May & June Book Wrap-Up

7/09/2019


Hello there! This is long overdue. I went home for the month of May and came back to the US late June, so I really didn't get much reading done which made writing up a wrap-up seem rather pointless. Then time ran away from me and June's got pushed back. So, we have a duo wrap-up! Yay! Here are all the books I read in the months of May and June.


Dry 
by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman 

“...and I realize that this is the true core of human nature: When we've lost the strength to save ourselves, we somehow find the strength to save each other.” 

When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival. This is a realistic dystopian YA novel, that makes you really thirsty. It was.. okay. A little meh. Not to give any spoilers, I just found the outcome rather pointless and made the whole reading experience not worth it. If you want an easy read that isn't very light-hearted, pick this up. Just don't expect anything overly interesting.

Rating: ★★


Maybe In Another Life
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

“Life is long and full of an infinite number of decisions. I have to think that the small ones don’t matter, that I’ll end up where I need to end up no matter what I do.” 

When twenty-nine-year-old Hannah is faced with the decision of whether to go home with her best friend or her ex boyfriend Ethan, we follow both courses that her life could've taken. In concurrent storylines, she lives out her days in these parallel universes. In one, her and Ethan decide to make another go of their relationship. In the other, her life is completely flipped upside down, but is it for the better? Is there any Taylor Jenkins Reid book that I don't love? No, no there isn't. This is a refreshing idea for a book and as always, I loved her storytelling. The characters were great, I cried, I smiled, and I had a constant cinnamon roll craving thanks to Hannah's love of them. The only thing that lowered this from a 5 star read was the sometimes repetitive scenes that took place in both timelines, which became a little annoying. Otherwise, it was perfect. And I'm probably reaching for something to criticise it for as I can't just give Taylor Jenkins Reid books constant praise.. or can I?

Rating: ★★★★


Skyward (Skyward #1)
by Brandon Sanderson

“You get to choose who you are. Legacy, memories of the past, can serve us well. But we cannot let them define us. When heritage becomes a box instead of an inspiration, it has gone too far.” 

Spensa is a teenage girl living among the remnants of the human race, trapped on a planet that is constantly attacked by mysterious aliens. Training to become a pilot in the shadow of her father's past, she pledges to be the woman she wants to be - going down fighting. So when she finds the wreckage of an ancient ship, she wants to fix it up - if she can while navigating her new life in flight school - and reach the stars. But the ship is like nothing she has ever known, it has a soul. This was the first YA Brandon Sanderson book I picked up, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I liked the book, the characters were humorous and the story had a classic Brandon Sanderson feel. But there were some aspects that felt unnecessarily classic YA. Random romances that didn't need to be there and some dialogue that read cheesy. Nevertheless, I found it enjoyable and I will be picking up the sequel.

Rating: ★★★★


Evidence Of The Affair
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

“It seems as if you see me exactly as I wish to be seen. There is no greater gift than that.” 

Through the form of letters, this is a short story revolved around a man and woman as they come to terms with the knowledge that their mutual marital spouses are having an affair. I never knew such a short book (a mere 115 kindle pages) could pack such a punch of emotions. This was beautiful, so beautiful. I found myself crying and aching for the characters as they talk about the loss of their marriages and find peace through their newly discovered friendship. If you like anything Taylor Jenkins Reid has written, pick this up.

Rating: ★★★★★


Lullaby
by Leïla Slimani

"The baby is dead. It took only a few seconds."

Translated by Sam Taylor, this French to English thriller was for sure... interesting. Louise, a forty-something woman, is hired to be the nanny to Myriam's two children. She appears to be kind, quiet, and the all round perfect edition to the household. She is quickly viewed as a part of the family - going on vacation with them, joining in at dinner parties, staying overnight. But things begin to change when lines are crossed and dependency is beginning to define the relationship between parents and nanny. I was expecting a twisted story that would play on my mind, but I was instead given a weird and meh book. I kept waiting for something to happen, for something to snap, but it just didn't. We ended the book with pretty much the same feelings after the prologue. The cover is pretty though, so yay.

