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

The Book & Cookies Tag

Howdy!

One day I realized it had been a long time since I read some blog posts of some of my favorite people, and as I scrolled through the long list I found a really fun and interesting tag about books and cookies. Marie had published this on her blog last month and I thought her answers really great and I just thought it would be a great first post of 2019!

I had to write out all of the questions on my note pad so that I could basically memorize most of them and think of the answers while lying in bed watching a really awful Rockets game! We’re not going to go there! I hope everybody enjoys this and if you decide to do it too, please let me know because I’d love to know what kind of books you picked for each cookie!


Chocolate Chip – A Classic Book That You Love Or Really Enjoyed

Unfortunately, I haven’t read a lot of Classics, even when I was in school, we rarely read anything which now is a bit of a bummer because I feel like I missed out on a lot of interesting books and lectures, but my teacher wasn’t the type to read the kind of classics I’d like to read nowadays.

However, when I was a junior I took a Novels class and we read three classics. The one I loved the most was Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It was the first book we read and it’s been the one to last the longest in my mind. I could understand Victor for the fact that he was seeking attention from his father and the love of his life, by doing something that was seemingly impossible and criminal to do. In 2016, I got to learn the origins of how Mary came up with this beloved Gothic story, and I think all that did was make me fall in love with the story even harder!

Thin Mints – A Fandom That You Really Want To “Join” and/or A Hyped Up Book You Want To Read

I’ve noticed that every book I read, I’m usually one year or in some cases 10 years after its original release and you miss everything that the rest of the speedy readers of the fandom have been able to enjoy. A part of me isn’t as upset about it, but since I have found my love for the Harry Potter, Red Queen, and To All Of The Boys I’ve Loved Before books, I feel like I’ve been left out again but instead of it being the other person’s fault. This one is all me. I feel like I am apart of their fandoms, I just don’t voice it out loud very often.

Now for the hyped up book though. I’ve tried my hardest to get into Paula Hawkins’s The Girl On The Train novel and I just cannot get into it. However, if I were to decide to say “screw it” and watch the movie without picking it up again, I would probably enjoy the movie because I have been loving suspense-thriller type of films lately! It’s really hard to explain why these two sections have different results, I’ve never been able to solve the mystery.

Shortbread – An Author You Can’t Get Enough Of

This is really difficult to answer because I’ve only read a handful of books with sequels. I know that’s not exactly the question, but I guess my favorite author is Olivia Cunning.

If you want a book that is in the exotica genre but not as “degrading” as Fifty Shades, I would suggest you check out Olivia Cunning’s books. She writes about rockstars! The series that I love the most is the Sinners On Tour and I’ve always been torn between Trey and Jace being my favorite male characters. I have a soft spot for the both of them! Olivia has been working on another series/band, called Exudes End and I have read one of the novellas and I didn’t like it as much but I want to give it another try as we get to see what’s happened with Trey and his ménage à trois with Reagan and Ethan.

Somoas – An Emotional Rollercoaster

This was the easiest one of the bunch, because it’s tie between The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and Me Before You by JoJo Moyes.

I find it a little odd, although it definitely didn’t surprise me that these would be the ones I’d chose because I bawled my eyes out for the both of them. Since they discussed real disability issues, it would have an effect on me but I didn’t know how bad until I got to the stuff I have, myself, have thought about, like leaving a legacy and contemplating suicide. I wish I could say, I didn’t cry as hard while watching the films as I did reading those heartbreaking senses, but I did and I’m not ashamed to admit that it got me twice!

Oreos – A Book Whose Cover Was Better Than The Story Or Vice Versa The Story Was Better Than The Cover

Unfortunately, I am the type of person that does judge a book by its cover. However, I am still very picky with the stories no matter what the cover looks like, because I’ve seen some gorgeous front covers but the stories were not my cup of tea, like Melissa de la Cruz’s The Ring And The Crown. I thought was cover for both editions were absolutely beautiful but the actual story was a nightmare. I never finished reading it because it was such a let down for me.

