Book Review: “Always and Forever, Lara Jean” by Jenny Han

Hello!

It is time for the final book review of Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series. I cannot believe I finished all of them! I’m still wrestling with all of the emotions I had while reading this series, especially this book, because it is the last piece of a very complex puzzle for me.

After I finished reading P.S. I Still Love You a few months ago, I thought I would give myself a chance to recover before jumping into the next book, but I didn’t. Everything that I loved about that book, made me want to continue down the road to Lara Jean’s love story. So, the day the review was published on here, I begin reading Always and Forever, Lara Jean and now I get to talk to you about everything I loved about it too!

WARNING: There are some spoilers below, so continue at your own risk!


35247769._SY475_Lara Jean is having the best senior year.

And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.

Life couldn’t be more perfect!

At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks . . . until she gets some unexpected news.

Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

taken from Goodreads.


When the story starts, you quickly realize we basically skip a year; as if by magic we end up starting Lara Jean’s senior year. I thought this concept was interesting considering the fact that I am celebrating 10 year of becoming a high school graduate, so a good chunk of the material about everyone trying to figure out what they were going to do after school was interesting because it brought back almost everything I was feeling when I was in my last year of high school as well.

There were a lot of things that made me rethink about my own early adult life, but even though I really tried (and also failed) to look past my own experiences during this important time of any young girl’s life, it was also nice to see how everything played out for both Lara Jean and Peter’s love story. Now with that being said, there was also some things I wasn’t a big fan of in this book. The most important was Stormy’s death. To say I was a wreck for a couple of days is a bit of an understatement, because this was a character I absolutely adored, probably because she reminded me of my nana in just her personality alone, so to see that part of Lara Jean’s story kind of left out at such an important time in her life really sucked!

Another element that “bothered” me was Peter’s attitude towards the end. Even though we have seen Peter have sensitive moments in the past, I really didn’t like the fact that he pushed the idea of them going to the same college after attending a year at other campuses. I know Lara Jean wanted to go to UVA as much as Peter, but as she has been really supportive towards him in the things he’s done throughout their relationship, he wasn’t truly there for her to make a big decision on the next phase of her life.

Once I realized in my mind that this was starting to remind me of when my sister began a long distance relationship with her boyfriend, I just got it into my head that they should break up. My sister kept fighting for a love that obviously didn’t care as much for her as she did for him, and I became very afraid for Lara Jean. I didn’t want her to experience that kind of pain, so in a way I turned into Margot–who I’ve never been a huge fan of throughout the series–and I started to agree with her mom’s advice to Margot about not having a boyfriend before entering college when she left for St. Andrews two years prior.

Even though I was on the fence about that situation, I did choose to think happy thoughts about how they were going to attempt to make it work and I actually really enjoyed how it ended. A part of me is really glad we don’t get to know what happens next for Lara Jean and Peter, and all of the other beloved characters like Chris, Kitty, and Lucas! The last sentence was so perfect and very Lara Jeanesqe as it gave me back a little snippet of what initially got me to this series in the first place!

This series has meant a lot for me! I brought me back to some memorable moments in my life, and in a way let me see what could have been had other things worked out. Later on, it felt like fate that I was reintroduced to this story, because now I can say I have completed a whole book series! I have never done that before in my life and so, this series has created its own little section in my heart for two but equally gratifying reasons!

Fun fact: I found that Romeo & Juliet film on our movies channels last month and I have had quite a bit of chocolate chip cookies. So, I thought since I’m done reading the series, I could pull a “date” night with just myself enjoying the two together with Lara Jean Song Covey and Peter Kavinsky deep in my heart. ❤

Have you finished this book? If you are watching the film series on Netflix, what are you hoping they include that wasn’t mentioned in the end? Last but not least, how are you doing on your 2020 reading challenge?

snowflake

Music Monday | Diddy

Hello!

We are in another month: June. Hope everyone has been enjoying your summer so far! If you have missed out on what the special meaning of this blog series, you can check it out here. Back in April, I started off with the big dogs: Dr. Dre and Rick Rubin. And then last month, I talked about the influence both Timbaland and Missy Elliott had on me in the late 90’s and early 00’s.

The last two months were kind of easy to sort out because I’ve known who I wanted to talk about, but once I started working on my June content, my mind went blank. I knew I wanted to discuss my love of Scott Storch, but I had no idea to pair him up with originally, until it hit me of another producer who was at the heart of my teenage years too.


Although my mom enjoys The Notorious B.I.G. now, I actually don’t remember anything by him or Diddy when I was child, so I’m basing this post on what I loved during my pre-teenage years.

