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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My Thoughts: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you ..."

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

This book. This book, was special. I could probably end my thoughts on that right there. But really- I read this book exactly when I needed to read this book, and it will probably stay with me forever. It is not lost on me that I am here talking about a vintage (Attachments was released way back in 2011-before the Eleanor and Park phenomena) Rainbow Rowell, when all anyone is talking about is the greatness that is Carry On- which is vastly different from Attachments, but I digress.

Attachments, at it's core, is a fairly simple story. It's about a boy (Lincoln) who is hired by a newspaper to monitor the staff's internet use. He stumbles upon Beth and Jennifer's interactions when their emails to one another are flagged. But instead of sending the duo a warning, Lincoln is drawn to the two (Beth specifically) and continues to read their emails and starts to connect with them in a way he wasn't expecting. It's creepy and weird and Lincoln is very aware of this. But still, he can't really stop. The rest of the novel is spent reading Jennifer and Beth's emails to one another and living life with Lincoln.

I was really able to relate to Beth and Jennifer and their worries. There were a number of themes and ideas in Attachments that completely resonated with me. I'm the same age as both women, I work in an office setting and I am also trying to make sense of this adult living thing (#adulting). So, in that sense, this was THE book for me. And Rowell does it so perfectly. She captures the real life struggles of twenty somethings everywhere. Relationships, jobs, families, babies, and the pressure to have all these things. There were some times where I felt like this novel was talking about my life: it was frightening. Rowell doesn't address these things in a negative way- it's very matter of fact. Shit happens, and you have to deal with it. There is good and there is bad.

My favourite thing about Attachments was how the characters grew into themselves and their situations for themselves. There was no conforming or changing for the sake of someone else. I loved that message Rowell was able to share. Life is crazy and things change and everyone is going to experience and react to that change in their own way, and that is okay. I loved that.

Jennifer and Beth's emails are hilarious. There were so many times I would start giggling at what they were talking about and how they would talk about it. Their friendship was wonderful and they were so supportive of one another (even when they disagreed). Lincoln was a gem. He was the most confused of characters. He wasn't sure where he was heading. He made it in the end and he figured himself out.

Overall, I loved this book, and I was sad when it ended. While this story may be boring to some- you are all crazy. No, not true. However, Attachments was an honest representation of what it's like to grow up and all of a sudden discover that you are an adult.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

My Thoughts: The Bourbon Kings by JR Ward

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

Knowing me is to know that I am a bit obsessed with JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I have been reading those books for years. While her writing isn't perfect and her characters are sometimes a little over dramatic, I love it all. So it was safe to say that I was pretty excited to hear she was coming out with a novel that involved a wealthy southern family- The Bourbon Kings. With this new novel I was expecting deceit, secrets and betrayal. With all of that, I was also expecting a good story, and unfortunately- I didn't really get that- ugh, it completely pains me to say that!!!

The synopsis of the story suggests that The Bourbon Kings is Lane and Lizzie's story about finding their way back to one another after years apart- due largely to misunderstandings and a meddling family. However, there is SO MUCH MORE going on in this story, and Lane and Lizzie's story is kind of just thrown in willy nilly. It felt very rushed. This part of the story was SO dry it was awful! There was just to much going on in this book. So many characters with their own little dramas. So many secrets and lies (I don't mind secrets and lies, but there were to many to keep track of in this book). I had the hardest time keeping track of who was who, and who did what to whom. It was to much. Honestly, I think this would make a pretty interesting TV show- but it would need to be done right- otherwise it would just get cancelled- like after the first episode.

Overall, The Bourbon Kings is one big ole' soap-opera. So dramatic and over the top. I just couldn't like it- and I tried. In saying that, I will probably give the second book of this series a try and see if she flushes stuff out a bit more. Perhaps there was just a lot to introduce in this first novel and the second will be a bit more rounded- what can I say, I love the WARDen and I refuse to lose hope.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Monday, September 21, 2015

My Thoughts: The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save her life, Lia's erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: there's Rafe, who lied to Lia, but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be barbarians. Now that she lives amongst them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.

