Uncategorized, What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading: The Enlightenment of Bees

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden is the perfect mix of self discovery, a love story, and an honest reflection about voluntourism. This story is well thought out and each theme plays out very well and compliments each other. 

This story starts out with a proposal gone wrong and follows Mia on her journey to find herself. After a six year relationship, she realizes she had been in a relationship that forced her to compromise rather than fostering her growth. But it’s not just her love story, Nana Alice and her best friend Rosie also find themselves looking for love. 

As for the voluntourism aspect, Linden does not shy away from addressing the savior complex. If you’re not familiar with it it can be easily explained by @barbiesavior on Instagram. This book brings up two really good points about changing the world:

  •   It’s a two way street. You can’t go into a different culture and assume you’re the only person of value, you need to build a community.
  • finding where your passions meet the worlds needs

It’s a hard discussion to have, but this book definitely paves the way for the discussions to happen. As someone who has always wanted to do a volunteer trip abroad this has made me realize that without the community aspect no real change can be made. 

Another important lesson from this book was that the refugee crisis does not stop at the border. The true test comes as people are trying to acclimate into their new lives. 

There was one thing that was totally lost on me, the bee analogy. Bees are scattered throughout the text and I’ll be(e) honest I was confused. Until, I couldn’t take it anymore, I felt like they must mean something for them to show up that often. So I turned to Google and saw that bees represent community, brightness, and personal power. Well played Linden, well played.

If you’re looking for a thought provoking read that has a seamless storyline, this is your next pick.

Happy reading!

xox, 

Marissa

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What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading: Pursuits Unknown

Always carry a book in your bag! It gets you through long rides on the T and the long wait for your food.

 Today I am sharing my first book review from BookSparks! I shared in June that I was accepted as part of the #booksharks team and now I get to share my thoughts on the first ARC I have received!

I was instantly intrigued when I read the description. While science fiction isn’t my go-to I often think I can communicate with my dog telepathically so it seemed super interesting. The description also mentions a disease called “Disorientation” which is much like Alzheimer’s and I thought a human/dog search team that goes after missing people seems like it would be right up my alley. Add in the fact that one of the people who goes missing is a famous scientist and I was hooked.

While I enjoyed the storyline, the narrating style wasn’t for me. I felt like I was coming in in the middle of a series, it’s a science fiction/alternate reality kind of story and at the beginning I had trouble figuring out what kind of world we were living in. It was also difficult to keep the characters straight, I had a similar feeling to the third Crazy Rich Asians book where there is a lot happening and I need to take the time to remember who everyone is.

However, this was a really quick read. I feel like I flew through it! The story was compelling and I was intrigued the whole way through to figure out what the answer was. There were a lot of pieces to the puzzle to be fit together but overall it was a good read.

Reading the author’s note at the back I discovered she wrote this as part of NaNoWriMo! National Novel Writing Month was something I had taken part in when I was in high school and I loved that that’s where this idea was born.

Overall, I would say that if you love dogs, science-fiction, a good mystery, or any combination of the three this book is worth picking up. For me it was more of a stylistic thing that didn’t match up for me so it’s worth a try! You’ll never know if you don’t pick it up!

Happy reading! Let me know what’s in your TBR in the comments!

xox,

Marissa

What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I just finished The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid and I knew I immediately had to start writing my review. There was so much in this book that I knew if I let myself fall asleep tonight, I would miss something.

While this book doesn’t quite earn five stars from me it comes pretty close. The main reason this book doesn’t get five stars- I’m selfish. I didn’t like the ending. Well, I liked the true ending and I saw that coming but what had happened a few pages before was too much for me. I don’t even know why it hit me so hard, I understand wanting to protect your own family but at the expense of another family? It got under my skin.

But let’s get to the everything else that is jam packed into 380 pages. There a lot to unpack in this book so let’s start with the dedication. Before the book even started Reid dedicated the book to her daughter and wrote “Smash the patriarchy, sweetheart”. With that I knew this was going to be a good read.

And smash the patriarchy she did. While this isn’t a true biography there is word going around the internet that it is loosely based on multiple early movie starlets. Hugo started life in New York City and dreamed of being a star. She had no easy way to get out of the city so she did the only thing she could think of- she used men. A common thread in this book is that Hugo gives men what they want as long as she can get what she wants.

It is a call to action of sorts. Now I’m not saying we should all move to Hollywood and make movies topless, it seems like they have enough of that, but rather that we should all be unafraid to ask for what we want. If we all had the confidence of Hugo, girls really would run the world.

Another huge part of this book that I was completely unaware of when I picked it up was the LGBTQ+ content. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo shows the hard reality of the 1930s if your dream wasn’t to get married, have two and a half kids, a dog named Spot, and a white picket fence.

