Is a Wedding Without Tears Really a Wedding?

Title: Beautiful Day
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Genre: Fiction
Quotation: “She waved good-bye and hurried down the street towards her family’s house, thinking again that some nights had good karma and some nights were cursed, and for a few moments, tonight had seemed like the former, but it had ended up the latter.”
Would recommend to: someone looking for an easy read on the beach.

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In my most humble opinion, “Beautiful Day” was a beautiful book. I’ve read a lot of reviews of it complaining that it isn’t up to the caliber of her other books. My defense is, I haven’t read any of her other books. But this is displayed as a beach read, and to me, it delivered. If you’re expecting some deep social commentary on weddings and divorce, put this book back on it’s shelf because that is not what this is.

I didn’t pick this book up expecting to be swept off my feet with amazing imagery or deep-seated themes. I was expecting an easy read to enjoy while getting tan laying by the water.

On that note, I’ll talk about the plot.

It follows a rich family through a weekend at Nantucket for the youngest daughter of a typical American family. Plot twist: The mother recently died of cancer and left a notebook with instructions for the big day.

Surprisingly, the notebook is only necessary to create drama and strife for the entire family (shocking, I know).

I thought the plot was rather predictable and pre-determined by years of reading novels. I knew exactly how it was going to end when I picked it up (or maybe 30 pages in when the main character’s love interests were introduced).

But I liked the way the book was creatively separated. It followed different family members perspectives within the division of the days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).

If you’ve noticed, creativity goes a long way with my opinion of a novel. Anything that is remotely original catches my eye and gives me hope for a great book. Maybe it’s because it adds something different to what would have been a boring story, and maybe it’s just because I appreciate creative ideas. I may never know what draws me to these books.

I don’t think “Beautiful Day” is a #1 on my list, but it’s definitely a good book to throw in your bag on the way to the beach.

Happy reading,
Kimberly

Everyone Probably Is Hanging Out Without You

I finished Mindy Kaling’s book, “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” recently, and I have to say I was a little disappointed. I had heard so many good things about it, and I just didn’t think it was the great. Maybe it’s because I read it so long after it was published, or maybe it’s because I’ve never gotten into “The Office”, but I didn’t like this book as much as I wanted to. (And I loved Amy Poehler’s book, so I thought I would love this too.)

1. I feel like she thinks she’s all that and a bag of chips. 

She would talk about episodes of “The Office” and would have to mention that she wrote it. And I understood why she mentioned it sometimes (like it related to her writing career) but it always came off as braggy to me and made me feel like Kaling thought she was the most funniest person ever.

2. It felt very random. 

Similar to Poehler’s book (which I know was written after Kaling’s), Kaling included a lot of chapters that were just fun little lists about things she was interested in. For some reason, I found these lists off the wall and unrelated to my interests and her book. Maybe it’s because I’m not that into comedy? Or I just don’t like Kaling’s style, but I didn’t find her random thoughts as interesting as as Poehler’s.

3. It was weirdly interesting to a read a book years after its publication. 

This book was published in 2011, and a lot has changed since then. For example, “The Office” was still filming, Poehler and her then husband were still together, and Joan Rivers was still alive. It was both interesting and horrific to see these little details that changed people’s lives forever (mostly Poehler’s divorce and Rivers’ death) printed forever in this book. It makes me wonder what it’s like to read even older books that are completely different than life today.

I probably won’t review this book since I didn’t really like it, but I would suggest if you’re thinking about reading Mindy Kaling’s book, go for it, and then read “Yes Please” after it.

Side note: Kaling told this really touching story about her best friend from when she was a kid, and I was my favorite part of the book. I felt it was the most honestly written part and it really captured what I wanted to know about Mindy.

Happy reading,
Kimberly

Top 5 Wednesday: Character Tropes

Top 5 Wednesday

This weeks Top 5 Wednesday is all about character tropes, which are overused themes in books you can’t help but still love. Here we go!

1. Female protagonists.

You have to admit, there are a lot of books, especially YA books, with female leads. And that’s great — I love them (hence why they are on this list) — but I understand how readers can get a little sick of reading about the dorky girl who got the guy. Books included in this: “Anna and the French Kiss”, “Divergent”, and anything by Sarah Dessen.

