Everything I Never Told You (2014) by Celeste Ng

★★★★☆ 4/5

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.
So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. 
A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another. – Goodreads


Fiction / Can be read in a few days / Emotional 

This was definitely a different read for me this year, I had started out with some emotional reads, but since summer I have almost entirely committed my TBR to books that have some horror or fantasy aspect. Although there was a hint of mystery in this book it was generally focusing on emotions and relationships which is not usually my interest.

I found this book at a huge book fair and the cover drew me in so I said I would take a chance on it and I am glad I did. It is a beautiful, but dramatic story of a family who loses their daughter/sister. It explores the identities of each family member, their own issues, and their own speculation on what may have happened to Lydia.

Growing up has shown me Lydia’s perspective where she feels pressured to make her parents proud, but it has also opened my eyes to a huge theme in this read. When you are young you see your parents as just that – parents. What we soon discover as we mature and begin to think more is that our parents are people too, they have a history, they have a future, and they are not strictly just our parents. There is so much more to a life than we know, and a tragedy such as this has opened old wounds and prompted self discovery of the family.

Although it was not a high action novel, there were still times of suspense and mystery and I loved learning about the different lives and reactions of the members of the family. It is nice to be reminded that everyone has a story.

I cannot wait to read Little Fires Everywhere!

 

"Suddenly she felt drowned in the incredible wrongness of this moment,"
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Poets,Artists,Lovers: A Novel (2017) by Mira Tudor

★★★ 3.5/5

IMG_3820PAL is a fast-paced yet poignant character-driven novel riding waves of romanticism, drama, and wit in a manner reminiscent of David Nicholls’s books (One Day)—and set in the exciting world of several vibrant Romanian artists and musicians. Henriette, an accomplished sculptor, seems to find more joy in her feminist-inspired work and her piano playing than in the people who care about her.
Ela, a piano teacher turned book reviewer, hopes to discover the key to happiness and a more meaningful life through studying the workings of the mind and crafting poems about emotions she trusts will lead her to a better place. Joining them in beauty and blindness is Pamfil, a violinist who dabbles as a singer and lives mostly for the moment and his monthly parties. As they follow their passions, they find themselves on treacherous journeys to love and happiness, and are slow to figure out how to best tackle their predicaments. Fortunately, their lovers and friends are there to help . . . but then a newcomer complicates things. – Goodreads


Fiction/Contemporary/Women’s Fiction – can be read in a few good reading sessions

This read consists of characters that are artists in many different possible forms; sculptors, violinists, poets, and more. Somehow all their paths cross through a man named Pamfil whose charm makes them question what type of passion they seek in life.

Pamfil stimulates the discussion of what is lust, and what is love. Each lover endures different personal struggle identifying with what they feel for Pamfil and what it means for their relationship with their current/past partner.

I really enjoyed Mira’s writing style, there was so much insight and emotion in the writing I always caught myself writing down favorite quotes. The flow and beauty in the writing made the story so much more pleasurable to read.

The discussion of lust,love, and relationships is important in life and if you can relate at all then this read will definitely get you thinking about the kind of passion and stability you seek in your own life. Seeing Pamfil through the eyes of Henriette, Ela, and Anca and reading about the impacts he had on their lives provides us with different perspectives on the love/lust conversation and emphasizes that the impact of such a relationship is different depending on who you are and what you value.

My only problem with this read is that there was not enough action for me. Towards the middle it seemed to be very slow with a lot more discussion about weight than necessary. I would of enjoyed more events that caused interaction between all our poets,artists, and lovers. The beginning and ending were very well done and strong, however I did have a hard time staying engaged in the middle.

I definitely hope to read more from this author.

You can get her book here

"There is no routine with a loved one. Lovers are supposed to change each 
other all the time."
"He had only one heart and couldn't trust a woman, any woman, with it."
"'At twenty-four you should be looking resolutely ahead,' Pamfil said, 
'and not into the past. There will be enough time for that later on.'"
"And life wasn't only music and sunshine."

