My Thoughts on Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I haven’t posted in a¬†while because of school work, but I’ve been reading as much as I could in my free time and I finally got around to Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I heard about the book a while ago – mostly good things – but I’m always hesitant to read an author I’m not familiar with. What finally made me buy it was that I saw a collector’s edition sitting all alone on a shelf at Barnes and Noble, so naturally, I picked it up, not wanting to miss a chance at owning a book with such beautiful cover art. That being said, I regret nothing!

Told in alternating points of view, Eleanor & Park is a story about two 16 year olds who meet on the school bus on the first day of school. The story is set in Omaha, Nebraska in the late 80’s and is filled with great musical references.This book is one of the most interesting stories I’ve read in a very long time. It’s cute and funny with such great characters, I couldn’t put it down. I really like the structure of the book; it is written from both Eleanor and Park’s perspective, which isn’t something that’s easy to do without disturbing the flow of a story, but Rowell makes it seem as natural as breathing.

Eleanor is such well developed character. She isn’t shallow or unrelatable. Although her home life is complete crap and her only real solace is Park, she is still just a typical teenage girl. She has all the gushy feelings girls have when they get their first crush, and all of the fears. One thing that sticks out about her is how she seems to fixate on Park so completely. At one point she says he is so cute she wants to eat his face, which I thought was hilarious because it’s definitely something I would’ve said when I was 16.Overall, Eleanor is just trying to survive her awful stepfather, and the horrors of being the new girl in a town where everyone already knows their place.

Park is my favorite character because for one his name is Park. His family is the opposite of Eleanor’s, which makes for a great contrast in the way the two characters interact with each other. Park is a hopeless romantic due to being brought up by parents who are completely in love with each other. He even says that the one thing that made him feel better when he woke up scared at night was knowing how much his parents loved each other. I think that is such a beautiful thing for someone to say, especially a 16 year old boy because let’s be real, how many teenage boys do you know who would actually admit that? I know zero, but I digress. My favorite thing about Park is probably how much he cares about Eleanor. He wants to be her protector and even though she is cynical and sarcastic she melts right into him because she knows he is truly genuine.

I dont want to give too much away for those who haven’t read the book, but I give it 5 stars and I hope to God that there will be a sequel. I also wouldn’t be opposed to a movie. I would definitely recommend reading this book, it was worth every second.

For more information on Eleanor & Park or Rainbow Rowell, visit her website.

Happy reading! ūüôā

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Books vs. Movies

So I’ve been thinking lately about all the books I’ve read and a lot of them have been adapted into films. In most cases I try to read the books first but sometimes I get stubborn and I’m not inclined to read until I’ve seen and enjoyed the film.

There are so many different connotations, good and bad, surrounding books being turned into movies. I even came across a quote on Pinterest that read, “Don’t judge a book by its movie.” While it may seem a bit extreme, I think that a movie adaption of a very well received book is the type of thing that can make or break a franchise. There is always a lot of pressure to make the film as amazing as possible when the book has cultivated such a huge fan base. Sometimes Hollywood gets it very right, but sadly there have been times when they didn’t do as well as everyone had hoped.

Some movie adaptions I think have done particularly well are Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Hunger Games franchise – these movies always have me on the edge of my seat, Harry Potter of course, The Great Gatsby (the 1974 version), Something Borrowed (in my opinion ¬†the movie was much better than the book), and of course The Fault in our Stars. I have left out Twilight for one reason; while I enjoyed the books very much during the height of their popularity, and I religiously dragged my family to the midnight movie premiers, I have grown to question a lot of the reasons I liked the books. Yes, I’m definitely a sucker for romance and Edward seemed like the perfect man at the time, but now that I am older and a bit more experienced in the romance department, I realize just how strange the relationships between the characters are. I recognize that Twilight was a huge phenomenon and may still have a large fan base so I will not discount its success. I will simply say that it is no longer high up on my list of amazing adaptions.

It is so hard to pick a favorite among so many fantastic stories, but I think the one that resonates with me the most is The Fault in our Stars. I’ve ranted about how much I love this book before so I won’t go too far into it, but in my opinion at least, this movie stayed so true to the book and the chemistry between the actors was so real and beautiful. I don’t think I could have cried any harder in the theater if I’d tried. I just really enjoyed this story the most. Call me sappy!

Anyway, I’d love to hear everyone else’s favorites, so if you read my little blog please feel free to comment. Let’s get a discussion going! ūüôā

My thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James

So in50ShadesofGreyCoverArt honor of the movie adaption of Fifty Shades being released next weekend, I’ve decided to give my thoughts on the steamy bestseller.

