WWW Wednesday #2 | March 28, 2018


WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words.
Just answer three questions and share what you're reading.


WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
Well, I say that I'm currently reading this, but the truth is that I've been doing everything but reading for the past week. To give you an idea, I started this one over the weekend and I'm only on page 40. See what I mean? It has nothing to do with the book and everything to do with me just being distracted by a dozen other things.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?
Um, since I haven't completed anything in the last week, I'm afraid my "recently finished" book hasn't changed. Deja vu, anyone? :)

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'LL READ NEXT?
    
Oh geez, no idea. I currently have a library book out - When My Heart Joins the Thousand, a recommendation from Sam at We Live and Breathe Books - but if/when I finish Alex, Approximately I probably won't want to read another YA back to back like that. So something by Sarina Bowen may be the way to go.

What are you currently reading?
I wanna know! :)

Top Ten Tuesday: Foreign Settings

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic: 
Books That Take Place in Another Country
I thought I was really going to have to dig for this one but it was actually easier than I thought. Here are some of my favorite books with a foreign (non-U.S.) setting.


AUSTRALIA
Stolen - Lucy Christopher
SWEDEN
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
SCOTLAND
Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
ENGLAND
Me Before You - Jojo Moyes
RUSSIA
The Crown's Game - Evelyn Skye
ITALY
From Sand and Ash - Amy Harmon
CANADA
Good Boy - Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
FRANCE
The Nightingale - Kristin Hannah
NETHERLANDS
The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
WALES
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs


Have you read any of these books?

The Sunday Post #100


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • In case you missed Friday's post, I'm celebrating the 3rd anniversary of Girl Plus Books with a giveaway. Be sure to enter here!

  • The Husband was out of town all day yesterday so I took the opportunity to go see Love, Simon again. It was just as wonderful the second time around. :) There was a group of young teenage girls in the row behind me and their laughter and clapping and quiet commentary made it quite the interactive experience. LOL Their reactions were priceless. :)  

  • My friend Carol has a new Facebook group dedicated to all things bookish. It's a great group, with author spotlights, fun polls, book talk and recommendations. I hope you'll check it out! Carol's Crazy Bookish World

  • Riveted (Simon Teen) shared their picks of books to start a conversation about social change. In light of yesterday's March for Our Lives rally, it seemed worthy of sharing. (Graphic links to article.)


Tuesday, March 20
Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR

Wednesday, March 21
WWW Wednesday #1

Friday, March 23
Girl Plus Books Blogoversary Giveaway

WHAT I READ IN THE LAST WEEK:
     
Then She Was Gone - Lisa Jewell
Solid mystery/character study.
Royally Endowed - Emma Chase
Another solid entry in the Royally series.

WHAT I'M CURRENTLY READING
 Alex, Approximately - Jenn Bennett
Not very far into it but enjoying it.

WHAT I'M CURRENTLY LISTENING TO:
What Happened - Hillary Rodham Clinton
I actually started this back in December but my loan expired and I had to put my name back on the list. It finally became available again this week and I was happy to get back into it. It's fascinating listening.

    
PHYSICAL BOOKS:


From my March Bookworm Box:
Beauty in the Ashes - Micalea Smeltzer
From Entangled Teen:
Zombie Abbey - Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Purchased:
To Kill a Kingdom - Alexandra Christo
Y'all know I don't read a lot of fantasy, but 
Aimee's review convinced me to buy it.





How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!



Girl Plus Books Turns 3! Blogoversary Giveaway!



Confession: I've totally forgotten about my blogoversary two years in a row. And the only reason I did remember in time is because I saw it mentioned by Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction. (Thank you, Nicole!)

I'm not going to wax poetic about the last three years. Or share a bunch of statistics (because, seriously, who has time to crunch blog data?). I'm just going to say THANK YOU for being here. Thanks for the book talk, and the comments, the recommendations, and for popping in on the off-chance I have anything amusing to say. :)

So how about a giveaway?


The winner will receive a book of their choice from Book Depository - up to $20 (USD). This is open internationally, as long as Book Depository ships to your country.






WWW Wednesday | March 21, 2018


WWW Wednesdays is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words.
Just answer three questions and share what you're reading.


I felt like doing a little something different today so I'm taking part in WWW Wednesday. So here are the books that currently have my attention. (Book covers link to GoodReads.)

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I'm about three-quarters through this ARC of Lisa Jewell's 
latest mystery novel and I'm anxious to see how it will end. 

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?
I finished the audio version of this third book in the Royally series while on my drive to the office this morning. And I wasn't ready for it to end. I so hope there's more to come in this series!

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'LL READ NEXT?
Possibly Alex, Approximately. Because:
1) I'm going to need something light after Then She Was Gone.
2) I've been meaning to read it for... oh, almost a year now.
3) And because I'm officially the last person on earth who has not read it. 
Really. I took a poll.

