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Holiday Reading

Hi my lovelies, and happy holidays! I’m really getting into it this year—I bought Christmas cards to send out, I started listening to Christmas music BEFORE Thanksgiving, and I’m almost finished with my gifts-to-buy list. Here’s what I’ve been reading lately, if you’d like to know…

51hIPe2typL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. My friend Nicole and I went to see her speak in November and got free copies of her book with our tickets! Um, hello—she is such a badass and I am obviously obsessed with her (and Scandal, and Grey’s, and *esp* How to Get Away with Murder). All TGIT fans will enjoy this book because she talks a lot about her shows, but there really is so much more to it. She touches on everything from her unconventional views on marriage to motherhood to why it’s ok to be friends with a fictional character. Her voice lingered with me for a while after I read it—so empowering and fierce.IMG_4360

One of my favorite quotes: “There is no list of rules. There is one rule. The rule is: there are no rules. Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be. Being traditional is not traditional anymore. It’s funny that we still think of it that way. Normalize your lives, people. You don’t want a baby? Don’t have one. I don’t want to get married? I won’t. You want to live alone? Enjoy it. You want to love someone? Love someone. Don’t apologize. Don’t explain. Don’t ever feel less than. When you feel the need to apologize or explain who you are, it means the voice in your head is telling you the wrong story. Wipe the slate clean. And rewrite it. No fairy tales. Be your own narrator.”

61U24vS7erL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. I’m about halfway through this one right now and really loving it. I knew I had to read it after I finished I’ll Give You the Sun (probably the #1 book I read this year—a perfect gift for anyone). It’s about a girl named Lennon whose sister dies suddenly at 19, leaving her to navigate the aisles of grief with her grandmother and uncle. Lennon, who has never particularly been interested in boys, finds solace in her sister’s boyfriend’s arms, but the new kid at school has also caught her eye. The writing is so special, and the characters really come alive on the page. A bit sad, but worth the read.

41ER04S8koL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. I have a CRAZY girl crush on Mindy (pretty late to the party, as usual). Her latest book is just more comedic goodness, but a little more mature than her first (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?). My ebook version was totally whack for some reason, so I was only able to get through half of it (just another reason to read real books). So I have to finish this at some point. Luckily, The Mindy Project supplied me with my daily dose of Mindy, but now I finished that, so I’m def in withdrawal guys. IS ANYONE ELSE IN PANIC after watching the midseason finale? Can we please talk about it ASAP because I’m still incredibly upset about it.

On my to-read list this winter:

A list of my favorite gifts coming soon! xoxox


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Reading Lately

Yoooooooooooooo guys what uppppp. Decided to show up to the blog today after a certain friend texted me that my site wasn’t working because I didn’t renew the domain name. I mean, I don’t write anything for four months and she is STILL checking my blog. *love you bunches LG*

SO. Tryna get back on the wagon now that the summer craziness has ended! I’ve read some great books lately and wanted to share in case you’re looking for a cozy fall read. And if you’re still reading after my four-month hiatus, thanks for following along. : )

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson. PLEASE READ THIS BOOK, mostly just so we can gush about how freakin’ amazing it is. Within the first five pages I knew that it was like nothing I’ve ever read before. Her writing style is just so unique, it’s such a breath of fresh air. The YA novel follows artistic twins Noah and Jude as they navigate every pain and joy of adolescence, intense relationships that inevitably emerge, and the ties that bind family despite tragedy and secrets. The perspective alternates between the twins and travels back and forth in time, making for a twisty, breath-taking, heartbreakingly beautiful read. One of my favorite quotes: “She’s a people-mechanic and always knows when I’m malfunctioning.”

Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford. This one received major publicity, and I’m happy to say it lived up to the hype! It follows a twenty-something woman working her way into the old-money crowd to further her career right before the stock market crash. An interesting point of view, especially as the novel progresses.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. A little late hopping on the Mindy train, but of course I’m now obsessed with her. I randomly watched an episode of The Mindy Project, which prompted me to pick this up. She’s hilarious and knows what she’s talking about–this quote is everything. Can’t wait to read her new book!

What Alice Forgot and The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty. I loved The Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies so I decided to pick up a few of her other novels, and they were just as satisfying. What I love most about them is that her characters are always laugh-out-loud funny.

The Selection by Kiera Cass. The only way to describe this book is Hunger Games meets The Bachelor. I didn’t love the writing and the main character is a bit annoying, but the concept was intriguing.

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. WOWZAAAA. This was a sparky one. So disturbing, but I could not put it down. A bit of a thriller about a magazine writer living the NYC high life trying to keep her dark past from ruining her perfect future.

What are you guys reading? Would love to know. Happy fall! xo

P.S. I promise that this will make your Tuesday 10x better.


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S U M M E R T I M E

Hi guys! Happy Monday! Is it just me or did we totally skip spring and go right from freezing to so freakin’ humid that I’m already wearing all the summer dresses? New York, ya kill me. I ain’t hatin’ the pretty green trees and blooms everywhere, though. : ) Thought I’d stop in this week and give you guys some recs for summer reading–my favorite season, obvs. So many good books, so little time (#lifemotto).