Rating: ★★



Normal People 
by Sally Rooney

“Marianne had the sense that her real life was happening somewhere very far away, happening without her, and she didn't know if she would ever find out where it was or become part of it.” 

Told during their high school and college days, Connell and Marianne are the most unlikely of couples. In high school he's the popular guy and she's the intense 'weird' girl (think 'She's All That'). But when they some into contact, they release that they have a connection unlike anything they've yet to experience. Skip forward a few months, and their roles have switched in university. She's now the popular attractive girl and he's the lost student. This book seems to be a love or hate it situation, I've read such varying reviews. I personally loved it. It was devastating, the story was sad and I do think that's why so many people hated it. You have to be prepared to get your heart shattered. I initially gave this a 4 star rating, but the longer it sat with me, I couldn't get the characters out of my mind. So, I pumped this to a sparkling 5 star rating.

Rating: ★★★★★


Twilight
by Stephenie Meyer

“I like the night. Without the dark, we'd never see the stars.” 

Edward is a perfect vampire, so when he meets a clumsy human called Bella who smells like a perfect meal, how can he resist? But can they survive an evil vampire trying to kill the first woman he has ever loved? A dad with a shotgun? A werewolf child who gets paid by his dad to turn up at their first prom together? He doesn't know, but he does know that a lion will not give up on his lamb. I chose to reread this for the Popsugar Reading Challenge prompt 'Read a book that makes you nostalgic', and you know what? I still enjoyed it. It's terrible but great. I don't think you can ever hate something that you once loved so much. Granted, I would've once given this a 5 star rating and it's now lessened to a 3 star, but it's Twilight. There's a part of me -and I didn’t know how potent that part might be- that will always partly be a Twihard.

Rating: ★★★

What books are you hoping to pick up this Summer?


Dreamcasting Books | Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

7/07/2019

Whenever I finish a book that I enjoyed, I instantly imagine who would play each character if a movie or mini series was to ever be made. My husband does the same. We were recently discussing this and I suggested we do a few posts where we dreamcast some of our favourite books. He said 'let's do it!" and here we are. My first book of choice is a newly favourited book by Taylor Jenkins Reid, 'Daisy Jones & The Six'.

If you want to read my fangirl review of the novel click HERE, if not, then enjoy the following post.


DAISY JONES
Age: 19-28
Description: Skinny, tall, full lips, copper hair, blue eyes, high cheekbones.
Dream Casting: Troian Bellisario

The story revolves around Daisy so her casting would be a critical decision. We not only need someone who fits the criteria of being absolutely gorgeous, but we need someone who can own both her sexuality and give a convincing performance during Daisy's low points. Bonus points for choosing an actress who has that raspy singing voice that Daisy becomes known for. My vote would 110% be Troian Bellisario. 

Mostly known for Pretty Little Lies and appearing on a fair few Indie projects, her acting ability is beyond her years. She can appear both full of youth and as a wounded soul, which sums up Daisy's story pretty perfectly. The copper hair and blue eyes would be needed to be done with a dye job and some contacts, but otherwise I think she could fill the role phenomenally.  And as demonstrated on her Instagram (@sleepinthegardn) she has a soft spot for the time periods that Daisy Jones & The Six is set in, which would undoubtedly help her get into the spirit.




BILLY DUNNE
Age: 22-32
Description: Dark hair, dark eyes, high cheekbones.
Dream Casting: Robert Pattinson

Billy Dunne is our main man. Described as the sex symbol of the band, he is both the eye candy and main singer of The Six. His story is as rough as Daisy's. When we're introduced to his character, his band is slowly growing in the music industry meaning that drugs and alcohol become second nature to his lifestyle. Think Bradly Cooper's character in A Star is Born. He has addictions, a tough role in the way of feeling like he carries the band, So again, that opens us up to the question of 'who can both sing and act in such a heavy role? 

I was reluctant to put Robert Pattinson as my pick as I know people either love or hate him. But if you have only ever seen him in Twilight and are judging him on that, then you don't get a vote. He fits the bill to play Billy, so I'm doing it. Edward Robert is my pick. He can sing, he's handsome in the way that Billy is described, and he has a good acting range. If he was cast in this role, I really wouldn't second guess it. 





