Book Review: “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han

I think the last time I reviewed a book was back in 2016. I lost my reading mojo, even though I continued to go on YouTube and watch over 7 different booktubers on a daily basis, adding new books onto my to be read list on Goodreads. In August 2018, I decided to take a chance and bought my first contemporary, trending book out there, it was Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. Honestly, this book has been on my TBR list for two years, and I thought it would be one of those books that I’d either never want to read or purchase it because it was a bit cheesy. Fast forward to now, I’m thankful that I talked my mom into letting me buy it! And the fact that Netflix was releasing a movie based on it, definitely didn’t hurt either!

Backstory – Taken from Goodreads

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

I think I bought this book when the Netflix edition covers were released, because I almost didn’t recognize the title of it until I read the back of it and remembered the name “Lara Jean” so I was a bit intrigued but I also didn’t want to purchase it solely on the fact that it was going to be turned into a movie. I think I really got it for the fact that I hadn’t read anything in over two years and I made it my mission to make time for other things besides blogging throughout the week, so when I saw it, I hoped it would be enough to get me out of my funk and for like two months, it did that for me before I lost it once again. In my defense, I was an idiot and tried to read three books at the same time! Apparently I’m not that kind of a bookworm.

Overall

When I first started reading it, I wasn’t on chapter five yet, and I had already expressed to my parents how much I loved the book! I’ve been out of school, in what feels like forever, but this transported me back to my freshman year and I was seeing the similarities between what I did around all of the cute guys, except I never wrote them all letters. I only did that one and I delivered it in a full cafeteria, and how Lara Jean was around both Josh and Peter.

I think what I loved the most about her was how different or quirky as Peter describes her. I think that’s actually a perfect way to explain her to people. She is mostly a home body, likes to hang out with her family, and best friend Chris then getting drunk and/or high with the rest of the party goers. Besides all of the drama that ensues in the book, I honestly think the letters going out to the boys was the best thing for her. It got her out of comfortable shell and I think she started to learn something about herself as a person.

As far as the boys go, I was going back and forth with them. In the beginning, I was pulling for Lara Jean and Josh, but the more it continued I was really loving this “relationship” between her with Peter. I think my favorite outing between these two characters was their first one, where Peter takes her to go estate shopping at this old house. This is where you get to see Peter in a new light, he’s away from his friends and his attention isn’t on the ex-girlfriend Gen, they’re bonding throughout this little adventure. This is also the readers first glance at Lara Jean getting out of her comfort zone too.

Lastly, I need to talk about something that was added at the end of the book, and I’m not totally sure if the previous editions included them, but in my copy we get recipes of the cookies that were talked about towards the end of the book. I’ve only come across a book that had a recipe somewhere within the book and that was (weirdly enough) Duff McKagan’s autobiography It’s So Easy (and Other Lies) released in 2011. If you’d like to check out that review, you can click here, but I should say that the review was published in 2012. I wasn’t the best blogger at that time, so please ignore the many mistakes included in it, okay?

Have you read the book To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han yet? What were your thoughts about it? Which character is your favorite in the series?

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BASKETBALL IS BACK!

bballHowdy!

Basketball is back is finally back! Technically, it’s been back for two months now, but I don’t usually like to count it until college basketball begins. Once I’ve watched my first Butler game, I can officially celebrate it fully!

I made this blog so I could have a safe place to basically unleash anything I thought was important to me, and I’ve had to really figure out if I wanted to do this post. Basketball being at the heart of it, but you will read some bittersweet things too. I just wanted to let it all go and this was the result.


Shameful Beginnings

I like to think how I got into college basketball has a happy storytelling; I feel like I was influenced spiritually by my papaw. I like to tell people who I think he was bored up in heaven and needed somebody to let him watch basketball, so he turned to me because I was the only one that could be open enough to actually watch it. After he died, my family hardly watch a IU or Butler, so when I started, I did like it but I certainly miss the fact that he’s not there watching it on his TV in the kitchen of their house.

