On My Bookshelf: After I Do

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I’ve been super excited to participate in BookSparks Blog tour this summer and having a great time reading a bunch of new to me books. Definitely the book that I’ve connected with the most is After I Do: A Novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I’m not sure why it’s hit me so deeply because in essence, my life is so different from Lauren, the main character’s.

AfterIDo-CoverHere’s the synopsis from Goodreads.com: “From the author of Forever, Interrupted—hailed by Sarah Jio as “moving, gorgeous, and at times heart-wrenching”—comes a breathtaking new novel about modern marriage, the depth of family ties, and the year that one remarkable heroine spends exploring both.

When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.

Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?

This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after.”

Although I’ve never been married, I have no illusions that marriage is a perfect union and that feelings and passions ebb and fade. This was a fabulous book and I definitely devoured it. It’s a perfect book to read on vacation this summer, when you aren’t looking for a fluff book but still want a book that’s easy to read.

 

Books ‘n’ Bloggers Swap

I know, it’s a busy week but another swap reveal! I LOVE Chaotic Goddess Swaps and I can now retire from these swaps because I have been with both founders of Chaotic Goddess Swaps! In my first swap, I was paired with Beth of Living a Goddess Life and this time I was paired with Miss Chaos, Angie of My So-Called Chaos (of course I won’t retire because I have too much fun!)

Anyway, on with the reveal!

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Lots of fun goodies!

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The books:

  • Jeneration X which is from my wishlist!
  • Her which oddly enough, is on one of my lists and I had listened to a segment on NPR that morning about!
  • A book she loves: The Between Boyfriends Book-definitely where I am right now!

And not only that, she packed the box with all sorts of goodies!

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I absolutely love the little coffee stitched pouch-I put teas in it and put it in my purse! The flowers is the cutest Polaroid picture note card and I love the Mary Engelbreight stationary!

 

Thanks, Miss Angie for a delightful package!

On My Bookshelf: The Vacationers

 

***I was sent this book  in order to review by Birchbloggers***

***This post contains affiliate links***

The Vacationers is one of this summer’s must read books. I recently signed onto Birchbloggers through Birch Box, which if you’re interested in trying out, please use my link to sign up! As a part of Birchbloggers, I was sent a copy of the book to review.

Here’s what Goodreads had to say: “For the Posts, a two-week trip to the Balearic island of Mallorca with their extended family and friends is a celebration: Franny and Jim are observing their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, and their daughter, Sylvia, has graduated from high school. The sunlit island, its mountains and beaches, its tapas and tennis courts, also promise an escape from the tensions simmering at home in Manhattan. But all does not go according to plan: over the course of the vacation, secrets come to light, old and new humiliations are experienced, childhood rivalries resurface, and ancient wounds are exacerbated.

This is a story of the sides of ourselves that we choose to show and those we try to conceal, of the ways we tear each other down and build each other up again, and the bonds that ultimately hold us together. With wry humor and tremendous heart, Emma Straub delivers a richly satisfying story of a family in the midst of a maelstrom of change, emerging irrevocably altered yet whole.”

I liked the book, I felt that the characters were very well developed and I had buy-in to their futures and what was happening to them. Franny and Jim are going through marital strife, Sylvia is going through teen angst, Franny and Jim’s older son, who comes with his girlfriend, is going through job difficulties and the difficulty of dating someone much older than him who wants different things in life. Franny’s best friend and his partner are trying to adopt a baby and the struggles that come with that.

This is definitely a great summer read and my only disappointment is that I felt that the story ended without really sharing the end of everyone’s stories but overall, a great book and now I want to go to Mallorca!

Swaps! Books ‘n’ Bloggers

Yay! It’s time for one of my favorite swaps! This will be the third time I’m participating and I love it! I also just love participating in Chaotic Goddess Swaps.  Every swap I’ve participated in with them has been fantabulous!

 

Wanna join in the fun?  Signups end on June 9th over at their website.

Happy Reading!

On My Bookshelf: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

the_perks_of_being_a_wallflower_book_cover_drawing_by_pigwigeon-d5j78el Anyone who knows me, knows that I HATE audio books. Case in point, the bestie and I were driving up from Los Angeles to Portland for camp in summer 2007. The biffle gave us one of the Harry Potter books on CD to listen to on the way up–to give us something to do on this long trip. There are many things about both the bestie and I that came out. OK, mostly about me. The first is, even though it was his car, I think I let him drive a grand total of about two hours out of the 20 some hour trip. So maybe I have some control issues! The second was, we put on the CD before we even left LA and before we even made it from the 405 to I-5, I threw the CDs into the backseat and refused to listen anymore. I decided I HATED books on tape.