GRAHAM DUNNE
Age: 21-30
Description: Broad shoulders, dusty brown hair, handsome but still a little rough around the edges.
Dream Casting: Johnathan Jackson

I know Jonathan Jackson from Nashville, and he has always impressed me with his portrayal of the character he plays. In retrospect, his character is fairly similar to Graham. He's an overly confident young man who sometimes doesn't think about his actions. He messes up relationships with women and blames everything except himself. Yet once he meets the right woman, he tries to change his ways. He grows on your heart. So I may be semi cheating with this pick as he has already played a Graham role for me, but if you aren't familiar with Jonathan Jackson, what do you think about his look for Graham?




KAREN SIRKO 'KAREN KAREN'
Description: Graham says she looks like Ali MacGraw, I'm 99.9% sure that there aren't any other descriptions throughout the novel. Comment down below if I'm mistaken!
Dream Casting: Olivia Cooke

Karen becomes the guitarist of The Six near the beginning of the story. Her and Graham dabble in a romantic relationship, but that isn't what defines her character, which I loved. She's reluctant to give into her sexual side as her previous work in bands always led to her being asked out/hit on. But as the book goes on, she embraces her female side due to Daisy's presence. In my mind, I imagined her baby-faced, petite, but with a tomboy side. I think Olivia Cooke suits Karen's role perfectly, and she gives off the indie vibe that Karen needs.




CAMILA DUNNE
Age: N/M
Description: Gorgeous girl. Long brown hair, down to her waist, and big brown eyes. Short. 
Dream Casting: Anna Kenrick

Camila is easily one of my favourite characters of the book. She doesn't fall into the 'jealous girlfriend' trope which I appreciated. Partner to Billy, she doesn't involve herself in the music scene but travels with Daisy & The Six when they go on tour. She's kind, mature, and someone you would want to befriend in real life. Anna Kenrick has always been likeable no matter the role - looking at you Jessica (her character from Twilight) - so  I think she'd suit Camila's character.



TEDDY PRICE
Age: N/M
Description: British, real tall, fat guy in a suit,  a face only a mother could love.
Dream Casting: Hugh Laurie

For this casting, I'm ignoring a lot of the description. Not only couldn't I think of anyone, but I don't particularly enjoy picking someone based on those descriptors. Teddy is the agent guy throughout most of this book. He's the guy keeping everyone together. The wise guy people go to. My husband suggested Hugh Laurie and now I can't get him out of my head for the role. If they want to make his character unhealthy, make him eat greasy food and smoke a lot. Hugh has the charisma to bring the role of Teddy to life. 



There are so many other characters to this book, but to prevent this post from becoming overwritten, I'm going to stop here. As mentioned above, this was in collaboration with my husband @BilliamSWN so be sure to go check out his post where he dreamcasted Less by Andrew Sean Greer over on SomewhatNerdy.

If you got to choose which book was next turned into a movie, which would you choose?

CARROT HUMMUS | R E C I P E

7/04/2019


My husband's aunt recently offered us some carrot hummus during a visit and it was overly delicious. We instantly asked for the recipe and have made it multiple times since. I adore hummus with a side of some pita chips and veggies, both as a snack and a meal. So I thought in the case of you having similar taste, I'd share the recipe. Thank you to Debbie for sharing with us, and thus me with you.



I N G R E D I E N T S
  • 1 lbs boiled carrots (I use an average bag)
  • 2 tsp harrisa paste
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp honey (could substitute to make vegan)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of kosher salt (to taste)

P R E P
Peel and boil your carrots until fork tender.

M E T HO D
Add all your ingredients to a blender, and blend to your desired texture.*

S T O R E  T I M E
Keep refrigerated for up to 4 days.

*Alternatively you could use a hand masher and mix well with a fork.


P I T A  CH I P S

I N G R E D I E N T S
  • 1 wholewheat pita bread per person, cut into triangles
  • Pinch of kosher salt
P R E P
Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 5/350°F.

M E T H O D
Spread your triangles evenly on a baking tray, bake for 10 minutes, turning the chips after 5 minutes.


What's your favourite snack that doubles as a light lunch? 



Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag | Best & Worst Books of 2019 (So far!)

6/30/2019


I recently saw this tag going around the Youtubesphere and wanted to join in via blog form. We all too often reflect on your reading history at the end of the year, so many little treasures can get lost along the way. This is a great opportunity to chat about some of books that may otherwise go amiss. It's my personal goal to read 100 books before the end of the year, and as I am currently on my 44th book, it isn't going great! But it's fine, it's fineeee. Follow along with my reading on Goodreads, it's most definitely the most pure of social media. Now, let's get to it.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019.
Big Little Lies
by Liane Moriarty


To be honest, this was a tie but I pledged to only answer each question with a single book, and the other works into another question so.. yes. Nevertheless, Big Little Lies was an absolute favourite of mine. It made me pick up the remainder of Liane's books with rapid speed, and though nothing else became an instant favourite, I do love her writing. She manages to mix a mystery/thriller with a classic chic-lit (I hate that term) without it seeming too try hard. This specific book is revolved around 3 women and a murder. Like with most of Liane's books, the story is told in reverse and that alone can keep you up at night flipping pages with the enthusiasm of a child holding a wrapped gift. I think what made Big Little Lies stand out to me was the female empowerment that became the centre of this twisty story. I've never felt empowered before when I've closed the last page of a book, but this one did that for me. I loved the characters, the friendships between women, and the classic but never tiresome 'mum life' side of the story. I could honestly recommend this to anyone as it ticks so many boxes in terms of genres.

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2019.
Having only read one sequel thus far, and not particularly liking it, I was going to change this question to 'Sequel I want to read in the near future', but I hand-on-heart can't think of a single one. I rarely read books that are a part of a series, let alone newer books. When I was younger I devoured things like the Vampire Academy series, House of Night, The Twilight Saga, the Fallen series. But as I've gotten older and my genre taste has changed to more of a contemporary/historical fiction vibe, it's rare to find a sequel. Sorry!

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to.
The Silent Patient
by Alex Michaelides

I've heard so many great things about this newly released thriller. I honestly have no idea what it's about, and I refuse to look it up in fear of being spoiled for something plot related. A thriller synopsis can give far too much away. But yes, I want to read this!

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
The Testaments
by Margaret Atwood

Like most people, I only picked up The Handmaid's Tale due to the popularity of the show. And like most, I loved it. It was most definitely a dry read, but given the subject matter, what does one expect? The writing was beautifully done and I'm really looking forward to seeing where Margaret herself chooses to take this world.

5. Biggest disappointment.
The Light We Lost
by Jill Santopolo


This has so much hype on Bookstagram (Speaking of, have you followed me on Instagram? I have both a book page @BranchingPages and a regular blogging account @RootingBranches) and this book has been a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Club pick, most reviews have been "This book made me cry buckets!" so I was pretty exciting going into it. I was sure that this would be a 4 star, if not 5 star read. But... no. The Light We Lost is a romance story written from the aftermath of heartache. It's sad, sure, and the ending rivalled Me Before You's, but... the couple was so incompatible. I hated Gabe, and Lucy was infuriating. They didn't work. There wasn't one scene where I found them compatible. It threw off the entire story for me.

6. Biggest surprise.
The Kiss Quotient 
by Helen Hoang

I went into this book fully expecting to just enjoy it. I had already given it a 3 star rating in my head (don't judge me), so imagine my surprise when I instantly started to count down the days until the follow-up book The Bride Test came out. (Which I didn't enjoy, but that's not the point.) In the style of Me Before You, this has great well-rounded characters which is why I enjoyed it so much. Following the unlikely romantic story of a male escort and a woman who has Aspergers, The Kiss Quotient holds so much more emotion between it's pages than you'd ever expect when opening it up.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)
Celeste Ng,
author of Little Fires Everywhere & Everything I Never Told You


I read both of her books earlier this year, and the two were 5 star reads for me. I quickly fell in love with her writing. She has a way of writing family dynamics that is as beautiful as it is tragic. I've never questioned her characters voices. I'd be sure to pick up anything else she writes.