First, let me say- the end of this book. Whaaaaaat?!?! If you know me, or have been following this blog for a bit, than you know I am not one to read fantasy novels. My tastes run more contemporary. That doesn't mean I don't stray every now and again. Like last year for instance- I moved away from my contemporary bubble and picked up The Kiss of Deception. the first novel in Mary E. Pearson's Remnant Chronicles. And I was blown away. I loved that book. The story grabbed hold and took off with me trailing behind- you can read all about what I thought here. I loved the characters, I loved the writing and I loved the overall plot. It was a really great read for me, and I was super excited about what was to come.

The Heart of Betrayal's release date came and went without me really knowing that it was coming. I have been in a non-bookish bubble for sometime, and I am just now breaking free. So, while I was eagerly awaiting this release, I have only just finished it (two months after it hit the shelves).

Initially I was worried that The Heart of Betrayal was going to be a victim of the second book syndrome. You know that one- where the second book in a trilogy really feels like a filler novel, it doesn't really move the story along. This is NOT the case with The Heart of Betrayal. Pearson really kept the story kept moving with this one, and she introduced new elements and idea that really added to the overall story. There is a more political aspect to this novel- as Lia and Rafe now find themselves prisoners of Venda and their feared ruler the Komizar (who is a real bastard if I can say so myself). Venda is an interesting place, it's an isolated kingdom with little to offer. The Komizar is a fierce leader who has these big ambitions- I am trying really hard not to spoil anything here, so I am being very vague- and he's not letting anyone or anything get in the way of those ambitions.

The characters also grew and matured in The Heart of Betrayal. I continue to be a big fan of Lia. She's a bit more vulnerable in this second installment, but she's also grown a ton. She's experienced a lot of terrible things- again being vague- she's also been able to experience a culture that is new to her. She's formed a bond with some of the Vendan children- something she wasn't expecting, and she's able to see the people as more than uncivilized barbarians.

Let me briefly mention- there is no love triangle in this novel- none. The Kiss of Deception alludes to one briefly, but not really. So if you are staying away from there books for that reason- I say don't worry about it, it's non existent.

Overall, I loved this book, I thought it was a brilliant addition to this trilogy. There was so much happening and I found that I couldn't read fast enough. I cannot wait for The Beauty of Darkness- which is out next year- this hurts my heart.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

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Monday, September 7, 2015

My Thoughts: Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

From the author of This Song Will Save Your Life comes a funny and relatable book about the hazards of falling for a person you haven't met yet.

Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But she's tired of being loyal to people who don't appreciate her—including her needy best friend and her absent mom.

Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called "Tonight the Streets Are Ours," the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him.

During one crazy night out in NYC filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn't exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn't exactly who she thought she was, either

**Review copy received from publisher

Tonight the Streets Are Ours, is a book I have been anticipating for some time now. Leila Sales blew my mind with This Song Will Save Your Life, that I gifted the novel six different times, to six very different people, all of whom loved it. It was THAT good! That story resonated with me in such a special way and I was very eager to see what Sales was going to bring to the table with her newest tale.

Tonight the Streets Are Ours is about a girl- Arden- trying to figure herself out, and she's not really sure how to do that. Arden, once described as recklessly loyal, doesn't know that the means for her anymore, and she's trying to work that out. Arden loves deeply and is fiercely protective, and this has defined her for most of her life. However, she's now wondering if that's enough for her. Her ever present mother has taken off for the big city, her workaholic dad has done little to pick up the slack, she is finding it hard to connect with her best friend and she's wondering if her boyfriend is really what she needs. With all these on her mind, Arden stumbles across Peter's blog and instantly she is drawn to him and the content she finds on his blog.

As I mentioned, I adored This Song Will Save Your Life, and I wanted more of that. I wanted to experience the same wonder and awe. I didn't get that that with Tonight the Streets Are Ours. That's not saying it wasn't a good story, it was.  I just didn't connect with it as much as it's predecessor. It was still a powerful story, with with important and valuable things said. I appreciated how Arden was able to find her niche in the end.

