Book Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean

book review, Uncategorized

Image result for always and forever lara jean Title: Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Author: Jenny Han

Pages: 336

Series? Yes (Final book in a trilogy)

Synopsis: Goodreads

Rating: 4/5

Mild Spoilers for first two books but spoiler free for the last one.

 


I started reading this book at 5pm on Saturday and kept reading until 1 in the morning with only an hourish break for dinner. In that 8 hour time span, my dear reader, I felt unbearable warmth, happiness and most of all nostalgia. And at the end, even though I knew it was the end, I still felt like there was so much more story left to these characters, that these characters have blossomed into people that I knew.

As with any last book in the series, I felt that preanxiety that comes with having such high expectations of a final novel. The story of this book’s inception is heartwarming in its own way. In an interview, Jenny Han spoke about how she was working on her new project but couldn’t because she kept thinking about what Lara Jean and Peter were up to.

Last winter, I was working on a new book, and I just couldn’t figure out how to unlock it. My mind kept drifting to Lara Jean and Peter, I kept thinking wistful thoughts, like, I wonder what those two are up to now. When I finished P.S. I Still Love You, I truly was done with the series. Always, it had been meant to be just the two. But I suppose time and space had made me nostalgic, because they were all I could think about. One night I called up my best friend and sometimes co-author Siobhan Vivian and asked her, would it be crazy if I wrote just one more book? She said not at all. She told me to try and see. So that same night, I started writing, and I couldn’t stop. I wrote until the sun came up.

-Jenny Han from EW article

There is something so natural about this story that I’ve never been able to find in other YA contemporaries. In this one, Lara Jean and Peter are in their final year of high school. They have graduation coming up and all the other things high school seniors look forward to: the senior trip, prom and of course the anxiety of college admissions. Lara Jean has plans for her future but they all start to unravel and she starts to question what is truly the right path for her.

I swear some scenes in this book took me back to some exact moments of my high school career. Not gonna lie, I kind of teared up a little when Lara Jean is anxiously opening up her email that determines whether she got accepted or rejected to UVA. Moments like these are what I’ve always loved about this series. Most YA contemporaries kind of skip this part or shove it in near the end as a sort of cherry on top of the icing at the end of the book and more often than not, they just get accepted into their dream school nbd. I just completely love the detail that Jenny Han puts into this series from the food (yaas to all the chocolate chip cookie baking in this one) to Lara Jean’s clothes (Lara Jean’s prom dress) and even to Peter’s lacrosse experience. Jenny Han even did research, people, research to make the college admissions part as true to life as possible. She even spoke to the Dean of Admissions and the lacrosse department at UVA.

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University of Virginia campus

It just encapsulates a high school experience that feels so authentic, like this is truly what a YA contemporary should be about. I understand that YA contemporary is not suppose to be 100% realistic, otherwise where the hell is my Peter Kavinsky but just adding these tiny details that you only subconsciously absorb brought me more into the story, this more visceral experience. And I love it. Some scenes just brought me back to my final days of high school, my final class of high school which I probably just spent signing yearbooks, my final day of walking the grass behind my school for AP Government. and having this sense of finality and this feeling of an end but also this anticipation that things are just starting for you.

I also love seeing that reflected in Lara Jean. Throughout this series, she has always been content with where she is but she’s realizing that she can open herself up to new possibilities that she never thought were right for her.

And on top of that, Lara Jean learns more about her relationship with Peter. I feel like this book was the perfect combination of the fluffiness and cuteness of book 1 and the angst and them dealing with real problems from Book 2. I just love how you can see how much they love and care about each other. They have to think about what every high school couple thinks about, if they’re even going to survive being apart and the delicate state of a high school relationship.  Peter’s arc also has a wonderful sense of growth. His dad makes a reappearance in this one and he has to decide whether to let him into his life or not. I really like how Peter’s insecurities are put to the forefront. Peter has always been one of my favorites in this series because he is not necessarily this arrogant boy with a heart of gold or this nerdy guy who will understand all of your Star Wars references or even this sickly sweet nice love interest who can do no wrong. Let’s face it, most of your favorite YA contemporary male heroes will fall into one of these 3 categories. I’m really satisfied with the way Han wrote this relationship that feels as though it’s always evolving and not this you-are-my-soulmate-that-I-found-at-the-age-of-18-and-we-live-happily-ever-after type of relationship. I love them so much.

