#GirlBoss

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I am a girl boss and if we’re all being perfectly honest, you can be too.

I started watching the new Netflix original #GirlBoss a couple of weeks ago and damn if I wasn’t pulled in right away. It’s smart, funny, and…wait for it… Loosely based on true events. That was enough for me to go digging for the book. #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso, the founder of Nasty Gal, was a quick click away. While the audiobook was not read by Amoruso, it was still a good read.

Was the book as good as good as the show? Shockingly no. I really expected that the book would rise above the show but it did not. This was one of those rare moment when Netflix outshines everyone and made #GIRLBOSS just slightly flater than I’d hoped for. It did have some fun moments, and some good advice about being your own girl boss,  but all in all, I think this was one of those situations, where the Netflix has the magical ability of turning an okay book into A+ tv.

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Delirium

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What if Love was outlawed? In Lauren Oliver’s book DELIRIUM, Love is a disease and there is a cure. All citizens of the United States must take the cure at age eighteen and be rid of the disease once and f28664211896or all. City’s are fenced in to protect the citizens from the Wilds where love sympathizers lurk. Lena is less than three months away from her cure date. She’s counting down the days until she’s matched with her future husband and is ready to be out from under her aunt’s thumb. Everything changes when she meets Alex. He’s a guard with secrets. Secrets and a wild past. What would you do for love?

I enjoyed DELIRIUM so much. I went in hesitantly. Unbelieving that O266964fe496904d37f5340c14a35a689.jpegliver could write yet another mind blowing book. Can she continue to produce amazing books? Is she flawed? Maybe but I didn’t see it in in this book. I’m a sucker for a good dystopian book. And the premise of LOVE being outlawed = Mind Blown. I loved how she managed to keep a lot of the book grounded around a semi-normal society. It wasn’t like THE GIVER or MATCHED or even DIVERGENT. It takes place in Portland and could easily be mistaken for a normal city. Minus the regulators, fences, and every person over the age of eighteen walking around like happy zombies.

I’m excited to take on book two. I don’t even feel the need for a break between books, like I often do in series. I’m ready to delve feet first and find out what happens to Lena and Alex. The cliffhanger ending is impossible to walk away from. 9f5a03023528442320b1ce8605b3d8f6.jpeg

Before I fall

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If there is one story I can read, reimagined time and time again, it’s the groundhog day – 12 days of chirstmas – butterfly effect – repete this day until you finally get it right – story. BEFORE I FALL was the perfect reimagined version of this. I was a fan of Lauren Oliver when I read PANIC, but I’m in love with her after BEFORE I FALL.

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined.

From the first pages, Oliver grips you and drags you into the depths of her story. Wave of emotions pound at you until the very last page. I worried that living the same seven days would fall flat on paper but Oliver manages to raise questions about love, life, death, and how we are all interconnected. In a lot of ways this reminds me of Jay Asher’s THIRTEEN REASONS WHY. It explores some of those same themes, what you do in life effects those around you. Living seven days through Sam’s eyes, was heart breaking, exilerating, and shatering all in the same breath.

Growing up, I was Juliet Skyes. I had my own version of Sam’s group. I never went so far as to consider suicide over their mean and hateful pranks, but I was lucky. I knew that after high school, none of it would mater anymore. I’d get a fresh start and they’d still be the shity person they were. Sometimes all of that’s hard to admit. No one wants to admit that they were bullied in school. Or that they were a bully.

I loved the transformation we see Sam go through. From mean girl to a girl who cares. She makes personal amends in every aspect of her life. With her parrents, sister, friends, people she doesn’t know, and ultimetly with the one person who needs it the most.

BEFORE I FALL was thoughtfully writen and it will go down as one of my favorites for years to come.

 

 

Fangirl

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FANGIRL is my third Rainbow Rowell book and so maybe my love of ELEANOR AND PARK and KINDRED SPIRITS should have been the clue that reading more of Rainbow’s stuff was a good idea. But if I’m being honest, I had this fear that I’d be let down. It happens sometimes. You build an author up in your head and then fall that much harder when they fail to meet such high expectations. Maybe ELANOR AND PARK was a fluke and when I read FANGIRL or any other book by Rainbow, I’d be disappointed. I couldn’t face being such a low after I’d fallen so hard for the other two books.

I wasn’t disappointed.

There are so many reasons to love FANGIRL. So many reasons to run screaming through the streets, praising this book. Beyond whatever I can say, what I love about this book is the way it stirs my heart and warms my soul. It’s like drinking a cup of something I didn’t know I was missing.

Cather is a Simon Snow fan. She’s also one of the most popular writers of Fanfiction online. Being a fan has been Cath’s whole life. It’s the one thing she’s really good at. She and her twin sister Wren have drifted apart. College has brought on some new challenges. Cath is on her own for the first time and far out of her comfort zone. Her English professor believes that fanfiction is the equivalent of plagiarism. Her roommate is moody with a charming boyfriend who is always around. Oh and the boy at the library who only wants to use her words. Does moving on mean she has to give up Simon too?

