Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Book Review: "The Last Letter from Your Lover" by Jojo Moyes

Today's review is coming straight from my bed. I'm feeling under the weather today, so I'm using it as time to relax and get back out there again tomorrow. Also, my bed would have missed me if I had gone to work, and we really can't have that..can we?

That being said, today's review is of:

This is via "It is 1960. When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital, she can remember nothing-not the tragic car accident that put her there, not her husband, not even who she is. She feels like a stranger in her own life until she stumbles upon an impassioned letter, signed simply "B", asking her to leave her husband. 

Years later, in 2003, a journalist named Ellie discovers the same enigmatic letter in a forgotten file in her newspaper's archives. She becomes obsessed by the story and hopeful that it can resurrect her faltering career. Perhaps if these lovers had a happy ending she will find one to her own complicated love life, too. Ellie's search will rewrite history and help her see the truth about her own modern romance."

A friend of mine asked if I wanted to join her book club, and this was the first book we read. Meeting with the girls to discuss the book made me super geek out, and I loved it. I definitely want to continue book club.

As for my thoughts on it - I loved it. The characters are interesting, the scenery is from another era (one of glitz, heroics and glamour), and it's both relatable (we all want our own happy ending) and believable. Jojo is a fantastic writer. I haven't disliked anything yet.

I found myself immersed in the whole scene and also totally caught off guard at the twists. Which, is nothing new - I'm always so wrapped up in a story (whether it's a book, tv show or movie) that I almost never know the ending - unless it's something totally stupid and cheesy. Those I guess pretty soon after starting.

But that's the beauty of both books I've read of Jojo's (this and "Me Before You" - read my review of that HERE!) - she does romance and carries you off into this world where you know everything is going to work out EXACTLY how you think it will and then BAM, it changes. Don't fret though, my friends, it does work out. Just maybe not how you want it to..ala "500 Days of Summer".

1// “She didn't talk about it: if this past year has taught her one thing, it is to live in the present. She immersed herself in every moment, refusing to cloud it by considering the cost. The fall would come - it always did - but she usually collected enough memories to cushion it a little.”  

I realize that saying that I like a quote that screams "THIS GLASS IS HALF FULL ALWAYS" probably isn't the best way to start, but - what I see from it is this: there will be crashes. There will be bumps and bruises and times when you can't breathe. But, you're never far from light. From good times, from things that make you alive. That's all. And it gives you that extra push to find your way back again. If you choose to do so.

2// “He talked to her in the way that people tell lifelong secrets to fellow passengers in railway carriages: an unburdened intimacy, resting on the unspoken understanding that they were unlikely to meet again.” 

Isn't that the truth? Sometimes strangers know the most lovely things about you - the things you're afraid to tell other people..because the only way you disclose them is if you're never going to see that person again. Because that's safer than being vulnerable. But then again, all it takes is one person..

3// “I was once told by someone wise that writing is perilous as you cannot always guarantee your words will be read in the spirit in which they were written.” 

So much truth. So much.

1. Jojo Moyes knows how to write a story. Plain and simple.
2. It has something for..most people. Romance, intrigue, well written characters, travel.
3. And definitely read if you're a "Mad Men" fan. I can so picture John Hamm as the husband, and January Jones as Jennifer - but I can't picture "B". Not yet. I'll have to get back to you. Anyway, it's set in the same time period. So if you enjoy that, I'd definitely recommend.


Monday, February 15, 2016

At the Movies: Thoughts On "How To Be Single"

Hi there friends! I had every intention of getting things accomplished tonight, but I'm in a weird headspace after a super long day at work. So, I thought I'd talk about "How to Be Single" instead!

Let's get right to it:

1// It really has no plot or character development.
I mean, if you're going to this movie for Oscar winning performances, you're out of luck, my friends. BUT, there are some fabulous comedic presences: Rebel Wilson, Damon Wayans Jr, Anders Holm (hey boy hey), Jason Mantzoukas (who plays a weirdo so SO well), and Colin Jost (my favorite part of Weekend Update!). So, just go for the fun of it, okay?

2// I don't understand everyone's facination with Dakota Johnson.
Or Dakota Fanning according to my best friend..who couldn't remember her name. I find her awkward and boring. Also, she has an odd hair cut:

Is she 10? Maybe it's the 50 Shades of Grey thing, but I don't get it.

3// Leslie Mann does crazy so SO well.
She plays Dakota's big sister - who, after delivering babies for a living decides she needs her own - she uses a sperm bank and finds true love whist pregnant. And the boyfriend is totally cool with said crazy pregnant lady (who says a million times that you shouldn't call a pregnant woman crazy..which, for some reason I know to be a true thing) and said baby (the man, who is like 10 years Leslie's junior) actually says "who wouldn't want to stay home all day and hang with a baby?! I never have to work again". The theater literally erupted in "aww's" was cheese ball.  I mean, who could have predicted that plot twist? Everyone, the answer is everyone. I really don't think it would happen in real life. Like at all.