The only cover that I feel like was perfect to the theme was Nikki Sixx’s photography book called This Is Gonna Hurt. The cover is very dark and mysterious; it was exactly what I wanted to see for this type of book. He tends to like a lot of different oddities, and thinks the ugliest of things are the most beautiful of all. He was trying to give you a different perspective of things and I loved it!

Peanut Butter Patties – A Book That Wasn’t What You Expected

I think we all have our expectations of what a certain is going to be like, sometimes we’re right with our assumptions and other times we’re not. I’m always in the middle of the pack when it comes to thinking about where a book is going to go, but I do try to keep an open mind as much as possible!

I had decided to read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher while the first season of the show was on Netflix. My sister had bought the book after she completed the series, which I thought was strange, so after she was through with it, I asked if I could have it next to see what all of the fuss was about and I had heard of what it dealt with and I was both curious and shocked by it. However, when I started reading it and learning about the significance of each character and what made Hannah Baker want to take her own life. I felt bad for both Hannah and Clay, he about broke my heart in half with his sweet personality, but I carried on because I wanted to know more, but once I was finished with the book I made the decision to not watch the series. The book was enough for me.

Snickerdoodles – A Book You May Never Stop Loving or Re-reading

Well, since I hardly ever re-read a book, I can’t answer the last bit, but I love a lot of books. I love my historical books–they’re my babies, but weirdly enough my beloved stories, would probably be counted as short stories or novellas? They are The Last Leaf by O Henry and The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I read both of them while I was in high school. They both have really interesting plots and I’ve never been able to forget them and I’ve been out of school for close to 10 years!

So what did you think of this tag? Have you read any of books I’ve shared with you today? Hope you all enjoy your first day of the new year too!   

Let’s Bake Some Cookies!

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Howdy!

The cookie post has sort of became a tradition on accident. I don’t know why I decided to blog about it, one theory is because it was one of the first things I ever did on my own as far as decorating something food wise.

This year, I honestly wanted to keep the three posts a week and I started to fill up December a lot faster than I thought I would and my nana and I decided to wait a bit longer to do our annual Christmas cookies, plus we also made a variation of chocolate bark too! By the end of the month, I started running out of room quick so I apologize for the leftovers, I hope you don’t mind!

Technically, nana and I did make a few batches of chocolate chip cookies on Dec 16th, she wanted to get a head start without having to bake the actual sugar cookies. We always use the packaged cookies to bake and then we decorate as we go on, but with these since they were only divided up between the two of us, there was no decorating involved because who puts frosting on a chocolate chip cookie?! Ew!

My mom purchased these cute tins to store the cookies we made, somehow my mom got one in a different design. Ours is a fiesta while my nana got a beach-y theme equipped with palm trees decorated with Christmas tree lights all around! My nana is obsessed with the beach and anything with palm tree related so this worked out pretty well for her!

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A few days after baking these, my nana slipped and fell one night and she was very sore and having some weird pains here and there. She kind of lost her spunk and we ended up only doing one chocolate bark instead of two, but my Aunt Laurie picked up where we left off because on Christmas Eve, when my mom and I got at the house she was in the kitchen baking the sugar cookies with nana! She also took pictures for me since I wasn’t there, I did get to help decorate the last bunch of cookies though so that made me happy!

I tried to put frosting on the cookies, but I was already feeling weird that morning so I just asked to put on the sprinkles. Laurie was the one who slapped on the vanilla frosting, I put on the pearls, and my mom put them into her tin as she was the one who wanted frosting on them in the first place! We had our own assembly line going on in the kitchen. It was fun!

I will be posting about the chocolate bark and how that went down later on this week! I also have my “What I Got For Christmas” coming next week, after that post I swear we’ll be moving on from the Christmas-y posts!

What is your favorite cookie at Christmastime? Sugar or chocolate chip? 

snowflake

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Christmas Cookies

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Hey guys!

Well, Christmas is over and it’s always sad, at least I thought it was sad that everytime you pump ourselves up for something and once it comes, it goes away as it never came at all.