I’d really like to say that I felt the most of guilt because of the fact that I never wanted to listen whenever my papaw attempted to teach me the positions and whatnot years ago, but unfortunately it’s not that at all. Although I still feel bad for not allowing him that opportunity, but I think he’d be proud on what I’ve been able to learn on my own and some things that my mom, knows more about basketball then she previously thought, so I think that would make him a happy camper! Basketball has even improve my math too, which kind of still freaks me out, but I’m okay with it.

I started watching college basketball in the 2016-17 season. I literally only had one team but then as the season went on, I did begin to watch some of the other teams in the Big East conference.

A year later, about a month before college basketball was to start I got some unexpected news. Well, it really wasn’t just me, it was the entire family that got the news. On October 22nd, was both a good and also a bittersweet day for me. I found out that I was going to be an aunt for the first time. Now you’re thinking, what could be bad about that? Well, my sister and brother-in-law had been married for about four months and they had basically told us that they were going to wait about 10 years before trying to have children. Selfishly, I was kind of happy about that decision. Here’s why.

As somebody who has a serve physical disability, you are left out on a lot of lifetime experiences. When we were asked in school what we wanted to be when we grew up, everybody had some realistic and sometimes outlandish careers picked out, but I’ve always wanted to be a wife and mother. I think this is because I was around my mom and my nana so much growing up that it’s also been a big interest to me. Honestly, I’ve never really told anybody this, because I didn’t want to pity, but I really want somebody to love me truly and I want to be pregnant, go through labor and delivery, change diapers, give baths, and just love on a small creature that I helped make of my own. So, the fact that this was happening to my sister was pretty devastating to me.

What’s weird about it is that I didn’t necessarily get this feelings when my cousin was pregnant back in 2016 (or when she got married a year later!), mostly because I think she lived somewhat far away and I didn’t really communicate a lot with her. So, her pregnancies have never made me feel sad, it was just my sister and in a way I understood the reasons behind it. So, after she announced to the world that she was pregnant, I remember feeling my heart sink a little, but once I realized that it had done that, I started to layer on the guilt of feeling like that.

Later that night, I thought if college basketball can help me get through my papaw’s death, I was hoping that maybe professional basketball could help me sort out my thoughts of the fact that I will eventually become an auntie, and not a mother myself.

The Definition Of Devotion

I’ll be honest, those nine months were a bitch. My sister had a somewhat complicated pregnancy, mostly with her pain and getting Gestational diabetes towards the end of it. She actually didn’t like being pregnant and she had some problems feeling confident in her own body as well about the prospect of becoming a mother to this small child. She was a mess, and I wasn’t much better.

For a whole month, I had decided to watch about four teams (Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, and Gold State Warriors) but I really didn’t enjoy them, I just watched them to get me out of my head. Every quiet moment had been awful. So many thoughts would come shooting at me from every angle, all of my bad memories would basically come at me hard and those four teams were part of my escape plan at night.

However, the week before the first Butler game was to come on TV, I had watched my first ever Houston Rockets game. They went up against Detroit Pistons and it is the only clear memory I have at that point of time. What I get from that means I probably didn’t watch the others as well as I did this game, because I was so mesmerized on the fact that on each side the players were hitting threes and I was dumbfounded. I’m still mad at myself for never finishing that game, but I was instantly hooked! And then about five  days later, I watched my first Los Angeles Lakers game and again, I was just instantly stuck on these guys.

By the time college basketball was in full swing for the 2017-18 season, I had a total of 10 teams I was watching constantly, hell I would add both Oklahoma City Thunder and Philadelphia 76ers to the list, but not until after Christmas was over. I had a lot of basketball to not only keep me happy but also keep those negative thoughts at bay. It wouldn’t always work, but on the days I really needed it, the sport was there.

Out Of The Ashes

After the championship games were over, I was really worried about what I would do now. I had essentially four months to kill before my nephew would finally be here and I was left to my own devices again and I think that scared me more than anything. By the time, my mom had been told about everything going on with me, she tried her best to comfort me with a whole lot of hugs and wash rags for my nose because it really didn’t matter if it was daylight or not I would just break down.