One thing that sort of irked me though, was how long it look Arden and Peter to actually meet. The synopsis suggests that this is a large part of the story. It's not. It's more than half way through the novel before Arden and Peter actually speak to one another face to face. This was a bit disappointing. There was a lot of buildup to this meeting and than- nothing really (I am trying to avoid spoilers here). Another thing that I wasn't super convinced with the Arden's relationship with her best friend Lindsay. I didn't understand why they were friends. They didn't seem to have a thing in common. I wasn't sure they even really liked each other. In the beginning, I felt like Lindsay was using Arden, and didn't really value their friendship. This does seem to mimic how Arden's feeling throughout the novel. She's feeling really unappreciated.

For me, one of the best parts of the novel was Peter. Peter is completely not what he seems, and I loved that. I really don't want to spoil anything here, so I am not going to say much, other than, Peter is far from perfect and has a very narrow view of his surroundings. I enjoyed this part of the book.

Overall, I went into Tonight the Streets Are Ours, with very high expectations. I was looking for a similar reading experience to the one that I had with This Song Will Save Your Life, which I think does this novel a huge disservice. I was in a different place a year and a half ago. I really did enjoy Tonight the Streets Are Ours, I loved the characters and how imperfect they were (this seems to be a theme for me). Sales has a made a fan of me and I am looking forward to more from her.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Best of 2015- So Far

Well, boys and girls- it has been a while. I have been rather absent from the blogging world this year, and I think that's okay. However, in recent weeks I have felt the desire to return to this little delight of mine and try my hand at sharing about the things that bring me such great joy- reading and books.

I wanted to share with your today a little bit about what I have been reading and what some of the true gems have been. Cause, there have been a couple.

I haven't read much this year- if you're wanting an update on my life check out this post- cause not a lot has changed since then. as of right now I have read a grand total of 36 books this year, if I make it to 50 I will call that a success! But of those 36, there are four that really stuck with me.

When I initially read I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, I wasn't really feeling it. It took me a LONG time to read (which I think was mostly due to my CRAZY busy schedule), which really influenced how I felt about it. It also took me a bit to get into. However, after a few months, I continue to think about this story and how crazy beautiful it was. This was one of the few books I actually reviewed this year, you can read more of my thoughts here.

Me Before You has been making it's way around readers since it's release back in 2012. And I hadn't heard a bad thing about this story (I did hear it was an ugly cry kind of story though). I wasn't sure about reading this one though, as I had tried one other novel by Jojo Moyes and wasn't terribly thrilled (I am going to give it another go). This year I decided to take the plunge and jump in with both feet. And what an incredible story. It is SO much more than what it presents itself at being. And I loved it so much. It really makes you think about what life is and what living really means. It's not an easy read, but it's so worth it.

I don't generally do mystery novels. They're not my thing. JK Rowling is. So, again, I took the plunge and read The Cuckoo's Calling and it was brilliant! I loved it! I loved Strike, and how flawed he was. I thought all his hangups made him so charming. I loved how he was with Robin, and how she snuck her way into Strike's life. It was great. The mystery? Take it or leave it, it wasn't that incredible, but the characters were fun and I have plans to continue with the series. 

Mindy Kaling! She is my love! If you didn't know, last fall I discovered The Mindy Project! What an amazing little show that is. Like seriously. A friend and myself devoured that show in such a short amount of time, I was caught up before season three even made it to cable (come on, they are only 22 minutes long). In saying that, I knew I needed to experience Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), first hand. I actually listened to the audiobook- narrated by Mindy herself, and absolutely loved it. If you are a fan of The Mindy Project and/or love Mindy Kaling, you need this in your life. Who else is excited for Why Not Me? on September 15?

There you have it, a sample of what I've been reading and enjoying the last little while. I hope that catches you up a little bit.

~Happy Reading everyone!

Monday, August 31, 2015

My Thoughts: What You Left Behind by Jessica Verdi

It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead, he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.

The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions, and Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?

**Review copy received from publisher**

Let me tell you a story: It had been a long time since I sat down to read a book. I just didn't have the time. I was either studying, cooking, exercising or staring at my ceiling to tired to do anything. But I had an urge one weekend. I was giving up on real life and responsibilities and I was going to dive in and read a book. Knowing I only had two "free" days I knew I needed a book that would suck me in from the beginning and that I could get through quickly. Jessica Verdi provided me with this once,  when I read her novel My Life After Now-  and I thought, why not? What You Left Behind was my story of choice.

