Friday, July 25, 2014

The Bridge from Me to You

I started this book because I found the author on twitter, and she sounded wonderful. The book took some really beautiful expected turns. It sometimes made me sad, it opened my eyes to the harsh realities of life without the loving parents I have, but also to the miracles of finding yourself within a family that isn't biologically yours, but loves you endlessly.

It's filled with all the truths of finding yourself at a crossroads: in tragedy, or graduating high school; deciding your future, or having no control over it. It's a story of finding hope and allowing yourself to be loved by right right people, and finding your true identity inside of that. 

There is sooo much love in this book: adorable kids, adoring grandparents, a father who shows his love by over-analyzing and pressurizing, best friends who truly understand and need each other, an incredible coach, a small own coming together in support of a family.. Just. A lot of love. This was a great read.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

This is a classic American roadtrip story, but it's not just a journey through different lands: it explores the ups and downs of dealing with grief and loss. It's really fun and sweet and genuine. Right from the very start, and all the way through, I found myself saying 'people are soooo nice in this book!' The real estate agent's email, Roger, Barb at the lonely rest stop, Bronwyn, Drew and his friends, Lucien, and the many strangers they encounter along the way.. So much genuine kindness! It was so delightful and refreshing. 

But the story as a whole, felt real. I felt Amy's sadness and the depth of her regrets and pain. I felt Roger's longing for closure with Hadley, and his gentle way of caring for Amy. I felt the tug of a fluttery crush and I felt the sense of awe looking up at the stars or out at the surrounding mountains. 

Ofcourse the book made me want to go on a roadtrip and adventure through places I've never been! I want to see the trees and taste the burgers. The pages of the book are filled with photos and drawings and playlists of bands I love and bands I've never heard of, and I can't wait to listen to them all. 

It's a book filled with life lessons, quotable moments, and wonder-filled connections. It's a little like Elizabethtown, but it's also like nothing else in the world. It's a beautiful journey in itself. One I'd highly recommend, and one I will definitely be giving as gifts. 

Ps, here are some really lovely answers to questions you may have after reading it. From the author, to your heart. They made me smile.  

"To the stars and through adversity." Xo 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Winter reads ❄️

I thought it would be fun to make a list of my favourite wintery books. I reread them all the time, almost always in bed under a duvet. I absolutely recommend reading all of these with an endless supply of hot cocoa. 
These are the magical, chocolate Christmas family reads. They're nostalgic and wonderful and warm. The first Harry Potter book reminds me of my childhood, and makes me smile about the beginning of a long journey through the books. Chocolat always makes me want to speak French and live in a tiny town. It draws me to visit little chocolate shops and believe in the good in people. 
These two are romantic and hopeful love stories. Beautiful Disaster is an intense 'bad boy falls for good girl and everything changes' story, filled with danger and cute friendship, and sexiness oooh! Shiver is gorgeous. A gorgeous start to a trilogy that won my heart over and over again. It's got poetry and sassy girls, fantasy, beautiful teenage truths, but mostly it's a sweet sweet love story. 
I haven't reread this book as many times as I do the ones I just mentioned. I think, because it's grip is the suspense as the story progresses. But if I'm honest, it's because it's written so well that I lose myself in it and everything around me became part of the story. -The terrifying story! It's brilliant, and beautiful! But scary. I'm scared just remembering, but remembering how good it is makes me need to read it again! If you've seen the film, you'll remember the mist and the mystery that makes me associate it with winter. It's so good you won't want to put it down even though you're petrified. 

Mmmm winter! What are your favourite winter reads? Xoxoxo 

Monday, April 21, 2014

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

This book is all secret smiles and childhood friendships, love letters, sisterly bonds, and sweet family traditions. I'm super not-sorry that I cheered when I read that Lara Jean is half-Korean. Jenny integrated it so perfectly into the story-line without it being a big deal. It's a really cute story filled with truths about imagining a boy might like you back, and the scariness of when someone might. It's also about the way life is different when someone you isn't there anymore.. I like that I actually didn't mind who she ended up with or what happened, I was just enjoying the journey.

Jenny Han also captured those little high school things so well: girls who spread rumors and seduce boys, creatively sneaking alcohol in, the friends we've had since childhood and are loyal to even though we're completely different people now.. Loving someone you think you'll probably love forever but never being sure.. Not saying 'I like you' back, even if you really do, because girls can be idiots too sometimes.