8. Newest couple crush.*
Jo and Laurie, 
Little Women


Granted, they aren't technically a couple but I was shipping this duo for a good portion of this classic novel. I loved their chemistry and found myself chuckling along with their never ending banter. I had actually never read Little Women prior to picking it up earlier this year and I enjoyed it far more than I initially thought. For a classic, it reads surprisingly well. The characters were all very likeable and it wasn't difficult to follow along with the story, much to my relief. Love or hate it, classic literature can be daunting to read. It sometimes isn't a very enjoyable experience, but this was great and I may even pick up Jo's Boys in the near future.

9. Newest favourite character.
Daisy Jones,
Daisy Jones & The Six


Much like The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid's newest release Daisy Jones & The Six captured my heart within a mere chapter.  When party girl Daisy Jones joins the 60s-70s rock band The Six, they are dubious as to whether she'll fit. Billy, the band's leader man, dislikes her attitude and she isn't all too fussed about him either. Can two people who dislike each other get along for the music that will undeniably skyrocket their careers? This is already well loved online, but boy, I didn't expect to love it as much as I did. This is a love letter written to modern day women, from women of the past. (Okay, fictional women, but let me dream them into reality). It's beautiful, realistic, and feminist as hell. Read it.

10. Book that made you cry.
One True Loves
by Taylor Jenkins Reid


I could name a few, it seems like lately I'm just a gushy reader. But the one that instantly comes to mind is another Taylor Jenkins Reid book. Can you tell she has quickly become one of my favourite authors? If not my absolute favourite. whoa, big statement. One True Loves tells the story of a young woman whose husband goes missing in a helicopter accident while travelling over the pacific, and the aftermath of it all. We follow her story as she attempts to rebuilt her life by moving home to work in her parents bookstore, and eventually falling in love again. Months later she gets the phone call that she once ached for.. her husband is alive and coming home. The synopsis of this caught my attention, but what I truly "enjoyed"was the way author wrote about grief. It was beautiful. And many tears were shed.

11. Book that made you happy.
Furiously Happy 
by Jenny Lawson


I don't think I've laughed out loud so much with a book as much as I did with this non-fiction read written by blogger Jenny Lawson. I loved every step of the ride. Breaking the stigma around mental health and chronic pain, she writes the darkest thoughts we all have at 3am yet somehow still manages to make the topic light. I get why a lot of people write about mental health and try to make the entire thing seem uplifting, to not completely tarnish any hope, but sometimes you need someone to write with no filter. To help you feel understood, and not so wacko. Though I cried a lot during this read, the laughter is what I remember the most. And the desire to keep going  with both her work, and life.

12. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year.
The Bronte Sisters - Three Novels 
(Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Agnes Grey)


I mean, look at it! It's a beautiful edition of three classics that I *gulp* still haven't read. I know, I know! This gorgeous cover instantly caught my attention and heart. From the gold edges, floral pattern, and pink ribbon.. instant book porn. Even better, I got it for a mere $5 from a library sale. Score! If you're interested, it was a Barnes & Noble edition.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Um.. do you have all day? I have to read so many to complete my personal challenge of reading 100 books in 2019. But my immediate TBR currently consists of these books:

Becoming, Michelle Obama
The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah
The Last Letter To Your Lover, Jojo Moyes
My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward, Mark Lukach
Night, Elie Wiesel
Elizabeth Is Missing, Emma Healey 

Feel free to answer any of the questions in the comments! This was such a fun tag.

As with most book posts I do, this is in collaboration with my lovely husband @BilliamSWN. heck out his post over on the SomewhatNerdy site.