October’s TBR!

A Little Life is definitely going to take me some time to finish, and I am also trying to get through an ebook so September’s TBR is slowing me down

HOWEVER, after careful consideration of your suggestions I have picked some spooky halloween reads for this month!

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The Shining by Stephen King – I have been dying to read this book, but I wanted to save it for October!

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – I am a little embarrassed to say I have never read this yet, but it fits right into my Halloween theme!

The Shack by William Paul Young – I have chosen this read for now (mostly because I need to finish it so my mom can have it), but it doesn’t exactly fit with my theme so I may change my mind when I get around to it.

Because I still have some September reads to clue up I have chosen only three books besides for my TBR – hopefully I get to read more.


Have you read any of these?

The Giver (1993) by Lois Lowry

★★★★★ 5/5

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This haunting story centers on Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he’s given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. – Goodreads

 

 

 


Fiction/Classic / Can be read easily, hard to put it down

It is hard to believe that I am just reading this book at 21 years old, especially since it was such a hit in some high school classes I always managed to avoid reading it – and wow, do I ever regret it!

The whole setting and idea of the society within this story is amazing enough, it is creative, manageable, and well structured. I loved hearing about the transitions children go through each year, and it was amazing to read this and have the citizens act so naturally with it because for their society it is all they know.

And then that’s when you have your twist. I do not want to spoil this book because it really is amazing and I suggest each and every one of you read it. The story really made me appreciate the good and the bad of what we experience in our lives and you get to explore your own morals and beliefs while you are held in suspense about the character’s choice of action.

"Life here is so orderly, so predictable - so painless. It's what they've
chosen."

Top 3 of Summer 2017

As of today it is officially the first day of Fall which means we sadly have to say goodbye to Summer. I had an amazing summer, and also read some amazin books.

As of today, I have read 40 Books

I still have 3 more months of reading to go, but I wanted to share my top 3 favorite books that I read in the span from june – today. Honestly, this year I have read so many great books. Almost every review I’m throwing out 4 and 5 stars, but I just can’t help it, my reading list this year has been on fire. With careful consideration, here are my top 3 reads of the summer:

3. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath (review here)

2. Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom  (review here)

1. IT- Stephen King (review here)

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What were your favorite reads of the summer?

IT Movie Adaptations

I would be very surprised if you have not already read some form of post based on the IT movie adaptation(s), especially recently with the newer release.

I recently read IT by Stephen King in preparation for the new movie release – I also watched the 1990 version before the new one.

2017 > 1990

It was hard for me to enjoy the 1990 adaptation because for one I cannot seem to enjoy old movies, however in saying that, the 1990 adaptation was still well done and I did enjoy watching it. For me, the 1990 version was basically just a way to present Stephen King’s work visually. It very closely followed the book, however it was not scary to me.

It’s hard to compare the two movies because they are two very different interpretations of Stephen King’s work.

The 2017 adaptation, in my opinion, was a masterpiece. Here’s why:

Pennywise

As soon as I heard Bill Skarsgård was playing Pennywise I knew he would be amazing. Bill starred in the TV series Hemlock Grove. That show was extremely weird and creative and Bill fit in perfectly, just like he did in IT. 2017 Pennywise was absolutely terrifying when he needed to be, and strange and mysterious when that was required. Bill portrayed the Pennywise I imagined because he uses the clown identity to enforce fear itself.

Characters

Let me just start with that the children actors were absolutely amazing. They also fit their characters perfectly.

Bill – the stuttering sounded genuine and his emotions were easily told from his expressions and seemed sincere which was key for his character since the bulk of him is his love for Georgie and the guilt he feels.

Eddie – the hypochondriac aspect is key for this character and is played very well. He was also hilarious which made him so much better. His mother also played a pretty significant role in the movie which was important for his character development.