What You Left Behind walks us through Ryden's life after his girlfriend Meg, dies of cancer. BUT- Meg didn't just die. She died after giving birth to the couple's daughter. leaving Ryden to not only grieve her death, but also navigate his new role as dad. Ryden now has to change diapers and work a part time job right alongside high school and maintaining what remains of his current friendships.

The big thing that really stuck out for me in this book was how imperfect Ryden was. What I mean by this is that he was so completely human and his reactions to his current situation were realistic. There were times where he would be selfish and stubborn. He would often appear confused about his life and he would make bad decision that had no logical rational. This all made sense when you really looked at what he was living with. I really enjoyed that about the book. At the same time, Ryden was sometimes really annoying. There were a couple times where I would find myself rolling my eyes, thinking, "dude? What are you doing?" But what's important to remember, Ryden was a kid, a teenager, and he was dealing with some very adult things. Verdi did a great job of not glamorizing Ryden's reality. Being a teen parent wasn't cool, you lose your friends and it's harder to connect with people. You have a ton of new responsibilities. overall it's pretty isolating. Ryden's new life was hard.

Something else I want to mention briefly was how Ryden related to Hope- his daughter. For a good part of the book, he didn't. He cared for her and provided for her in the way that he could. But it was more out of a sense of responsibility and obligation. He loved her, yes. But again, because he was supposed to. Ryden struggled to connect and bond with her. It was heartbreaking. It was also a completely authentic view of real life. The grieving teenager, wanting to care for and love the little baby, but not knowing how. He was experiencing so much guilt, shame, anger, sorrow, that it was difficult to look at Hope and find joy in her. 

Overall, What You Left Behind was a novel I really enjoyed. I really loved how it didn't sugar coat anything. It showed a hard situation for what it was. And Ryden didn't get everything he wanted. Jessica Verdi's novels really resonate with me. Maybe it's because I can see the reality of her stories. That's pretty cool to me. For that reason, I look forward to her books and will continue to read them.

~Happy Reading Everyone! 

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Reading in Real Life

Well, this isn't something I have done recently. Blogging. But sitting here right now, trying to quickly get my thoughts down feels good, really good. I don't think I could ever give this little hobby of mine up. No matter how crazy my life gets. This feels right.

So, a little update on life. For just over a year now, I have working a full time -grown up- job in social services, a job that takes up a lot of my emotional energy. From January-April of this year, I was taking one class to try and finish this degree of mine. Presently, I am taking two condensed spring courses that are taking over my life. I will be done one of those classes on July 9th, and the other July 31st. On top of all that, I have decided to pay a little more attention on my health and fitness. Exercising and eating healthy takes up a lot of time! A LOT.

!hat I am trying to say is...  My life is busy and I haven't been reading very much. According to Goodreads, I have read 26 books this year- that is 11 books behind my reading goal of 80. And to be perfectly honest, I would say 80% of those books were audio books. That's the cool thing about my job, there are good chunks of the day that I can do my work listening to an audio book, that has been my saving grace this past year. But I miss reading! I miss it terribly. I miss holding a book in my hands, I miss seeing the words on the page, I miss getting lost in the story and investing in the lives of the characters. I also miss this. Blogging.

I miss sitting down and thinking about how I felt about a book, I miss writing those thoughts down sharing them with all of you (let's hope you're all still with me). I miss you, my blogging buddies, I am sorry, but I haven't been visiting other blogs as much as I used to, I will head over immediately feel guilty because I feel like I should be doing something else. I am so far out of bookish loop that I don't even know what new and hot these days (for shame Sara Walker, for shame).

I was kind of inspired today by this article that showed up on my Facebook feed: 11 Ways Busy People Make Time to Read. It is by no means an aha article. It's pretty basic, common practice for us avid readers. However, it's something I have lost sight of these past few months. And it has made me see the light.

I need to start reading again. I need to do this for my peace of mind. Reading is my stress reliever, it's my hideaway, I need to get back to it.  Never in my life have I ever been a non-reader. I used to never leave the house without my book, these days, I never leave the house with a book. This is not right. Something needs to change. Even if that something is committing to reading for 30 minutes before I go to bed, maybe it's reading for an hour before dinner (on the days when I am not running to school). I am taking baby steps. Because, really, I'm still busy!  But I will be a reader again!