I’m assuming most of the world has read this book by now, but I’ll give a brief summary anyway. Fifty Shades of Grey is an erotic novel about a shy, “plain Jane” college student named Anastasia Steele, and a young, handsome, rich CEO named Christian Grey. Ana meets Christian when she goes to interview him and he is immediately interested in her. Christian is into the wild life of BDSM (Bondage/Dominance + Sadism/Masochism), and wants Ana to be his submissive ¬†but she’s scared because she’s a virgin and doesn’t know anything about anything. Long story short, they fall in love but Christian’s emotional unavailability¬†due to his “rough start in life” gets in between them.

Now, I have mixed feelings about this book and so does just about everyone I’ve ever discussed it with. On the one hand, I can definitely see why it made the bestseller list. Sex sells, obviously, and there are a lot of women who like to read or live vicariously through sexy novels, myself included. Who doesn’t love a good sex scene? But I think what was most appealing about Fifty Shades was the BDSM element. For a very long time, BDSM was considered an extremely taboo topic and people within that lifestyle were seen as freaks. With the popularity of this book, the BDSM lifestyle has become less taboo and more people have been interested in experimenting with certain aspects of it, which I think is a very good thing. It’s healthy for people to explore their sexuality.

On the other hand, I honestly had a hard time getting through it. I’m not a fan of the writing structure and style, and Christian and Ana have sex like, every other page which I thought was excessive. I believe the story relied too much on the act itself and not enough on the actual love and romantic feelings growing between the two characters.¬†Even though the sex was frequent, it was fun to read about – and because of the¬†ending, I did end up buying book ¬†2…and book 3. I also feel like the characters were extremely one-dimensional. Both Christian and Ana and even Kate (Ana’s roommate), were very cliche. I feel as though, they could have been developed more. I’ve heard that Fifty Shades started out as a Twilight fan fiction, so I suppose I’m not too surprised by the character development.

I’ll admit my opinion of the book sounds mostly negative, but despite all the things I didn’t like, I would still recommend this¬†book to anyone who gets a kick out of erotica. This is a great guilty pleasure read with a huge fan base. There are even Fifty Shades sex toys for those of you who feel a little brave after reading it. In addition to my opinion of the book, I have an even stronger opinion about the casting choice for the movie version, and I look forward to seeing the movie so I can see how the acting is, but that’s a post for another blog, haha!

Check out Fifty Shades of Grey at E.L. James’s website and grab your significant other for a screening of the movie, out February 14, 2015. I’m sure it’ll make for a steamy Valentine’s Day date night!

“Mr. Grey will see you now.” Happy reading! ūüėČ

My Experience with the Hush Hush Saga

Becca Fitzpatrick wrote a sahush-hushga of books titled Hush, Hush, Crescendo, Silence, and Finale. The series’ focus is on fallen angels and nephilim, and the relationship between the two main characters Nora and Patch. I read these books a¬†while ago and my experience with this series is one that has stuck with me for a number of reasons. I decided to read Hush, Hush¬†because I’ve always been very interested in the story of the fallen angels and prior to this book I read Fallen, a novel by Lauren Kate. I enjoyed the overall plot-line of Fallen, but it was a bit of a¬†¬†slow read for me so I went to the book store in search of a similar story with a more engaging plot. In this instant, I’m guilty of the very thing we are told not to do as children – I judged the book by its cover – because the covers are all beautiful – and took Hush, Hush¬†to the register.

While reading the book, I fell in love not only with the romance between Nora and Patch, but with the bigger picture of the story, and the way that Fitzpatrick took something biblical and made it her own. according to the Bible, Nephilim are a race of hybrids, children of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men.” Angels giving into temptation and having relations with mortals is what caused them to be rejected from heaven and stripped of their wings. Hush, Hush delves into that story and incorporates the struggles of true love as well. I also found playlists for each book on Spotify and all of the songs are so good and relate very well to the story. I’ve always thought that listening to music that relates to the story heightens the reading and writing experience, especially when it’s a story with a lot of depth.

As I got farther into the story, I decided to do some research on the lore of the fallen angels and I was so inspired by everything that I wrote a poem. But even with all of the interesting things I discovered and as much as I enjoyed reading the books, my imagination seemed to have gotten the better of me in the process. Some of the fallen angel stories are very dark and creepy and I definitely scared myself a bit. I even had a few nightmares.

