The Last Leaves Falling Book Review (Spoiler Free)


The Last Leaves Falling is a Young Adult novel by Sarah Benwell. It follows Sora, a teenage boy from Japan who has ALS.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis . It is a nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical functions. Most people live three to five years with the disease but some can live ten or more. I found this information on ALS on google.

At the start of the novel, Sora had already lost the use of his legs and is unable to go to school because they are not able to make the accommodations for him and his wheelchair. All he wants is a little normalcy so he joins a teen online chat room. There he meets Mai and Kaito and they become friends without knowing about his illness. One day they decide to meet in person at Sora’s house where they both learn the truth. At first they have a hard time with it but eventually come around and they all become great friends. Sora helps Kaito realize that he wants to make websites and he helps Mai tell her mother that she wants to go to school for art and not to be a lawyer.

Toward the end of the novel, Sora begins to lose the function of his hands and that makes it harder for him to go online. He knows that soon there will be even more that he can’t do and he thinks he’ll be an even bigger burden on his mother. He is inspired by death poems of the Samurai, who are legendary Japanese warriors. He makes the decision to leave life on his own terms.This is not a spoiler because I’ve read it in many of the summaries and reviews including on the publisher’s website. The novel touches briefly on the Death With Dignity Act. I wish the author would have explored that more than she did. I would have liked to see more conversations about it and what goes into coming to that decision because she sort of just touches on the topic.

I really loved this novel. I loved the relationship between Sora and his mother. It was so realistic and believable. I loved the friendship between Sora, Mai and Kaito. Although they had just met, it felt like they had been friends for years. I also loved the way the story was told. You really get to see what life is like for not only someone with ALS but also how it impacts their family and friends as well.

This book was a tear jerker and I definitely had to take a break in some places to compose myself. It’s sad when anyone has an illness that is either terminal or that leaves you unable to do things physically, but when it’s someone who is so young I think that’s even harder. I really felt for Sora, he made me feel like I knew him and I could understand a little about what he was going though. It was almost like I was figuring things out along with him and when he made the decision to take matters into his own hands, I felt that sadness and not many books can do that to me. This was definitely a book that I carried around with me long after the final page.

I had a little issue with the ending. I would have liked a more conclusive ending, this one just kind of felt like it ended mid sentence if that makes any sense but overall I really enjoyed it and it’s definitely one that I see myself rereading in the future. I also gave it 5 stars on Goodreads.

That’s my review for The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell and I recommend it 100% to everyone!

Keep reading…Lola

 

 

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Book Haul (August/September/October)

These are the books that I have picked up over the last few months. I didn’t buy any new books in August or September except for the ones that I received in book subscriptions but I did make a Barnes and Noble purchase and ordered from Book Outlet in October.

The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell, Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike, Fatherless by Dr. James Dobson & Kurt Bruner, The Unchangeable Spots Of Leopards by Kristopher Jansma, Prey by Linda Howard and A Terrible Love by Marata Eros were books that I got in the Aug, Sept and Oct And The Story Begins boxes. If you want to know what any of these are about you can read the unboxing blog posts I have up for each of them. I will also have a full review for The Last Leaves Falling posted in the next week.

Virtue Falls by Christina Dodd, Night Diver by Elizabeth Lowell, Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah & Skye Chatham, How To Tell Toledo From The Night Sky by Lydia Netzer, I Shall Be Near To You by Lindsay McCabe and Nantucket Sisters by Nancy Thatcher are all books that I received in the Aug, Sept and Oct BookCase.Club box. You can also check out those unboxing posts if you want to know what any of them are about.

Barnes And Noble:

Two By Two by Nicholas Sparks. This novel is about a man who finds himself without a job or wife and having to raise his six-year-old daughter by himself, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. This is a YA novel about a boy who follows clues that take him to an abandoned Welsh orphanage, following a family tragedy and Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. This is the second novel and takes place where the first one leaves off. I chose not to get the third book , Library Of Souls until it is released in paperback but I can’t wait to read them. I will be reading the first book before I see the movie so I will be doing that soon.