I may still be a little MIA from this platform for the next month or so, but I will be back. I am going to try and post daily over on  my Facebook page, so if you're interested in seeing if I am following through on my promises, head over and like that page- I am almost at 1000 likes, if I get there, I am gonna do something huge.

Thank you all for sticking with me, and for reading this essay! I totally appreciate it. Now, I am off to go read a book!

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My Thoughts: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Narrator Don Tillman 39, Melbourne genetics prof and Gregory Peck lookalike, sets a 16-page questionnaire The Wife Project to find a non-smoker, non-drinker ideal match. But Rosie and her Father Project supersede. The spontaneous always-late smoker-drinker wants to find her biological father. She resets his clock, throws off his schedule, and turns his life topsy-turvy.

Where to even begin. I read The Rosie Project at the recommendation of a non-blogger friend. She read it and really enjoyed it, and thought I would as well. I wasn't opposed to the idea of reading this novel, but as you all will know: There are SO many books and so little time. In saying that, I have gotten into the habit of listening to audiobooks more and more lately. Mostly at work. And I felt like this one fit the bill. SO, voila, there I was, listening to The Rosie Project. All I have to say is- Hannah, you were right.

I don't know why I didn't want to read this book. Graeme Simsion is an Australian author, and I love Australian author. I have not read a single book by an Aussie author that I did not like. So, that's that. Also, The Rosie Project is just so darn cute! There is so much going for this book.

Don Tillman, what a character. He's a genetics professor and he is incredibly logical and by the book, It's hard for him to think outside his box. It's alluded that Don has undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome, which affects the way he interacts with life. When Don decides it's time to find a spouse, he does so in his own way. He develops a questionnaire outlining characteristics for a suitable wife. And for Don there is no deviating from this list of qualities. Then walks in Rosie, and Rosie is anything but suitable wife material (according to Don). But still, Don is drawn to Rosie.

Don Tillman, what a gem! I absolutely adored this man. He was so incredibly charming. We've all met someone like Don, but I don't think many of us have recognized their charm. He was very much like Sheldon Cooper of Big Bang Theory- but maybe less self absorbed and rude. I think Don will be a character that stays with me for a very long time. He was just special. Than there is Rosie, and she changes everything for Don. He doesn't know what to do with himself when it comes to her. His very logical, clean cut existence is now all messed up.

I absolutely love what Simsion has done with this story and what he has done for Don. He took Asperger's Syndrome and was able to help people relate to it. He was able to showcase how the mind of someone with this syndrome works. What a unique concept. This book and this character, I tell you.

One quick note on the audiobook- it was brilliant. Narrator Dan O'Grady is fantastic. He was Don. Exactly. It was so easy to be swept up in this one. I was very productive the three days it took me to listen to this 7 1/2 hour novel. This listener experience is up there with Will Grayson, Will Grayson.

Overall, The Rosie Project is a book worth reading! It will make you laugh out loud (a lot, I have so many favourite parts), it will make you weepy and it will make you go awwww! What more could you want?

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

From Book to Movie: Fifty Shades of Grey

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Let's just say, I was not going to write this post. I wasn't. However, I have been a little curious about people's thoughts on the film. So I figured, might as well share mine.

The Book

What a piece of crap. I first read Fifty Shades of Grey, by EL James back in 2012 at the peak of it's hype. Everyone woman in the office I was working at was reading it, and I wanted in on the craze. I don't think I have read such a terrible book in my life. If you've read the book, than you know. The writing is embarrassingly bad: From the dialogue all the way to the sentence structures and descriptions. I don't know what publishers were thinking printing this book- but, they must have been onto something, because Fifty Shades of Grey has gone on to sell something like 100 million copies or something stupid like that. Why though? I am certain there was and has been better erotic fiction written.

I guess I can sort of see the appeal. Regular boring girl, wins the attention of young billionaire bachelor. He's rich, he's hot, and he wants her so badly he can't seem to stay away. It's every girls fantasy, (have I mentioned yet,  James initially wrote this as a Twilight fan fiction... *le sigh*). What's funny about this book though, readers everywhere knew it was bad, gross bad. But like any disturbing thing, you can't help but stare, an share it with your friends (I know I certainly encouraged a couple ladies to read it- "guys, you have to read this, it's so bad, just read it.")