4// Why is there always a kooky best friend?
Rebel plays Dakota's "side kick". Or the other way around, I can't exactly tell. And I sat there wondering why there always has to be this outrageous personality next to the shy, hipster girl?! (there's always a hipster girl too..) Why can't people have real personalities? Why can't they both be chill and have a good personality and be funny? They don't have to be outrageous all the time, Hollywood. So, quit it.

5// The ending is real life.
You're sitting there for two hours and guessing every single plot twist (is it really called a twist outside of horror movies? Get back to me...) and then it lays it on you. She doesn't end up with the dude. Or, in her case, the three dudes vying for her attention in the movie. She ends up (*SPOILER ALERT*) finding something she's passionate about (hiking the Grand Canyon) and going to do it..because, early on in the movie, she exclaims that there are too many things she says she wants to do but never does.

And that's where I am in life. Choosing the solo adventures - or trying to - because that has to be better than doing nothing your entire life. It has to be.

Why you should see it:
1// Rebel Wilson.
2// It kind of gives you one side of being single. The side that's featured in brilliant cinematographies such as "He's Just Not That Into You", "Valentine's Day" and "New Year's Eve". If you like that kind of thing.
3// Girl power. Rebel, Leslie and Dakota are there for each other in every situation and say what needs to be said, even if it's hard to say. That's important in friendships.
4// And cute boys. You know I'll always let you know when there are cute dudes in films ;)

There you have it, amigos. Not the cinematic masterpiece of our age, but if you're wanting something fun to do on your girls night out - I'd go for it. It'll make you laugh, and make you thankful for your solo time. Because, no matter how much I hate other people saying it - being single isn't always the worst. And it's beneficial in being a real adult. Finding out who you are alone is something someone can never take away from you.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Book Review: "Carry On" by Rainbow Rowell

Oh, hey. It's been a while, hasn't it? Life has taken over. I haven't stopped reading though - and this one is just my latest love.

Courtesy of "Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters."

Sheesh, Rowell sure knows how to write a I right, or am I right? I'm right, obviously. 

Simon Snow is actually a play on the Harry Potter world - and was first mentioned in her other book, "Fangirl" (read my review HERE!) Simon is the obsession of the main character in that lovely story, and I think there was so much cry for Simon's story to be told that Rainbow felt she had to write it. (I'm speculating here..)

First, I loved it. I listened to it instead of read - which, I highly recommend because the voice actor was also awesome - and I was wrapped up in it within 30 seconds. Her characters are bright, funny, thought out, and maybe a little cliche - but never boring. 

It's an adventure, a love story, a comedy - with a touch of darkness in it - so something for everyone. It takes a minute or two to get into (as some great ones do..) but it flies high from then on. You'll love it..promise.

1// “You have to pretend you get an endgame. You have to carry on like you will; otherwise, you can't carry on at all.” 

Teenage melodrama at it's best, ladies and gentlemen. I think it's a great reminder though, for those young adults who read it. So many "kids" these days are having a hard time with their lives, and knowing that you get past this part of life is literally everything. That it gets better.

2// “He’s a book full of footnotes brought to life. He’s a jacket made of elbow patches.” 

The word swoon comes to mind..I love when people talk about other people like this. In ways you don't even think make sense..but you find yourself curled up in them. They feel good. They make you smile.

3// “You have too many friends,” she’ll say. “I’m pretty sure that’s not possible. And, anyway, I wouldn’t call them all ‘friends.’” “There are only so many hours in the day, Simon. Two, three people—that’s all any of us have time for.” “There are more people than that in your immediate family, Penny.” “I know. It’s a struggle.” 

That one just makes me laugh. Penny (Simon's best friend. The Hermione to his Harry.) is hilarious. She's spunky, smart and annoying as hell. I loved her. I loved this part of her story. #thestruggleisreal

4// “And sometimes holes want to get bigger, but Baz was wrong—sometimes they just want to be filled.” 

There's this whole scene where they're talking about areas in England where the Voldemort type character, the Insidious Humdrum (which, I still think is a terrible name), sucks out magic..anyways, I won't reveal anything - but they're talking about holes. How the creation of these holes disrupt life and create chaos. And it gets you thinking about how your react to holes in your life. How each time something creates a hole, you don't go looking to open it up more - you look to fill it. With another person..with another feeling..another high. I think your character and who you are as a human determines the type of thing you fill it with. It reveals more about your character than most things do. It gives you a sense of what's important. Some just want to be filled..

I've heard plenty of reviews that say its just "bad Harry Potter fan fiction". And they would be one opinion, the wrong one. I think it's difficult to open yourself up to something as a Harry Potter fan - you don't want to damage how it makes you feel, etc..and I totally get that. I sat there intently listening the entire time, and mostly forgot it's basis on Hogwarts, Harry and the whole deal..because Rowell is that good. She's that good at creating something, and I think it's worth it for you to read it. Give it a chance and get back to me..

I'll wait.