Friday, March 31, 2017

March Monthly Recap


What's been going on in my life in the month of March?

Not much...except for the fact that I got engaged! I had known it was coming for awhile now, but it was still the best thing that's happened to me for awhile now. He was super sweet when he asked and was a little (okay a lot) shy. He honestly is such a great man and I couldn't imagine myself with anyone else. We won't be planning our wedding anytime soon, but once things get relatively settled down in our lives, we'll start planning it.

I also just attended the funeral of my best friend's grandpa today. It was all unexpected and threw us for a loop. I've spent the last three days keeping her busy while arrangements were being made. I've known her since around the third grade so I also feel like I lost a family member through her losing her grandpa. I came home and immediately set to writing this to keep my mind off how sad of a day it was for all of us.

I also cut my hair! I got quite a bit of length off the sides because I wanted a v cut hairstyle, and I got bangs! I definitely needed a hair cut and I feel like pounds got taken off my head. 





1. The Boy's Life - I have no idea what it is with me and young DiCaprio or Depp movies but I feel like I love them a little bit more than any of the recent movies they've played in. They're both super handsome now, but their acting was so much more raw back then.

2. August Underground (don't click if easily disturbed) - I convinced my best friend these were actual tapes made my serial killers and all throughout the movie I didn't tell her the truth. I finally confessed after we watched it but it made the movie worse for her thinking the murders were real.
I'm a jerk. Haha.

3. Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes - Hey, I needed a feel-good cartoon because I was down at the time and I love Sherlock and Tom and Jerry so this one was a no-brainer.


I really need to start reading more because two books within a month is horrible compared to what I know I can read!

1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - Highly recommend this book! I didn't want to put it down at any time because I needed to get to the end to find out what happens. It doesn't leave any part of me hanging except for my jaw due to the twist at the end!

2. Goodbye Days - Super fast read! Not recommended if you want a fluffy or light-hearted contemporary. Still a recommended book if you don't mind a few (or a flood of) tears.

I'm currently reading The Wood by +Chelsea Bobulski. I love it so far! I haven't shed any tears yet but a few threatened to come out in the beginning of the book. It's a really enchanting read.
Thanks for tuning into my life! See you next month. :)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner


Title: Goodbye Days
Author+Jeff Zentner
Pages:

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Can a text message destroy your life?
Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.
Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help? 


Review:

"Where are you guys? Text me back."

This book starts out with one of my worst fears. Sending a text to someone while they're driving, them reading it, which then leads to them getting into a car crash. For our main character, Carver, this fear of mine was all too real. He is the only member of the Sauce Crew remaining, his friends are gone.

What I liked:
- I really appreciated the theme of anxiety in this book. I feel as if my own issues with anxiety were being put on display. Zentner definitely has a way of describing the feelings I, and many others feel, in the middle of an anxiety or panic attack. Although it's hard to describe it when it's happening, you read someone else's recant of it and you're like, "Oh. Someone else deals with what I deal with as well. I'm not as alone as I initially thought I was."
-Carver is absolutely hilarious. I've read other reviews that are annoyed by his and his group's "teenage antics" but I can understand why they were portrayed the way they were. A lot of teenage boys that I knew were immature as well. It's like a rite of passage into adulthood to be an annoying teenage boy. Carver is also a very strong character, as well as extremely intelligent and sarcastic. The sarcasm throughout this book is strong and it made me laugh most of the time even though this book deals with an extremely difficult subject like death.
-The writing is absolutely beautiful. Not only are there hilarious passages, but things get pretty serious when Carver is recalling memories of his time with the Sauce Crew.


What I disliked:
- I found it rather...unbelievable. I'm aware books are stories, but I want the stories I read to be something that I can decently relate to or believe. It was just hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that people in the book were actually placing blame on Carver.
He didn't hold a gun to his friend's head and say "Answer my text while you're driving." He said "Where are you guys? Text me back." It didn't require an immediate response while operating a motorized vehicle, and it definitely wasn't something that I could easily place blame on someone else for. On the other hand, I do know how grief can cloud judgment in times of high emotions so I can't blame Zentner for taking that particular angle.

Quotable Quotes:
“Our memories of our loved ones are the pearl we form around the grain of grief that causes us pain.” 

“For the most part, you don't hold the people you love in your heart because they rescued you from drowning or pulled you from a burning house. Mostly you hold them in your heart because they save you, in a million quiet and perfect ways, from being alone.”

DISCLAIMER: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions herein are of my own and are not swayed by any outside factors.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid


Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Pages: 400
Publication Date: June 13, 2017

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.


Review:
This book isn't going to be published for another three months, but I was lucky enough to be sent an ARC for review purposes. Written in a style that immediately drew me in, it quickly became one of the most interesting books I've read in awhile.