I attempted to reread Fifty Shades of Grey in November in anticipation of the film, but I couldn't do it. The writing was bad, the relationship was messed up, the dialogue was EYE ROLL inducing. I just could not. I have since skimmed it. I also have only read the first two books in the trilogy, I couldn't force myself to read the third. I don't think I ever will.

Anywho, let's get onto what we're really here for...

The Movie

When I first heard that Fifty Shades of Grey was going to be a movie, my first reaction was: Whaaaaa?!?! How on earth was this even a possibility. Fifty Shades of Grey, and erotic novel, how?Even now,  I find myself shaking my head thinking, I can't believe they made a movie, I can't believe it.

I went into this movie with low expectations. Very low expectations. The trailers hadn't blown me away. Nor has the cast really (even though, I am a HUGE Jamie Dornan fan, I thought Christian Grey was beneath him).  But I knew I was going to see the film- what can I say, I love the movies.  So, I went. On a Monday afternoon, with a girlfriend.

Really, the movie is kind of dumb. But I loved it. It was the perfect combo of corny and eye rolling. It was a grown up Twilight (and I loved Twilight).  Much like Twilight, the movie took away most of what made the book unbearable. Such as, The ridiculous dialogue (although there was still plenty of it), and the millions of ridiculous emails the two send to one another were also missing. In it's place, there was spunk and humour. Where somethings in the book were down right pathetic, the movie kind of made a joke out of them. I really appreciated that. I felt like I was part of one big inside joke.

I am not saying that the whole film was one big satire. It was not. The movie gets pretty nitty gritty. So, yeah, let's talk about the sexy times. They were sexy. I'd even go as far to say they were tasteful. This movie is not a pornography, I wouldn't even go as far as to say it's soft core porn, it's not graphic or smutty. There are less then five sex scenes in the movie, Dakota Johnson goes fully nude in the film, but not in a exhibitionist kind of way. She's just naked. I was initially a little shocked by what I was seeing, but then I thought, Sara, you've seen both True Blood and Game of Thrones, both Television shows are more sexually explicit than this. And it's the truth.

And finally, our Christian and Ana.

 Let's just say, Dakota Johnson completely stole the show! She was absolutely brilliant. She was so charming, and really brought Ana to life. And made her likeable. I don't know about you, but book Ana was awful. Whiny and annoying. Not movie Ana.  Dakota says something in the March issue of Glamour magazine, she says she doesn't see Ana as being weak, she believes her to be stronger than Christian is. I don't believe that to be true about book Ana, Movie Ana-Dakota's Ana, I would agree. I am completely smitten by Dakota Johnson. Jamie Dornan, I love him. I think he's so handsome, and a brilliant actor- if you haven't seen him in The Fall, you need to, he will creep you right out. I wasn't thrilled with him being cast as Christian Grey- like I mentioned earlier, he could do so much better. I couldn't picture it- I couldn't picture anyone being Christian Grey. I don't know if he did a spectacular job, but I thought it was believable. And he was hot.

I am sure there are 10 million other things I could talk about, in regards to this film. The chemistry between Dakota and Jamie (I thought it was fine), does it promote/support rape culture (absolutely not), is it an abusive relationship (perhaps, it's definitely unbalanced and dysfunctional). But I don't think that I need to. It was a fun film to watch with a friend, where we could giggle like we were back in high school. I certainly hope the sequels get the green light- that ending.

Ps- The soundtrack is spectacular! I am obsessed with the song Earned It by The Weekend. So good.

What about you guys? Have you seen the movie? What were your thoughts? I'm curious, so let me know.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

My Thoughts: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

I have so many different feelings when it comes to Jandy Nelson's, I'll Give You the Sun. I had heard so many good things about this one, I don't think I'd seen a single negative review. So, I was pretty excited to get to it. However,  I'll Give You the Sun, took me FOREVER to read. I want to say the whole month of January. This is a long time for me. Why though? Why did it take me so long to get through? Let's see...