While my experience with this saga was a bit scary at times, I enjoyed all four books very, very much and I plan to re-read them when I get the free time. In my opinion, Becca Fitzpatrick has written an amazing story with so many different twists and turns. It was romantic and heartbreaking and suspenseful! Anyone who is into supernatural romance will certainly be pulled into this amazing story.

For more information on the Hush, Hush¬†saga visit Becca Fitzpatrick’s website, and if you decide to read the saga here are the playlists so you can listen while you read, for maximum enjoyment.

Playlists:

HUSH HUSH

CRESCENDO

SILENCE

FINALE

How “The Fault in our Stars” Crushed my Soul. *WARNING: SPOILERS!!!*

So by now now I’m sure everyone knows about/ has read The Fault in our Stars by John Green. It’s heartbreaking, it’s inspiring, it’s easily the most devastating work of young adult fiction that’s ever been written. TFIOSHere’s the short version. A teenage girl named Hazel Grace Lancaster suffers from thyroid cancer. Her mother makes her go to a cancer support group at a church for other kids with cancer. At this support group she meets the ever charming Augustus Waters, who had osteosarcoma, but is now in remission. They hang out, fall in love, and just ¬†when you get really attached to them as a couple, John Green rips off the band aid and tears your hope apart with the cold, hard iron fist that is cancer.

The style of writing and heartfelt sentiments of teenage love will fill your heart with much emotion you won’t know how to handle it. I had heard that TFIOS was such a good book and that I would love it, and while those things are 100% true, everyone neglected to mention that I would also cry through the ENTIRE last half of the book. When i began the book it was my expectation that there would be death. It’s a book about kids with cancer after all. My expectation that it would be Hazel who died, however, was completely and soul-shatteringly (is that a word?) wrong. And here come the spoilers! Reading the decline of Augustus’ health was the hardest part of this book for me. He is introduced as a strong, charming, wise beyond his years young man who seems to have overcome his curable form of cancer, and his story ends with him in a state of complete weakness. There is a point towards the end of the book in which Hazel shows this connection. John Green makes a note by explaining how Hazel went from calling him Augustus in the beginning, like the great emperor, to calling him Gus in the end, just as his parents do, showing how he has become weaker and more boy-like. More mortal.

TFIOS is by far my favorite book since A Rose for Melinda, which also happens to be about a teenage girl with cancer. So, as you can see, I have a thing for tragically sad stories. John Green created a gem of a novel with TFIOS because it’s isn’t just a love story or a story about sick kids, it’s a story about how learning what it means to love and being given the opportunity regardless of age or health and despite having very long to live on the planet. I believe that’s what is beautiful about Hazel and Augustus. Even though Hazel had come to terms with her disease and her mortality and Augustus believed he had longer to live than he did, neither of them let their circumstances stop them having the chance to love each other. Some people never get the chance to fall in love.

So, I’ll end this post before I start to cry. Read and re-read TFIOS, go see the movie if you haven’t yet because Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort did a fantastic job of bringing Hazel and Augustus to life on screen, and be sure to check out John Green’s website and follow him on his various social media sites like I do! His other books are good too. I am currently reading Looking for Alaska, so expect a post on that soon.

Okay? Okay.

http://johngreenbooks.com/

My Thoughts on “What I Love About You” by Rachel Gibson

What I Love About You is a contemporary romance novel by author Rachel Gibson. The book, which was released in August, 2014, is the 21st on Gibson’s list of novels.

The 19837413book centers around a recovering alcoholic and ex Navy Seal, Blake, and divorced single mother, Natalie. Blake moves next door to Natalie and her daughter Charlotte and eventually becomes a “friend.” Blake and Natalie become interested in each other but Natalie tries her best to stay away from the abrasive military man, which becomes harder when Natalie’s ex-con ex-husband returns home from jail.

I wont give any spoilers, but if you’re a fan of Rachel Gibson then you know where the story is headed. As usual the language and tone of the book is very romantic. It’s slightly predictable for those who are familiar with Gibson, but it’s still a good read. Being that I’m no longer the romantic I used to be, some of the phrases made me roll my eyes a bit and at one point I gave an audible “Ugghh!” Don’t get me wrong, Gibson is one of my favorite authors and I have all but two of her books, but it’s a very “lovey dovey” story. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the genre and I would definitely read it again myself. Overall, I’ll give it 3.5 stars. See Jane Score will forever be my favorite book by Rachel Gibson, and the book to which all the other will be compared.

For a full list of books by Rachel Gibson, here is the link to her website.