Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

About (Goodreads)

From Julie Murphy, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dumplin’ and Side Effects May Vary, comes another fearless heroine, Ramona Blue, in a gorgeously evocative novel about family, friendship, and how sometimes love can be more fluid than you first think. Perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell and Morgan Matson.

Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever.

Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.

The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem.

My Thoughts
I loved this book so much! I’m a big fan of Julie Murphy. Not only because her books are fun and unique, but also because of the Mississippi aspect. Mississippi, my home. When I find a book, or series, set in Mississippi I buy it, read it as fast as possible and then recommend it to anyone who will listen. Ramona Blue is a book that will go at the top of my Mississippi books list.

Set in Eulogy, MS Ramona Blue is a unique person. Tall with blue hair. Everyone knows who Ramona is. She’s hard to miss. In backwoods MS, being a super tall, dyed blue hair lesbian is something that wouldn’t go unnoticed. She knows who she is and isn’t ashamed. But things take a sharp turn when her childhood friend comes back to town. Ramona starts to question who she is and if she’s gay, straight, or bi.

I loved Ramona! She’s a strong, female character that I love reading about. I would for sure read another book about her adventures in college (hint hint lol). What I couldn’t get passed, was that she felt like her family and all their problems were her responsibility. She’s 17 and living like she’s 30. Working as many jobs as she can and worrying about who’s going to take care of her sister’s baby. Her sister is a whole other piece of work. Her sister is pregnant and selfish. I could not stand her. I really hoped she’d move away or something. I just can’t with her.

I was SO FREAKING HAPPY with the ending of this book. I know we all know people who deserve goodness in their lives. Ramona is one of those people. I know she’s a fictional character but seriously, the shit this child goes through is way more than most adults go through. Her dad works his ass off but still doesn’t make enough so Ramona and her sister pitch in. But somehow, Ramona has become the backbone of the family. Almost like she had to take the role of wife, or the other adult, so the family could eat, live, breathe. It broke my heart. She’s so young and no child should have to work harder than their parent to make lives better for those in the same house. Which I know kids do, but the world shouldn’t work that way. Her mom is also a POS (piece of shit), her sister and mom get along…wonder why (hmm).

Freddie comes along and Ramona’s whole world gets shook. I really like Freddie and Ramona together. They challenge each other, learn from each other, make each other better. Just like a relationship should. It’s nice to see how Murphy makes worlds collide, especially in a setting like MS. A white girl and black boy. Lesbian with a straight boy. It’s something only a creative, out of the box person could write.

I like that Ramona finally gets it. Her sister choosing her loser baby daddy over her finally breaks Ramona. And she decides to take her life into own hands. It’s great. I cheered for her! I was so proud of her for getting it.

It’s a great book to read. It explores sexuality, race, social classes, and life in general. It’s a refreshing story about a girl trying to find herself.

5 out of 5 stars!

Advertisements

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

About
A vulnerable young girl wins a dream assignment on a big-time New York fashion magazine and finds herself plunged into a nightmare. An autobiographical account of Sylvia Plath’s own mental breakdown and suicide attempt, THE BELL JAR is more than a confessional novel, it is a comic but painful statement of what happens to a woman’s aspirations in a society that refuses to take them seriously…a society that expects electroshock to cure the despair of a sensitive, questioning young artist whose search for identity becomes a terrifying descent toward madness.

My Thoughts
Going into reading this book, I knew that it was an autobiographical account of Plath’s own life. I also was supposed to have read this book in high school but I didn’t. I think I decided to because 1. everyone tells me how great it is, 2. I was curious, 3. I know what’s it like to be in a pit of depression.

It took me 2 weeks to read this book. Let me explain to you why. It depressed me even more than I already was. The anxiety it created in reading made my head spin. I HAD to stop reading, break it apart into small readings because it was so sad and yes, depressing. The decent into darkness and hopelessness that Esther goes through is something I, thankfully, haven’t experienced. Her cycle from normal to suicidal was almost instant in reading. Confusing to me as a reader as to how it went from good to so so awful so quickly. I’ve never been so down, so low, so dark that I want to commit suicide, those thoughts have never entered my mind. I’m a blessed person for that. Reading this book made me hurt so much for Esther, for Sylvia. The pain that she feels, you can feel it seeping off the page like the ink is trying to sink into you and explain the pain and hurt that she felt. They both feel in that book.

I don’t think mental health is something discussed enough. I think that’s a taboo subject that people stow away and try to hide from. Which isn’t good. People often have this mind set that depression, anxiety, and suicide are something that can go away if the person really wants it to but I’m afraid you’re wrong. In my case, I will say that I don’t like to talk about when I’m depressed or low. I just devour books, my the case load. I can’t get enough. Escape is my ultimate helper. And books have always helped me heal. I don’t know if I’ve ever told anyone that. Books help me heal when my heart, head, or both are hurting.