Book Outlet:

In A Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. This is a mystery novel about a group of women who go away for the weekend to a cabin and then they start to disappear, The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler. I saw this on Goodreads and thought it was interesting. It’s about a woman who gets dumped right before telling her boyfriend that she is pregnant and then finds herself working in a bookstore and getting close to the men she works with, Torn by Avery Hastings. This is the second and final book in the Feuds series. Technically there is a prequel so maybe this is the third 🙂 The only thing I know about this book is that it picks up right where the first one ended and I am so excited to read this.

I also got Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I saw that they had this Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition and I love this cover so I had to pick it up, The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I got the Puffin Classics editions because I think that the covers are so cute.

Kindle:

I also bought the rest of The Mind Readers Series on my Kindle. The Mind Thieves, The Mind Games and The Mind Keepers. I have also finished the series since I bought them and I really enjoyed it. They were fairly short, quick and easy reads and I definitely recommend them.

That’s my huge book haul…

Keep reading…Lola

Rafa Book Review

This is my book review for Rafa by Rafael Nadal and John Carlin.

I was actually quite surprised when I read this book. I thought that it was going to be the typical birth to present autobiography but instead it was basically a replay of the 2008 Wimbledon Championship between Rafa and Roger Federer with personal stories in between.
The writing was done with two different styles. Every other chapter was Rafael writing about Wimbledon and telling stories about growing up playing tennis as well as sharing some family stories. The other chapters were written by John Carlin and he wrote about Rafael as if he was doing an article about him. He also shared some of the things that family members and other tennis players had said about him.

I really liked the format of this autobiography. It was something different. The 2008 Wimbledon Championship started at the beginning and you didn’t know the outcome until the end of the book, which wasn’t a surprise if you know anything about tennis or Rafael Nadal. I loved the little personal stories throughout the book as well. Some of the things I had never read about before so that was new information for me.

My favorite part was that he wrote about how he was feeling and what he thought about. You really get into his head and I loved that. I always wonder what tennis players are thinking about while playing, especially when it’s a final and Rafael did an incredible job depicting that in his book. It was like I was in his head while I was reading, I could really understand why he was thinking what he was and why he was feeling the way he was at certain points. I love when you can feel like you personally know the person you are reading about.

There were things in the book that I had never heard before. Things that made me laugh and cry. Some of my favorites were when Rafa says that he loves olives and that at one point when he was a kid he hid in a cupboard and ate a whole jar and then was really sick but it didn’t stop him from continuing to eat them. He talks about how he is afraid of dogs and other animals because they are unpredictable. He’s afraid of the dark and has to sleep with the television or a light on. He doesn’t like thunder storms or water if he can’t see straight to the bottom. His mother talks about how one of his biggest fears is of losing someone in his family and that he is a horrible driver because he is so cautious which I thought was hilarious. These things were all a shock to me because he is such a hard player when he is on the tennis court, you would never think that he’s a little bit of a wimp, which makes me love him even more.

I also liked that he wasn’t afraid to be a little overly personal because he is such a closed off celebrity. He still lives in Mallorca where they don’t treat him any differently, he actually says that it’s no big deal when he goes back home, it’s as if he didn’t win a championship. He’s very grounded and his family doesn’t let him let fame go to his head. They don’t throw parties when he wins and they don’t praise him up and down. He wins or loses and they deal with it and move on.

Another thing that took me by total surprise was that he said after he lost the 2007 Wimbledon final he went into the locker room shower and sat on the floor and cried for  half an hour. I was not expecting that at all. He is such an amazing loser during any round, he always seems so polite when he goes and shakes the other players hand, he usually taps them on the back and smiles. I’m sure it’s heartbreaking to lose a match especially if you are close winning but he just seems so put together that I wouldn’t have expected that reaction. He does say that he didn’t cry because he lost but how he lost. He felt that he didn’t play like he should have, that he could have done better and that he made mistakes that cost him the title. I love that he didn’t blame anyone else and he never talked bad about any other player, in fact he did the exact opposite. He praised Federer and his playing and he said Djokovic was going to do amazing things in tennis and he said nice things about retired players.

This book was different from what I thought it would be but it was so amazing and I wouldn’t want it written any other way. I gave it a 5 stars on Goodreads and recommend it to everyone, especially those who love Rafael Nadal as much as I do, tennis or even celebrity reads in general. Definitely check it out.