And of course, without a doubt, these books always come back to family. It’s bittersweet and ever changing. There is so much change happening around Lara Jean that she doesn’t really even notice. How Margot is now slowly living her own life in Scotland, how her Dad is marrying Ms. Rothschild, and how Kitty is growing up. And although Lara Jean is consistently changing and figuring out more things about herself, she will always fall back on her family and their support. Her mother is still an ever present force in her life and she’s always thinking about how her mom would approach a situation even as she is learning to find her own way.

I will always love these books, for their authenticity but also just for their feel-goodness and how they always bring a smile to my face. I know I will be swooning over Lara Jean’s mundane adventures for many more rereads.

Let me know if I should read Jenny Han’s Summer I Turned Pretty series. I’m not sure how it compares to this one so any advice is welcomed! And of course, let’s discuss this book in the comments because I need to vent.

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March 2017 Wrap Up

Uncategorized, wrap up

March was long but in this case that means I got to read more! It was a busy month as well and weirdly enough I read more when I’m busy. I think it’s because reading relaxes but then again if I’m too stressed so it’s a weird balance. I did, however, DNF a couple of books (3). So in total I read 7 books, 2 short stories, and 1 graphic novel.

So the books first:

The Ever Never Handbook by Soman Chainani

 

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3.5/5

The Ever Never Handbook is a companion book to The School for Good and Evil trilogy. This is like the equivalent to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to the Harry Potter series. It’s just a little bonus to the original books: how to survive going to this magical school, the course catalog, pictures of the cool creatures that reside there, school fashion and all that. I was kind of confused reading this book because there are excerpts of the characters sending letters and transcripts of characters talking to each other and they mention events that have not happened. So, at first, I thought cool, it’s a bit of an epilogue except the events that are happening are kind of depressing. One of the letters included is even “cut off” so you don’t know what happens after so that was rude. And then I look on Goodreads and found out there was gonna be a fourth book…(just as I was beginning to applaud myself for finishing one series in my life). But after reading the handbook, I realize I’m nostalgic for Sophie’s and Agatha’s world and want to go back to it again so at the end of the day, I’m happy there’s a 4th book but we’ll see.

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Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld25852870

I had high hopes for this modern Pride and Prejudice retelling but alas, it was pretty disappointing. However, I do like the wry and tongue in cheek writing as well as the fast-paced nature of the book. It’s the sort of book I could finish in one sitting if I wanted to. It also made me nostalgic for P&P retellings so I immediately went and rewatched the Lizzie Bennet Diaries afterwards and I had a lot of feelings so, in true Carolyn-fashion, I rant about them here.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

25489134I was excited for this one ever since I first heard about it because it’s written like a fairy tale and it revolves around Russian mythology. Vasya’s family worships the house spirits but when her mother dies and a priest tries to convert everyone to a religion of one god, the village starts to erupt in chaos and only Vasya’s magical powers can help. The writing is atmospheric and promises mysteries and magic at every turn. However, because it was written like a fairy tale, the secondary characters, including the stepmother, the priest, and Vasya’s father all came out to be pretty cliche. Also, the pacing was so off. Plotlines were brought up and then dropped until the second half of the book where one plotline was followed till the end. I really liked the fantastical elements such as the blending of Russian mythological creatures. I also found the author’s note to be sort of problematic; you can take creative liberties with a story but alternating Russian words because it’s not aesthetically pleasing is a different story. It could have been better but it wasn’t necessarily bad. I’ll definitely be looking out for Arden’s future works.

Human Acts by Han Kang

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In short, Han Kang has cemented herself as an auto-read author for me. My mini review here.

Koreatown: A Cookbook by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard

I just burnt bread this afternoon so you can tell how much of a cook I am but I checked25614711 this out because I love Korean food. Vietnamese food is great but there is something so communal and aesthetically pleasing about Korean food, not to mention the variety in color and type of food. What’s great about this cookbook is that there’s such a variety of recipes but each is prefaced by a little history or tidbit about the food and information about the different ingredients themselves. There’s also interviews with chefs who cook with Korean food, celebrities who love Korean food, and restaurant owners who cook a fusion of Korean and some culture of food. The photos are also really well-made and there’s even full page spreads of Koreatown and the Korean eating experience. I’m not making any of these recipes except for the one that was basically an improved version of how to make your shin ramyun (instant noodles) better but it really made me crave Korean food. Someone get me bibimbap and patbingsu asap.