Do I think this is a good book? Absolutely. There’s no doubt in my mind that is a book that people should read. It shows a part of mental health that most people don’t see. Especially the scenes with electric shock therapy that was used a lot back then.

Recommend? Yes. But I would say that this book could be a trigger for anyone who has thought about, attempted, or been affected by suicide. It’s a great book to discuss mental health though and would be a good high school/college recommended read.

I will say that my rating will be one of those that’s lower just because of how I explained it took me a while to read because of how depressing the book is.

3 out of 5 stars.

Currently Reading

My currently reading list:

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – So, I got about 20% through this and then stopped reading. And then it got automatically returned (reading on my Kindle). So I’m back on the wait list so I can make myself finish it.
  2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – I recently got it back from the library and am about half way through it and plan on finishing it this week. Come hell or high water.
  3. Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi – I’m listening to this via my Kindle and I may have to relisten to it again because it’s so interesting and well written but at the same time, I’m like what was that? It’s really good. So freaking, good and imaginative and I’m really liking it a lot!

So those are my top 3 books right now. I’m currently on hold for 10 books lol And I’m excited about all of them. So hopefully over the next few weeks, I’ll be updating my blog more. And hopefully, my kiddos will be cooperative so I can 1. read, and 2. review the books I read.

Have a great week! My birthday is this week so I’m hoping I do!

XOXO

M.

Moo by Sharon Creech

About
Fans of Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog and Hate That Cat will love her newest tween novel, Moo. This uplifting tale reminds us that if we’re open to new experiences, life is full of surprises. Following one family’s momentous move from the city to rural Maine, an unexpected bond develops between twelve-year-old Reena and one very ornery cow.

When Reena, her little brother, Luke, and their parents first move to Maine, Reena doesn’t know what to expect. She’s ready for beaches, blueberries, and all the lobster she can eat. Instead, her parents “volunteer” Reena and Luke to work for an eccentric neighbor named Mrs. Falala, who has a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna—and that stubborn cow, Zora.

This heartwarming story, told in a blend of poetry and prose, reveals the bonds that emerge when we let others into our lives.

My Thoughts
I had a bit of a hard time with this book. Admittedly, I don’t normally enjoy books that are written in prose/poetry style. But, I enjoyed the simplicity of this book. The pureness of this book is what makes it so good. It’s about a cow. About how  young brother and sister learn to love a cow. And how an old lady softens just a bit because of these two kids. Once you get into the flow of the book it’s really good.

It’s really such a simple idea. Write a book about a cow. It’s definitely meant for young readers, 4th-6th grade. It reminded me of the old lady who swallowed the fly. Just because of all the animals this woman has roaming around her house. The whole book is one crazy adventure and then, the emotions happen at the end when the lady passes but her animals which consist of a wide range of beasts, which the cow is included, are taken care of and that’s all she wanted.

There’s not much wrong with this book. I mean..there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s for a younger audience and would make a great classroom read.

If I had a criticism I would say, the action takes a while to happen. But I think it’s just because it’s written in prose.

4 out of 4 stars.

 

XOXO

M.

My TBR Pile

I thought I’d update you on my TBR (to-be-read) pile of books that I have. Some of these are books that I’ve been putting off for years (yes, years) and others I’ve just never really thought of reading until someone recommended that book to me. I’ll explain more when as I list the books on my list.

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
    This is a relatively new book to me. I know it’s been around for a while but it was recently recommended to me by an acquaintance. She raved about it so I thought I’d give a shot. I just was informed via email that it’s waiting for me at the library. So it should be a review soon!
  2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
    admittedly, I was supposed to read this in high school and didn’t. My friend read it and gave me some notes on it so I did pass the test on it. I just couldn’t get into it. I did get it from the library recently, and got half way through it before I had to return it. I’m back on hold for it so once I get it back, I’ll be finishing it and reviewing it.
  3. Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
    I admit that this one is mostly out of curiosity. I’ve so much shit about Lena that I just want to read and judge it for myself. I enjoy a good autobiography (which I’ve learned recently after reading about 4-5 of them lately) so I’m hoping that maybe it’s not as bad as all the critics make it out to be.
  4. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
    The 3rd book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series by Maas. I cannot wait to get my hands on it. It is SUCH a great story and the characters are wonderful. If you want to fall in love with a male ficitional character, read this series. I’m obsessed!
  5. Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell
    I love Rainbow Rowell and all that she writes. So it’s no surprise she’s on my list.
  6. The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
    A recently new book that came across my screen about “a read you’d be interested in”. I read an excerpt and thought it was so good!
  7. The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
    It’s been on my list for a while. I will eventually get to it. It sounds very good.