Keep reading…Lola

October And The Story Begins Unboxing

These are the books that I got in the October And The Story Begins subscription box. This is the romance box.


Prey by Linda Howard ~ This novel is about a man and a woman who both own hunting businesses and are rivals who have a spark between them. After the woman’s hunting business closes she takes her last client out to hunt a bear and witnesses a murder. Her and her rival then have to run for their lives.
A Terrible Love by Marata Eros ~ This novel is about a woman who lies about her tragic past and when she meets and falls for a man, her lies and secrets start to unravel.

I really don’t like the cover for Prey at all. I feel like it is the typical cheesy cover for a romance novel. I wish that they made it darker to show the mystery side of the book. I do hope that both novels are good though because they both sound like something I would enjoy.

Keep reading…Lola

Addams Family Book Tag

For todays Blog post I am doing the Addams Family Book Tag. This tag was created by Hannah Tay on YouTube. I wanted to do a Halloween tag and when I saw this one, I just had to do it because I love the Addams Family.

1. Morticia Addams~ The mother and a witch: What is your favorite witch book?

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I haven’t read many books with witches in them but I always liked The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

2. Gomez Addams~ The loving father: Who is your favorite fictional father?

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I think my favorite fictional father is Charlie from the Twilight series. I loved him when he tried to have the talk with Bella and I loved the whole scene when Bella and Edward tell him that they are getting married.

3. Uncle Fester~ Can generate electricity: What book makes you light up so much that you can’t stop yourself from talking about it?

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The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. This is my all time favorite book and if I could only recommend one book, it would be this one.

4.Wednesday Addams~ Obsessed with death: If you could have killed off a character in any book who would it be?

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This one was kind of hard but I am going to go with Becky from the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella. The only reason I am choosing this way is because I thought that at times she was super annoying and just made horrible decisions.

5. Pugsley Addams~ Has a vicious nature and plays nasty pranks on everyone: Who is your favorite villain?

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Silas from The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I don’t know why I like this character so much but I do. I also love the character in the movie adaptation.

6. Lurch~ Based on Frankenstein and a zombie: What is your favorite adaptation of a story?

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Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. I love this Little Red Riding Hood adaptation and it is my favorite of all the books in The Lunar Chronicles series.

7. Grandmama~ An old classic witch: What is your favorite old classic horror book?

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I surprisingly haven’t read many horror books at all which is sad because horror is my favorite movie genre but I am hoping to change that. Right now my answer to this question is Carrie by Stephen King.

8. Show us some of your horror books.


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These are some of my horror/mystery books. I’m still working on my collection and I haven’t read many horror books.

9. What are you going out as for Halloween this year?

I am not going out this year, I am staying home and passing out candy but I am going to dress up as a cat.

10. Favorite Halloween films?

The Addams Family, Hocus Pocus, Ernest Scared Stupid, the Halloween series and just anything scary.

I tag everyone that wants to do it.

Keep reading…Lola

How To Get Out Of A Reading Slump

These are some ideas of how to help you if you are in a reading slump. Even the best of us get to a point where we just do not want to pick up a book and these are some of the things that I find helpful. These are not the only things to do and they may or may not work for you, but they are things that have helped me in the past when I have been suffering from a reading slump.

  1. Do not force yourself to read. If you try to force your way through a book you are just going to make your slump worse and you might even hate the book that you are reading.
  2. Watch a TV show or movie. Sometimes certain storylines get me in the mood for certain books. Also if you watch a TV show or movie based on a book and you really like it, you may want to pick the book up as well.
  3. Go online. Talk to other readers. Find out who is also having a slump or what other people do to get themselves out of one.
  4. Check out Goodreads or YouTube to see what other people are reading or are interested in reading, you might find something that interests you too.
  5. Surround yourself with books. Go to a bookstore or library. Peruse book sections that interest you to see if anything catches your eye.
  6. Turn off your phone. I find that sometimes when I’m reading I get more done if I don’t have my phone to distract me. It also gives me a reason to do something other than play on my phone.
  7. Read on the go. Leave your house and go to the park or the beach. If you commute to work or school, think about carpooling or public transportation so that you can read to and from.
  8. Look at your bookshelf to see if anything jumps out at you. Maybe you will see something that you are in the mood to read at that moment.
  9. Reread a book that you love. If you know that you are going to enjoy the book then you might be more excited to read.
  10. Pick up a book that you have been wanting to read for a while and try to read that.
  11. Read a book that isn’t very long. A quick read is sometimes exactly what I need to get me out of a reading slump. If you try to start with a monster book it might have the opposite effect.
  12. Choose a fun and light read. Don’t try to read heavy or sad material.