2. The human best friend to the superhuman/something other than human best friend.

This is pretty typical is science fiction books because what vampire/werewolf/demon/fairy doesn’t need a best friend. Usually paired with the, “I’m a what” trope (the protagonist just found out they were a vampire/werewolf/demon/fairy), this is one that I never get sick of, because I usually prefer the best friend. I noticed this mostly in shows like “Teen Wolf” but some books included in this category are: The Mortal Instrument series, “Beautiful Creatures”, and “I am Number Four”.

3. Love triangles.

Who doesn’t love a good love triangle? It pulls at your heartstrings and gives you something to root for! Books included in this category are: “Twilight” and “The Vampire Diaries” (yes, it was a book first).

4. Rebelling against the government.

One of the more popular tropes in the most recent past, rebelling against the government never gets old. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of dystopian novels. And nothing completes a dystopian world without someone rebelling against the government. Books included in this category are: “Divergent”, “The Hunger Games”, and “Uglies”.

5. Best friends falling in love.

This is the best one out there! It gives you hope that the guy/girl you’ve been best friends with for years will finally realize that you’re the one for him/her. It’s a classic that, for my generation, began with Cory and Topanga (Boy Meets World) and has continued on in books for years to come. I always see this one coming, and I’m never sick of it. Books included in this category are: the Harry Potter series and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”.

Top 10 Tuesday: Book Nerds Unite

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in 2010. It’s a fun way for bloggers all over the Internet to connect and post the things they love about books. This week is all about our favorite bookworms featured in books!

Hermione

1. Hermione Granger – Harry Potter

Is this list even complete without the number one bookworm that stole our hearts? Known for her love of the library and all things book related, I can’t help but put Hermione as number one o my list.

2. Caleb Prior – Divergent

I think I still adore his love of books and knowledge because it was a secret love for so long. I love that he craved knowledge and reading so much that he went against everything to do it.

3. Matilda -Matilda

I couldn’t help but connect with the character “Matilda”. Loving books at such a young age is what has saved me from so many things in my adult life.

4. Willow -Willow

“Willow” is about a girl who had professors as parents (they died in a car crash). She loves books and uses them as an escape from her life. She talks about her favorite little bookstore and the random books she loves that no one else has heard of, and it makes me want to be more like that — like the girl who spends all her time in bookstores reading obscure books.

5. Ponyboy Curtis -The Outsiders

Despite his upbringing Ponyboy loves reading, and I love that. There’s something about a kid who deviates from the norm that brings me hope.

Belle

6. Belle – Beauty and the Beast

Let’s call it a fairy tale, but Belle is still one of my favorite princesses and readers. The scene in the movie where she glides around the library on a sliding ladder is still one of my favorites and it’s my dream to have a library like that one of these days.

7. Rory Gilmore – Gilmore Girls

Technically not a book, but an amazing television series. Although she’s not a book character, I would like to point out that Rory is a role model for all girls to follow your dreams and enjoy a good book or two while you’re at it.

8. Scout Finch – To Kill a Mockingbird

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is still one of my favorite books and Scout is such a lovable character with curious mind.

9. Mr. Penumbra – Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore

One of the more interesting adults featured in a book, I love Mr. Penumbra and his love of all things connected with knowledge.

Inkheart

10. Meggie Folchart – Inkheart

I have to admit, I haven’t read this in awhile, but I loved this book. I found the tale to be interesting and the characters to be endearing. It’s all about a man who gets trapped in a book and his daughter’s quest to find out what’s going on.

Treasure Tuesday

Treasure Tuesday

1. I am currently reading, “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” and it’s pretty funny so far!

2. Here are some tiny pleasures that all book lovers understand from Thought Catalog.

3. always have too much to read

4. I crafted yesterday, and nothing makes you feel more accomplished than finishing a DIY project. Here’s some inspiration for book lovers!

5. Find out if you’re more Hermione or Katniss with this Buzzfeed quiz.

6. cute puppies

If you’re having a bad day, this adorable picture of puppies trying to eat each other is sure to cheer you up!

7. I got this awesome Q&A journal that documents five years of your life. I got it from Amazon, and have been writing in it regularly for a week. It makes journaling a game!

Happy reading,
Kimberly

Being Wild and Free

Title: Wild
Author:
Cheryl Strayed
Genre:
Memoir
Quotation:
“How wild it was, to let it be.”
Would recommend to:
those who are feeling a little lost in this big world.

