April Wrap Up

Hey Guys!

This past month has been maybe the wildest and most fun four weeks I’ve had in years! I usually do two wrap up’s a month, book related.. but this month was so crazy that I decided to just do a wrap up at the end of the month, and shove it all into one longer post

Processed with VSCO with b5 presetI also need to confess to you guys that I have completely failed at my “2017 Reading Challenge”. I started off the year SO strong, and then before I knew it I began to feel really confined to the challenges on the list like “Read a Book from 1950” etc. I always found something great to read, but my biggest issue was that SO many incredible new books are being released EVERY WEEK. I want to read all the new books so much, that I keep buying them and staring at them wishing I could just read them instead. Recently I just realized that I should just read whatever the fuck I want haha. It was starting to feel like giving myself homework, and I feel like a failure, but I just can’t do it anymore. Sorry if any of you guys are disappointed, but I know I will be able to give you guys way more exciting and invested reviews, if I’m 100% into it. I’m still planning to read at least four books a month, they will just be what I want to read VS the challenge list. I did really love the first few months, and it opened my eyes up to some genres I often ignore, so for that I’m grateful. However, I can’t WAIT to show you guys all new brand new books I’ve got coming up for you. I just have no self control haha.

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Anyways so this wrap up is really more about the past week or so. As you guys saw in my previous post, we were in Mexico for two weeks… and I read only 1/2 a book and watched zero TV or movies or YouTube or ANYTHING. Getting home last week was so exciting actually, because I had SO many shows to catch up on. I’m aware that what I just said sounds really really sad and pathetic haha, but you guys know the feeling I’m sure.

So…..As always, here are some of my favorite things from the past two weeks

1.) TV SHOWS: This week has really been a 10/10 for Television premieres, and Netflix. Two of my MOST anticipated shows of 2017 “The Handmaids Tale” & “American Gods” both started last week, and they were both fucking AMAZING.

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“The Handmaids Tale” is a book that I read recently and loved so much, and seeing it come to life on the small screen was so great. The filming was so great in the first episode, they really nailed the chilling Dystopian vibe. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the novel by Canadian writer Margaret Atwood, I’ll attach the Google-Books plot blurb for you, xo

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(The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.
The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid’s Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.)

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“American Gods” is another book-to-movie adaptation, which I love so much. All of my favorite TV shows, seem to have been based on a book. I haven’t actually read “American Gods” written by English author Neil Gaiman. I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan, so the fact I haven’t read this is crazy. It’s kind of exciting to go into the show, with no knowledge of the ending though. It’s a bit more suspenseful that way, and I won’t have to obsess the whole time about how much like the book it is etc etc.

Episode one was so crazy and epic. SUCH cool effects, amazing world building and character development.. with a very VERY dark futuristic & fairy-tale feel. There was even a Leprechaun! It kind of has to be seen to believe. I can’t wait for episode two this week! I’ll attach the GoogleBooks plot as well in case you are interested in checking it out, xo

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(Ex-convict Shadow Moon roams a world he doesn’t understand, left adrift by the recent, tragic death of his wife. Little does he know his life is about to change after he meets a crafty, charismatic con man named Mr. Wednesday, who offers Shadow a job as his bodyguard. As their journey begins, Shadow encounters a hidden America where magic is real and fear grows over the ascending power of New Gods like Technology and Media. In a grand plan to combat the threat, Mr. Wednesday attempts to unite the Old Gods to defend their existence and rebuild the influence that they’ve lost, leaving Shadow struggling to accept this new world and his place in it.)

A resounding 10/10 for both “The Handmaids Tale” & “American Gods”. (So Far)

Also lastly I should also mention, I watched “GirlBoss” on Netflix, which is a semi-biographical show about the creator of “Nasty Gal Vintage”/also author of “Girl-Boss” Sophia Amoruso. I love the lead actress Britt Robertson, and I found the show to overall be really interesting, funny and great. The only thing is that I found Sophia’s character to be so so so so annoying and rude. It was really hard to stomach all her one-liners and just general asshole-ish behavior. She does end up growing on you by episode 3 or 4, but still…. ahh. I feel bad because obviously that’s what the actual person was like.. but whatever haha. I still gave it an overall 7/10.