So that was my story and I was sticking to it. This year, I participated, for the third year in a row, in World Book Night, an awesome opportunity where you get chosen to hand out books on the same night each year. This year, after the event, they sent an email out with an offer to download three audio books. I figured it was worth a try and worst case, I didn’t spend any money. So I chose to download and start listening to The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky. I knew it was a pretty popular movie and well received book but hadn’t read or seen it.

Here’s the Goodreads synopsis: “Charlie is a freshman.

And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up”

I LOVED this book! Surprisingly I also loved listening to it. It took me about a week to get through the six hours. I listened only in the car, I have about a 20-25 minute commute each way to work and am randomly in my car throughout the week as well. I am going to be honest and say that there were times I sat outside my house, wanting to just listen to a little bit more before I went in! The book reminded me a lot of what high school was like, although I didn’t go through the same things as Charlie, but I did love Rocky Horror Picture Show! I was also surprised yet not surprised with the end of the book. I actually really want to watch the movie and see the differences between the two.

Do you listen to audio books? Have you found certain books to be better than others?

On My Bookshelf: My Abandonment

My AbandonmentI originally decided to read this book because it was chosen for the book club I was signed up to go to through Meetup.  I ended up not going but still read the book. It was a short book so a quick read, I think I finished it in an afternoon.

Goodreads synopsis: “A thirteen-year-old girl and her father live in Forest Park, the enormous nature preserve in Portland, Oregon. There they inhabit an elaborate cave shelter, bathe in a nearby creek, store perishables at the water’s edge, use a makeshift septic system, tend a garden, even keep a library of sorts. Once a week, they go to the city to buy groceries and otherwise merge with the civilized world. But one small mistake allows a backcountry jogger to discover them, which derails their entire existence, ultimately provoking a deeper flight.
Inspired by a true story and told through the startlingly sincere voice of a young narrator, Caroline, Peter Rock’s My Abandonment is a riveting journey into life at the margins, and a mesmerizing tale of survival and hope

All in all, this was an incredibly poignant and sad book. I was able to really identify with Caroline, even though I have nothing in common with her. The book definitely had a twist at the end that took me by complete surprise and I wished I could have learned more about that. I also loved that the book was based in Portland, in Forest Park, a place where I hiked recently. I love local flavor books as you know!

I would definitely recommend this book–it’s short and sweet but keeps your attention.

On My Bookshelf: The Aviator’s Wife

13642950I originally picked this book up because it was the next book for my Meetup book club.  I ended up not going to the meeting.  Mostly because it was a rainy evening and I didn’t feel like driving out to the east side by myself.  Hopefully I will motivate myself better to go to the next meeting because I really do enjoy going.

Anyway, here’s what Goodreads has to say about the book: “For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the celebrated aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong.
 
Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness.
 
Drawing on the rich history of the twentieth century—from the late twenties to the mid-sixties—and featuring cameos from such notable characters as Joseph Kennedy and Amelia Earhart, The Aviator’s Wife is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage—revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin provides new insight into what made this remarkable relationship endure.”

Wow, what a book.  This book was written in the same vein as Loving Frank, about the architect Frank Lloyd Wright in that it took a real person and many real instances in their lives but fictionalized it.  I really enjoy this type of novel because I think it gives me a chance to explore topics I would probably not have explored on my own.  I vaguely knew that Anne Morrow Lindburgh was married to Charles Lindburgh, a famous pilot, and I knew that they had a child who had something happen to him but I was fuzzy on the details and didn’t know much else.

Well this book did a fabulous job of going through the history of Anne Morrow Lindburgh and their marriage as well as Charles Lindburgh’s views during World War II, of which I had no idea.  I really enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in fictionalized accounts of history and those who are interested in learning more about the Lindburghs.

Literary Junkies Linkup!

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Super excited for one of my favorite linkups!  Here we go:

1. What are you reading right now? Tell us about it!
I’m currently reading The Aviator’s Wife: A Novel for a Meetup book club I’m participating in.  I love it! I’ve loved other books that take history and real people and then tries to delve in deeper to what these people were thinking. I’ve been surprised a number of times about the things I’m learning about Charles and Anne Lindburgh and I definitely recommend this book-in fact it was on my list before it was selected as a book for the month!