Wild

“Wild” is a book (and now a movie starring Reese Witherspoon) about a woman who decides to make a crazy trip — hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. You probably don’t know what the PCT is (like any normal human being): it is a trail that stretches the length of the west coast, from the Mexican border to the Canadian border.

This book is a compilation of extremely honest moments that Strayed experienced while on the trail, as well as the ones that inspired her to take the trip.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s an easy read, but it really makes you think about your life and the choice you’ve made so far. While I wouldn’t put this on my list of favorite books ever read, I would suggest it to a lot of people to read.

Strayed is so honest when recounting her experiences that is encourages you to be honest with yourself. She’s also spot on about things that just suck. At one point she even says, “God was a ruthless bitch,” when it comes to granting wishes, which I found SO refreshing and open and honest. 

I really respect honesty, and while I liked reading about the trail, I really liked reading about her life before it. One of the finer moments that stuck out to me from the book was her decisions to change her name to “Strayed” (she changed it to Strayed after some crazy life experiences). I found it really refreshing that she opened up about personal aspects of her life, such as this and her divorce. It made me feel rational in some of the feelings I have experienced while in relationships.

“Wild” hits the mark with a witty story full of inspiring and eye-opening stories of a real person conquering 1,100 miles of pure earth.

Happy reading,
Kimberly

P.S. I would suggest this to older readers who’ve had more life experience. They will be able to relate to the themes and the ideas of the book a little bit more.

Pondering Penumbra

I finished “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” this past weekend, and I absolutely loved it! It was the perfect mix of entertainment and suspense. Ryan has already reviewed this amazing book, but I’m going to give you five little thoughts I had while reading it.

1. How would I answer Mr. Penumbra’s questions?

There are two questions asked in this book. The first is asked to Clay and his answer is contingent upon his securing a job: “What is you favorite book?” And the second is, “What do you seek in these shelves?” My first answer would be obvious, “1984” by George Orwell has been my favorite book since I read it this past Christmas. (I promise to review it soon!) But I wonder if this would get me hired! And then I believe that my answer to the second question would be, “Adventure.” I read to escape my world, so I want to either learn something or experience something.

2. I really really want to explore a bookstore designed like Penumbra’s. 

I recently went to an amazing bookstore in New York City. I immediately loved it with its packed walls of books that reached high into the sky and the little stools placed all around that allowed you to scour the lower shelves. But the icing on the cake was the ladders. There were huge ladders that ran up the sides of store. My dream is to own a house with a secret room just for books and have similar ladders that I can glide around my library. (If this reminds you of Belle from “Beauty and the Beast”, you’ve found my inspiration.)

3. Are there real life bibliophile bars? Because if there are, that’s where I want to be. 

In the book, Clay and his posse meet Mr. Penumbra is a bar with books on every surface. That would be my dream way to spend an afternoon and a much better place to meet a man than at any normal bar.

4. When does Clay sleep? 

Seriously! He never sleeps! He works the night shift at the bookstore (10 p.m.—6 a.m.) and then he talks about meeting people for lunches and doing activities during the day. I am baffled as to when he catches more than a couple hours of the so necessary Z’s we all need. I wish I could function on zero sleep!

5. This book contains the best epilogue since the ending to Harry Potter. 

I was actually a little hesitant about saying I loved Mr. Penumbra’s…until I finished it. I’m a huge fan of clear endings, and nothing gets more clear than this epilogue. It looks into the future and sums up how everyone’s story ends. I absolutely loved it.

I sincerely suggest this book to anyone who enjoys books and adventurous stories.

Happy reading,
Kimberly

Top 5 Wednesday: Supporting Characters

Top 5 Wednesday

This weeks Top 5 Wednesday is all about side characters that deserve their own story. This one’s going to be tough. 

harry potter books

1. Severus Snape – Harry Potter

If anyone deserves a series about their life, I truly believe it is Professor Snape. I would love to read a book from his perspective about being best friends with Lily, his time at Hogwarts, his life as a death eater and more and more and more. As I’ve said before on this blog, I love hearing both sides to every story. And Snape’s story is one of the most exciting ones I’ve ever almost heard.