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Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

This book has an amazing premise. A space ship is on its way to Aurora, its inhabitants23197269 hopeful in being its first colonizers. At the beginning of the book, the ship is on its 150th year in space and there’s still more years to go before they can even reach Aurora. Our main character, Freya, is the daughter of the ship’s chief engineer, Devi. The story sort of follows Freya as she learns to become a leader but it also follows the the ship’s apparently sentient perspective as it details the accounts of the journey. I’m really impressed with Robinson’s knowledge of biology, microbiology, population biology and physics. He does do a lot of infodumping but being the science major that I am, it was all so interesting especially when he explained the mechanics of the ship and its many biomes, how these inhabitants lived in the biomes. As can be expected, this novel is hard science fiction so do not read this if you’re not interested in any of the things I’ve mentioned above. Because it’s hard science fiction, the characters fall to the wayside but he does ask some interesting questions and gives twists to these questions that surprised me. Were we really meant to go beyond Earth given the limitations of our bodies? What happens, after generations of preparation and hope, when your destination is not everything you expected? And how do you fix the mistakes that the people who originally came on the ship didn’t forsee? Why should the generations after be forced to deal with the consequences when they might not have wanted any part of this crusade in the first place? After all, they were ultimately human, greatly ambitious but also inevitably fallible. It’s quite heavy in its scope and size and I found myself forgiving its flaws just because it was so fascinating.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before & PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han (reread)

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Every once in a while, a very special YA contemporary will come into my life that just does it right. This is one of those series. It’s cute and fluffy to the highest degree but while most YA contemporaries of that nature are at highest 3 stars for me, these two always leave me feeling not just happy but satisfied. I’m planning on doing a reread discussion for these two or a review of the entire trilogy when the third and final book comes out in May! The days cannot go by faster…

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

Is it better to have been loved, or to love?

Image result for do not say we have nothingThis is the essential question of Madeleine Thien’s historical novel that alternates between the present where Li-Ling and Ai-Ming piece together the story of their fathers and the past where we find out their grandparent’s and parent’s lives during the Cultural Revolution of Mao Zedong. As the Revolution grows more and more oppressive, we begin to see how her father and his family try to reconcile their personal passions and to an extent their inner selves and the constant danger of being arrested for being a counter-revolutionary. I really liked the undercurrent of music–particularly the violin and piano–throughout the book, a symbol of private desire. And I really liked reading about this struggle to maintain your identity when your very safety depends on your rejection of it. I also learned a lot about the Revolution in China during the 50’s and 60’s and how the aftereffects of that time period extended all the way to the 80’s and 90’s. I think the characters jumped a little too much from one motivation to another with no buildup in between. The pacing was also abrupt and jumps from one perspective to another with little sense of cohesion. But despite that, definitely worth a read.

Blonde Date (Ivy Years #2.5) by Sarina BowenImage result for blonde date sarina bowen

Blonde Date is a NA romance novella that’s a part of Bowen’s NA series but you don’t have to read the previous books to understand this one. It’s about a girl named Katie who is in a sorority and she needs a date to go with her to a party because she has just broken up with her asshole of a boyfriend (for reasons that will be revealed throughout the story). She gets set up with Andy who is a sweet and genuine beta male (can we please have more of these in romance novels?). Diversity in romance is a problem in general but that’s a different story. I really liked that Katie, who would normally be the antagonist in a NA story is instead the protagonist. The dialogue was pretty cliche but it didn’t bother me too much. Blissfully unproblematic, cute, and enjoyable, highly recommended for a lazy afternoon read. I wish there was a full length book on Katie and Andy.

Image result for a series of steaksA Series of Steaks by Vina Jie-min Prasad

Helena Yuanhi makes a living out of 3D printing realistic looking meat. She gets a huge gig printing out steaks for a wedding and she hopes that this gig can give her enough to run away and escape from her past. She enlists the help of Lily whose spontaneous personality serves as the perfect foil to the more quiet and reserved Helen. This short story was so great, It has a slight satirical undertone and it’s quite comedic and just plain enjoyable. I liked the two main characters and their budding friendship and all the mechanics behind the 3D printing. Highly recommended and you can even read it for free here.