2. What was your favorite series to read when you were a kid?
Oh so many!  I was a huge reader forever.  Here are a few of them:
The Babysitters Club
Sweet Valley High
Boxcar Children

3. The world is ending: What 3 books do you save from your collection in hopes to contribute to whatever new society forms?
Such an awesome question!
Hmm, the first book I would take is Exodus by Leon Uris because it gives a great background on survival of a new country and what it takes to overcome adversity.
The second book would be As a Driven Leaf by Milton Steinberg.  It tells about Judaism during the Rabbinic period which really shapes a lot of the way that we practice modern Judaism.
Finally, Much Ado About Nothing (Folger Shakespeare Library) because you have to have some Shakespeare and it’s one of his funnier ones.

4. What is your favorite genre to read? Why?
I’m a pretty non-discriminate reader but really love fiction and chick lit.  I like that it takes me away from my current life but is still realistic and plausible-for the most part!

5. If you wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
I actually had the name of my book picked out when I was in High School!  I was living in Israel and wanted to write about the experience.  The book is called: Through the Eyes of the Youth

6. What is next on your “to-read” list? Tell us about it!
The Perfume Collector: A Novel by Katherine Tessaro.  Here’s what Goodreads says:

“An inheritance from a mysterious stranger . . .
An abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank of Paris . . .
And three exquisite perfumes that hold a memory . . . and a secret

London, 1955: Grace Monroe is a fortunate young woman. Despite her sheltered upbringing in Oxford, her recent marriage has thrust her into the heart of London’s most refined and ambitious social circles. However, playing the role of the sophisticated socialite her husband would like her to be doesn’t come easily to her—and perhaps never will.

Then one evening a letter arrives from France that will change everything. Grace has received an inheritance. There’s only one problem: she has never heard of her benefactor, the mysterious Eva d’Orsey.

So begins a journey that takes Grace to Paris in search of Eva. There, in a long-abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank, she discovers the seductive world of perfumers and their muses, and a surprising, complex love story. Told by invoking the three distinctive perfumes she inspired, Eva d’Orsey’s story weaves through the decades, from 1920s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris, and London.

But these three perfumes hold secrets. And as Eva’s past and Grace’s future intersect, Grace realizes she must choose between the life she thinks she should live and the person she is truly meant to be.

Illuminating the lives and challenging times of two fascinating women,The Perfume Collector weaves a haunting, imaginative, and beautifully written tale filled with passion and possibility, heartbreak and hope”

It’s already downloaded in my nook, I just need to find time to read it!

Again, I love this linkup!  Take a look at what other people are reading!

On My Bookshelf: The Fault in Our Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:  “Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.”

Read this book!  I started this book with a little trepidation, mostly because I haven’t read YA fiction in a long time and I just kept putting it off.  So when A Beautiful Mess decided it was the read for their February book club, I was hesitant.  I will be honest, the beginning felt a little draggy but I persevered and, man, am I glad I did.  This book was amazing, I could not put it down.

I also felt reminiscent of my high schools years as I was reading this at home, on a Friday night (in my parents house no less!), with breaking out skin.  Ahh the glory days of high school.

Anyway, back to the book.  I felt completely drawn into the world of Hazel and Gus as well as the other characters.  I could feel the pain that they all struggled through not only life threatening illnesses but the every day minutia of being teenagers.  I can only imagine that everything is compounded by the fact that each is struggling with their own fate and long-term life expectancy.

Green did a fantastic job of keeping the plot moving as well as adding some amazing plot twists.  I definitely was on the edge of my seat for most of the last third of the book.  If you want a tear-jerker, this is definitely a book for you.  I know that Green has written some other books that I am definitely going to read and I think I am going to re-ignite my passion for Young Adult fiction!

On My Bookshelf: Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild I’ve been looking for a book club for several years since I left a pretty awesome one in Los Angeles.  Finally a few people recommended that I use meetup.com to find one.  Well I went on and signed up for a few different groups.

The first one was reading the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  This was a book that I’d heard about and was on my “let’s read eventually” list so I decided to pick it up and give it a whirl.

This woman is absolutely insane.  First of all, I guess I wonder about how accurate her timeline actually is.  I think that for the most part, what she wrote about, did actually happen but I’m not convinced that it was in as short of a time period as she states.

Here is the goodreads.com synopsis:
“A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an eleven-hundred-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe—and built her back up again.
 
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone. 
 
Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.”

Again, I think this woman is absolutely insane and it’s a miracle that she didn’t die with how unprepared she was.  Strayed does a wonderful job of describing the ultimate beauty and tranquility she experienced and I definitely want to walk the Oregon parts of the trail but after much training and making sure I have all the necessary equipment.

For the book meetup, we met at a local brewery/public meet house and it was a lot of fun.  I convinced a friend of mine to come with me so I didn’t have to go alone and we met with about eight other like-minded readers.  All in all, a good time was had and I will definitely be going to more meetings!