Beverly – the actress was amazing, she had a tough persona with a dark backstory that she well portrayed through her actions and emotions in certain scenes (I’m really trying not to create any spoilers)

Ben – I loved Ben. He is so sweet and smart and is essential to the team when they are trying to figure out what haunts Derry. The New Kids on the Block jokes were hilarious.

Mike – I enjoyed Mike as well, but I feel we didn’t get too in depth with his character. Mike plays a huge role in the books so I hope to see this represented in part 2.

Stan – I think Stan’s character was very well portrayed because he always held back and was more hesitant and less invested as the others which is key in his future character development.

Richie – the best character in that movie no doubt. Richie was a little annoying in the books because you had to read paragraphs to pages of his rambling, but this comedic character was essential in the movie and I laughed out loud at everything he said.

Overall, the kids were very well represented – they exceeded my expectations for sure.

Overall

I am very happy that I decided to read the book first because I think it made the movie that much more enjoyable for me. This movie did not follow the book scene by scene or detail by detail, however even with the twists made in the adaptation they preserved elements of the book by the little details seen in many of the scenes. Some of these details you can read about in this article by Buzzfeed (spoilers)

This is definitely in my top 3 movies of all time. It was planned out so well, the horror started right away and I was scared the whole time. There were no unnecessary scenes or slow parts.

Honestly, I was nervous to see the movie because how would I feel if it went badly? Thankfully, it exceeded my expectations.

I hope everyone watches this movie, it was enjoyable, creative, and scary. I am still having nightmares (worth it).

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I Got Mail!!

Pop-up post because I received my first bookish related mail from arguably my favorite blogger I follow : JD at Studious Creatives

I love their blog because the posts explore a variety of different things and each is so creative in their own way. The blog explores reading, writing, journals, art, and anything related. I urge all my readers to check it out!

So let me introduce the what, how, when, and why of this mail !

Near the end of August JD hosted a bookmark giveaway which involved reader’s to choose their favorite and comment why (the post can be found here). As soon as I seen the bookmark titled “Be Still in the Chaos” it spoke to me, so I commented:

"I love the be still in the chaos with the intertwined roads, I just 
finished an internship and graduated from university and I have so many 
different directions I can go with different people pressuring me to go 
different ways so I definitely relate. Feels like I’m in the middle of a 
busy intersection and I don’t know which way is the way home."

I received the bookmark in the mail just recently and I love it even more than the first time I seen the design. AND THIS WASN’T EVEN THE BEST PART, I also received a handwritten letter addressed to me and words cannot explain how appreciative I am.

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This is the first mail I have received from another blogger and it just shows how fortunate I am to be able to communicate with people all around the world. It inspires me to continue blogging and to become more involved with other bloggers, and I hope to one day hold my own giveaway and make someone happy like JD has done for me.

I love blogging, but to know that it also opportunities to connect with other people makes it worth while.

Thank you so much, JD. Your blog, and now your kindness and generosity will continue to inspire me!

Alexx

Tuesdays With Morrie (1997) by Mitch Albom

★★★★★ 5/5

Processed with VSCO with a4 presetMaybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, and gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago. Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you? Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying of ALS – or motor neuron disease – Mitch visited Morrie in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final ‘class’: lessons in how to live. – Goodreads



Memoir/Inspirational / Quick read can be read in one sitting, and should be read over and over.

Okay, I loved this read. It was so sweet and enjoyable, Morrie was really an amazing man with a lot to offer to the world. This is a great way for a man to be remembered and I am so proud of Mitch for writing this.

These kinds of reads are so important to me. This read reminded me of The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch which I also really enjoyed and have been meaning to re-read. As a 21 year old newly graduated university student, life advice is crucial to me. This is the age where things get confusing because you are trying to evaluate where you are in life and figuring out where you want to be and how to get there. I always say to myself “if I knew then what I know now” and these books can give you that in real time. Learning from others is key to our growth, and having the opportunities to hear the life lessons of wiser and more experienced people can really contribute to your own growth and possibly impact the way you live the rest of you life.