What are you currently reading? 
I wanna know! :)

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.


This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic: 
Books on My Spring TBR
This is going to be tricky because I don't make TBR lists. I rarely know what I'm going to read book to book. Who knows what I'm going to feel like reading next? Certainly not I. So, here's a list of books that I want to read - more soonish than laterish - that I may or may not read this Spring.


Alex, Approximately - Jenn Bennett
9 Days & 9 Nights - Katie Cotugno
More Than We Can Tell - Brigid Kemmerer
The Smallest Part - Amy Harmon
Keep Her Safe - K.A. Tucker
Leah on the Offbeat - Becky Albertalli
Bittersweet - Sarina Bowen
The Great Alone - Kristin Hannah
Pure - Jennifer L. Armentrout
The Butterfly Project - Emma Scott


Have you read any of these books?
What's on your Spring TBR?

The Sunday Post #99


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It's a chance to share news - a post to recap the past week on your blog, 
showcase books and things we have received, and share news about what is
coming up on your blog in the week ahead. You can find the info here:

  • For those that missed yesterday's review post, I saw Love, Simon on Friday and LOVED it.If you've read the book, go see the movie. If you haven't read the book, go see the movie. Do you see a trend here? :)

  • Speaking of movies, anyone love 10 Things I Hate About You like I do? Remember Kat Stratford's gorgeous house on that big corner lot? Well, it's for sale and can be yours - for the bargain price of $1.6 million (USD). Brother, can you spare a dime?  
  • This recipe from Laura Vitale had me practically drooling this week. I love stuffed mushrooms and these, filled with Italian sausage and cheese (swoon), look sooo delicious. I would totally make these my dinner.




Tuesday, March 13
Top Ten Tuesday:
Books That Surprised Me

Friday, March 16
Review:
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Saturday, March 17
Movie Review:
Love, Simon


WHAT I READ IN THE LAST WEEK:

Half-Blood (Covenant #1) - Jennifer L. Armentrout
A re-read so I can continue with the series.

WHAT I'M CURRENTLY READING
 Then She Was Gone - Lisa Jewell
Not very far into it but enjoying it.

WHAT I'M CURRENTLY LISTENING TO:

Lots of fun but just took a surprisingly emotional turn.

    
KINDLE BOOKS:
      

Alphas Like Us (Like Us #3) - Krista & Becca Ritchie
The Return (Titan #1) - Jennifer L. Armentrout





How was your week? Any new books? Any news to share? 
I'd love to hear about it!



Love, Simon: Movie Review



It's no secret that I adore Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Love it. LOVE. IT. I talk about it all the time, I recommend it, I use it in half my Top Ten Tuesday lists... it's one of those books for me. So naturally I have been slightly hyped (aka counting the days) until the movie released. The Husband and I saw the movie last night and I'm still so jazzed about the experience that I decided I needed to talk about it. 

Disclaimer: This is not a thoughtful, critical review. This is me gushing about a movie I loved based on a book I adored. You've been warned. :)


Spoiler alert: I loved this movie!

I first read Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda in 2016. And it became an instant favorite. One of my exceedingly rare 5 star reads. (Seriously y'all, me giving a book 5 stars is akin to seeing a leprechaun riding a rainbow-colored unicorn on February 31st.) Since then I've read the book multiple times (and I am not a re-reader) and I've lost track of how many times I've listened to the audio version. And yet, I've never written a review for the book. Simply put, I love it too much to review it. (But that's a discussion for another day.) Naturally, I was equal parts ecstatic and nervous when I heard about the movie. My mantra became: please don't screw it up, please don't screw it up. Well guess what: they didn't screw it up!


To try and keep this somewhat focused and avoid a flailing word vomit of emotion, I'm going to break this down .

Casting. In a word: perfection. Going in, I really only knew two of the actors - Nick Robinson (Simon) and Jennifer Garner (Simon's mom), both of whom I liked so it was a good start. But it was obvious from the start that all of the casting was spot-on. Katherine Langford (less cynical and moody than Book Leah), Jorge Lendeborg (fun-loving Nick) and Alexandra Shipp (the bubbly and exuberant Abby) totally embodied Simon's crew of best friends. Other stand-outs were Natasha Rothwell as drama teacher Ms. Albright (loved her!), Keiynan Lonsdale as Bram (what a cutie!), Logan Miller as Martin (exactly how I pictured Marty), and Josh Duhamel as Simon's dad. 