*question changed from 'Newest Favourite Crush'


5 Star Book Predictions

5/26/2019


I'm an avid Booktube watcher - my current favourites being BookswithEmilyFox, BooksandLala, and Bookables - if you also indulge in this part of the web, then you've likely seen a few videos similar to this blog post. Basically I'm picking some books off of my TBR that I foresee myself giving 5 stars, whether due to reviews I've read, the overall summery, or past success with the author. Alright, let's get into it.
-


The Classic: 
Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte
Yes, ban me from the libraries, I still haven't picked up Jane Eyre despite my constant promises to. I can't defend myself, I'm a monster. But I'm for sure going to love this book, I could probably recite a dozen quotes from this classic and tell you the entire plot without ever having picked it up. Though to be honest, the plot part is majorly due to The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, which I will likely enjoy way more once I pick up this Bronte book. Do I need to give you a summery of Jane Eyre? Probably not. This is at the top of my TBR pile.
-


The Modern Classic:
The Help
by Kathryn Stockett
We've all (mostly) seen the movie, but how many of us can say we've read the book? This was one of the first books I bought when me and my husband discovered library sales and it was high up on my TBR buuuuttttt then we bought way more and it got pushed aside. This of course follows a Southern society girl as she turns her small town on its ear by choosing to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent white families. It's both historic and female centred, exactly what I love most in books.

Must. Read. Soon.
-


The Well Loved Author:
The Great Alone
by Kristin Hannah 
Kristin Hannah's is one of my favourite authors, despite how problematic her earlier writing could be. I guess it's like a soap opera, you know you ought to look down on some plots but you just keep watching and enjoying. This book follows a family after a shattering tour in the Vietnam War. Ernt Allbright attempts a fresh start by moving his family to Alaska, where they encounter old demons and new challenges on the last American frontier. 
-


The Fantasy:
Warbreaker
by Brandon Sanderson
This book is huge. That is my entire reasoning behind not already picking this up. Revolving around two sisters, this tale tells of their story in a world where a power known as BioChromatic magic is based on an essence known as breath. With Breath and drawing upon the color in everyday objects, all manner of miracles and mischief can be accomplished. It will take considerable quantities of each to resolve all the challenges facing Vivenna and Siri, princesses of Idris.

Um. I loved the Mistborn series and loved the sequels more. But, man, can this guy write daunting books. I was hoping my dashing husband would've picked this up by now and persuaded me to read it sooner but alas, he did not. So I've taken it upon myself to force it onto my TBR. Yay. A book over 500+ pages. Just what I needed. No, really, I did.. I have a list for this specific reason.
-


The Non-Fiction: 
Educated: A Memoir 
by Tara Westover
Born to survivalists, Tara Westover's childhood was spent stewing herbs for her mother and salvaging things in her father’s junkyard. Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Cuts, concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education. So Tara began to teach herself.

You know those books that seem to get sad and sadder with each page turn, but end up leaving you with an odd sense of peace? I see this being like that. Tragically poetic, I guess is the right term. This is of course a non-fiction that is ought to be as brutal as inspiring. Count me in.
-


The Obvious:
A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman
Translated from Swedish, A Man Called Ove tells the tale of the grumpiest man you could ever know. He's tired of idiots being in his own world, and the rest world is looking mighty drab to him. So when new neighbours move in, could they be what he needs to find the joy in life that he once had. This was made into a movie which may be familiar to you.

I've read a lot of Backman's books, my favourites being Beartown and it's sequel Us Against You, so it's really weird that I haven't yet picked up the book that made Backman a well known name in the book community. As silly as it sounds, I think it's partly due to my having watched St. Vincent a few times, a movie starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy, that seems really similar.


“ It is now my favorite book of all time, but then again, I always think that until I read another book. ”
― Stephen Chbosky

What books are on your TBR that you already know (or at least hope) you'll love?


April Book Wrap-Up

5/03/2019


This post is later than I normal due to my ability to catch a cold from barely leaving the house. Yay! Apologies for that, but let's jump right in. April was a mediocre month for books, I read more 'meh' ones than good and gave my first 1 star review of the year. I've been in a slump of picking up "chic lit" lately, and I don't know whether I'm enjoying it. Think it might be time for a genre revamp and see what surprises me. Have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments!
-

Truly Madly Guilty
by Liane Moriarty

“There is no special protection when you cross that invisible line from your ordinary life to that parallel world where tragedies happen. It happens just like this. You don’t become someone else. You’re still exactly the same. Everything around you still smells and looks and feels exactly the same.” 