I’ve never been on antidepressants before this, I feel like I probably should have been on something after I had graduated from high school, and again in 2011, but I was very hesitant about it because I didn’t want to rely on a small pill to help make me feel better, but honestly I had no other options left and I was finally put on my first dose a week after Baby Nolan was born. A part of me was a little mad that we had waited all this time and I started them while he just got here, because I think it would have helped me out a bunch to stop feeling so jealous.

I really love being an auntie to my nephew, which adds to the guilt that I’ve held so deep inside. I’ve never told Blondie or Brandon about all of this before. I could never find the words and I was always afraid they wouldn’t understand or would be angry with me for never saying anything about it (especially my sister), so if they do decide to read this post, I just want to say, I did not plan on this. nobody really does but now that Nolan’s here, I love him dearly and I would do anything for him because I know he’s going to look up to me. He is already learning things that I’ve done in front of him like getting a drink out of my cup. He’s been recorded reaching for his mommy’s frappe once so I’ve already been teaching this little man without really trying and I get so much joy out of being around him. His toothless smiles are intoxicating and I really can’t get enough of it!

Who Am I Watching This Season?

Over the summer, I did something that I never thought I’d ever do. I watched the NBA Draft, NBA Awards and Summer League. Yeah, even my dad was shocked! I mainly watched the Draft because I knew that Villanova was losing four of their best players on the team and I just wanted to know where they were going, so with that being said I now watch the Milwaukee Bucks because that’s where Donte DiVincenzo is playing now. Just for an extra bonus, one of the reasons why I even liked watching the Lakers, Brook Lopez was traded there. I wasn’t originally happy about that piece of news, but I like seeing both of them on the same team now.

When professional basketball started in early October, I had made the decision to cut down on the amount of teams for this season. Since I am increasingly learning more about it in general, I wanted to shrink the list or switch out teams as much as possible. The only one I watch from the original “back up” lineup is the Boston Celtics. I mainly wanted to keep them because I have a “few” favorite players: Jayson Tatum, Aron Hayes, Al Halford (who I tend to get confused with Eric Gordon!), and Gordon Hayward. My dad thinks I like them because their coach Brad Stevens, who is a former head coach of Butler Bulldogs – it’s not true!

When the previous season was dwindling down and LA Lakers weren’t in the playoffs, I had temporary traded them with the 76ers. I really like Joel Embiid and JJ Redick a lot. Ben Simmons isn’t that bad, but he did not deserve that “Rookie Of The Year” award. I can’t wait to see how many other “rookie” players will try to say that in the future. The 76ers is a team that I frequently watch now, but since I’ve only seen probably 8 games total, I don’t have that many thoughts about them yet. Key word: yet.

And finally, I am still watching both the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers. This summer was pretty interesting, I literally watched the NBA Awards in hopes that James Harden would win MVP. I decided to watch that live, but taped it because I’m not an idiot, I fell asleep in the middle of it, so that morning my mom knew who had won but I made her promise not to tell me because I wanted to watch it. I was so happy, but unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to get too excited because my dad was asleep in the next room and I didn’t feel like scaring the crap out of him! I also had started following Bleacher Report on Twitter to find out of the different players who were being traded to other teams, and when I saw that Trevor Arzia had signed to Phoenix Suns, I was a bit sad but nothing compared to the nervousness I had at the possibility that Clint Capella could be leaving. Oh my gosh! The day it was announced to resigning with the Rockets was the best! When I saw that, everybody was awake so I was allowed to scream, I was so happy!

Another trade I was upset about, was when Julius Randle left. He was the second person to get me into the Lakers, so the fact that I was now down two out of three was nerve-wrecking. And then on top of that the whole world found out that LeBron James was becoming a Laker. For most people, especially everybody in LA alone, was ecstatic! I was not. It’s shocking that parents, coaches, hell even teachers tell kids everyday that there’s no “I” in team and yet whenever LeBron goes on a team, he’s #1 and everybody else is just a shadow behind him. The reason why I wasn’t thrilled about this, is because I liked the fact that it was the team of youngsters. You have Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart that are all under the age of 25 and they all have real potential to lead a team, and yet now the spotlight doesn’t really shine on them as much anymore.

