To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean is a young teenager who has kept track of every boy she has ever been in love with. She writes these boys letters, addresses them, seals them, and then puts them in her special hatbox. These letters profess her love to each boy, it the letters mean more to that to Lara Jean. The letters symbolize the end of the love affair. Each letter is Lara Jean’s final stamp to move on.

When these secret letters get out, Lara has to do some major damage control. She never thought anyone would read them, especially the boys she fell in love with. In an adorable tale of love and loss, Lara Jean grows before the reader’s eyes. She learns to cope with becoming the oldest sister still living at home and still navigating her way through high school. Lara Jean is both a lovable and relatable character that will have you devouring this book in no time.

This is the first book I have read by Jenny Han and I have no idea why it took me so long to read this book, but once I picked it up I could not put it down! Han’s writing style is simple but it fills your imagination. Han’s characters feel real—we could be Lara Jean as we feel her embarrassment. Or we have a little sister like Kitty, or we know the kind of boys Lara Jean has fallen in love with. The story is told primarily from present day and what Lara Jean is currently experiencing. But some of Lara Jean’s love stories are from the past, so Han fills in the gaps through memories.

I highly recommend this book if you have yet to pick it up. I cannot wait to read the next two books in this series and see where Lara Jean’s journey goes! This was such a cute and quick read without being a cliche romance.

Rating: 4/5

 

 

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Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

This is my first audiobook all the way through. I loved this audiobook so much that I went back and bought the paperback version of Norse Mythology and listened to the book again twice in the same week. If you have not read this book yet, you MUST! But I do suggest listening to this as an audiobook if you have the option, because Neil Gaiman made this book come alive.

I am picky when it comes to audiobooks. I usually find that the narrator is not the best fit for the job. Or the book is read too slowly, or I simply become bored within minutes. Gaiman narrates his own book and I love that. He is animated for all of the characters we encounter, not just the main ones. He makes each of his characters come to life with the animation of his voice and the inflections in his tone. No two characters sound or act exactly alike.

I am not sure if this book is supposed to be humorous, but I often found myself laughing throughout most of the tales. The spin that Gaiman puts on the myths that we’re familiar with makes these stories his own. The myths you will read in this book are not far from the original myths you may know they simply have a twist.

As a caveat, I usually do not care for superhero books or movies. But this did not feel like that. Instead, Gaiman takes the Norse Gods and makes them into something attainable. While the story itself may seem outlandish at times, the overall theme is something we can identify—grief, anger, revenge, etc. The tales we encounter do not feel boring or overdone. The book follows the progression of the Norse Gods, from their creation to what will happen in their destruction.

The benefit of reading a physical copy of the book is that there is an index of the characters in the back. This way, if you get confused on who is who you can flip to the back of the book and brush up on a character before continuing the story.  However, I did not feel confused or lost listening to the book because each character has their own voice or tone when Gaiman speaks.

This is my first Neil Gaiman book, but it will not be my last. The writing style is wonderful and easy to keep up with. Other people have mentioned that this book feels short and simplistic in its writing, but I think that some of that helps readers (and listeners) have a feel for a complicated subject matter. Mythology is not a commonly known topic and many find it boring or too saturated to take an interest. Gaiman’s twists and style in this book allow the information to be more accessible to all level of readers and varying level of familiarity with the topic.

I would call this my favorite book I have read this year and it will be difficult to find another book to take over this spot. I cannot recommend Norse Mythology enough. If this book is not yet on your TBR list, you should consider picking this book up!

Rating: 5/5

Open Road Summer

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

I’m back again with another ballad to Emery Lord. I have officially binge read all of her books, so I will be (not so patiently) waiting for something new of hers to come out.

This is the PERFECT summer (or almost summer) read. It is cute, light, peppered with romance, and best friend shenanigans. Dee is set to have a tour across the US and her best friend, Reagan, comes along for a summer of fun. The girls face new hardships and their friendship is tested. But ultimately, the girls learn about who they are and what their friendship can withstand.