My week leading up to Christmas wasn’t as exciting as I had expected it to be. There was a lot of bad energy around my family and a close family friend that it kind of brought everything to a halt. What was even more puzzling was that we were under a tornado watch on Wednesday. For us, having thunderstorms in November isn’t that bad, but this was odd even for us to hear thunder clashes outside the windows! I live in the Midwest and our “winter” is starting out like early autumn-like weather, having 55-60 degree temperatures and then on top of that the storms. What the crap?!?! However I don’t want to complain too much because I know how it’ll be from January to April!

Between our weather and family issues, my nana and I had to divide up doing our annual Christmas cookies in two days, they were supposed to be back-to-back but that didn’t happen! The week before I asked my blog friends what my nana and I could do about our sugar cookies. Last year, after we had baked them and everything, they got extreme hard and some of us had trouble chewing them. So thankfully I had some pretty good ladies giving us advice and instead of putting a timer on the oven we just kept an eye on them. However, the one time we go to do this of course, the dough doesn’t want to come out of the package for us. So we had roll them out in a ball and flatten, which at first made them look rustic and homemade and then they went into the oven and grew! Don’t believe me? Well, here ya go!

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After we got like two packages cut and baked, my nana got pretty tired so we had to quit for the afternoon and I was okay with that. I came back on Christmas Eve and it was kind of weird in a way because I felt as though we were rushing! My mom had gotten us different food colors and sprinkles to decorate the cookies, I felt like a little kid. Since my nana decided to do our last DIY of the year by herself this was when my creative side decided to come out!

I’m the type of person who isn’t a big fan of frosting, and that goes with both cake and cookies! It’s just too much for me. My nana is the total opposite, she likes a lot of icing and she’ll literally pile it up on whatever she can, trust me! Sometimes she doesn’t even need cake or a cookie. You could clearly see a difference between each cookie on how much frosting was put on top of them! I also had to use my feet to work a spoon and butter knife to get the icing on top. Sometimes I just wish we didn’t have self-cautious people and I could just put my toes in it like finger paint (I did wash my feet before baking/decorating the cookies) it would be so much easier for me! I almost did it a couple of times I’m not going to lie! Once we had half of them finished and in the dish, I wanted a picture of them all stacked up together. Well, I guess my toes had frosting on the edges of them and I didn’t notice it quick enough and as I was taking the second picture the camera slipped right out of my toes into the pan making every cookie drop onto the floor… I almost started crying. I had to tell myself “it’s just spilled cookies. It’s just spilled cookies.” They were good though! We checked each one, don’t worry!

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Thankfully by this time, my nana was finished eating her dinner because it was like 5:30pm, she took over the frosting part for me. I decided to do the sprinkles which to be perfectly honest is my favorite part. Now that you know I hate frosting, I like sprinkles more. It doesn’t bother me as much as the icing has in the past. I don’t know what’s wrong with me! Anyways, the star sprinkles were a big hit this year! We used the whole bottle. They were super cute! Once we were finished completely the lid was placed on top of the pan and we sat in our wheelchairs waiting for my mom to come pick me up.

Overall, it wasn’t that bad of an experience. This whole month went by too fast, so by the time we realized Christmas was here we couldn’t fit everything in at once! It wasn’t a bust though I mean we could have just said “screw it, buy some Oreos!” Just because there were a couple of slip ups doesn’t mean you should give up entirely. That’s why I decided to take over the sprinkles because I didn’t want to give up. My nana’s back was already giving her problems I needed to do something besides sit there and talk my head off, but as papaw was saying as a joke when we were sitting in the kitchen, “do you two have anything to say” because that’s all we ever do is talk our heads off. We can’t help it though!

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A Very Festive Day!

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Sorry for the inconvenience, but there’s been some breaking news! It’s only been December for two weeks and I’ve spend more time on Twitter and YouTube making sure I don’t miss a single Vlogmas. Now that’s dedication right there! And now we get back to our regular scheduled post!

Hey guys! 😀

On Tuesday, I decided to get up earlier than anyone in our house and stay sitting up for about four hours just keeping to myself aka watching YouTube videos and listening to music on the lowest volume ever! I went over to my nana’s at 3pm, which in a way isn’t so strange but since the skies get dark so fast that it feels later than it is. My nana had been telling me a little bit of what she wanted to do while I was over, one of which was trim the tree. Normally we have family from up north put it up, but since things were cut short this Thanksgiving, she was going to have Blondie and Brandon put it up, but she basically gave up on them and asked me instead.