Overall this book touched a lot of gray areas. People that aren’t fully good but cannot be described as evil. Characters that felt stuck between two worlds, not white enough for one but also too far away from the culture they want to call their own. There’s even a little medical gray area thrown in there, with the moral debate- do I stop it or was I trusted to let it go.

While the first few chapters went by slow, and by husband five I thought how could we possibly get through two more, I would definitely recommend this book. It is the perfect summer read, once I reached the 2/3 mark in the book I knew I had to power through the rest of the book because I had to understand.

Let me know what you think of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo in the comments below!

Happy reading!

xox,

Marissa

Uncategorized, What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading: The Woman in Cabin 10

This book was a Christmas present and I have to say it is my favorite book I’ve read this year. While it started out slow, I’m not exactly sure why I thought it was slow because there was a home invasion but I wasn’t really feeling it. But then I got to Lo’s time on the boat and wow I could not put it down!

Maybe it’s my unhealthy obsession with the Titanic and tragedies at sea (a story for another time) but I was hook line and sinker for this book. I would describe this book as a psycho-thriller, I was on edge the whole time and just as I thought I figured it out, there was a plot twist to hide the truth yet again.

I will say I had some serious Shutter Island vibes going on here. But I was completely wrong, there’s so much going on here and that’s the least of Lo’s worries.

If you’re looking for something to keep you on the edge of your seat that isn’t scary (I’m not good with horror movies) this is it!

Let me know what you’re reading in the comments!

xox,

Marissa

Lifestyle, Uncategorized, wellness

My January Challenges

On my way to go get a new read!

This January I’m participating in two fun challenges! The first is the Winter Warrior Challenge. This means that every day in the month of January I’m walking/jogging/running/hopping at least 3 miles! I’ve done this for the past three years but I’ve only done 1 mile a day. This year I have my eyes on the prize with three, although there are some people out there doing five!

The other challenge I set for myself is on Goodreads, I’ll be reading 30 books this year! I set the goal of 13 books last year and I ended up reading 15! Between incorporating reading into my everyday routine and not being in school this summer I can’t wait to achieve this goal!

So how’s it going? Four days into the New Year and I’m still in the newlywed phase. Starting the walking challenge was a little difficult and I was lacking all motivation but now that I’ve started I want to see it through. As for my reading challenge: I’ve already finished one. I’ve even found a way to tie these two things together: by walking the 2 miles to the library to pick up new books.

I know there’s a lot of stigma about creating resolutions but I personally feel like if you’re really making a resolution to better yourself and it’s something you’re passionate about, keep going! Don’t let the jokes about how full the gym is this week deter you, you deserve that elliptical as much as anyone else.

What goals and challenges have you set up for yourself this year? Let me know in the comments!

xox,

Marissa

Uncategorized, What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I had The Guernsey and Literary Potato Peel Pie Society in my To Be Read pile for quite some time now and I wish I had picked it up sooner!

Historical fiction is my favorite genre and one of my favorite time periods to read about is is WWII. You can see there were pretty high expectations to live up to and this book knocked it out of the park! I fell in love with each of the characters and I can say that now Guernsey is on my travel bucket list.

Just to give you a little background information: Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands. It is not part of the U.K., although they are a British Crown dependency. Guernsey was occupied by the German army from 1940 to 1945. The Germans landed there and thought they would sweep through the U.K. only to realize it would not be that simple. The army continued to inhabit Guernsey until the end of the war.

This novel by Shaffer and Barrows follows the life of a writer, Juliet, who published a series of short stories about life during WWII. She is asked to continue writing her Izzy Bickerstaff books but Juliet wants to venture out and create something new. A resident of Guernsey stumbles upon Juliet’s name in a book and suddenly she is pulled into the life of a literary society in the midst of the German occupation.

One of my favorite things about this book was that it takes the form of a series of letters. It’s a narrative you don’t see often and it was a nice change from the usual.

Another thing that I loved about this book was all of the characters. Falling in love with Juliet and all of the residents of Guernsey was so easy and I could have kept reading about them forever.

It does have a movie adaptation on Netflix but I haven’t dared to watch it, the book was that good! If you’ve watched the movie, let me know if you think I should give it a try!

Let me know what you think of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and be sure to leave any book recommendations in the comments!

xox,

Marissa

Uncategorized, What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading: The Dinner List

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

I discovered The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle from @between2covers_ on Instagram. I’ve discovered so many bookstagrams recently and I’ve made a bad habit out of adding these snaps to my saved list… it’s only bad because my reading list had at least quadrupled. 

I’ll admit what drew me to this book was Audrey Hepburn on the cover but I was reeled in after learning more about it. The Dinner List is about Sabrina who gets to live out the age old icebreaker question of having 5 people, living or dead, with her for dinner. 