This was beautifully written. I’m liquid and in love. Watch me pretend like I wasn’t a big fan before… because yea, it’s official, I love Rainbow Rowell. Hard. I love her books so hard I want to force them down my friend’s throats until they have to like her too. That’s not weird is it?

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Ronit & Jamil

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RONIT & JAMIL by Pamela L. Laskin is a Lyrical novel in verse. It’s a fresh retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet where the star-crossed lovers are in modern-day Israel and Palestine stuck in the middle of their countries conflict.

There were a lot of reasons I picked up this book: the cover art is beautiful, the idea of a modern Romeo & Juliet, and I’m a sucker for star-crossed love – end of story. While the poetry is beautiful at times, it does come across very middle grade. I’m not sure who the audience is supposed to be, but it feels young. Truth be told, wasn’t Juliet 12? So maybe that is the intent.

I thought it was interesting that the verses almost seemed to mirror on her side and his throughout the book. They each have individual lives, on either border of Israel and Palestine, but they are so similar. Even the day to day is similar. I could be off base here, but it felt like the author was trying to convey that despite their differences, these countries are more alike than they maybe would like to admit. So for that reason, I thought it was beautiful rendition. I don’t know that the audience as a whole would appreciate the themes in this book, and for that, I’m a little sad.

 

More Happy Than Not

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I think most readers of Adam Silvera’s MORE HAPPY THAN NOT, probably don’t remember Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but I do. Silvera’s first novel brings this idea of erasing bad memories, to a new generation. A rollercoaster of emotions have wrecked havoc on my emotional state while reading this book. I kept hoping for a happy ending, for the book to go a certain way and it never did what I thought it might. It’s hard to surprise me in a book and so for that, I’m thankful.

MORE HAPPY THAN NOT is about a boy who is considering a memory altercation procedure to help him forget that he’s gay. He believes that living a life as a straight teenager would make him happier and ultimately be easier on himself and his friends. Silvera himself says this book is about, “…science versus nature, friendship, sexuality, and a quest for happiness.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

I’ve lost two people in my life to suicide, one of them just over a year ago. It breaks my heart that Homophobia still exists. That there are those who go out of their way to hurt another human over love. I’ll never wrap my head around that kind of hate. I teach at a middle school and I watch teenagers self-harm because they feel no one in the world understands what they’re going through. Books like these must continue to authored and must continue to be read. If all else, to give a ray of hope to those who are suffering, that they’re not alone.

Silvera’s book is unforgettable, painful, beautiful, and so many more words I can’t conjure at this moment.

13 Reasons Why

It’s no secret the internet has been blowing up with the new Netflix original series 13 REASONS WHY based on the book by Jay Asher produced by Selena Gomez and her mother.

I happened upon it last week and started watching it on a whim. I’d never heard of it or the book. In fact about three or four episode in, I did a little digging and found the book. I didn’t want any spoilers so I avoided the internet but ordered the book on audible. When I finished the TV show on Thursday, I started the book, and last night I started to re-watch the show for t13-reasons-why-splashhe second time.

Hey, it’s Hanna, Hanna Baker. Don’t adjust your…whatever device you’re hearing this on. It’s me, live and in stereo. No return engagements, no encore, and this time, absolutely no requests. Get a snack. Settle in. Because I’m about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you’re listening to this tape you’re one of the reasons why.

Both the show and the book are set in the aftermath of a suicide. From the very first lines we know, Hannah killed herself. She leaves behind seven tapes, with thirteen reasons why she took her own life. Each reason corresponding to a person. Both the book and the show follow Clay Jensen as he listens to the tapes. We hear Hannah’s story right alongside Clay.

This book, and especially this show, set out to do something bigger than other books and movies about suicide. It sets out to show readers and viewers the consequences of their actions. It attempts to prevent tragedies, like Hannah Baker’s, from ever happening. Hit it head on and target the Alex Standalls, the Justin Foleys, the Tyler Downs, the Sheri Hollands and the Zach Dempseys why-are-book-fans-skeptical-about-the-dramatic-13-reasons-why-trailerof the world. Your actions matter and everything affects everything. At the end of it all, Hannah Baker is still dead. There is no saving her with a happily ever after. There are no friends or a love interest that will magic her back to life. The point of all of it is to learn from your mistakes. But how do you do that? By being exposed to them. That’s what this book does. It exposes every bad decision that affected Hannah’s mental health.

Mental Health is one of those topics that is still overlooked and taken for granted. There is still a certain amount of taboo associated and it’s largely misunderstood. Suicide is often viewed as selfish because understanding how someone’s mind can betray them is hard. Understanding how seemingly trivial moments derail someone’s entire life can be incomprehensible. And that’s why this show and book are important. It wasn’t created to help someone who battles with depression,  it wasn’t made for the person who teeters on the edge of a cliff. It’s made for the rest of us. For those who find hilarity in a “hot or not” list. Hannah’s name made “the best ass,” and this is created for those who don’t see a 13-reasons-why_0problem with that. Who think, boys will be boys and teenagers are just being teenagers. But that one moment put a target on her bottom and changed the way others perceived her. It took her life one more step out of her control. She became a sum of body parts worthy of sexualization instead of Hannah Baker.