Plot/Faithfulness to Book. This is how to adapt a book to the big screen (I'm looking at you, Divergent series.) The powers that be managed to translate 303 pages of narrative into 1 hour and 49 minutes of screen time and still retain the charm and magic of the book. Yes, there were changes but most of them were minor (example: movie Simon has only one sister instead of two). A couple changes were a little more substantial (one concerning Leah that I'm not sure really needed to be changed) but none that altered the overall story line. I loved the progression of Simon's character as he dealt with his growing feelings for online crush Blue, his forced outing, coming out to his family, and the ensuing fall-out at school. Nick Robinson's performance was the perfect blend of humor and heart. I was totally invested as he ogled cute boys, laughed with his friends, laid his soul bare to Blue, faced bigotry and bullying head on, and showed courage with his willingness to be honest about who he was.


Music. I guess I'm showing my age and my total lack of knowledge of current music but I wasn't familiar with any of the songs/artists used in the film. (Well, except for the two "older" tunes from Whitney Houston and the Jackson 5. LOL)  But even so, the music added so much to the experience. A group called Bleachers was used heavily and several of the songs felt custom-made for Simon's story, my favorites being Wild Heart and Rollercoaster. Also included was music from The 1975, Troye Sivan, Kahlid, Haerts, and Amy Shark.


Favorite Moments. 
- The talk between Simon and his mom
- Both scenes with Ms. Albright
- The Simon/Martin confrontation in the parking lot
- Simon meeting Blue on the ferris wheel
- The Whitney Houston dance number (priceless!!)

Final Thoughts. Obviously, I loved this movie. I loved the casting and thought the actors brought the characters to life. There were laugh out loud moments and there were a couple times when I got teary. Most of all, I'm so just so happy that one of my favorite books was turned into a movie that kept the spirit of the book, all the sweetness and humor and emotion. And I already want to go see it again. 


DO YOU PLAN ON SEEING LOVE, SIMON?


Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Series: No

Genres: Contemporary, Historical, Women's Fiction, Romance

Release Date: June 13, 2017

Format: Audio

Narrator: Alma Cuervo, Julia Whelan, Robin Miles

                                     Source: OverDrive

                                     Find it here: GoodReads 

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950's to her decision to leave show business in the late 80's, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
 



It was more than a year ago that I was first introduced to the writing of Taylor Jenkins Reid. I read One True Loves and was utterly captivated by the story. And when I finished the book my first thought was: I have to read more by this amazing writer! And yet somehow it wasn’t until recently that I picked up my next book by TJR. And what a book it was. You know how you see critics throw around the term “tour de force?” Well, that’s exactly the phrase I thought of when I finished The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. This one is not to be missed.

Monique is a staff writer for a magazine and is surprised when she is summoned to the luxurious home of Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo. She’s positively stunned when she learns why. Evelyn Hugo has chosen Monique, a virtual unknown, to write her biography. A book she says is to be published after her death; one that is guaranteed to be a bestseller. Monique, having no idea why Evelyn would seek her out for such a task, and getting no real answer from Evelyn (other than “By the time we are through, you won’t have any questions.”), agrees to the arrangement. And it is there, with Evelyn’s history, and Evelyn’s unflinching delivery, that the real story begins.

Evelyn is one complex, commanding character. She is bold, ambitious, fearless and unapologetic. She makes it clear that her motivations were usually self-serving – and that she would do it all again. This was no starry-eyed ingĂ©nue who ran when times got tough or when doors were slammed in her face. Evelyn was a force to be reckoned with and when her career was on shaky ground she fought her way back to the top. She didn’t always do the right thing, she used people to her advantage, but even so, I respected her drive, her unwillingness to give up, and her devotion and loyalty to those she loved.

Evelyn’s career spanned decades and the ‘insider look’ at Hollywood through the years was fascinating. Starting in the 1950’s, with the all-controlling movie studios where star were under exclusive contracts, Evelyn chronicles both her career and her turbulent personal life – including the eponymous seven husbands, and the true love of her life.  And I gobbled up every morsel. Her rags to riches story was totally engrossing and I loved the way she delivered the overarching story of her life, both the titillating and the mundane, with such candor. And the eventual revelation of how her life intersects with Monique’s was one that I never saw coming.

I loved the addition of tabloid reports and newspaper articles interspersed throughout the story.  Not only did it offer an outside point of view to Evelyn’s life, but it was a fitting inclusion considering so much of Evelyn’s life was lived in public and chronicled in print. In addition, the narration was top notch and made for an incredible listening experience. Alma Cuervo was captivating as the title character and her delivery brought Evelyn to life. Several times I found myself wanting to go watch all of Evelyn’s old movies and had to remind myself (more than once) that she was, in fact, fictional.

Reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was a totally immersive experience, with so many topics that were woven in seamlessly, but never at the expense of the story. If you like a character that is so richly drawn that she begins to feel like a real person, if you enjoy the glamour of old Hollywood, if you want to immerse yourself in a juicy tale that spans decades, pick this one up and prepare to meet Evelyn Hugo.

4.5/5 STARS