This was an enjoyable book and the set up was perfect. The chapter titles, the transitions between flashbacks and “lectures”, and the overall short and sweetness of the book makes it that much more valuable. It is a well written book with a lot to offer, I encourage everyone to read it, and then maybe read it twice.

"He was intent on proving that the word 'dying' was not synonymous with
'useless'."
"The world, I discovered, was not all that interested. I wandered around my 
early twenties, paying rent and reading classifieds and wondering why the 
lights were not turning green for me."
"I felt as if time were suddenly precious, water going down an open drain,
and I could not move quickly enough."
"'Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but 
you are bound to do something else. Something hurts you yet you know it 
shouldn't. You take certain things for granted, even when you know you 
should never take anything for granted.'"
"'So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep,
 even when they're busy doing things they think are important.'"
"'And in addition to all the miseries, the young are not wise. They 
have very little understanding about life. Who wants to live every day
when you don't know what's going on?'"
"'Aging is not just decay, you know. It's growth.'"
"Death ends a life not a relationship."

 

 

 

 

 

Bookmarks

Hope you all had a good weekend! For this weekend discussion I am going to discuss the different types of bookmarks I have used and put them in a list from best to worse. Many people use all sorts of bookmarks and there is variation in their preferences. I only picked up reading as of recently so my literature related bookmarks are lacking – I hope to do a similar post in the future to show off my collection as it grows.

Starting with the worst:

10. No Bookmark okay this one is absurd, but for a while I used to just remember the page number or put the page number in notes in my phone. The obvious issues with this is the page number can easily be forgotten especially if there is significant time in between readings. 

9. Folded Corner – this is a touchy subject in the reader world because you are “damaging” the book. I only use this bookmark when I have a used book that is already in a bit poorer of states. Although it is more effective than the no bookmark there is still an easy chance the page can unfold or previous folded pages stay folded and it can be confusing sometimes.

8. Sticky Note  commonly what I use in school because it is what I have on hand always. This is a more trustworthy method than the others, however it is easy to lose the sticky notes or to have to replace it over time. It is convenient when in a squeeze, but it is not the most reliable and there are more creative types of bookmarks. 

7. A Piece of Yarn – oh yeah, this is something I used faithfully for my first month back into reading. I rug hook so I always have little pieces of yarn lying around and I was in my office and thought hey this might work temporarily. It was definitely more reliable than the others, but there was still better.

6. Paint Chip – I finally started to get closer to a normal bookmark when I used a paint chip I got from my local Walmart. This was a more convenient and reliable option and started me towards getting more visually appealing bookmarks.

5. Hard Cover Book Slip – there’s probably a better technical term for this, but when I have a hardcover book with a paper sleeve with the little folds (come on I know you know what I am talking about) it is convenient to place them on the page. Of course, this is only an option if the book has this kind of cover, and it is also not the best plan for thicker books. I placed it at the halfway mark because I absolutely love to use this when I can, but like I said it is not always an option.

4. Receipt from Bookstore – this is a great method because if you want to start reading your book right after you buy it you already have a bookmark on hand. This is a great for when you get a new book and are too excited to wait and it is definitely reliable, however the issue is that it is temporary because it this bookmark is thin white paper that can become dirty or damaged very easily.

3. Harry Potter Bookmark – my friend Kelsey picked me up a harry potter bookmark from Florida. As you can see, it is amazing. It is the kind of bookmark that I love so much that I am afraid to use it. The only issue is that it is very large and may be too lengthy for the book which could lead it to be damaged.

2. Grandma’s Homemade Bookmark – I have a very strong relationship with my grandmother and she is always giving me gifts. This gift was very special to me because she handmade it herself with her church group. It is very special to me and I use it whenever I can, the only issue again is the length and where there are beads on both sides sometimes it is not long enough and may bend the pages in that case.

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1. My Go-To BookmarkI discussed this on Monday, my most used is my perfectly sized Geological Timescale bookmark. 



What types of bookmarks/methods have you used to save your page?