 

Through the Woods by Emily CarrollImage result for through the woods

Through the Woods is a collection of horror-ish short stories in graphic novel format. The problem with this was it ended way too soon just when the story was starting to get interested. You know that scene in a horror movie where someone hears a lot of banging or whatever behind a door and they’re just about to open the door. The stories end right when the person is about to open the door which was kind of frustrating. I feel like if she prolonged one or two of these stories, I would have been so much more creeped out and invested. I particularly liked the story about the two brothers who go into the woods and only one of them comes back alive but then the next day, the dead comes back again as if nothing happened.

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DNF

Image result for crosstalk connie willisCrosstalk by Connie Willis

I got about 1/2 of the way through and it had me feeling really claustrophobic which I guess is kind of the point. It’s set in the near future where you can get a surgery that will help you better see your partner’s thoughts. This, in theory, will lead to a happier relationship. It’s a light sci-fi novel with a romcom storyline. I appreciated the numerous references to other social media but at the same time, I felt like they were being referenced by someone who doesn’t really use them. I also thought this could have been about 200 pages shorter since the scenes kept being dragged out with interruptions from one of her annoyingly endearing family members and it just got to be too much. The heroine is a protagonist straight out of Legally Blonde, smart but has ditzy and truly naive moments, and talks like she always has everything under control when she really doesn’t. I wish she had more agency in this book. I just didn’t care ultimately.


News of the World by Paulette JilesImage result for news of the world paulette

There’s nothing technically wrong with this book. It just felt a little too safe for me and I guess I had higher hopes for a book that was longlisted for the National Book Award. It has a great historical setting (right after the American Civil War) but the storyline just felt too saccharine for me especially for a literary fiction novel that’s trying to be more nuanced.

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie MclemoreImage result for when the moon was ours

I know this book is well loved in the book community and I really wanted to like this one because it explores themes of being transgender, being in a relationship with a transgender person and what it means to truly expose yourself. One of the main character is Pakistani which I never see in a YA book. I also really wanted to like this book because I really like magical realism but the writing felt a little too flowery and nothing was being said. And while the writing was pretty beautiful, the storyline felt like it was going nowhere. I understand coming of age doesn’t technically have a plot but I felt like Mclemore was trying to achieve another plot besides the coming of age and it just didn’t work for me.

And that’s my March reading! Let me know what you read in March, what your favorites were or if you’ve read any of these and what your thoughts were. =)

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My Best Books of 2015 Part 2

Best Books, Uncategorized

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone! I hope everyone is having a festive or just fun day with lots of happiness.

If you missed my favorite books from yesteryday, here it is. So continuing on from that, at number 5, I have..

5. PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han

20698530Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.
She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Timesbestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

I imagine it is hard for a writer especially a writer of YA contemporary to write about the mundane and make it worthwhile to read about. With this duology, I wanted to savor the mundane. Everytime Lara Jean wanted to bake cookies I did too, whenever she was studying at Starbucks with Peter, I wanted to. I love the family dnamics and the relationships Lara has with her two sisters, both utterly different but compelling at the same time. Han writes about first love and finding yourself in such an endearing and tender way. And of course, the addition of Peter Kavinsky is icing on the cake 🙂 or (is actually part of the cake itself). But ultimately, this book just made me so happy and I did love both books but this one was my favorite out of the two.

4. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

17333223It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch combines vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

I finished this book yesterday but I knew from page 10 that it was going to end up on my favorites list. Wow, this book is so expansive and so, so impressive. The characters are honestly nothing we haven’t seen before but her writing just pulls everything together. She just has a way of creating a rich and detailed world and it completely submerged me from the minute I started reading it. Her portrayals of grief, love, and obsession are immaculately done as well, building layers upon layers of complexity in a way that’s accessible. I also loved the art history aspect of the book too because it was one of my favorite subjects in high school.

Ok, are you ready? It’s time to bring out the big guns..

3. The Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

297673This is the long-awaited first novel from one of the most original and memorable writers working today.

Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd, a New Jersey romantic who dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the fukú — the ancient curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, dooming them to prison, torture, tragic accidents, and, above all, ill-starred love. Oscar, still dreaming of his first kiss, is only its most recent victim – until the fateful summer that he decides to be its last.

