s longevity cannot just be measured by its literal component–reaching the age of 100 or more–but rather, on how well we lived our lives, our purpose, and how we have contributed/shared and inspired others. Quality over quantity could be the simplest term for this thought, most probably.

It’s impressive to know how the Japanese live their every day–it is full of positivity, finding perfection in the imperfection, eating good food, and being surrounded by friends and loved ones. Not all of us could be fortunate to have all of these attributes in our daily lives, but if we have the chance, we must embrace them, appreciate them, and share them.

The 10 Rules of Ikigai according to Héctor García and Francesc Miralles

  1. Stay active; don’t retire
  2. Take it slow
  3. Don’t fill your stomach
  4. Surround yourself with good friends
  5. Get in shape for your next birthday
  6. Smile
  7. Reconnect with nature
  8. Give thanks
  9. Live in the moment
  10. Follow your ikigai