If you’re wondering about who the final player that got me interested in this team was Ingram, so imagine my face when he shoved James Harden on their first game of the new season. Yeah, I was actually enjoying it until that happened and all hell broke loose afterwards. My heart hurt as it was happening and I was glad that I had recorded the game instead of watching it live or I would have probably been in tears. If you’re reading this part, and assuming that the only reason why I could have done that because I have a crush on Ingram, Harden or any other of the players, you obviously didn’t read the post all the way through.

As far as college basketball goes, I am still and probably always going to watch Butler. Although, I am going to have to get a new shirt as I’ve officially outgrown it. Nolan has finally worn his Butler onesie already, but whether or not he can fit into is debatable, so it might be time for the both of us to get new outfits! And I will watch both Xavier and Villanova every once in a while; I actually don’t care to watch Nova during the Big East conferences, because they are really my team’s enemy. I admire them and practically know everybody’s names and numbers now, but I know better to root for anybody that could make them lose a game!


I feel the need to apologize for the long post, but there was a lot to get out and I thought it would be better to get everything out in one go, so the fact that I’m over 2,000+ words was definitely not planned by any means! I would like to say that if you have read the whole thing, kudos to you for getting through it. Now that everything is out in the open, maybe I can just enjoy being an auntie and watching basketball in all forms! 🙂

snowflake

Album Review: “Dragon Mentality” by Elley Duhé

review2017If anybody has heard Zedd’s new single “Happy Now” then you might be a little familiar with the artist I’ll be talking about today. Elley Duhé is a new American artist and she has this cute, little happy (no pun intended) voice that does instantly brighten you up after hearing it for the first time.

Elley released her first album in late October, and it’s called “Dragon Mentality” and as I am really curious to know how she came up with it, I think the cover itself is absolutely beautiful! The album is again, another short list of tracks. I am really hating the fact that record companies are releasing albums as an extended play standard number of songs, but I guess to an artist that’s worked their asses to get there at that moment, it didn’t matter how many would actually make it to the end result. It irritates me of course, but I can’t do anything about it!

 So, “Lost My Mind” has a slow start, but I liked that kind of introduction to any album but for a new artist, it’s important to have a mild opening to not freak out the listener. This was an ideal opener, as it was soulful but had a really good pop-y quality and you could hear a sassy-ness to her voice in this as well. Second is, “Fever” and I thought the usage of this exotic type of sound throughout was really fun! It doesn’t sound like the normal pop song that you hear on the radio and that’s what I loved the most about it.

We move on to a track called “Way Down Low” and it’s a fast song, at least the beat is as it has this electronica mixed with a pop sound going on. The tempo is really well balanced since she sings pretty quick, the actual speed of the beat itself is actually kind of slow in places, so it was cool to see this happening and not feel like it was chaotic in the process. Next there’s “Counterfeit” and her voice is a bit sassy but I liked it because the song was a little gritty and it needed that extra edge to it. And then there’s “$$$$” and this is another song with an unique beat, I feel like it would be perfect for anyone dancing the Argentine Tango or Paso Doble on Dancing With The Stars because the beat is just gorgeous and dare I say, seductive in every aspect. I really love that violin solo a lot. It just brings that sex appeal to it. I actually wasn’t going to review this at all. I had deleted it off of my Spotify and everything, but then a couple of days later I was watching music video and I ultimately decided I needed to bring it back.

The sixth song is “Starz” and this is sort of slower and I’m so kind there’s at least one of these types of songs on this because everybody needs a break of those heartier beats. This has a soft appeal that a lot of people could get behind on it. However, I feel like she has read my mind over the years and the violin is pretty prominent in the beat, and instead of giving it a sexy vibe, it actually helps with the somber beat. Lastly, we have “Savior” and we go back to the upbeat, kind of hip hop type of sound; although it isn’t exactly in your face as the others. I’m glad her bright voice is loud and the tempo is sort of slow. It’s a good way to end this whole journey.

Honestly, this whole thing was haunting me a bit, because I feel like I talk a lot about the famous musicians. I don’t really devote my time and space on my blog for new artists, so maybe that can be something I can do for 2019! I’m really glad I decided to listen to this album. I thought it was really different then the regular pop artists come up with, and I liked the fact that I felt like everything that I was hearing was a real instrument. That’s the one thing I hate about pop music, sounds can be altered so much that you really end up craving real sounds again.