With dazzling energy and insight, Junot Díaz immerses us in the uproarious lives of our hero Oscar, his runaway sister Lola, and their ferocious beauty-queen mother Belicia, and in the epic journey from Santo Domingo to Washington Heights to New Jersey’s Bergenline and back again. Rendered with uncommon warmth and humor, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Waopresents an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and the endless human capacity to persevere – and to risk it all – in the name of love.

This book is pretty..wondrous..if I do say so myself. Diaz completely immerses us into the lives of our multi generational characters with humor and heart. It’s amazing how the very serious situations the characters get in are told in such a hilarious and ironic way that doesn’t undermine the character’s development. But I think this book just spoke to me. It spoke and resonated with the dreamer in me. It also reminded me that sometimes that you can’t escape your past but embrace it as something that has made who you are.

2. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski

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The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement… if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

It’s no secret that I love this book. I feel like I’ve been shoving it down people’s throats this year. I reread the Winner’s Curse this month and I then started rereading this one this past week and it’s amazing how much Rutkoski has upped her writing game. Omigosh I love this book. Every conversation crackles with tension and every scene either left my heart pounding or my eyes crying. And this book reminded me of why I love to read in the first place.

SPOILERS BELOW FOR TWC

Um I actually had a question for those of who’ve read it. Kestrel is loyal to Valoria but she’s also helping Arin with his cause so I’m confused as to where she stands?? I’m confused..

And for my favorite book of 2015…DIM THE LIGHTS, SOUND THE BELLS

  1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanigihara

22822858When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

There are some books that make you cry. There are others that make you laugh. There are some books that make you cry and laugh. But then there are books that just touch you. And A Little Life falls into this category. There are points in this book where I felt more for these characters than I have for most characters I’ve read about in 2015. I love that this book was not afraid to dig into the darkest and deepest crevasses of the human heart and creating characters that are bigger than life. It was awe-inspiring and it changed me.

So that’s my list! Let me know what your favorite books of 2015 were; I’ve been furiously looking at other people’s favorites list and adding them to my 2000 page long TBR but it’s so much fun.

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Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag!

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It’s past the middle of the year and the thing I’m most proud of is getting a job this summer..lol..which doesn’t sound like a lot to mr. But ANYWAY I’m here to talk about some books, surprisingly. Thank you so much to Anjie @ Love thy Shelf and Erika @ Erika in Bookventureland for tagging me! If you haven’t already, you should totes check out their blogs because they’re just so awesome.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2015.

Please tell me you knew this was coming. I’ve been shoving this book down every man, woman, child, robot, and porcupine that has come my way.

Fun Fact: The author picked this cover because it wasn’t clear whether the man was in pleasure or in pain..

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2015.

A lot of people are probably sick of me mentioning The Winner’s Crime so I’ll go with PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han. Surprise Surprise, the “love triangle” did not annoy me at all in this book and only this book can make studying at Starbucks appealing :3 especially if you’re studying with someone whose name starts with a “P” and ends with a “eter Kavinsky”.

Fun Fact: I actually own the biology book on the cover.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

Serpentine by Cindy Pon sounds so fucking awesome! It’s YA fantasy revolving around Chinese mythology. Action, adventure, mystery, and romance ensue!! Um..

Fun Fact: This book comes out today so can someone buy it for me and send it my way. Please and thank you.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

I NEED THIS NOW. I ALSO NEED MORE CINDER/KAI NOW.

Fun Fact: Marissa Meyer started the first book Cinder as a Nanowrimo project. I can’t believe how far it’s come.

5. Biggest disappointment.

Tossup between End of Days and The Elegance of the Hedgehog mostly because I was so sure I was going to like them but I ended up not..End of Days was so rushed and nothing developed and some side characters were brought in just for convenience of plot..The Elegance of the Hedgehog was enjoyable in its parts but not in its sum but other could have given more care to the actual story and it was really pretentious.

6. Biggest surprise.

A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin. Biggest surprise in a bad way. I was so sure I would love this book that I was even more disappointed that this book wasn’t even average for me.

