Book Review Exchange

Whisperings CoverI hope everyone had an amazing 4th of July!  While writing reviews on Amazon, this idea popped into my head.  Anyone interested in having a Book Review Exchange?  I’ll give you a copy of my book, and you give me a copy of yours.  We both read the books and write a review on our blog and on Amazon.  My book Whisperings is available on paperback and on Kindle, so whichever you prefer, I can send it your way.

Personally, I prefer to read paperbacks because it’s hard for me to concentrate on long passages on the computer.  There’s also that comforting, nostalgic, and satisfactory feeling of flipping the pages of a book that you can’t get from an e-book.  However; that’s just me =)

If interested, let me know!  I look forward to reading your book.

~ Jenny Katherine Luu

A Book Review on “The Alchemist”

The AlchemistThe Alchemist is an inspiring book about pursuing one’s dream and finding one’s “personal legend”.  The story follows a young boy who leaves his family to become a shepherd so that he could travel the world.  Soon he has a literal dream about finding treasure and despite his fear of losing everything he has, he listens to his heart (and the advice of an old king) and travels across many lands in pursuit of this treasure.  Throughout the story, the boy (and the reader) meets many people who have given up on their dreams because they were afraid of change, they were afraid of losing what they had, or they were afraid that their life would have no purpose once the dream was fulfilled.  The boy learns that dreams will come true (with courage, effort and time).  However; he must not focus on achieving the dream, but rather on the long journey that will bring him there.  After all, everything happens for a reason, and every reason is a lesson to be learned or an experience to be remembered.  If you are interested in some soul-searching, you will enjoy this insightful journey.  You will also be surprised in what the alchemist’s actual role is in the story.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them.  We, their hearts become fearful just thinking of loved ones who go away forever, or of moments that could have been good but weren’t, or of treasures that might have been found but were forever hidden in the sands.  Because, when these things happen, we suffer terribly.”

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.”

“Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him,” his heart said.  “We, people’s hearts, seldom say much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of them.  We speak of them only to children.  Later, we simply let life proceed, in its own direction, toward its own fate.  But, unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them – the path to their Personal Legends, and to happiness.  Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place.”

“When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.”

“The sea has lived on in this shell, because that’s its Personal Legend.  And it will never cease doing so until the desert is once again covered by water.”

“If a person is living out his Personal Legend, he knows everything he needs to know.  There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”



A Book Review on Angela’s Ashes

Angela's AshesAs a child, I enjoyed reading stories of fantastical lands with admiral characters, some humor, some horror, and some romance.  As I got older, I found myself gravitating towards historical memoirs that capture the human spirit.  Working 8-5 (or rather 10-7) while straining my eyes everyday on the computer, I no longer had the luxury of time to indulge in make-believe stories on pages of paper.  I realized that I often started a book, read about 20-50 pages and then decided it wasn’t worth my while.  If I wanted to escape from reality, I would go into nature or watch a movie.  What I seek in a book is something more.  I seek to gain some sort of understanding, courage, or inspiration that will really touch my soul.

When I randomly picked up Angela’s Ashes (as my brother’s coworker had loaned it to him), I expected to read a few pages to cure my boredom.  Instead, I found myself engaged in the book.  It’s one of the few books that I read from beginning to end since I started working full-time.

Angela’s Ashes is a heart-felt story about a young boy who grew up in Limerick, Ireland.  With an irresponsible drunkard for a father, Frank and his family lived in poverty (wearing rags for clothes and surviving on fried bread and tea).  The reader sees him lose his young brothers and sister to sickness and malnourishment, one by one.  However, despite the tragedy in their life, the reader can always sense a bit of hope that sits in the hearts of Frank’s family.

Frank elegantly and honestly portrays the courage and curiosity of children, the strong love of a mother, and the importance of hope through his well-defined characters and story-telling.  True compassion can be seen in the midst of poverty.  While not all the characters are admiral, the reader can’t help but root for them because they have become our friend, our brother, our mother.  Through this tragic tale of poverty and humiliation, a family perseveres, and a bright, young man opens door to a new beginning with a love for learning.  It’s a true inspiration to know that anything is possible as long as one doesn’t give up and keeps on smiling.

A Review of The Reporter & The Girl

I embarked on an adventure the summer after my college graduation by participating in a Summer Service Learning Program in China where I met a broad range of students from all over the US.  Among one of them was a smart, witty girl that attended school in Florida.  She was quirky, funny, and a little bit of a nerd, but most of all, she had a gentle, compassionate soul.  Little did I know that one day she would become a famous blogger and a published writer.

I am proud to call S.C. Rhyne my friend.  Her blog and debut novel The Reporter & The Girl (Minus the Super Man!) has become a guilty pleasure for many readers.  The story follows the life of a quirky girl (Sabrien) and her insensitive love interest (Jon) as they struggle to find their sense of self and the courage to express their love for one another.  What makes this story stand out from many others is the raw emotion expressed by the characters.  The quirky characters are brought to life and made so real that s/he could be your friend, your brother, your sister, your coworker or even yourself.

The first phone conversation that Jon and Sabrien had was not love at first talk.  In fact, it was anything but romantic.  The reader starts to wonder what Sabrien even sees in Jon.  From the very beginning, Jon becomes an anti-hero that you sort of love to hate, but occasionally root for.  He is the typical jerk that women hope to change.  Sabrien isn’t perfect either, she is strong, independent, and stubborn.  Yet she is also afraid to be vulnerable.  It is in this setting that the two awkward lovebirds find comfort in each other.

The reader follows their journey of random conversations, awkwardly-funny-erotic love-making scenes, and personal insecurities.  While they are an unlikely couple, the reader can’t help but hope they will end up happily ever after.  Because after all, there is a little bit of Sabrien and Jon in each and every one of us.  The moments where they fall in love, attempt to confess their love, and fail miserably at communicating are universal trials that every couple goes through, and S.C. Rhyne is a master of making moments come to life.

If I were to sum up the story and relationship of Sabrien and Jon, it would be with this quote (supposedly by Robert Fulghum) “We’re all a little weird, and life’s a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”

The Reporter & The Girl