Sam and Clementine are the couple that seem perfect from the outside, good jobs, two beautiful little girls, and a solid foundation for a marriage. When they get invited to a last-minute barbecue by their friend Erika, they go. Two months later, they can't help but constantly ask themselves: what if we hadn't gone?As mentioned in last months wrap-up, I enjoy Liane Moriarty's writing and that alone keeps me coming back to her books. I adored What Alice Forgot and Big Little Lies, so I was really hyped to get to this one as I had heard really great things. Alas, I was disappointed. I'll be entirely frank here,the authors plots are never that groundbreaking or great. It's her character and relationship building that set her apart from the standard general fiction/mystery authors. However this book ended with such an anticlimax I couldn't help but sigh. Too long and not nearly interesting enough to recommend.

Rating: ★★★ (2.5)


Furiously Happy
by Jenny Lawson

“When you come out of the grips of a depression there is an incredible relief, but not one you feel allowed to celebrate. Instead, the feeling of victory is replaced with anxiety that it will happen again, and with shame and vulnerability when you see how your illness affected your family, your work, everything left untouched while you struggled to survive. We come back to life thinner, paler, weaker … but as survivors. Survivors who don’t get pats on the back from coworkers who congratulate them on making it. Survivors who wake to more work than before because their friends and family are exhausted from helping them fight a battle they may not even understand. I hope to one day see a sea of people all wearing silver ribbons as a sign that they understand the secret battle, and as a celebration of the victories made each day as we individually pull ourselves up out of our foxholes to see our scars heal, and to remember what the sun looks like.” 

This half memoir half self-help book is one of the funniest things I've ever picked up. With brutal honesty and a wit to match it, Jenny writes down the thoughts that we all have but are too afraid to voice. It was almost like talking to a friend, well, a really chatty one-sided friend. If you struggle with mental health or chronic pain, I urge you to give this a go. I can promise that you'll laugh and want to wipe a little stray tear. Possibly simultaneously.

Rating: ★★★★★


Crazy Rich Asians 
by Kevin Kwan 

We have so much money, we don't need personalities.
-Okay, not really. 
“Perfection comes at a sacrifice,” 

You probably know what this hyped book turned movie is about without me giving it a description, but let's go for it anyway. When Rachel, a young New Yorker gets invited by her boyfriend to  travel to Asia for a wedding, she jumps at the opportunity. But he isn't telling her a vital thing: his family is lavishly rich. I wanted to enjoy this, I was expecting a funny rom-com type book that'd make me happy. Eeehhhh. I hated it. Okay, that's a bit strong. I hated the characters, and the plot. I feel as though the author wrote this book solely to educate people on the lavish lifestyles that some Asians live, and it read like that. The characters had no substance and Rachel and Nick were horrible as a couple. If you're thinking of reading this, just watch the movie. It'd be over faster.

Rating: ★★


Cross Her Heart
by Sarah Pinborough

“Someone can do a terrible unforgivable thing, and yet you forgive them if you love them. The heart is such a strange thing.” 

Lisa lives for her daughter Ava, her job, and her best friend Marilyn, but when a handsome client shows an interest in her, Lisa starts daydreaming about sharing her life with him too. But when Lisa's world explodes and she no longer knows who to trust, it's up to her to face her past to save what she holds dear. This was just a complete 'meh' book. The only good point was the twist that came suddenly around 1/3 of the way through the book, then it was all downhill. A basic thriller that really doesn't need to be on your TBR as it will leave you with no impression.

Rating: ★★


One True Loves
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

“When you lose someone you love, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll ever feel better. That, one day, you’ll manage to be in a good mood simply because the weather is nice or the barista at the coffee shop on the corner remembered your order.
But it does happen.
If you’re patient and you work at it.” 

There are love triangles, and then there are impossible situations that are forced upon you. When Emma's husband, Jesse, goes missing in a helicopter accident over the Pacific, she slowly begins to rebuilt her life. She moves back home, takes over her parents bookstore, and even opens her heart up for another man. When Sam proposes, she knows it's officially time to let Jesse go. Then she gets the dreaded call she once ached for, Jesse is alive. I adore Taylor Jenkins Reid's books. They never fail to capture my heart. This was no exception. Never have I read such a raw description of loss in a fictional book, and never have I been so torn in a love triangle. Screw Edward and Jacob.