In 2002, before MTV was probably in the early days of creating Jersey Shore, they still had music on their minds. TRL was still well and kicking – I even think both Carson Daly and Vanessa Lachey (nee Miliano) were still hosting the show too! The time was new for everybody, even the music competition shows. American Idol would have been on their second or third season around this time, and thanks to the success of AI, Diddy worked with MTV to create something similar, titling it “Making The Band”. Some of you might remember the show; I remember seeing the promos while TRL went on commercial breaks but I didn’t actually watch it until 2004.

I loved when Diddy decided on creating the ultimate all girl group for his label Bad Boy Records. I still remember (vaguely) of the first season and finding Aubrey O’Day and Aundrea Fimbres, but he wasn’t ready to build a group with the girls on that season, so they came back for a second shot and both Aubrey, Aundrea were joined with Shannon Bex, Dawn Richard, and D. Woods. By the time, they released their first album, I had never listened to a whole album all the way through before, so the fact I can do this for this and Welcome To The Dollhouse was an absolute shock but a very good sign or so I thought. I loved Danity Kane and still do, but my favorite was always Aundrea and since she really never came back to the group over the last few years, I haven’t been as excited as I was in the beginning.

While Diddy was seemingly busy creating one group, he actually went back to MTV with the intentions to make an all male group too! I did watch that season and the finale shocked me, because after the creation of what we know as Day26, absolutely nobody figured he would give Donnie Klang a solo contract! Unfortunately, neither Day26 or Donnie really broke out on their own like DK. I think they each had one decent album release and everything was over.

At the beginning of the year, I heard that the series was coming back but since the COVOID-19 mess, I hadn’t heard anything else about it. Honestly, the only thing I can say about it is, not everything should be rebooted. Back then, there were only two or three music shows whereas now, there are so many to literally drive a person go a bit nutty! I think one of the main differences it worked back then was because, if you wanted to watch something on TV, you had to watch it that night or else you were screwed unless they showed it over the weekend as an encore. Now, we rely on our DVRs and would rather wait until the season is over and binge a large collection at a time.

I really don’t think I’d watch the new reboot, that is, if it ever gets off the ground! I think I’d try it – watch the pilot and see if that magic is still there inside of me. Honestly, it will take a lot of twists and turns in just that hour premiere to capture my full attention to keep coming back for more each week.

Do you remember the ‘Making The Band’ show? What are your thoughts on the prospect of it coming back to TV? 

snowflake

 

Music Monday | Timbaland

Last month I started this new series; essincally talking about the two people who were at the heart of my decision of wanting to go off to college for Audio Recoedings ten years ago. The first was Dr. Dre and I discussed my love for him and the influences between him, Eminem and 50 Cent that made me want to explore the world of hip hop when I was a teenager. A week later, I talked about Rick Rubin and how much I respected him for not sticking to one genre, he experiments with various genres and musicans. The work he has done with Linkin Park really struck a cord with me because it made me realize that it was perfectly fine to love all kinds of music.

This time we really start at square one. I know I should have started it out this way, but in a way both people were the beginning although there were many years between them. I was introduced to rap music when I was like four or five years old, so early 90’s so for the next couple of months I will take you through the other music producers that have kept me entertained and inspired throughout my life.


As you can see above in the banner, May is going to be about Timbaland and Missy Elloitt. So, we are moving on to the later part of the 1990’s and easily into the early 2000’s.

Timbaland is a very unique indivdiual. He has been able to be around for a lot of the ups and downs in the music insturdy. He has worked with a lot of various people, some of them have put him at the forefront of their music for a time. He and Missy Elloitt have worked together for a very long time. He has written and produced a lot of her music. He has even been featured in her wacky music videos too! These two had a great time in the late 90’s with R&B artist Aaliyah. They quickly became the dynamic thrio in a way, because they just dominated the charts. Unfortunately, when she died in 2002, of course it was sad. It still makes me upset everytime they make a comment about her on her birthday or anniversary of her death.

As you go into the 2000’s though, you see him working with newly solo boy band member Justin Timberlake on his first record “Justified” and honestly, I don’t think it mattered that he was the favorite of N’Sync, I just think that the two of them worked so well together was insane! In 2005, they came to work with Nelly Furtado and those next three years were really interesting because almost every track that was released I was totally into, and it was just like a steady stream and I kept falling into it everytime. However, I don’t think nothing could have prepared us for the introduction of OneRepublic in 2008. Once the song “Apologize” came out we were all gone. I know I wanted more and thankfully, we didn’t have to wait that long until the band released their second track “Stop and Stare” a few months later.