Reagan is figuring out who she wants to be. She has a sketchy past and she wants to run away from the last few months she has experienced. She has a tough girl exterior, but she is a great friend. Her and Dee have been friends since they were young and have seen each other through everything. Dee has always been there to pull Reagan out of sticky situations. Now, it’s Reagan’s turn to support Dee.

Dee is caught between her music career and wanting to be a normal teenager. She has worked so hard to become a positive role model for young girls everywhere. But the media and journalists twist her past in order to make a good story. Dee wants to keep the boy she loves out of the picture, but the media decides to drag him through it. So Dee and her publicist/agent concoct a plan to bring Matt on tour with her.

Matt is a former young music star that is trying to get back into the music scene. He has a new sound and wants to get his name out there as a solo artist. Matt and Dee are on the same record label and have been friends for years. But Reagan is suspicious of him and whether he is going to ruin the girls’ summer.

There were two quotes in this book that stuck to my soul. One because I resonated with it, and the other is just something I have said to myself in the past.

“I grew up in a minefield of mean girls, and their snarky shrapnel made be bionic.” This quote speaks to me because I feel like I have experienced this. High school was not easy, and there is a fair share of mean girls in the world. Some of which I happened to go to school with. Much like Reagan, I used my sarcasm and had a tough outer-shell.

“A cute boy and whiskey. It’s like a two-for-one deal on my worst vices.” I am fairly certain I have said something along these lines in the past. But unlike Reagan, my vices were legal at the time.

I enjoyed this book immensely. There is some *mature* content in this book, but nothing crazy. Mostly, language and drinking. But it is nothing that teens haven’t seen in movies and TV shows with a similar storyline. It is a cute read that you can breeze through in an evening. And this book will have you longing for a summer road trip!

 

Rating: 4.5/5

Total Read Time: about 3

The Book of Joe-Joe Biden

The Book of Joe: The Life, Wit, and (Sometimes Accidental) Wisdom of Joe Biden by Jeff Wilser

The Book of Joe is a book full of anecdotes, short stories, and how Joe Biden became the man people know and love today. Through a series of quotes, advice, and a summary of the major points of his life, this book shines the light on how Joe Biden became Vice President and everything he has achieved until now.

I will admit that I did not know much about Biden; outside of being the most meme-worthy VP we have ever seen. There are things that genuinely shocked me about this look into Biden’s life. For instance, Biden has a stutter as a kid. People called him dash because he could barely finish a sentence. But, he never gave up. He would spend countless hours memorizing speeches and passages just to practice having a strong and concise voice.

We learn that Biden always put family first. When he was first elected to Congress, he had a lof of family issues. His two sons were recovering in the hospital. Every day, he would commute to and from Capitol Hill and make sure that he was always there for his sons. He vowed to always take a call from his boys, no matter how important of a meeting he was in. Putting his family first made sure that Biden was grounded in what he believed in most. Regardless of what side of the political spectrum you fall on, this is an admirable trait to have.

Speaking of politics, we learn Biden’s role in the history of politics and just how crucial he was. Biden is a generally liable guy. Because of this, he made friends on both sides of the isle. He would appeal to people at a basic level because some issues may seem like “hot button political issues,” but they are actually human issues. Biden also indirectly had a hand in getting Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Many decisions over the past couple of decades have fallen on Kennedy’s swing vote.

What I enjoyed most about this book is the look behind the guy we always saw smiling or maing jokes. Sure, Biden is known for his love of ice cream and the bromance he had with President Barak Obama, but there is a story of loss and tragedy that many don’t know about. Biden lost his first wife, first daughter, and his oldest son. He sympathized with people who have lost love ones. Instead of being angry and quitting, he wanted to make his wife and son proud. Biden uses compassion to connect with others, not hatred.

VP Joe Biden will live on in history. He still has not given up the fight and works to this day to change America. This book highlights only a fragment of the work Biden has done and continues to do.

I highly recommend picking up this book. It is a quick, short read that will make you smile. And the Biden-isms are great tidbits of advice to follow.

 

Rating 4/5

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