The main character, Sabrina, chose four people she knew and Audrey Hepburn to join her for dinner in an old school assignment. Little did she know, that school assignment would come to life on her birthday years later. The book alternates between the present, the dinner party, and the past, her life surrounding her boyfriend Tobias. I really enjoyed the premise of the book and I loved that the chapters alternated between “reality” and Sabrina’s past because you got to understand the way her mind worked better. But, about halfway through the book I was over it. I was left feeling like Sabrina’s friend Jessica and I was ready to kick Tobias out of the party myself. To me it felt like Sabrina was so infatuated with the idea of him rather than in love with him. 

I have to say, although I was over it halfway through, I would have to recommend this to anyone looking for something to read because isn’t that what a book is meant to do? To make you feel something? Serle did such a great job creating unique and frustratingly-wonderful characters that I was moved and truly felt like I was the seventh person at this birthday dinner. 

I was so immersed in this book, if I hadn’t read it in the middle of my semester I would have finished it in a day. It may be practically winter but this would make the perfect beach read!

Happy reading!

xox, 

Marissa

Uncategorized, What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading: The World’s Strongest Librarian

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I almost didn’t pick up The World’s Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne. I went in to the library to get Monday Mornings for my class but this caught my eye when I was walking to the desk to check out. They had a whole display on the importance of having a library card and naturally I was drawn to it. My mom used to think I would be a librarian when I grew up, I am one step closer to that because I am working on creating a Little Free Library on campus but that’s a story for another time.

So I saw the cover and was intrigued and this book certainly did not disappoint. It combined so many things I was interested in into one book and I loved everything about it.

Josh artfully strings together his struggle with his faith, Tourette’s, and how exercise helped him to regain control of his life. Before reading this book I never really had learned anything about Tourette’s. I knew that it often caused people to have tics, but that was pretty much the extent of it. I had never thought about the social and psychological implications Tourette’s had on a person’s life.

My personal favorite part of this book was the end. While having to write a 3-5 minute talk on what implicit bias was for a school presentation, Hanagarne was describing the variety of people who came into the library and he summed up implicit bias without even saying the term,

” ‘That Arab _____ over there is trying to steal someone’s wallet, but I grabbed it from him!’ The “Arab” was a refugee from Ethiopia who was there to attend a job-search class with the International Rescue Committee. He was done using the computer and had picked up his own wallet, which he had set on the desk while he worked.”

There are a ton of lessons to be learned from reading and reading this book can teach you a lot. Hanagarne stressed throughout the book the importance of asking questions and this book will answer questions you didn’t even realize you had.

Happy reading!

xox,

Marissa

Uncategorized, What I'm Reading

What I’m Reading: Monday Mornings

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I was assigned to read Monday Mornings by Sanjay Gupta for my PT Professionalism class and I absolutely loved it. It’s follows seven doctors through their Monday morning meetings, called Morbidity & Mortality, or more affectionately known as M&Ms. The purpose of M&Ms is that from every mistake a lesson can be learned, and what better way to teach that lesson than by having the guilty party on trial in front of their peers.

I felt like this was a book version of Grey’s Anatomy. While there’s less romances in the book you still feel like you’re in the middle of all of the drama. This book has everything from dating in the workplace to that intern you just really want to see success (still crying over O’Malley).

While I found the whole book interesting, I flew through the last 30ish pages. Gutpa throws plot twist over plot twist in the final scenes and the book simply wouldn’t have been the same without them. That’s what really reminded me of Grey’s, it’s as if Shonda had read the original book and told him, “oh no you definitely need to add a major life event to every character the reader could have gotten attached to.”

As I mentioned earlier, this was a book I read for class so I wanted to share a valuable lesson I had learned from it. While an intern was frantically trying to write down the lesson a doctor said, “Don’t worry about writing this stuff down. Just immerse yourself in the situation and you will never forget.” I know I often fall into the habit of writing every word my teachers are saying but there is some truth to this. Experience often teaches you much more than you could ever learn from a book.

Happy reading!

xox,

Marissa

Uncategorized, What I'm Reading

Four Friday Faves: Vol. VI

BookReviweWeek

Happy Banned Books Week! This week I wanted to give you a rundown of my favorite “most challenged” books! Each of these books appears on the list of Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books. If you wanted to learn a little bit more about each book open up the PDF  version of this post and I have linked the GoodReads Page to each cover art option.

I feel like I have been turning into a bookstagram lately but I promise there is a style post coming your way this weekend! I am still working on a post of my Disney trip which will also be up by Columbus Day weekend!

Here are my honorable mentions for other banned books I have read:

  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
  • Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
  • To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  • Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
  • Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
  • The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
  •  Black Boy, by Richard Wright

Let me know what your favorite banned book is!

xox,

Marissa