The show is graphic. They portray rape and suicide without a wavering camera.  If they had hopes of impacting their audience, of making people think twice about their decisions, then they couldn’t afford to avoid the true weight of a person’s actions. The moment when Hannah broke while she was being raped, still sends a chill through me thinking about it. I cried along side her when she slit her wrists in the bathtub. Those images were impactful because they needed to be. If it makes you uncomfortable, then it succeeded. You were supposed to squirm.

Each action was just as harmful as the next and watching that build is an important part of understanding how any decision can be the one that pushes someone over that edge to suicide. Rape wasn’t treated with any more harshness than the “hot or not,” list. Adults don’t get out of it either. Mr. Porter, the school counselor was just as responsible for Hannah’s death as the person as the boy who was stealing her complement notes. At the end of the day, you don’t know how much your words can hurt someone. How your actions can affect them in ways you’ll never imagine. Every person was forced to see themselves for what they’d done and evaluate their actions. Live with the consequences of that. What I appreciated with regards to the show, was that every person was shown a little sympathy except for Bryce, the rapist. By not showing any sympathy to him, viewers have no excuses for his behavior. He is a bad person and fuck that. But everyone else was just as human as Hannah.

This show is equally hard to watch as it was hard to look away. The book was just as powerful and I recommend both. The TV show takes it one step further, by expanding on the lives of each character. It also ends with the potential for wrongs made right by refusing to silence the things that have happened. It’s the one thing I wish the book would have done. If we can’t have a happy ending, then I want to know that people have changed. They’ve woken to their mistakes. If this does one thing, it forces viewers and readers to evaluate themselves. Making this series and book without a doubt invaluable.

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Lolita

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This has been on my “to-read” list for years. YEARS. I’m finally getting around to it. Or should I say, got around to it. Such a twisted story, one that is both at times revolting and fascinating. I never shied from the book, instead, the pages kept turning and I quickly was finished.

I find that literarily speaking, people tend to be turned off by this book. When you know it hits heavily on sexual relations between thirty-seven-year-old Humbert Humbert and twelve-year-old Dolores “Lolita” Hayes, you just about have the whole of the story. There is more than this, but everything circles this.

I have many thoughts and yet I find myself a bit short on time and posting this a week later than I would have liked. I was reading a review online and found myself nodding along to it in agreement. I too have no one to discuss this book with and I feel compelled to share this review instead of writing my own. So I encourage those of you who want to know more about the conniving H.H. to read Ian Graye’s review on Goodreads. 

It will blow your mind, open your eyes, and it might even compel you to read this book. There really wasn’t anything that I disagreed with in his analysis. I just wish I’d written it first.

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between

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I can remember the first time I watched a preview for Gilmore Girls. I was the same age as one of the main characters, Rory Gilmore. I fell in love from the first episode and have since watched it several times. I even started a blog as a class assignment a few years ago called MirandomReviewsGilmoreGirls.tumblr.com where I started to review one episode per day as a commitment to writing. Something I’d like to make a living at some day.

Fast forward to Lauren Graham’s book, TALKING AS FAST AS I CAN. DUH! I had to read it and I was not disappointed. Lauren covers everything from her start in Hollywood, her first novel, Gilmore girls, Parenthood, and what it was like to go back to Gilmore Girls again.  As a fan of both Lauren and her shows, I don’t think that there was a way to be disappointed in this book. So maybe that makes me a bit bias. I can own it.

TALKING AS FAST AS I CAN, was quick-witted, humorous, and it felt honest. Lauren has admitted she likes to keep her private life, well… private. So this book wasn’t overly personal or filled with the nitty gritty details that sometimes we crave about people we admire. But it was fun, it was light, and it did give me a better sense of who she is. In a lot of ways, Lauren Graham is the embodiment of Lorelai Gilmore and it shines through in this book.

Survivor

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This was a book I picked up on sale with Audible. Years ago I bought it but never got around to reading it. It was about time I listened to it and boy was I glad I did! Survivor by Chuck Palahnicuk’s dry humor is dark, twisted, and I couldn’t put it down. I wasn’t expecting to be quite so blown away by this book, but none the less it left me buying a new Palahniuk book. I’d read Fight Club ages ago and wasn’t left as satisfied as my friends. But Survivor was a breath of fresh dark humored air.

The book opens with Tender Branson, the last surviving member of the Creedish Death Cult, dictating his life story into Flight 2039’s black box recorder. He tells us this plane will crash in the Australian outback, but not before he has the chance to tell us his whole story starting with chapter 43. From the beginning to the very last page, I was on edge dying to know what would happen next. Where would this book take me?

If you don’t mind a dark plot, social commentary on fame, the media, and those who are spotlight drawn, then this book might just be for you. If you don’t like those things but you enjoy something that will keep you guessing, I’d recommend reading it anyway.