2. Patrick – Perks of Being a Wallflower

I like Perks more the more I read it. And I am so interested in Patrick and his backstory. I would love to hear more about him, his family and where he goes in life and what he accomplishes.

book 1

3. Uriah – Divergent series

Could I talk more about “Divergent” on this blog? I’m sorry, I’ll stop soon (but I probably won’t.) Uriah is great! I loved him from the moment he was introduced in the series and I was always really happy when he made an appearance. I think he deserves his own story alongside Tris.

4. Valentine Morgenstern – City of Bones series

Who doesn’t like to read about villains backstories? I think it would be so interesting to find out how Valentine became the vindictive father he came to be. I only read the City of Bones series (I know about The Infernal Instrument series) and I believe they might go a little bit into the backstory. I might pick these books up soon just to see if they feature Valentine.

5. Big Brother – 1984

The overruling power of “1984”. This is my favorite book and I’d just love to know about how this world works. Therefore, I’d love a good look at the inside of the governing power.

Happy reading,
Kimberly

Top 10 Tuesday: Celebrating Diversity

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in 2010. It’s a fun way for bloggers all over the Internet to connect and post the things they love about books.

This week’s topic is books that feature diverse characters or diversity. Here we go…

wicked by gregory maguire

1. Wicked by Gregory Macguire

As I posted about in my Little Thoughts about “Wicked”, this book features a green witch. It’s not what you would typically think about when you hear “diversity,” but it’s the first book I’ve read where I completely forgot what the characters looked like and really focused on what they did.

It's Kind of a Funny Story

2. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

This book brings attention to mental illness. It follows teens around a mental health ward. While it wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, I did like the story and I always appreciate reading about people who face hardships that involve more than just unrequited love.

Luna

3. Luna by Julie Anne Peters

I read this book before my senior year in high school. It focuses on a transgender female and follows her through her discovery of herself. You weren’t likely to read something like this three years ago and it really opened my eyes to the differences in people.

Esperanza Rising

4. Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

This is a book about Mexican immigrants in the United States during the Great Depression. I read this back in elementary school, but I still recommend it to people to read.

Does My Head Look Big In This?

5. Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah

I read this in high school. It’s about a young Muslim girl and her choice to wear the hijab.

Life of Pi

6. Life of Pi by Yann Martel

I absolutely loved this book. I’ve actually been meaning to read it again since I read it almost four years ago. It’s about an Indian boy who gets stranded in the middle of the ocean, in a lifeboat, with a tiger. It’s one of the best stories I’ve ever read.

The Good Earth

7. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

I always describe this book as being about rice and sex. It is about life in China pre-World War I. I’ve been wanting to read it again, since I read it in high school and didn’t like it that much. But it is very different and opens your eyes to what people in different areas of the world are shaped by.

Beloved

8. Beloved by Toni Morrison

I loved “Beloved”. It was just the right mix of interesting and creepy for a high schooler to get into. It’s about an African-American family after the Civil War. While a gang of men try to recapture her children due to the Fugitive Slave Act, Sethe (the main character) kills her youngest child. Years later, Sethe is visited by a strange woman. You can’t help but wonder, “Is this her dead daughter?”

book 1

9. Divergent by Veronica Roth

From my last review, you already know how much I loved “Divergent”. I didn’t originally include it in my list of diverse characters, but after thinking about the different types of people Tris encountered in her journeys, I second-guessed myself.

10. Rather than have a tenth book, I want to say what I learned from this Tuesday: I need to read more books that push me out of my comfort zone. I’ve rarely regretted reading books about different people, and I always learn something new around the world around me. So, I make a pledge today to try and incorporate more diversity in my reading choices (and I hope you’ve found some great choices to add to your shelf).

Happy reading,
Kimberly

Treasure Tuesday

 Treasure Tuesday

Happy Tuesday ya’ll!

1. I just finished “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” last night, and let me tell you, it was wonderful! I’ll have a “Little Thoughts” post up later this week.

2. reading choices

3. Last week my boyfriend went to return some books (some were about the Yankees) to Barnes and Noble. Sadly, it wouldn’t take them because he didn’t have a receipt. But he saw a kid and his mother in line buying a book about the Yankees, so rather than go home with the books he didn’t want, he gave them to the aspiring baseball player. Stories like that make my heart melt.

4. I don’t know about you, but I’m a pretty big grammar nerd. Here’s a list from Buzzfeed of faces every grammar nerd recognizes and relates to (I know I do).

5. I’m starting “The Great Gatsby” today, and I’m probably more excited about it than I should be.

Happy reading!
Kimberly