Have you listened to Elley Duhé’s first album “Dragon Mentality” yet? If you have, what were some of your thoughts about it? I’d really like to see what you liked or didn’t care for for this?

snowflake

Album Review: “Honey” by Robyn

43766815_10156640805402530_4485212077807370240_nI think my mom and I have been in love with Robyn for several years now! Technically, my mom only likes one of her earliest tracks, whereas I have been listening to her music since 2010. So to say that I was excited to see the Swedish EDM singer back with a new album is a bit of an understatement! “Honey” came out in late October, but I’ve had to wait a bit to finally listen to it all the way through and share my thoughts with you guys!

This review will be kind of short in a way, as the album itself consists of only nine tracks. I figured it would be a lot more than that, but I’m willing to deal with this.

The first song that begins our musical journey is “Missing U” and I was so happy to hear that standard Robyn sound. She’s really into the electronica sound, I feel like the ones she usually uses always remind me of how EDM used to be in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. She also has a very high-pitched, sweet voice that tends to make you feel loved while you listened to each one. The song though, is a really good starter, as it’s light but has enough of a dance-y vibe going on that it still makes you happy! Next is “Human Being” and this was the only track that has a featured singer on it: Zhala. Now I’ve never heard of this person before, which isn’t uncommon for me, but all I’ve been able to get out of my research is that she’s pop singer too and what’s really cool is that she’s signed to Robyn’s record label! I actually like this one as it has a darker tone, it’s still pop-y and has a nice groove to it but the sound itself is sort of mysterious and makes the two of them sound like one person, which I don’t usually like but in this case I was okay with it.

Third is called “Because It’s In The Magic” and the synths on this made me think of Christmas music! I don’t know if it was because I have Christmas albums to review later on and I’m just getting myself in the holiday spirit, but then I look at the title and I figured maybe this was on purpose, this might be the song I’ve ever come across that isn’t a Christmas song that sounds exactly like one in every way! Afterwards, there’s “Baby Forgive Me” and this has a real sensual feeling all throughout the song. I liked the atmospheric vibe going on, it kind of took over quickly, but I didn’t mind that calmness it brought to me.

“Send To Robin Immediately” is on now and I was a little confused with this at first, but when it first started I thought it was going to continue on with the same lyrics of the previous song, just with a different beat. After we get to the middle of it is where it kind of breaks off into its own track, but really it’s sporadic with its words, so mostly all you hear is this somewhat annoying beat all the way through. The sixth track is the title track “Honey” and I really enjoyed the lovey dovey vibe you get with this one. I also really liked the stripped beginning–as she just sang in a capella. It has a nice trance type of sound to it, but it was really light so it fit really well with the lyrics of the actual song.

We’re almost finished with the album, but continuing on we have “Between The Lines” and I really liked the seductive lyrics with this one, which threw me for a loop. Oh and the male voice featured in it! But don’t ask me who it is, because even I don’t know, but I think what really sold it to me was this cosmopolitan beat, the best way to describe what I mean is literally “perfect catwalk music” more like a Victoria’s Secret fashion show since it does have a sexy attitude to it.  If I thought the last one was bringing me old Madonna vibes, “Beach2k20” just added onto it! There’s really no lyrics, but you definitely have a beach-y vibe going on with this, it’s not in your face and I think that’s why I really liked it. Lastly is “Ever Again” and we go back to a normal pop beat with real lyrics! One thing I thought was interesting was the fact that this had a less of a dance worthy type of beat with it, and so it has more a pop-rock sound going on instead. It was kind of a motivational song too, for all of those broken hearts out there! It really good for the final song!

I thought this was a really nice album! If you’re missing the summer, which majority of us are at the moment, because we’re already tired of wearing layer after layer of clothing or seeing giant piles of snow in your front yard, this could be perfect for you, because it does have a bubbly, bikini, and summer fling going on throughout the entire thing.

Tell me, have you listened to Robyn’s new album “Honey” yet? Do you think it was as good as her last or are you okay with the new sound she’s bringing with this?