Fun Fact: There has been 133 on screen “confirmed” deaths on the Game of Thrones TV show. 116 male. 17 female.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)

This year was the first time I read Margaret Atwood. I read The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake which were both amazing, awesome, A+ books. I can’t wait to read more of her books especially The Blind Assassin.

8. Newest fictional crush.

Who is the newest addition to Carolyn’s list of fictional boyfriends hall of fame?

a) Jerricho Barrons from DarkFever

b) Peter Kavinsky from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

c)  Khalid from The Wrath and the Dawn

d) JD Jameson from Practice Makes Perfect

e) All of the above wrapped up in one package and sent to my front door.

You know the answer although if I had to pick it would probably be Khalid.

9. Newest favourite character.

Who is Carolyn’s newest favorite character? Is it,

a) Sharzhad from the Wrath and the Dawn

b) Annamae from Under a Painted Sky

c) Jude from A Little Life

d) Werner from All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

The answer is D although all of the other choices come really really close!! I love Werner because he lived in 1930’s Nazi Germany and he trains to be one of Hitler’s Youth but all he really wants to do is study physics and I love how he’s such a dreamer despite such awful circumstances.

10. Book that made you cry.

I give in..I have to use this book..again..You know that one part in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland where she cries enough to make an ocean? That’s me just at the ending of this book…

11. Book that made you happy.

Firefight makes me happy because I think this story is just so exciting and it reminds me a lot of a fast paced action movie and David and Megan are precious cinnamon rolls that are too precious for this world.

Fun Fact: Calamity is coming out next year which makes me squeal with delight.

12. Favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year.

I haven’t watch that many movie adaptations this year but I have to go with Still Alice. It’s gut wrenching with great acting.

13. Favourite review you’ve written this year.

It might seem a little weird but my very first review for this blog (my review for Alex + Ada Vol. 1 & 2). It’s not the best review I’ve ever written but I remember feeling really accomplished after writing it and it kind of reminds me of how far I’ve come when I look at that review and my latest ones and how I’ve improved in writing my book reviews. Plus, I really love that comic series.

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received).

I haven’t read this one yet and it’s kind of hard to tell just from looking at it on the computer screen, but the colors are bright but muted at the same time so it gives a sort of old and historic feel to the cover. Of course, I also like the use of some traditional Vietnamese clothing like the straw hat. I’m really excited to read this one because it’s about a man who bikes his way around Vietnam and he talks about all the interesting people he’s met.

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Quote to Self

Quote to Self

Excuse me if this post goes from starting at the shore to going off the deep end, as in deeper than the Pacific Ocean.

I’m having existential crisis problems and I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote because it resonated a lot with me now and when I read the book.

I’m in my last year of college (yay me?)and it’s a little surprising, when I look back on it, how different my high school friends were (and are) from my college friends. And much like the quote says, both groups of friends in different times of my life meant the world to me. My friends in college are more “outgoing” in terms of going out and partying and my friends back in my hometown are a little more reserved. It’s probably a testament to how I’ve changed since going to college. My four close friends and I go to different colleges, one’s in New York, one’s in LA, etc. and two are local and luckily for the most part, we can still go back home and visit each other during odd weekends and holidays. It’s interesting how dynamics have changed with my friends in my hometown once we each go our separate ways. You are relieved you’re still friends but at the same time sad that things have changed so much and you’re not the group of friends you once were.

It’s true you don’t know how long you have your friends near. And sometimes there’s really nothing you can do about it, I’ve realized. Freshman year, I had a group of friends at school that had the same classes as me and I thought we were going to besties forever! lol..no..one person would go their separate ways and another person finds a club that just clicks and spends most of his time there or another friend just finds another group of friends that click with them. And I guess that’s what scares me after graduation sometimes. After graduation, some aspects of friendship that bond us are kind of lost I feel. I’ll miss living at an apartment with my friends where we went for midnight boba or where we were cramming for a final at 2am at the library or even when we all thought we knew what jobs we were going to do after graduation but then changing our minds and feeling lost all over again. (I can assure you I won’t miss the “taking finals” part though, bleh). I’ll miss that reassurance that we’re in this together; I think it’s something only friends can give, that relatability and closeness through shared experience that no one else can know. I feel like once we leave, it’s going to be different.