The boys in this book are so adorable and kind and charming in their own way. And the families are faithful and great and, it's a really lovely book.

Cute things made me smile: Lara Jean's innocent curiosity and the questions she asks, her adorable sense of style and how I wanted to wear all her outfits and also pick out a dress at that vintage house place, the family baking cookies in the kitchen together, the boys playing with her little sister, the way the sisters like their bananas differently and how that affects their household (the realest thing about family!) and the fact that Josh and Lara Jean jokingly used Harry Potter spells on each other on Halloween.

(Obviously I smiled very excitedly and maybe squealed when Josh was dressed as Harry Potter. But I also felt that way when Kitty gives her the love notes Peter wrote and they're so cute.) Lara Jean's sister, Kitty, is so adorable and sassy. I love everyone's automatic love for her and her innocent but fierce love right back.

Two great moments: "I told Kitty she was adopted and her real family was in a traveling circus. It's why she took up gymnastics." Bahhaha!

"And how could you stop after Chamber of Secrets! The third one's the best out of the whole series. I mean that's literally crazy to me. Do you not have a soul?" Because for real, AMEN SISTA!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

This book made me want to move to New York and then LA to live as a struggling actor and make friends with quirky people who will then become famous with me so we can take each other to awards shows and be super chilled about it together. And actually, it made me feel like I already have done all those things, because you go on the whole journey with Mindy..

It's similar to I Feel Bad About My Neck, the Nora Ephron book I adored, in that it's a whole lot of essays that explain Mindy Kaling's thoughts on different situations. This ranges from her memories growing up as a child and as someone moving out to New York to find work, to becoming who she is now in the 'celeb' world and with the cool-kids comedy circle. It's filled with honest and true commentary on society, in the most relate-able way. That's what makes it different to me. The Nora book made me want to be Nora, and Mindy's one made me feel like she is me, and I am her. Which I loved.

She talks about how funny her comedy-writing colleagues are, how loyal her friends have been. She explains conversations on the phone with her best friend, that awards ceremony gift bags are lame, and how married couples are ruining it for us single people. She says amazing things like "Is gluten still lame? Is soap cool again, or is body wash still the way to go?" and I actually had to pause for a moment to truly let it sink in when she wrote of her funeral, 'Dress code: chic devastated.' I mean, this girl is.. Just!

It feels real, like Mindy really is just talking to me and telling me these things in her usual cheerful, perky manner (The Mindy from The Mindy Project is the version of Mindy I know, and with whom I believe I would make excellent friends. This book only strengthened our bond, and also my desire to actually hang with real-life Mindy, who is probably way more badass than I could actually handle.) Mostly I love her confidence, and the jokingly intense level with which she's like 'I am Awesome!' because she is, and because that's literally how I talk with my bestie about us.

She's hilarious. Just hilarious. I'm not into reading books that are sold as funny, I'm not into straight-comedic things, but Mindy is my gurl and I wanted to laugh with her like I do when her show is on. And I did. Out loud! At the crazy things she says and her actual brilliance as both a human and a comedic writer. I love the way she sees the world. This book is filled with such clarity about our time, and she's just telling it like she's not Mindy-queen-of-my-heart but just a girl who lives in LA and is looking up at some very cool celebs.

There's sad parts and struggle parts, but it all endears you more to Mindy's strength and coolness. She's worked damn hard, and I'm so impressed by it all. There's pictures from when she was a child, selfies on her way to awards shows, stories from when people were mean to her, and all the pop-culture references I live for. Sidenote: I kind of want all the fake tv-shows she mentions as a joke, to become real.

It's just an AWESOME book that I will read again so often just for those laugh-out-loud moments of brilliance that she so cleverly fills her stories with. Mindy, man! Mindy! She's just cool, and this book is everything. Read it.

A word I learned, and now love to say aloud: pejorative (expressing contempt or disapproval)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Beginning of Everything

I really enjoyed Robyn's writing! I actually spent a lot of time just being impressed at how well she wrote from a boy's point of view, and also loving her for creating a teenage boy so filled with wisdom and insight, while still being just a typical kid. Not only did she so accurately capture teenage life (to the point of me laughing out loud feeling nostalgic for my corresponding high school memories), she has this magic way of writing a sentence that gives us history into the character's circumstances and showing us how they feel about it having turned out that way, all at once. (Deep breath after the longest sentence ever.) I felt an emotional connection to the very essence of who her characters are, from the start of the book. The literal beginning of everything for me.