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. This one had been on my list since last summer because it was so popular and because I loved some of Lockhart’s past stuff. This YA sort of-thriller gives a glimpse into the lives of the Sinclairs, a privileged and beautiful family with a vacation home on a private island. The family reconvenes every summer to revel in the sunshine and each other’s company. But we soon realize that all is not well with Cadence, the narrator. After a terrible accident, she is forced to glue the pieces back together in her own way if she wants to find any semblance of the truth about what happened that summer night. The surprising twist at the end is what had everyone talking about this one, but it took so long to get there that it didn’t deliver much satisfaction for me. Definitely intriguing and different, though, with a writing style to match if you’re looking to switch it up.

Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah & Skye Chatham. THIS BOOK. !!! !!! This is the perfect beach read–quick, hilarious, and just the right amount of quirky. I’m such a sucker for slightly unconventional love stories and this is just that–the joys and challenges of dating in our tech-obsessed society. The modern-day love story of Madeline and Elliot is told only through their texts, emails to each other, and emails to each of their best friends. Entirely too relatable and laugh-out-loud funny, you’ll fall in love with every character and ditch everything else for a few hours to read (stalk?) the digital rollercoaster that is a 21st-century relationship.

 

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella (out June 4th). She’s back at it again, this time with her first YA novel. And it delivers with Kinsella’s classic humor and wacky characters. This light-hearted read follows young Audrey, our sunglasses-wearing narrator, through the aftermath of a traumatic bullying incident at school. Suffering from anxiety and depression, Audrey struggles to return to her “normal” life but finds even the simplest ways of the world difficult to handle (i.e. eye contact, walking on the sidewalk). When her brother’s friend, Linus, isn’t scared away by her dark glasses and weird antics, she slowly begins to piece herself back together. It sounds dark, but somehow it’s the exact opposite, with an eye-opening view into the “lizard brain” (as Audrey calls it) of someone suffering from mental illness.

 

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen. Best for last, OF COURSE. I have been anxiously awaiting her latest for months, and I’m so happy to say that it doesn’t disappoint (unlike The Moon and More, to be honest). As she’s been saying in all the interviews, it is very different from her other books, but in a good way. Sydney has always lived in her brother’s shadow, even more so after he goes to jail for a drunk driving accident. Feeling invisible becomes secondhand nature until she meets the Chatham family–loud, messy, chaotic–everything that Sydney is not. Sydney and Layla form a quick friendship, weathering the highs and lows of high school and the consequences of addiction that have touched both of their families. As they grow closer, Sydney also finds refuge in Layla’s brother’s company, and it is only then that she begins to see herself in a light of her own. Dessen describes with achingly perfect accuracy the butterflies that accompany an evolving crush, the power of female friendship, and the safety of having a second family to come home to.

Happy reading, loves! Talk soon. xo


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Good Reads

Helllooooo lovelies. Just popping in to share a couple amazing books that I read recently. The first one is Wild, which I finished a while ago. I bought this on my trip to San Francisco last fall, but it sat on my bookshelf for a couple months before I picked it up. I was hesitant because I thought it was going to be boring. Lesson learned: never underestimate the powerhouse that is Cheryl Strayed. It is the story of Cheryl’s solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs from Mexico to Canada on the West Coast. But more than that, it’s about her journey to find love, acceptance, and peace following the death of her mother and the destruction of her family. What I loved most about it is that Cheryl is such a relatable superwoman, if that makes sense.

There is a part in the very beginning of the book where she packs the bag that she will take with her on the trail. She stuffs it full of everything she thinks she’ll need along the way. When she goes to pick up, she can’t lift it off the ground. It is just too heavy. And she grumbles to herself. She doubts herself, her decision to do the hike in the first place. She wonders how she is going to carry this pack for miles when she can’t even pick it up. But eventually she gets down on the ground and somehow wrestles the pack onto her back, and heads out to start the hike. Because what other choice does she really have?

I love that scene so much. I love her adventure, even if at times I found myself saying, “Cheryl, NOOOOOOO!” You can’t help but admire her broken-hearted carelessness and humility through the lens of her beautiful writing.

The other book I recently finished is If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher. I tell anyone who will listen about her blog, which I’m obsessed with, which is why I ran out to buy this the day it came out (and got to meet her at the author signing *fangirl moment*). This memoir covers everything from friendship to first love to faith to discovering God to depression. When she moves to New York City right out of college, Hannah believes she’s going to change the world. Because life is life, things don’t go as planned and she becomes wrapped up in her loneliness. One day, a woman on the subway catches her eye and something moves inside her–she begins to write that woman a love letter. And nothing from that moment on is the same for her. Hannah now runs More Love Letters, a movement that allows anyone to write love letters to strangers in need. I bookmarked so many lines in this book–the girl just has a way with words that inspires you to make a change in your life as soon as you put the book down.

And that’s it for now! Hoping to be back sooner than later this time around. xo


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Good Reads & Tunes

Hey loves! I hope you’re welcoming 2015 the best way you know how.