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2.) MOVIES: I didn’t watch a ton of movies this month, but I did see a few that I felt were worth mentioning.

“Passengers” with Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence was pretty good. I was initially really excited for this movie to come out, but then when it premiered it received SO many terrible reviews.. that I got a bit turned off and never saw it in the theater. We watched it the other night at home, and I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t fantastic, but the effects were great and the story was interesting. However sadly there was like ZERO physical or sexual chemistry at ALL between the two leads. I guess they are both such money-bringing big names, that they just cast them regardless.

7.5/10

“The Young Offenders” on Netflix This is a new release on Netflix, and it’s seriously so hilarious and wonderful. It’s an Irish comedy film, about these two ridiculous teenagers who embark on a bike-trip of sorts, across the beautiful Irish scenery. I won’t spoil why they are on this trip for you, but I can promise you it’s absolutely hilarious. I laughed so hard the entire time, which is rare for watching a movie at home alone haha. My boyfriend Ryan is from the UK and he loves all those English TV shows and films, like Skins, The Office, PeepShow etc. He absolutely loved this one too. The only one little thing you might want to think of, is if you have a hard time understanding a thick Irish accent, the subtitles feature is actually pretty helpful for this one.

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Clothing: Just as a final favorites mention, I absolutely have to mention Forever 21. I got so much shit from Forever 21, for my trip to Mexico.. and they killed it. It’s so cheap there, and obviously the clothes will probably fall apart by the Summer, but honestly for under 100$ I got like two bathing suits, shorts, two dresses, sunglasses, chokers, and even more! The two one-piece bathing suits I got for the trip were so amazing, and I got so many compliments on the palm-print one! Everyone was so surprised when I said it was from Forever 21. So if you are looking for some cute and cheap Summer stuff, I highly recommend.

(All TV and Movie Poster Photos, from Google Images)

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So as for the Books I read this month, I somehow managed to read 3 physical copy books, and 1 E-Book! Four in total. Overall a pretty great month, I enjoyed them all (one a bit less than the others haha).

So first up we have….

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1.) “The Arrangement” by Sarah Dunn

8/10

THIS is the book I should have brought with me to Mexico! The best way to sum this one up in one sentence, would have to be “Perfect for a Beach Read”. It’s just one of those trashy, juicy and addicting “chick-lit” type books. I have been reading so many dark and twisted Psychological Thrillers, that this was a really nice change of pace.

It feels like I’ve been reading about this book everywhere! I saw it in Cosmo magazine, on Publishers Weekly, and finally on the New York Times Website. Also the creator of “Sex and the City” Candace Bushnell said “Daring and darkly funny, Sarah Dunn’s The Arrangement is this summer’s must read”. So basically I had to read this.

This is the story of a married couple Lucy and Owen, who are both a bit bored with their marriage.. and they decide to try out an “open marriage” for six months. The book then pretty much covers the ridiculous, hilarious and very entertaining adventures of both Lucy and Owen. Reading about them trying to find new partners, keep their own marriage alive at the same time, and deal with the inevitable fall-out.. was very interesting.

There were a few problematic things in this book though.. some not so great representation of the trans community, also just some offhand offensive comments. You aren’t really left sure if it’s the “character” who feels this way, or the author.. So that’s the only reason I didn’t rate this 10/10 just for sheer entertainment value, because it was very entertaining. I’m just so glad I don’t have to be involved in an open marriage haha, way too much drama!

As always, I’ll attach the GoogleBooks Plot Summary in case you guys want to check it out, xo.

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(Named one of the 9 Most Addictive Books of 2017 (So Far) by Kirkus, a Happily Ever After read by USA Today, and one of Entertainment Weekly’s Best New Books.
A hilarious and emotionally charged novel about a couple who embark on an open marriage-what could possibly go wrong?