In our house, my parents do basically all of the trimming. Dad unfolds the branches of the topper and my mom, Blondie and I unfold the smaller ones. I always manage to prick my toes with the pines every single time. I don’t know why, but helping nana put up her tree and I mean, I did a lot of it with her I didn’t get as hurt as I usually do. We put the top branches up first because I thought we were going to be too short in our wheelchairs to put up the tinsel and lights so we did everything kind of backwards. My poor nana had to put the stand together, which thankfully wasn’t that hard and plug the two sections together and at one point we did have the angel up. I got to put her up. It’s been YEARS since I’ve put the angel up on a Christmas tree. When we were kids, we had to remember who put it up the year before, now dad just does and it saves us a lot of time and arguing. Just before we were to put the small branches into the little holes in the stand, she looked like she was going to fall off so nana just removed it. Once everything was shoved in, like literally! The tree was up but with no angel!

The next thing on our list were the lights of course! She had extra lights out on her front porch and somebody had brought them in and she decided to see if those would work, she knew one side lit up but the other didn’t so imagine this for a second. We had this long strand of lights dragging across the floor, I’ve got one end and she’s got the other to be plugged into the socket right? I don’t know why I continued to hold it in my toes but I did. She had to go into the kitchen to find an empty socket and I was trailing behind her on my end. I felt like the caboose of a freaking train! In the end, both sets of lights that she had only worked halfway. After that, we didn’t think it was best to do anything else since it’s always best to do lights, tinsel, ornaments, rug, and nativity scene around it at last. At least that’s how we’ve always done it!

It took us maybe an hour to get everything up. The next time I go over there I’m taking pictures of the empty tree and some of the ornaments that she has, as I can create another blog post out of them too! We figured out that we are indeed doing Christmas cookies again. This time not as many, but I’m slightly worried because last year the sugar cookies were so hard, like rocks to chew. Is there something we can do about this? We just get the premade cookies from the store, is there a better alternative then to making them by scratch? I also have an idea for our last DIY of the year, but like always I can’t tell you much about it! Because you know, I have family reading this post. I can’t spill the goods! My grandparent’s entire house is so festive, I think it’s as decorated at Zoella’s house, I mean that’s how good it looks!

When my parents came back after two hours, not only was it super dark but I forgot to tell you that my mom told me just before we went over that since it’ll be dark when they get back that she’ll take me out to see the Christmas lights in the park. I am almost in my mid-20s and I got a little too excited about it. When we dropped dad and the food off at the house, I was so excited that I was seriously flapping my feet together like a seal! Driving up to the park was even cool! Some of the houses had little displays and then there was one that had its entire yard covered with lights and aired up Santa Clause and snowmen. When we got into the grounds, I was happy but a bit shocked. There wasn’t a lot as much as a couple of years ago. There were bigger ones which made me awesome! This was like the Christmas markets I’ve been hearing and seeing on Facebook for the past two years! This was as close as I’m going to get to ever seeing one of those I think! I’m pretty my mom’s favorite was the Santa riding a Harley, the lights on the tires moving like it was moving really fast! Mine was the big arches over by the lake. While she was busy trying to take pictures (and not driving off the road!) we kept hearing the ducks outside the window.

Just before it ended, we came over a hill and there was an electrical tower but a tree was blocking it as you were coming over the hill and we both swear up and down that the bell on that tower looked like a bikini! As we got closer, it definitely looked like a festive bell but far away it looked like a high waist 50-60’s style bikini! When it was over and we were at the main road to go home, we got stopped at the longest light ever! So my mom thought she would see how her pictures turned out, most of them were bury but she got quite a few good ones that I had to edit a little, but I was keeping an eye out on the light and once I said “green” she looked over and grabbed the wheel and realized there was a cop on my side of the car. Oops! We didn’t get a ticket or anything, I don’t think he even noticed us!

Do you put up your Christmas tree? Do you go by what we do or do you do something different?