Here are a few books that have helped me in the past to get out of a reading slump…

The Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber, The Vampire Journals series by Morgan Rice, The Wrecked duology by Elle Casey and The Hazards series by Alyssa Rose Ivy. These are all short and quick reads. I really enjoyed them all. Poetry and Graphic Novels are also fun alternatives to books. I think that Young Adult books are also a good choice because I find that most of them are quick reads.

Those are my ideas of how to get out of a reading slump. Again, they may not work for you, but they have worked for me in the past so I’m hoping that at least one of them will be able to help someone.

Keep reading…Lola

October BookCase.Club Unboxing

These are the books that I got in the October BookCase.Club box. I got the romance box this month.

Nantucket Sisters by Nancy Thayer ~ This novel is about two women who meet as young girls one summer on the beach and follows their friendship that turns into more like a sisterly relationship but then that relationship is tested when they fall for the same man.

I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe ~ This novel is about a woman whose husband enlists in the army during the Civil War and she decides to shave her head and “become” a man and enlists in the army as well to be with him.

I am excited to read both of these books especially I Shall Be Near To You.

Keep reading…Lola

October/Halloween TBR

These are the books that I am hoping to read in the month of October. I decided that since this is the month of Halloween, I would read some Stephen King that has been on my shelf for a little bit as well as some other mystery/thriller novels that I have been wanting to read.

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Tribute by Nora Roberts. This is about a former child star who moves into her grandmothers abandoned house and finds letters in her attic that lead to a murder mystery. I saw this movie and liked it so I wanted to read the book to see how they compare.

Cujo by Stephen King. This is a horror novel about a rabid dog and I have been wanting to read this novel for the longest time so I am finally going to do that this month.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King. I think Stephen King is an incredible author to read during the month of October especially with Halloween at the end of the month. This is a novel about a girl who gets lost in the woods while hiking with her family.

The Killing Game by Iris Johansen. This novel is about a forensic sculptor who ends up risking her life when the man who killed her daughter 10 years before contacts her. I saw the movie adaptation and really enjoyed it to I am looking forward to reading the book now as well.

Virtue Falls by Christina Dodd. This novel is about a woman who returns home to find that her father, who has been in jail for the last twenty-three years for murdering her mother is innocent.

I can’t wait to read some horror and mystery novels this month. What are you going to be reading?

Keep reading…Lola

 

 

September Wrap Up

These are the books that I read in September. Most of these are going to have reviews coming up eventually so I am not going to go into too much detail for any of them.

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The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell. This is about a 17-year-old boy who has ALS. It was such a great read and definitely made me cry.

Rafa by Rafael Nadal and John Carlin. This is the sort of autobiography of tennis great Rafael Nadal.

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella. This is the second book in the Shopaholic series.

Feuds by Avery Hastings. This novel reminded me of a cross between the Uglies series and the Divergent series.

Wildflower by Alecia Whitaker. This is about a teenage girl who gets discovered after stepping in for her father one night at a music show.

Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah and Skye Chatham. This novel was a little weird for me. I was under the impression that it was about two people who meet online and start a relationship but they actually meet at some function and the story is told by their emails and text messages to each other as well as to both of their friends.

The Mind Readers by Lori Brighton. This is a series of four novels and when I finish them I will be doing a collective review because I have really been enjoying the series so far.

Garden Of Shadows by V.C. Andrews. This is the prequel to the Flowers In The Attic series. It was definitely a shock to read that’s for sure but I will have a review for the series coming up soon.

Sinful Cinderella by Anita Valle. This is a Cinderella retelling but it’s a dark retelling so Cinderella is more on the bad side instead of the good.

That’s what I read in September. I really enjoyed these books and gave them 4 or 5 stars on Goodreads I believe.

Keep reading…Lola