So, to state the obvious: I fell into a major reading drought during the end of last year. I’ve gone without reading before, but nothing like that. I think it was the combination of reading at work and a shortened subway ride and the fact that nothing really caught my eye. The thing that always pulls me out of it is an amazing can’t-put-it-down book, and I’m so happy to say that I’ve gotten back into it. (For now, at least–fingers crossed.) The book that saved me this season is Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed. I’ve never bookmarked so many pages before. Guys, it is so right on and she gives the most beautiful advice on every subject from financial issues to love to family to friendship. Even though I don’t usually enjoy reading advice columns (it’s a collection of her Dear Sugar columns from The Rumpus), the letters published in this book are thoughtful and human and raw, and I can’t help but see myself in every one of them. This is one I’ll read again and again, and I haven’t even finished it yet. Go buy it now, please!

Next on my list are two YA books that caught my eye: Althea & Oliver and All the Bright Places. Well-written YA is my fave and I can’t wait to dive into these.

And two songs that I can’t get out of my head . . .

Oh, and this recipe is delicious heaven. A little bit of everything for ya. :) Hopefully I’ll be back sooner than later this time around. Peace and love ya’ll.


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After I’m Gone

Happy happy Friday! It’s raining here and I’m a little sad that I’m not going back to Geneseo today for Alumni Weekend (sigh). Not much going on this weekend, although Sunday is my first entire day off in almost three weeks, so VERY happy about that. Also, thank you everyone who gave me book suggestions for my reading drought! I put many of them on my list and can’t wait to dig in.

After I'm GoneIn the end, I decided on After I’m Gone by Laura Lippman because it was finally my turn on the library wait list. A mystery was just what I needed because I couldn’t put this one down, it was so suspenseful. Felix Brewer is at the height of his game–he has a successful albeit criminal career, a beautiful wife, two daughters with one on the way, and a striking mistress. When a prison sentence is handed to him, Felix disappears, never to be heard from again. His family is left with nothing and Bambi, Felix’s wife, suspects that it has something to do with the other woman. On the 10th anniversary of Felix’s disappearance, his mistress vanishes, thought by everyone to have finally been summoned be Felix only to be found dead in a park near the family’s home. The case turns cold when no clues turn up and is laid to rest until Robert Sanchez, a retired police officer, picks it up again 26 years later. As he struggles to connect the dots between old suspects, evidence, and rumors, Sanchez discovers that no one has fully healed since Felix’s fateful disappearance. A tale of loyalty, motivation, protection, and love, the case throws everyone’s deepest secrets into the light in order to bring the truth to justice.

I haven’t read too many mysteries, and obviously nothing compares to Gone Girl, but I liked this one for its continuous suspense and wide lens. The reader gets glimpses into the minds of the detective, the three daughters, Felix, Felix’s best friends, his mistress, and his wife (I hated the name Bambi at first, but now I love it). The book jumps back in forth between the past and present, which was sometimes jarring, but an effective way of putting the pieces together. This book keeps you guessing up until the very end, and I was definitely surprised by the final chapter. Sometimes the cop’s narrative felt a little cliche to me, but I admired the detail in the setting of Baltimore and the love stories woven throughout. Overall a solid read.

Have a lovely weekend!

PS – Here are your reading recommendations, if anyone else is looking for a good read.


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Divergent Series

Hey hey, bookworms. I put off writing this post for a few days, if only because I am STILL wrapping my head around it. But we’ll get to that later. Divergent by Veronica Roth (no spoilers, promise!) portrays a world set in future-day Chicago, where society is divided into five factions: Candor, Erudite, Amity, Abnegation, and Dauntless. Each of these factions contributes something to society in order keep order and balance–Candor are honest, Erudite are smart, Amity are peaceful, Abnegation are selfless, and Dauntless are brave.

divergentseries

When Tris turns 16, it is her turn to choose a  faction. Although her family is Abnegation, she knows she doesn’t quite fit in there. But choosing another faction also means leaving her family behind. When Tris faces the aptitude test–a test everyone takes to determine what faction they belong in–a dangerous secret is revealed that threatens her life as she knows it. The series follows Tris as she begins her initiation and slowly peels back the layers of her city’s facade to find that everything is never as it seems.

I was hesitant when I first started reading because it seemed way too similar to Hunger Games. That couldn’t be more false, which made me so happy! It’s not until you finish the third book that you really realize how carefully crafted each book is. The plot is a spiderweb of suspense with just enough romance (FOUR ♥♥ ). Oftentimes I felt like I do when watching Scandal: I have no idea what’s happening, but I am still absolutely riveted. Ah, so hard to talk about it without giving spoilers, but I will say that I absolutely HATED the ending. HATE HATE HATE. HATE. Still this much hate after finishing it a few days ago.

Either way, I would totally recommend this series AND the movie. Usually I never find the movie adaptions as good as the books, but this movie was so spot-on. The music, the actors, everything. It was so perfect that I cried during the opening scenes. Gah, I’m embarrassing. Did you guys read it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!