By 2009, I wasn’t really watching what was going on with Timbaland. Although, when Justin Timberlake released his second album, I took notice because I hoped that they teamed up again, which they did and everything was awesome, I started growing out of both pop and R&B, as this was the time I was officially introduced to Linkin Park and I immediately went rock bottom. However, I recently found out that a song I have been enjoying lately that was remixed by Timbaland. I’m pretty sure you have heard of it. The original track has Dolly Parton, which is awesome too, but I love Of King & Country’s version of “Only God Knows” with Echosmith is amazing! I think it’s a interesting track because with both singers and their styles, it allows the song to be played in two different radio airways: country and pop.

I am curious to see how farther Timbaland can push the boundaries in music. How many other collabrations he can create with new and older acts. It will be interesting if he can get back to leading the charts in R&B and/or pop again like he has done in the past. It’ll be fun to see what else he has up his sleeves in the next year, I mean think about this, summer is quickly appoarching so he could surprise us all with a new track that could be your new anthem. You never know these days, but you know I’ll be keeping my ears and eyes open to the music.

Are you a fan of Timbaland’s music? What decade do you think he hit his peak? Which team do you side with as being the best too?

snowflake

Why Basketball?

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Howdy!

There are some days I wish I could go back in time and smack myself upside the head. I’ve been wanting to do it a lot lately, I’m not going to lie! One of the reasons why I want to do this is because I still have memories of being in the kitchen at my grandparent’s house, I’d be watching my papaw just sit silently–or in some cases yelling or cursing at the TV–while he watched a basketball game. The thought of seeing my papaw resting his elbows up on the table, his hands clutched together and face glued to the screen is still so adorable to me. I don’t think he even knew we were there sometimes because he was so into it.

I never once thought I’d be like that. Whenever I was in high school, yes, I did enjoy going to games but I figured since I didn’t know what exactly they were doing, I shouldn’t be counted as a fan.

When it was football season I would parallel park my wheelchair against the wired fence that separated the sidewalk and bleachers to the black track and football yard on the other side. I was smart with my placement. I could see the players, cheerleaders and anybody going up to their seats above. It was the ultimate spot.

In August, everybody would be wearing T-shirts and shorts because of the summer heat, but towards the end of September and throughout October, you wore hoodies and blue jeans to help stay warm from the cold breeze. I would be lying if I didn’t mention, I was in two layers on both upper and lower halves, but I wore only one pair of socks so I could still grip my controller with my foot and a blanket on my lap for good measure. I was determined to never go home early because I was too cold. If everybody else can make it through, so could I.

Whenever it was basketball season, I had another lucky seat. I wouldn’t parallel park to the bleachers per se, but I would get so close that anybody that sat above me would ask me if they could put their bags underneath my chair to protect it. I don’t believe those “court side seats” would ever be handicapped accessible. Why? Well, just because I was by the bleachers doesn’t make it safer. I’ve had basketballs (and volleyballs) thrown in my direction and one or two players have passed me in a very fast pace. No injuries to either party, but still it’s the fear that lives in the depths of my being and I’d never want to experience that again!

However, there was one game that still lives on in my mind. During my Junior year of high school, we had a sectional game at home. I was escorted to the space in between the extra set of bleachers. I was confused because my normal spot wasn’t occupied or anything, but I guess since all four of us in wheelchairs decided to turn out to the game that night that we’d get special seating. For the most part, it wasn’t that bad. I remember taking a lot of pictures with my friends and I sat next to a very nice lady, a grandmother of a basketball player on the other team. Everything was going good until the first quarter started to dwindle down. I knew from experience that when the players chances of scoring was fading, they’ll throw that ball to whatever side they need to, to get that point.

And then a fear came over me.

We were in the worst seating imaginable. We were right behind the damn basket.

Once I made this assessment, I began to freak out mentally and sweat started to appear  down my back from second quarter to the end of the game. By the time my mom came to pick us up later that night, I had my sister take off my varsity jacket that I had on all night and I never felt so relaxed in the cold temperature in my life. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you whether or not we won, but you can’t necessarily blame me.

The last high school game I ever went to was sometime in 2012. One of the bigger reasons why it’s been so long is because I don’t know anybody playing now. I’m also a bit afraid to see the “friends” that I used to hang out with in school, but I think I’m just afraid I’d act like we are fine and no harm done, when that’s far from the truth. So I’ve found an alternative route, and I find it really odd it would show up around the time my papaw passes away.

In November of 2016, I just had this strong feeling to watch a Butler game. Maybe I was missing my papaw or it was papaw who just wanted to watch a basketball game from heaven, who really knows!

I knew there was one on because I had seen it all over Facebook earlier that day but since my dad hadn’t watched a basketball game since the previous season, he was having the toughest time trying to find out what channel this game would be on. It took three people and two TVs to search for it. We never did find the game, but I started scrolling through the sport channels on the guide–something that I never did before I might add–and I ended up finding over four channels that I actually played Butler games. I was even impressed with myself!