Rating: ★★★★★


And the Ocean Was Our Sky
by Patrick Ness

“Will the world end in darkness because it is foretold? Or because there will be those who believe it so strongly they will make it so?”

A retelling of Moby Dick told through the whale's POV? Okay, sure, it's Patrick Ness, why would  I say no? This short illustrated novel was exactly what I was expecting, and more. The writing and imagery is beautiful, and though it didn't capture my attention like most other books, I was glad I read it. A quick but beautiful read.

Rating: ★★★★



Reconstructing Amelia 
by Kimberly McCreight

“It was too late to change anything. Too late to make different choices. To be a better mother than she had been. Kate could only be the mother that she was, Amelia’s mother—the curator of her memory, the keeper of her secrets, the cherisher of her heart. That, she would always be.” 

When teenager Amelia commits suicide by jumping off a school roof, her mother, Kate, is distraught. After receiving a message with the words 'Amelia didn't jump' she quickly becomes obsessed with figuring out what led to the death of her daughter. With crazy sororities, games that shouldn't be played, and an estranged father, Amelia's life may be too much for even her mother to unveil. I liked this book, but it was way too long. Over 400 pages of what is essentially fragments of Amelia's life being repeated, I grew bored a few times. But it wasn't terrible. An average 3 star read.

Rating: ★★★



The Light We Lost
by Jill Santopolo

“I hope you find a love like that–one that is all-consuming and powerful that makes you feel like you're going slightly mad. And if you do find that love, embrace it. Hold onto it. When you give yourself over to love like that, your heart will get bruised. It will get battered. But you will also feel invincible and infinite.” 

Told over a lengthy period of time, this follows the story of two people whose lives are intertwined by the tragedy that was 9/11. A love story of 'what could've been''s and fate. This was a Reese Book Club pick so I instantly wanted to pick it up, but... eh. I guess the characters just didn't do it for me..? Or maybe I was expecting some devastating love story, but was instead given a couple who really weren't suited, a bunch of dickish guys, and an ending that I really didn't care about. (Am I heartless? Maybe.) I didn't hate it per say, it just didn't make much of an impact on me. I'd still say give it a go, you may enjoy it more.

Rating: ★★★


The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)
by Helen Hoang

He was ignoring everyone, including her, at this expensive wedding. So he could read a novel about alien demon things.

Khai's mother brings over Esme, a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, to America to seduce and marry her son. Thinking this could be the break her family needs, Esme jumps at the chance and wills to become the perfect woman for Khai. But it proves to be harder than she initially thought. I was so excited to read this as I surprisingly loved The Kiss Quotation. I originally thought this was a sequel revolving around the same two characters, but instead it revolves around Khai, a side-character from the first book. Which, okay. I was still enthusiastic. Alas, I don't know what it was about The Bride Test but it fell flat for me. The characters weren't as likeable as The Kiss Quotation and I felt that the story dragged a little. It was also very repetitive, certain lines such as "I touched his sleeve as to not startle him"seemed to be on every other page. My favourite part of the entire book was the authors note, so.. that kind of says it all. It wasn't bad, but not nearly as good as the first book in the series.

Rating: ★★★


The Arrangement 
by Sarah Dunn

“Life is long. And it’s getting longer for most of us. Most people in this country will have three or four marriages in their lifetime. Each one will challenge them and suit them in a different way. The lucky few, the ones who are willing to work at it, will have a handful of very different marriages, all with the same person."

A married couple decide to have an open relationship for 6 months, to escape from the comfortable routines they're falling into (you know, marriage) and their autistic son. I've never read a book that was equally as dull as it was infuriating. Not only were the characters unlikable, but the whole point of the story was semi vetoed by the husbands utter idiocy. Parts of this book were also so unbelievably problematic such as eating disorder glorifying and slut shaming. Just.. no. Hard pass. 

Rating: ★


What was the last book you gave 1 star to?  

I'd appreciate if you checked out my Bookstagram page BranchingPages and my Goodreads. Let's talk! There can never be too much book talk.


Latest Instagrams

© Rooting Branches. Design by FCD.