February Wrap Up, Part One (Spoiler Free)

Hey You Guys <3

I can’t believe this month is already halfway over! The months are just flying by so fast, I can hardly even keep my head on straight. It feels like it was Christmas just YESTERDAY!

Anyways, the snow has all melted here in Vancouver, and it’s back to business as usual. I’ve been loving this Reading Challenge that I’m doing so much (2017 Reading Challenge: 52 Books A Year/ One Book A Week). It’s really pushed me to read more, and to commit myself more to one book at a time. I used to have anywhere from two to three books on the go at one time, and it became a bit too easy to just forget one at the halfway point.. and then just never finish it. With only having one book a week to read, and knowing that I have to finish it for my Review, really keeps me going. I really enjoyed two out of the three books I read this month… but I HATED one so much.. I can’t even explain how much. Read on to see why haha.

Valentines Day came and went this week, and it was so much fun. My boyfriend and I decided to make dinner at home together, and watch a movie. He let me choose ANY cheesy romantic movie I wanted to watch.. So I had the dilemma of trying to decide which one to force him to sit through.. “Titanic” or “The Notebook”???? This was the chance of a lifetime, and I would never be able to get these on the TV again haha. It was the perfect night.

In other news, today I finally saw the new “50 Shades of Grey” movie, and it was ridiculous of course.. but in the best way. However, it was probably a bad call hitting up the daytime two pm matinee, haha! It was me, my friend Anna.. and like ten single people sitting alone. Kind of a creepy vibe.. especially since this movie is basically as close as you can get to actually showing a porno in the theater. We loved it of course.

Lastly here are some of my personal favorite things from the past two weeks <3

  • Ed Sheeran’s new songs off his upcoming album. Mainly “Castle on the Hill”
  • Selena Gomez’s new song “It Ain’t Me”
  • The most HILARIOUS Instagram called “everyoutfitonsatc”. They go over every outfit EVER featured on the HBO show “Sex and the City”, and the commentary is actually to die for funny.
  • The TV Show “Casual”. Seriously SO funny
  • Kat Von D’s liquid matte lip cream in Lolita
  • “La La Land”, was as fantastic as they said. I can’t stop listening to “City of Stars”. Also “Manchester by the Sea” was an incredible film.
  • Also discovered the BEST hot sauce in Vancouver, “Fresh is Best: Hot Habanero”img_4002Anyway enough about me, back to the books of the last two weeks. I’ll also throw in a few random photos from the past two weeks, as well as some super cheesy couple shots from Valentines Day <3Processed with VSCO with 7 preset Processed with VSCO with q3 presetSo over the first two weeks of February, my challenges were

1.) A “Non Fiction” Book

2.) A book written by a male authorimg_12801.) A Non Fiction Book

“Blackout: Remembering The Things I Drank To Forget”

by, Sarah Hepola

My Rating: 8.5/10

When I saw the challenge for the first week was Non-Fiction, I was so excited. I started reading this book over a year ago, and just forgot about it after a chapter or two.. and this was the perfect excuse to pick it up again. This book was written by Sarah Hepola, all about her struggle with drinking/blackouts, during her time living and working as a successful writer in New York City.

This book was fascinating, and actually contained a great deal of medical information that I never knew concerning blackouts etc. Sarah’s voice in this story is so funny and sharp, that she manages to turn some very dark subject matter, into some darkly comedic stories. She tells the story of her life from childhood, through teenage years, adulthood, and eventually to rock bottom.. and then finally recovery.

Sarah deals with a lot of guilt and shame over her actions on nights out with friends, work events, parties etc. She routinely has blackout’s and can’t remember anything she has done. In one particularly awful scene, she finds herself in bed with a man who she has no memory of meeting. This isn’t a spoiler, she talks about this in the first chapter.

A line from the end of the first section says “The blackouts showed me how powerless I had become. The nights I can’t remember are the nights I can never forget”. I think that really sums up what this book is about. Sarah falls, page by page.. chapter by chapter, further into self destruction, and at times it was hard to read.