So that’s it so far. I’m sure there’s more but I can’t find my list lol

I’ll keep ya updated on when I do reviews!

XOXO

M.

Melissa Explains It All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life by Melissa Joan Hart

}About
Melissa Joan Hart explained it all-from dating to bullies-in her groundbreaking role as Clarissa Darling on Clarissa Explains It All. She cast a spell on millions more viewers as Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Now, in Melissa Explains It All, Melissa tells the frank and funny behind-the-scenes stories from her extraordinary past and her refreshingly normal present.

Melissa has been entertaining audiences most of her life; when there were no girls named Melissa on her favorite show, the forceful four year old decided she’d get on television her way. From that moment on, Melissa has shown a singular determination and focus-whether it’s for booking three national commercials so her dad would build her a tree house or for nailing the audition for Clarissa.

From her first commercial to her current starring role in ABC Family’s hit Melissa and Joey, Hart never let fame go to her head. She always had one foot in Hollywood and one foot in reality-and still does. Melissa makes us laugh along with her as she talks about:

–guest appearances in shows like Saturday Night Live and The Equalizer
–auditioning for Punky Brewster and Clarissa
–her early Broadway days
–wacky parties she’s thrown and attended
— the actors who influenced her and whom she befriended, worked with and competed against
–her experiences both on and off-set-with Sabrina‘s Salem the Cat and Elvis the Alligator on Clarissa
–how she met the love of her life at the Kentucky Derby

Melissa Joan Hart explains all that she’s learned along the way-what’s kept her grounded, normal and working when others have not been so fortunate-and that she’s the approachable, hilarious girl-next-door her fans have always thought she’d be.

My Thoughts

Brace yourselves. It’s not gonna be pretty.

For someone who is a HUGE fan of MJH I was so disappointed and heartbroken after reading this book. If Melissa was a politician this would be her mud-slinging debut.

It’s absurd the amount of name dropping MJH does. It’s not even needed. Tell your story without being a total bitch to people. You don’t have to name drop every page. You don’t have to say someone’s unattractive just to make yourself look good…because it doesn’t.

I swear the only thing I took from this is that MJH was proud of herself and full of herself. She bashes people who really have no affect on her story. She also has a weird love/hate relationship with her mom. She loves her mom but complains non-stop about how she raised and managed her career. It gets exhausting having her complement and then berate her mother. Do you like her? Do you hate her? Do you meh her? Just tell me without being cryptic. I couldn’t tell you if she likes her mom or not..or if she just tolerates her.

I did enjoy hearing about Sabrina and how she got her acting parts like Clarissa. I like that she tried and stayed grounded but from the book, it just doesn’t come across that way. She comes across as a stuck-up celebrity who is just trying to write a book. It reads like someone who wrote a book to write a book about all the people she’s met along the way and to N A M E  D
R
O
P.

I think the one part I can relate to is the motherhood section. Potty training is the worst and teaching someone to poop in the potty is the hardest thing ever, that no one tells you about when you’re like, “Hey, I’m having a kid.” Tell people that part. (I’m doing you a favor now). Motherhood is a bitch but it is the best at the same time and that’s what you get across from Melissa. The crappy parts are mixed in with the good. It’s just how life goes.

I’m not sure why the publisher didn’t tell Melissa how conceited she was coming across. Because for someone who claims she’s down-to-earth and tries to say she never let celebrity get to her, she’s one of the most conceited people on Earth. I think what I’m sad about is that she didn’t even really tell you anything about the roles she’s best known for. She told us crap about Salem the cat, there’s 7 of them -5 real, 2 fake. Who cares? I want to know more about that time. I want to know more about your Clarissa times. Not about how genius your mom is about selling the name and getting it put on air. According to MJH, she has a great work ethic, great, swell. I respect a great work ethic. But come on, for the love of your fans, I don’t care that you did drugs- you’re a celebrity- it’s kind of expected from child actors. I want to know about Clarissa and Sabrina. Especially Sabrina. I loved that show! I still watch reruns when I can. ( I don’t care if you make fun of me for this, Sabrina is the shit).

I could go on, but my kids are being cranky…so nap time for all! Just believe me when I say, I wasted a good week of my life on this book. Yes, a week. Forever in the time of reading. I just couldn’t stop because I was HOPEFUL for it to get better.

Spoiler: It didn’t.

2 out 5 stars.