Lucy and Owen, ambitious, thoroughly-therapized New Yorkers, have taken the plunge, trading in their crazy life in a cramped apartment for Beekman, a bucolic Hudson Valley exurb. They’ve got a two hundred year-old house, an autistic son obsessed with the Titanic, and 17 chickens, at last count. It’s the kind of paradise where stay-at-home moms team up to cook the school’s “hot lunch,” dads grill grass-fed burgers, and, as Lucy observes, “chopping kale has become a certain kind of American housewife’s version of chopping wood.”

When friends at a wine-soaked dinner party reveal they’ve made their marriage open, sensible Lucy balks. There’s a part of her, though-the part that worries she’s become too comfortable being invisible-that’s intrigued. Why not try a short marital experiment? Six months, clear ground rules, zero questions asked. When an affair with a man in the city begins to seem more enticing than the happily-ever-after she’s known for the past nine years, Lucy must decide what truly makes her happy-“real life,” or the “experiment?”)

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2.) “Only Ever Yours” by Louise O’Neill

10/10

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I can’t put into words how much this book disturbed me, and how much it continues to haunt me. Wow.

My friend Deborah recently recommended this book to me. She said it was super dark and totally up my alley. She was right! I tried to find this book at EVERY Chapters/Indigo in town, and none of them carried it at the moment. I then tried to order it online and it wasn’t going to be available to ship until the end of May! So I just gave it and bought it on AppleBooks for something like $9.99. I couldn’t wait to read it haha.

Wow Wow WOW. This book was absolutely amazing. The premise and story is so chilling and upsetting, that it feels like it slowly starts sinking in deeper and deeper. Around page 200, I was actually afraid to keep going. There was just this impending sense of disaster the whole time.

The story is set in the future, and the main character is a girl named Freida who is known as an “Eve”. Basically a young woman who’s entire life, and reason for creation.. is to be groomed and selected FOR a man. They are basically raised to behave a certain way, and to maintain impossible physical standards.. to be “chosen” aka sold off to men as their “companions” or their “concubines”. The ones who aren’t chosen face a worse fate.

This story is very reminiscent of “The Handmaids Tale” in a lot of ways, but it also has a more upsetting feeling to it. The way these girls talk about their bodies and feel about themselves, is repeated over and over in such a harmful and negative way. Their entire purpose is just to please a man. Ugh it’s so awful I can’t even explain. Awful in a brilliant way though. This is one of the best books I read all year, and I loved how much it disturbed me. Even though I’m positive I will never EVER forget that ending. Jesus Christ.

I’ll attach the plot from GoodReads as well, xo

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(In a world in which baby girls are no longer born naturally, women are bred in schools, trained in the arts of pleasing men until they are ready for the outside world. At graduation, the most highly rated girls become “companions”, permitted to live with their husbands and breed sons until they are no longer useful.

For the girls left behind, the future – as a concubine or a teacher – is grim.

Best friends Freida and Isabel are sure they’ll be chosen as companions – they are among the most highly rated girls in their year.

But as the intensity of final year takes hold, Isabel does the unthinkable and starts to put on weight. ..
And then, into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride.

Freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known. .)

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3.) “Everything, Everything” by Nicola Yoon 

8/10

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So firstly I should note this book is 100% a “Young-Adult” book. I don’t read a ton of Young Adult books these days, I kind of burnt myself out on it years back. I just got so sick of the repetitive tropes, and the nauseating “insta-love” that seem to going around and around in a circle. That being said, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews for this story, and the movie is about to come out.. so when I saw it for $10 at Chapters I figured what the hell. I’m so glad I did, because it was such a refreshing little story.

This is the story of an eighteen year old girl named Maddy, who is basically allergic to EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING. Like hasn’t left her vacuum sealed home in 17 YEARS allergic. She is obviously bored as shit at home, and when a new family moves next-door (insert hot boy), she gets pretty excited. What comes next is a really sweet and enjoyable love story. Also this story has ONE HELL of a twist I didn’t see coming. I can’t wait for the movie to come out. Also the book is scattered with some truly beautiful illustrations, which is always fun to read.