Overall I really enjoyed this memoir. Sarah has an incredible way with words, and a very self depreciating humor that lends itself to such a harrowing story. My only criticism is that I felt a bit unsatisfied with the ending, which I know is ridiculous because its a MEMOIR.. but I just would have liked to see more about her Recovery, and how shes doing now.

I really did love this though, and I feel like anyone and everyone can relate to at least some part of Sarah’s story. She talks about her youth in such a funny, almost cringe worthy way.. that really makes you think “oh GOD that was so me”. I found her very relatable, and in the end actually incredibly insightful.

GoodReads Plot

(Alcohol was “the gasoline of all adventure” for Sarah Hepola. She spent her evenings at cocktail parties and dark bars where she proudly stayed till last call. Drinking felt like freedom, part of her birthright as a strong, enlightened twenty-first-century woman.
But there was a price. She often blacked out, waking up with a blank space where four hours should have been. Mornings became detective work on her own life. What did I say last night? How did I meet that guy? She apologized for things she couldn’t remember doing, as though she were cleaning up after an evil twin. Publicly, she covered her shame with self-deprecating jokes, and her career flourished, but as the blackouts accumulated, she could no longer avoid a sinking truth. The fuel she thought she needed was draining her spirit instead.
A memoir of unblinking honesty and poignant, laugh-out-loud humor, Blackout is the story of a woman stumbling into a new kind of adventure–the sober life she never wanted. Shining a light into her blackouts, she discovers the person she buried, as well as the confidence, intimacy, and creativity she once believed came only from a bottle. Her tale will resonate with anyone who has been forced to reinvent or struggled in the face of necessary change. It’s about giving up the thing you cherish most–but getting yourself back in return.)Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetProcessed with VSCO with b5 presetimg_12902.) A Book Written By A Male Author

“The Girl Before”

by JP Delaney

My Rating: 7/10

Lately I’ve been seeing this book everywhere, and when I heard that a film version is being made by Academy Award winner Ron Howard as well.. I had to have it. I was a bit confused when I went to buy it because there is another book with the EXACT same title, by it’s by Rena Olsen. Anyways, you guys know how much I LOVE a good Psychological Thriller, and this sounded right up my alley.

This is the story of a very rich architect, who is obsessed with minimalism. Not just the minimalist style, but the lifestyle as well. He rents out one of his houses, for very cheap.. but there is a twist. A fucking CREEPY twist.

This story is told from two different points of view, Emma and Jane. Emma in the past, Jane in the present. They both rent the minimalist architect’s house, and all kinds of messed up shit starts happening to them.

It doesn’t take long for the reader to realize one of our main narrators Emma (the one narrating from the past) is in fact dead. This isn’t a spoiler, its said right up front basically. Emma dies in the house, and the woman currently renting it “Jane” takes it upon herself to find out what happened to Emma. She also tries to figure out what the architect’s motive behind his “affordable, but with a catch” deal is..  Basically the story gets SO CREEPY from here on out.

I devoured this in a few nights, and I really enjoyed it. I did have a few issues with it, and it wasn’t the best thriller I’ve read lately.. but it was a lot of fun. There is a weird sexual “50 shades” sort of vibe to this book, that I wasn’t expecting.. and it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, just not what was expecting. I also found some parts very repetitive, and I found myself thinking “Wait am I reading Emma or Jane’s chapter right now??”. In the end though I really liked it, and I would recommend it for any fans of Paula Hawkins’s “Girl on the Train”. Something about it reminded me of “Girl on the Train”.. probably the dual female narration.17021980_10210554491236223_8216691725950787552_nGoodReads Plot

(Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.
The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.
Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.
After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.)17022496_10210554490556206_5829034101554880829_n17103666_10210554491836238_4528019123930942907_nProcessed with VSCO with hb1 presetProcessed with VSCO with h5 presetProcessed with VSCO with a2 presetThis last book wasn’t part of the challenge. I just saw it randomly and I really liked the cover, and thought it seemed interesting.. I WAS SO WRONG. I think I hated this book more than anything I’ve ever read. It was just awful, so awful. The only good thing about this book was the cover art, because that was gorgeous. img_12753.) “I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl”

by, Gretchen McNeil

My Rating 1/10

I seriously don’t know where to begin. Ok, so you have all probably heard the term “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” right? It’s a common film & tv troupe defined as being (” Manic Pixie Dream Girl as a character who “exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures”.) Think Zooey Deschanel in pretty much anything.. also Margo from Paper Towns, Natalie Portman from “Garden State” etc etc.

Ok so firstly I hate this term. It really generalizes a lot of women, who just happen to have similar outlooks, personalities, style etc. I never normally read YA fiction anymore, but something about this ridiculously bad sounding plot kind of drew me in. As soon as I started the book I was offended by it, and knew it was going to be awful. I ended up sort of hate reading it after that.. you know what I mean? When you just keep reading, or watching a movie or something terrible.. just to laugh at how bad it is? I was literally reading paragraphs of this out loud to my boyfriend being like “OMG you have to hear this”.

Ok so my first problem with this book, was the main character Beatrice. She was SO horrible. Selfish, mean, insensitive, entitled, rude, pathetic.. etc etc. She was one of the most unlikable characters I’ve ever read about.. and not in a good Amy Dunne “Gone Girl” kind of way. She was constantly talking about the girls at school who were pretty or popular, and saying how “stupid” they were and she kept pressing this over and over. She just constantly going on and on about how smart she was and how STUPID everyone else was.

So the basic story is this.. Her boyfriend dumps her for this new girl at school.. A exciting, beautiful, bubbly and adorably fun girl named Toile. She then coins this girl as the infamous “manic pixie” and decides in order to win him back she needs to go from MATH GEEK TO MANIC PIXIE. Honestly that’s the plot. No joke.

It made me cringe so much reading this, it was almost unbearable. Also there is a particularly offensive subplot going on. Beatrice basically forces her gay best friend to “really play up” being super flamboyant to get more popular. Just SO many things wrong with this book, this message. The writing in this book was actually pretty good, which is the worst thing about it. This author could have done so much more with this story, if only the main and only character was at ALL likable.

Don’t read this.

Anyways, here is the GoodReads Plot in case anybody actually wants to check it out. Seriously you shouldn’t though.

(From acclaimed author Gretchen McNeil comes her first realistic contemporary romance—perfect for fans of Kody Keplinger’s The Duff  and Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone.
Beatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini has life all figured out. She’s starting senior year at the top of her class, she’s a shoo-in for a scholarship to M.I.T., and she’s got a new boyfriend she’s crazy about. The only problem: All through high school Bea and her best friends Spencer and Gabe have been the targets of horrific bullying.
So Bea uses her math skills to come up with The Formula, a 100% mathematically guaranteed path to social happiness in high school. Now Gabe is on his way to becoming Student Body President, and Spencer is finally getting his art noticed. But when her boyfriend Jesse dumps her for Toile, the quirky new girl at school, Bea realizes it’s time to use The Formula for herself. She’ll be reinvented as the eccentric and lovable Trixie—a quintessential manic pixie dream girl—in order to win Jesse back and beat new-girl Toile at her own game.
Unfortunately, being a manic pixie dream girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and “Trixie” is causing unexpected consequences for her friends. As The Formula begins to break down, can Bea find a way to reclaim her true identity and fix everything she’s messed up? Or will the casualties of her manic pixie experiment go far deeper than she could possibly imagine?)Processed with VSCO with b5 presetimg_3967Processed with VSCO with 4 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetThanks for reading guys! Make sure to check back in two more weeks for my February Wrap Up: Part Two!

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