The story is filled with cool things, like flash mobs and geocaching and sneaking into university libraries. Ezra loves her in a way that feels true, it feels magic and real and then suddenly, also completely meant to be. I spent two thirds of the book just loving all the characters, and holding my breath hoping I wouldn't have to hate one of them. (It turned out really well for me, it turns out.)

I loved that they all had their own thing. You know the 'supporting characters' by their humor and reactions, and not just their names and hobbies. I love that Cassidy being the mysterious outsider wasn't the biggest part of her place in Ezra's life. She was one of them, and then she wasn't. I loved that the 'nerds' were genuinely doing cooler things than the popular kids. (Um hello, those secret movie nights!) And yes, I always love when a character goes to church, or comes out and it's not a big deal to the story. Because duh.

This is one of the few books since reading Beautiful Creatures and The Wolves of Mercy Falls (Ohhh the feelings of warmth and hot-chocolate love that I have for those books..) where I found myself highlighting parts of a sentences, little phrases.. wisdom and poetry hidden between the narrative. It's such a precious thing, finding a book so wonderfully written, both in the story it's telling and the arrangement of the words it's using. (I collected the prettiness here)

Ps, here's two awesome words I learned from this book (and my trusty Kindle dictionary)
derision (ridicule or mockery)
and unencumbered (free of burden, either literally or emotionally.)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Naturals

This book, to me.. is all lipstick stains and blood-soaked floors. It's long stares into the eyes of strangers, but feeling like you already know them. It's being intrigued by mysterious boys, and finding safety in others, It's a little bit The Mentalist, with the dark secret murder mystery that both haunts and fuels; and a little bit Rookie Blue, with the newbie divisions and police uniforms, and the little team that knows most of each other's secrets but not all the information behind their hurt. it's not knowing but thinking that you do.

I'd been reading Gillian Flynn books when I started this, so I might have a skewed sense, but I sometimes felt like everything I saw coming.. happened. She was giving clues and I was getting them.. Like in a predictable crime show. And I didn't like that. There were moments of figuring out, what the department is, who to trust, not knowing all her secrets or the choices she'll make. But I don't want to feel like that in a book, I want to always be.. gasping and twisty and excited. BUT THEN!

And this is totally not a spoiler but I have to say DAT PLOT TWIST THO! Damn baby gurl. JLynn you ROCKED it! (I get gansta when I'm tired, but I really did, there were gasps and there were feelings.) And it was totally worth any predictable moments!

This wonderful sweeping romantic gesture after everything happens, that just.. makes me want to.. Yes.

Like, I NEED the next books. NOW! 

The Summer I Turned Pretty

I was excited to read this book, I liked the idea of Belly measuring her life in summers. 
At first when I started this book I was like 'ohhh is this book just a love story, that's it? She has a crush. -That's the book? Meh.' so I stopped, and kept reading my twisted murder books, and books about girls who have secret psycho-analysis skills. But then, this morning I needed sweetness, and this book gave it all to me. 

I like that the boys all love her before she grew up and 'turned pretty' --it makes it all more meaningful, and the feelings more lasting. I liked when the boys asked “Would you rather live one perfect day over and over or live your life with no perfect days but just decent ones?” and I liked that Belly answered that she'd rather have the decent days, so she could keep being hopeful for a best day to come. I especially like that everyone calls her Belly.

Belly's mom has the greatest friendship with Susannah. It's just, it's everything. My heart broke when she said “Best friends are important. They're the closest thing to a sister you'll ever have.” They're the perfect pair, so balanced, and they're such a great support system for each other.

It's filled with summer moments, and stories of that bond you create growing up with boys.. Memories that made me giggle, and wish to be on summer holiday again, and meeting a cute boy at a bonfire (Who I pictured as Dorrit's new boyfriend) It's filled with flash backs to all the years before, all the reasons for nicknames and moments we don't talk about anymore.

It's all the happy moments of having a crush, the beauty of family. Inside jokes over the years, beach parties, old music. A kind of montage of old photographs, evenings of laughter and screaming at siblings. It's really happy, and sometimes disappointing.. Like summers at the sea can be.

And it ends hopefully, so I'm excited to read #2..