 

Seriously…I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres

About (From Goodreads)

“Sometimes the greatest things are the most embarrassing.” Ellen Degeneres’ winning, upbeat candor has made her show one of the most popular, resilient and honored daytime shows on the air. (To date, it has won no fewer than 31 Emmys.) Seriously… I’m Kidding, Degeneres’ first book in eight years, brings us up to date about the life of a kindhearted woman who bowed out of American Idol because she didn’t want to be mean. Lively; hilarious; often sweetly poignant.

My Thoughts

First off, what’s not to love about Ellen DeGeneres? I mean she’s such a wonderful, giving, loving person and kind too. Not to mention hilarious.

I actually listened to this book because Ellen reads it herself and I feel like when the actual person reads their own book, it just makes sense to hear them read their story. I made the right call. She makes it hilarious and her inflection and pauses make the book much better than if you were trying to read her humor yourself.

She answers questions about her life, she shares some wisdom and she makes you laugh. All things you want from someone’s story. I do think listening to this book is the way to go because Ellen makes the book come to life and you get her humor better as she’s saying. It’s like a very long monologue before her show. But more personal. But I did have to relisten to a few parts because some of it was just there for the comedic feel of the book and you get lost in the comedy that you don’t hear the details of her life. So you can get bogged down in her humor that the good, feel- good, personal parts may go unnoticed.

I do recommend this book though. To everyone. Because it’s such a feel-good, humorous read.

4 out of 5 stars.

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham

About (From Goodreads)

In her first work of nonfiction, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood recounts her experiences on Gilmore Girls – the first and second times – and shares stories about life, love, and working in Hollywood. This collection of essays is written in the intimate, hilarious, and down-to-earth voice that made her novel, Someday, Someday, Maybe, a New York Times best seller.
“This book contains some stories from my life: the awkward growing up years, the confusing dating years, the fulfilling working years, and what it was like to be asked to play one of my favorite characters again. You probably think I’m talking about my incredible achievement as Dolly in Hello, Dolly! as a Langley High School junior, a performance my dad called ‘you’re so much taller than the other kids.’ But no! I’m talking about Lorelai Gilmore, who, back in 2008, I wasn’t sure I’d ever see again. Also included: tales of living on a houseboat, meeting guys at awards shows, and that time I was asked to be a butt model. A hint: all three made me seasick.” Lauren Graham

My Thoughts

I chose to read this book because, 1) I love the Gilmore Girls, 2) I love Lauren Graham.

I don’t normally read nonfiction, most especially biographies and autobiographies. But I chose to start reading some just to learn more about the celebrities I love and adore.

Enter Lauren Graham’s book…

It was good. It was a good book. Mediocre. I mean, she wrote the book like she talks in Gilmore Girls- fast, all over the place, and jumping from one thing to the next without a breathe.

Was it informative? Yes. Funny? Absolutely. But I couldn’t keep up with her train of thoughts…which you know..as a reader you have the control of how fast or slow you go. But reading this book S L O W was not an option because of the flow of the way it’s written.

I would recommend this book to someone who thinks fast. Writes fast. Reads F A S T. And also a Gilmore Girls fan.

3 out of 5 stars.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

About (from Goodreads)

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.

My Thoughts

I’m a huge fan of YA. A good majority of what I read is young adult. For some reason, I’m drawn to love stories. Maybe because I never dated in high school (probably, no shrink needed for that one). I believe in true love. I believe in love at first sight. I should, I knew I’d marry my husband when I met him. No lie. So, when I came across this book, I knew I needed to read it.

First off, love the name Hadley. It’s unique and pretty. I find it interesting that most books you read portray the child whose mother or father is getting remarried as not knowing the person very well therefore it’s okay for them not to like said person. Maybe that’s how remarriage works. I don’t know really. I’m blessed that my parents are still together so I never had to find this out. (If anyone wants to tell me otherwise, please leave a comment and let me know- a nice comment, not a rude one. I ain’t got time for rude asses. I have kids for that.)

Back to the book (my bad)…

Hadley is going to London to attend the wedding of her father to his new bride. And Hadley is not wanting to go. I think, if memory serves, she wants to miss her flight, or take a later one so she ends up missing it altogether. Sounds like a teenager. But then she sees the boy, meets the boy. Oliver. She’s infatuated from the start. They’re on the same flight. They talk, fall asleep, talk some more. She finds out he’s going home for his dad. But he doesn’t specify for what. She tells him all about her life, her dad, and why she dislikes the soon to be stepmom.

They arrive at the airport and in the midst of the chaos that is airports, they lose each other. After some other stories, and emotions, they see each other again.

It’s definitely about more than just love and teens. It’s about family and being there. And so much more. For a story that takes place in a span of 24 hours, it’s really good and fast paced and tells more in 24 hours than some books do that last a span of a few weeks (you know what I’m talking about).

5 out of 5 stars! Give it a read!