I'll Give You the Sun is the story of twins,  Jude and Noah, a brother and a sister, with little in common, but still, are bound to one another by some magical unseen force. Both Jude and Noah narrate this story. It is their story to tell- no more Jude's than Noah's.  While Jude tells the present day story, Noah reveals it's past. This aspect of the novel, ended up working in it's favour, The two different narrators really took me a bit to get comfortable with. I normally really enjoy the back and forth of a story- I really like flashbacks (If I Stay, Jellicoe Road), I like when there are two stories being told at the same time, and seeing where they connect.

In the case of I'll Give You the Sun. The back and forth drove me crazy. I think because I was getting bits and pieces of the same story. And I was never certain what was going on. When I finally got a handle on the way the story was being told, I found myself enjoying what Nelson was offering way more. I was maybe half way through the story, when I finally found the rhythm. It really was the first half of the novel that took me the longest to read. Because after that first hurtle I flew.

I'll Give You the Sun, was a beautifully written novel, about misunderstandings and missed opportunities. Jandy Nelson is an author that everyone needs to experience. I felt so much while reading this book. It was nothing less than magical. I don't know how else to say it. The way Noah experienced life was beautiful, and completely inspiring. His relationship with art is like nothing I have ever read about. I am in wonder now just thinking about it.  Jude was a harder character to unravel, but you do, and she's amazing in her own way. Jude has done some pretty hurtful things, and in her story she's punishing herself for it all, or searching for redemption?  One of my favourite things about I'll Give You the Sun is Jude's relationship with her mentor, sculptor Guillermo. It's so special and perfect.

Both protagonists have their little romances, and they are wonderful in the same way that this whole book is wonderful. But really, I'll Give You The Sun, is about how people relate to one another. How Jude and Noah relate to each other and both stages of their life. They've lost one another and are trying to figure out where to go from there.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. It's beautifully written and is nothing short of magical. It does have a slower start, and it does take some perseverance. But it's completely worth it. This book is a must read.

~Happy Reading Everyone

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Monthly Recap- January

These post may be more for me than any of you. But here I go anyways. I really enjoy(ed) keeping track of what I'd read in a month this way. So I bring back to you the Monthly Recap.

I read only six books in January. Which actually, is pretty standard for me. I'd like to push that to seven for February, we'll see. Anywho, here they are.

1) The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley- Had to read this one for Book Club. I didn't like it. I found it incredibly boring and poorly written. The theme of the novel would suggest that it would be an incredibly moving novel, with a ton of emotion and would be the cause of a number of tears. That is not what I got. I felt nothing. Oh well.

While I was reading The Promise of Stardust, I was also listening to....

2) Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling- This book was brilliant! I started watching The Mindy Project last summer (maybe even later) and I fell in love. SO naturally, I wanted to read her book. But seeing as Mindy herself narrates it, I thought it'd be pretty fantastic to experience it that way. I was right. I loved the way Mindy told her stories. She had me cracking up all over the place. It was a lot of fun to listen to.

After weeks and weeks I finally finished...

3) I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson- I don't want to say to much about how I felt reading this book. Because - wait for it - I think I'm going to write a review. But I have mixed feelings on this one. Stay tuned.

Then I moved onto....

4) Take Me On by Katie McGarry- I don't think I have every been so disappointed in a book ever. I am a huge fan of McGarry. But Take Me On was weak. I found that there was absolutely no depth to the story and I couldn't connect with the characters or their situation at all. I was sad. I am hoping this one was a fluke bust on my part, and her future books will be better for me.

After, I quickly read...

5) The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen- What an absolutely lovely little novel. I loved this book. It was so endearing and just a feel good book. I loved it. I am eager to read more by this author. (This is another Carrie recommends, and she never steers me wrong).

I ended the month with...

Fixed On You by Laureline Paige- Why did I read this?!? I don't know. It was so STOOPID! I have thoughts on these types of books and the way the female protagonists are portrayed. Maybe, someday, I'll get around to writing about them.

Overall, it wasn't a bad month. I have a plan for February's reading. I have three series I am hoping to finish. I just have the last books to read. SO keep your fingers crossed that I get to them.

Here's to hoping you'll be seeing more of me, but I make no promises.

~Happy Reading Everyone!
"So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."
— Roald Dahl