5/5. This book has a very unique story ling unlike any other book I've read before.
Monique has been contacted to write the biography of a Hollywood icon named Evelyn Hugo. Through their time spent together, Evelyn gives Monique a tell-all of her life and doesn't spare any of the juicy and scandalous details.
I had no problem falling in love with all of the characters. Monique and Evelyn had a bond (albeit rocky) like I haven't seen between characters in awhile. Even the supporting characters were amazing, and I felt the love and bond between every character in the book.
None of it felt rushed, and when I got to the end it was honestly a jaw-dropping ending I couldn't have even imagined.
My heart broke and mended itself multiple times throughout the three days it took me to read it.

This book definitely put Reid on my auto-buy list.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Always Watching by Chevy Stevens


Title: Always Watching
Author+Chevy Stevens
Pages: 338
Type: Hardcover

Synopsis from Goodreads:
She helps people put their demons to rest.

But she has a few of her own…

In the lockdown ward of a psychiatric hospital, Dr. Nadine Lavoie is in her element. She has the tools to help people, and she has the desire—healing broken families is what she lives for. But Nadine doesn’t want to look too closely at her own past because there are whole chunks of her life that are black holes. It takes all her willpower to tamp down her recurrent claustrophobia, and her daughter, Lisa, is a runaway who has been on the streets for seven years.
When a distraught woman, Heather Simeon, is brought into the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit after a suicide attempt, Nadine gently coaxes her story out of her—and learns of some troubling parallels with her own life. Digging deeper, Nadine is forced to confront her traumatic childhood, and the damage that began when she and her brother were brought by their mother to a remote commune on Vancouver Island. What happened to Nadine? Why was their family destroyed? And why does the name Aaron Quinn, the group’s leader, bring complex feelings of terror to Nadine even today?
And then, the unthinkable happens, and Nadine realizes that danger is closer to home than she ever imagined. She has no choice but to face what terrifies her the most…and fight back.
Sometimes you can leave the past, but you can never escape. 



Plot: I've seen a ton of people say that this has been their least favorite Stevens book she's written so far. I've only read Never Let You Go, and this one in my opinion is better than that. I do have to admit that I read it slower than I normally read books, simply because it took quite a bit for me to get into it, but when the suspense finally started happening I had no issues rushing through it.

Characters:
Nadine. I've seen reviews by people saying that they couldn't put themselves into Nadine's character and feel what she was feeling. I had no problems with this! I also suffer from claustrophobia, and there's a scene (I can't divulge what exactly happens) that I read and I felt immediate anxiety stemming from it! I really did like Nadine, but at times she annoyed me with some of the things she let slide from her brother. She admitted her shortcomings and was willing to realize the mistakes she's made in her life after reflecting on them.
Robbie, her brother, was just hateful in general! I wanted to strangle him on more than one occasion. Although he does have a good reason for his attitude, I still hate how he took his anger out on Nadine.
Aaron Quinn (the cult leader) was the ultimate bad guy. I can't spoil everything, but his techniques to keep the cult behaved blew me away. I can't imagine anyone in real life being as manipulative as this character was, but I know people like Aaron Quinn are out there.
The rest of the supporting characters were at times very frustrating to say the least, but I like that they could evoke feelings out of me. That's what I look for most in a character.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

How to Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran


Title: How to Build A Girl
Author: Caitlin Moran
Pages: 368
TW: Sex, self-harm

Synopsis from Goodreads:
What do you do in your teenage years when you realize what your parents taught you wasn’t enough? You must go out and find books and poetry and pop songs and bad heroes—and build yourself.
It’s 1990. Johanna Morrigan, fourteen, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there’s no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde—fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer. She will save her poverty-stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer—like Jo in Little Women, or the Bröntes—but without the dying young bit.
By sixteen, she’s smoking cigarettes, getting drunk and working for a music paper. She’s writing pornographic letters to rock-stars, having all the kinds of sex with all kinds of men, and eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less.
But what happens when Johanna realizes she’s built Dolly with a fatal flaw? Is a box full of records, a wall full of posters, and a head full of paperbacks, enough to build a girl after all?


Review:
I was recommended this book by my 8th grade teacher. I recall getting really into reading in her class so I'm always excited seeing when she reviews a book or recommends a book to me! They're always so good, and this book was not an exception to that.

The beginning of this book starts out hilarious. I love when a book can pull you in definitively within the first few sentences. We are introduced to a girl named Johanna Morrigan who is, and out of all the words I can think of, crass from the bottom of her heart, and I love her for it.

I did feel as if there were a lot going on in the story, but I also feel like it was intentional of Moran. I recall being a teenager and feelings as if I were in a whirlwind of adventures and drama 24/7, and barely having enough time to breathe through it all. So although Johanna's thoughts seemed to border on the manic side, I can see why Moran would write her character like she has.

I feel like this book should be on every girl or woman's TBR list simply because of how brilliant it was.