Also Note: I read this book in three hours. So it’s a quick breezy little tale.

GoodReads Plot

(My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.)

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4.) “A Simple Favor” by Darcey Bell

5/10

(Mild-Spoilers Ahead. But Only for the DISGUSTING part of the book that I hated so much. No spoilers about overall plot twists etc)

Ok so I saved the worst for last. This is the book I brought with me to Mexico, and it all started off so well. I was reading it happily on the plane, happily by the pool…. and THEN it happened. I got to about 1/4 of the way through and for no apparent reason this author decided to introduce a full-blown incest brother-sister (NOT STEP) sexual relationship into the story.

Ok so first off this isn’t a spoiler, it happens early on, and honestly.. I feel you should know. This isn’t some step-brother Clueless, still gross but you could maybe-sort-of get behind… this was a full blown half brother, blood related LOVE STORY. Like so gross you guys can’t imagine.

The worst thing about this is that I was feeling SO good about it for the first 1/4 of the way through, I loved the writing style, the format, the plot…. So much so that I INSTAGRAM a photo of myself with it, suggesting it to people!!!! Saying how much I was enjoying it blah blah. I hadn’t even had it posted for an hour, when I got to the incest part.. and I immediately went back and revised the caption of my post.

So to be fair, this little plot part isn’t a HUGE part, and you are only forced to listen to her graphically re-counting all the sex they had (barf) for like 10 pages. But seriously… Ugh. The character never even really seems that disgusted with herself, shes more like ” Oh my secret he he”. She actually in one part says that the wedding photo of her MOTHER AND FATHER turned her on (BARF) because her DAD looked so much like her LOVER aka BROTHER (BARF times 100).

Anyway, if you can manage to look past this, which obviously I couldn’t… the actual story is kind of mysterious if not totally predictable. I was a bit surprised, and I did tear through it quite fast. It felt a bit like a rip off of the “damaged un-likable Amy Dunne Gone-Girl” character that’s been done 100 times since “Gone Girl”, but this wasn’t nearly as good. I feel bad being so negative, but it was actually so gross.

Don’t read this one guys. Or do! But I just thought I should warn you before you spend $30 only to get 1/4 through and be like “NO”.

Here is the GoodReads plot summary, if any of you actually care haha. Also the GoodReads blurb makes it sound really good. It isn’t.

(She’s your best friend.
She knows all your secrets.
That’s why she’s so dangerous.
A single mother’s life is turned upside down when her best friend vanishes in this chilling debut thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

It starts with a simple favor—an ordinary kindness mothers do for one another. When her best friend, Emily, asks Stephanie to pick up her son Nicky after school, she happily says yes. Nicky and her son, Miles, are classmates and best friends, and the five-year-olds love being together—just like she and Emily. A widow and stay-at-home mommy blogger living in woodsy suburban Connecticut, Stephanie was lonely until she met Emily, a sophisticated PR executive whose job in Manhattan demands so much of her time.

But Emily doesn’t come back. She doesn’t answer calls or return texts. Stephanie knows something is terribly wrong—Emily would never leave Nicky, no matter what the police say. Terrified, she reaches out to her blog readers for help. She also reaches out to Emily’s husband, the handsome, reticent Sean, offering emotional support. It’s the least she can do for her best friend. Then, she and Sean receive shocking news. Emily is dead. The nightmare of her disappearance is over.

Or is it? Because soon, Stephanie will begin to see that nothing—not friendship, love, or even an ordinary favor—is as simple as it seems.

A Simple Favor is a remarkable tale of psychological suspense—a clever and twisting free-fall of a ride filled with betrayals and reversals, twists and turns, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge. Darcey Bell masterfully ratchets up the tension in a taut, unsettling, and completely absorbing story that holds you in its grip until the final page.)

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Love all my Readers, and I can’t wait to share with you all the new books I’ll be reading this May.

xoxo,

Carly.

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