I look at my close friends and I wonder to myself sometimes, what difference have I made in their lives? That sounds really pretentious, but a small part of me hopes I won’t just be another person in someone’s life. Some people I know have such huge imprints on people’s lives and everything they do can be seen in everything they do. And I really admire that, mostly because I’m more of the person who just goes with the flow and am not too strongly opinionated most of the time. Maybe I just want verification of my pointless life..

You might be thinking, why does this matter, you’re being a tad dramatic aren’t you. I mean you can still contact them after school and you still have your best friends. I guess, in a sentence, it’s because friendship is important to me; change is scary; I don’t have the best relationship with my parents and when I’m down, I go to my friends to support me mentally and, you know what, as trivial as it sounds, their support has meant the world to me.

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Book Discussion: P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Book Discussion

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(Um..P.S.: I have that exact same biology book on the cover..say what.)

So I just finished this addicting book yesterday. I really didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. I loved it so much I decided to write a discussion on it. This book discussion will be mainly for people who have already read it. This is the second book to To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. So, obviously, there’ll be spoilers. But if you have read it, discuss with me!

So a lot of people liked the first book more than the second and overall I did too, but I actually enjoyed some parts of the second book more than the first. I liked all the Peter/Lara Jean moments in the first book more but in the sister and father relationship I liked more in the second.

I can’t really express how much I loved the sister bond in this book. As someone who has a younger sister and brother but I am not particularly close to my brother, it’s endearing to see such closeness between sisters, how they would tell each other everything from boys to dresses to friendships. And as someone who didn’t grow up with such family closeness, I really liked seeing the dynamics between Lara Jean and her dad. Their plans to go to Korea over the summer. Her dad’s reaction to her and Peter’s video just made me happy. *heart eyes*

I guess I’m just living vicariously through fictional characters. What else is new?

What I really appreciate about Jenny Han’s writing and storytelling is the way she gives such magnitude to everyday normal scenes that aren’t given a lot of weight in other books but serve to give an extra “oomph” to Lara Jean’s relationships. For example, Lara Jean celebrates Valentine’s Day by giving her dad heart shaped pancakes and she asks Kitty what beads she should put on Peter’s valentine. Just the little things that people gloss over in books gives such weight to their relationship. When Lara Jean asks Kitty what she should wear to her movie date with Peter and then immediately asks Margot if she could borrow her sweater just gives such a familiarity both to the story. We can see how close and normal these sisters are.

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Nothing truly dramatic happens in this book but it’s so addicting because Jenny Han just inserts such realism to her everyday scenes that you feel as though these people were your next door neighbors. Well, if your neighbors you are an upper middle class resident lol.

A lot of readers had problems with Lara Jean’s immaturity in these books and I never did. I found it really refreshing from the other rather mature characters of YA. And ya know, not all high schoolers were as mature. People grow at different rates and who’s to say how a 16-year-old should act. However, it’s nice to see her grow up throughout the story.

I initially was scared to read this book because I had heard there was a love triangle and I abhor reading about love triangles. It’s a personal preference. But I really liked how the love triangle was handled in this book because it dealt a lot with Lara Jean’s character development. You have John Ambrose who kind of represents this ideal love that she has had in her mind. It becomes clear because she romanticizes him in his soldier uniform. Peter represents the reality and he’s not just a romantic ideal because she’s in a relationship and they’ve experienced their ups and downs. She’s always been yearned for boys that were not within her reach and now that she and Peter had broken up, she wonders whether she should go back to yearning instead trying for a real relationship.

I really liked how these two books revolved around chance and being lucky. It makes me wonder if Kitty hadn’t actually sent those letters would Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky every have gotten together. They hang out in different social circles and John seems more “in her league” so to speak so on paper and in real life they seem like the more obvious pairing. And at the end, John says maybe one day it’ll be his chance to be with Lara Jean which really made me think of them as a couple and the potential for him to be with Lara Jean was so strong especially when Lara said Peter got there first. So if John was there first, would he have been with Lara instead of Peter? I still adore Peter and Lara but it makes me wonder..

My favorite quote: “People come in and out of your life. For a time they are your world; they are everything. And then one day they’re not. There’s no telling how long you will have them near.”

Such truth has never been spoken..especially at that age (at least for me) because you go through so much change both inside and outside of you that sometimes people are only right for you at some points in your life and the ones that last are something special.

Discuss this book with me in the comments! =) I still have so many feels..