I watched the crap ton of college basketball in 2016-17 season. I watched most of the games that appeared on FS1 and I even watched the two out of three games the Bulldogs played against Villanova (and won!). Beating out a #1 team always makes you feel good, for both the player and fans too! I went on to watching March Madness, which was that, absolute madness! I watched more games than I had most of the week. Everyday there was a different game and I basically let it consume me for a while. Even after Butler was done for the season, I continued to watch and was impressed by some of the other teams in the tournament.

When March Madness was over, I was a little crushed.

Now what the hell was going to do?

I had watched basketball for five straight months. I felt empty in a way, and then of course I found the NBA playoffs and then I was fine again!

Since I’ve never watched a professional basketball game before, I didn’t necessarily side with either team. I just went by whatever location they were in. I ended up watching majority of the playoffs and even the final game. I was glad that the Warriors had won, but I was even happier to finally go to bed that night too!

And then I was back to feeling gloomy because now I knew basketball was definitely over.

When August came around though, I don’t think I lasted long when I bravely asked my mom when college basketball started back up! If it wasn’t for Blondie’s wedding, I probably would have asked that question sooner, but I was good I kept it to myself for another month.

What’s crazy though is that instead of obsessing over college basketball this season, I’ve been watching a LOT of the NBA! I was only going to watch Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavilers, and San Antonio Spurs but somehow I started getting into Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and Oklahoma City Thunder. I don’t know how that part happened, but I’m not complaining considering I’m starting to learn names on the Celtics, Lakers, and Rockets team. Since my birthday landed on a Wednesday last year, my own birthday gift to myself was getting through the two games that played that night, but Christmas was even better as I even watched four out of the five games!

Don’t worry, I’m still watching Butler. I’ve even started watching over college teams. I had only watched one IU game in the 2016-17 season, and I didn’t even watch any of Purdue games, but this year I have seen four of Purdue and I want to say two of Indiana games. I’ve watched a lot of the pre-season games of Duke, Seton Hall, Xavier, and even Villanova too!

What has always bothered me is that I still have quite a bit of people who think I am only watching basketball because I must think somebody on the team is cute. In high school, yes, this was the way I worked, but considering I’m watching over eight teams I don’t think this assumption works for this! Although there is one professional player I do like, but he is not the reason why I have continued to watch his team play, however it is a perk!

I think the main reason why I’ve felt the need to smack myself though is because why didn’t I pay attention more to whenever papaw would explain the different positions and terms. Thank god for my mom as she’s been helping me a bit. I have been trying to really pay attention to the announcers so I think I can safely say I am learning, but I just wish I had done it while my papaw was alive. I think he would still be proud of me anyways!

snowflake

REVIEW | Disgraced

Last time I reviewed a basketball themed documentary because it was still March Madness, well on the 31st, I watched another one that was similar, but instead of a happy ending this one wasn’t…

Showtime premiered Disgraced and it was about an incident that happened at Baylor University in 2003 involving the entire basketball team. A college student and basketball player Patrick Dennehy, was shot and killed by another team member who was supposedly was his best friend. Patrick and the one who shot him, Carlton Dotson were again supposedly paranoid about another teammate Harvey Thomas and his friend and cousin, Larry Johnson after having them over. The story goes that both Harvey and Larry had guns on them and were using them to scare the boys from accusing them for any wrong doing.

Later, after feeling extra paranoid of their situation, they in turn buy their own set of guns and told their other roommates that if Harvey or anybody else came looking for them to not let them in. So clearly, this raises some flags I would say! I guess though, they went to their coaches and asked if they should go to the police, their main coach Dave Bliss, said to keep things “in house” meaning don’t tell anyone as I imagined. This is where things began to get very strange because within a few days later Patrick Dennehy ends up missing and it’s within these days that people are now looking into the team and the coaches of Baylor University.

I was very much amazed by the amount of things discussed or in some cases, not talked about it within the mystery of how Patrick is dead and how Carlton, who was like a brother to him, would kill him. I mean, if they were as paranoid as they said to be, the mental statuses of Carlton kind of makes sense. You’ll learn more about what I mean when you watch the film. My thing was what the coaches did though, assistant coach Abar Rouse recorded the head coach, Dave Bliss as they began to create a cover up for the rest of their team on how much they knew about the situation of their players. Now a lot of people would think this was wrong and that he should have went to the coach and told him about his feelings about it, but like everybody said he was literally backed into a corner and Bliss even told him “I can hire and fire assistant coaches at will” now would you want to tell him after hearing that? I wouldn’t, I’d probably record him too honestly!

The film was very interesting and like my dad told me too, they’re not the first ones to have this type of scandal and sadly, I don’t think they’ll be the last either.

So did you watch Disgraced yet? What were your thoughts on the documentary?