Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

My feelings are ambivalent. At times I disliked this book. At others, I thought it was an okay read. Sigh.

Tiffany, the protagonist, is a writer for a women’s magazine in New York, months away from getting married to her dream guy, Luke Harrison. Through alternating flashback chapters, the reader discovers that Tiffany experienced tremendous traumatic events in high school. Now those events are being revisited and Tiffany has to face what happened so many years ago. Those events have molded her into the woman she has become. And that woman is my problem with this novel.

Early on, it’s hinted that something tragic happened to Tiffany. But because it was teased out for so long, I grew to loathe Tiffany. Grown up Tiffany. 14 year old Tiffany was actually a bit endearing. The things that she went through. Jesus. Awful doesn’t even begin to cover what happened to that girl. It doesn’t justify her becoming such a dreadful person. Well seemingly dreadful. I was sympathetic towards her though. And the ending did make me hopeful. Because the real her emerges. 

I listened to the audio book version of this novel. The reading was fantastic! It was exactly the way I would imagine Tiffany to speak. Which probably didn’t help me like her any better, now that I think about it. 

I didn’t love this book. At times I wasn’t even sure I liked it. It wasn’t the writing. (It was great). Again, it was Tiffany. I will say that one of the traumas Tiffany experiences caught me off guard. Sort of. I thought it was heading in that direction and I seriously hoped it wasn’t. Young Tiffany and the ending may have redeemed my feelings towards this book. It was an okay read, I guess. 

2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge.

Reading Challenge update: 22/40(*50)

Prompt: A book with an ugly cover

I am over the black rose covers. *shrugs*

Advertisements

Mystery Blogger Award

🎉 THANK YOU to Frankie @ FreedByFiction for the nomination! I am incredibly humbled. This award was created by Okoto Enigma.

Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.

– Okoto Enigma

THE RULES

  • Put the award/logo image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself and answer the questions provided by your nominator
  • Nominate 10-20 people for the award
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice, with 1 weird or funny question (specify)
  • Share a link to your best post(s)


LETS TALK ABOUT ME

1) I like to sniff things. No, not drugs or anything like that. I pick things up and smell them. (So yes, I am familiar with the smell of various books). 


If you hand me a piece of paper, I will sniff it. If I pick up a rock? Sniff. It’s weird, I know. I like to think I do it because my sense of smell is strong haha.

2) I had a dream journal phase. Dreams have always fascinated me. Nobody really knows the reason we dream. And for the longest time, I could never remember my own. Sometimes I would wake up scared, or crying, and I had no memory of why. I read somewhere that writing down what you did remember of your dream, no matter how small, would eventually help you recall more details. So for 2-3 years I kept tabs on them. I went from remembering absolutely nothing to instances where I could recollect multiple dreams from one night. Then I quit. 😕 My dreams were kind of violent and scary. Oftentimes, depressing. I still have that journal. But ignorance is bliss, I guess.

3) I have a small penny collection. I collect wheat pennies which are the really old pennies that look like this: 

Some are highly valued (mine aren’t haha). A lot of them were produced so they’re pretty easy to find if you really look for them.

FRANKIE’S QUESTIONS FOR ME:

1. If you could only read either the beginning of a book for the rest of your life, or the end of a book for the rest of your life, which would you pick and why?

I think I would go with reading the beginning of the book. I can always make up my own ending. Right? Although knowing me, this would annoy me like no other. I need closure haha.

2. Recommend me books with titles that start with the first letter of each letter in your name. (For ex: five letters in your name equals five book recs)
Okay this one was incredibly tough. I have a Y and a Z in my name! I was going to make it easy on myself and use my actual name, Susan. But I like a challenge. So here we go. (The links go to their Goodreads page).

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand 

Zeno’s Conscience by Italo Svevo [Technically haven’t read this, but it is on my TBR]

Is Everyone Hanging Out With Me? by Mindy Kaling

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Young Elites by Marie Lu

3. Do you think there are any cons, or negative effects, of being an avid reader? Please explain your answer either way.
Negative effects? Nope! Impossible! Um how about a quote?

Books can do many things, but not everything. We have to live the important things, not read them. 

     – Nina George, The Little Paris Bookshop

I have noticed that by prioritizing my reading I have less of a social life. Not that I was a social butterfly before. But I just have less time to go out and about in the world. 

4. How often do you post on your blog? And do you have a posting schedule/plan?
I post 2-3 times a week. I alternate between a Tuesday/Friday schedule and a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule. 

Monday is a TBR book. 

Tuesday/Wednesday a reading challenge book

Friday a Nancy Drew book

5. (Weird/Funny Question) What’s the strangest place you’ve ever taken a book with you? 

The bathroom probably. Although I think it’s fairly common amongst bookworms… ?

MY NOMINEES

AUTHORS LINE UP

CHARLOTTE ANNELISE

LOVEABLE LITERATURE

RETROSPECTIVE LILY

SOPHIA ISMAA WRITES

THE ORANGUTAN LIBRARIAN

THE TRAVELING INKWELL

THEBOOKCYCLES

WITHIN THE STORIES

WRITEFULLY

MY FIVE QUESTIONS FOR YOU!
1) Is there one movie (or TV) adaptation that you liked better than the book it was based on?

2) When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did it change? What is your dream job now?

3) What are you most proud of? It can be anything, no matter how big or small. (Ex. Maybe you’re proud of winning a spelling bee in 2nd grade). 

4) What book world you would love to live in (besides the wizarding world of Harry Potter lol) ?

5) (Weird/Funny Question) What would you want your rapper name to be?


No pressure on anyone to participate!

And once again, thank you to Frankie for the nomination! Everyone go check out her lovely blog! 



Happy blogging everyone! 🙂

Planting Gardens in Graves (volume one) by R.H. Sin

​​A couple of days ago my friend and I went on a Target run. We were there to buy crayons. But we wandered over to the book section and well one thing led to another haha. She is big on poetry, so she bought this book and Milk and Honey.

While the little ones were at soccer practice, we sat in the car and read. I read Milk and Honey and she read this one. Occasionally we would read aloud a poem that struck us. By the time practice was over, we had each gotten through one of the books so we switched. I took Planting Gardens in Graves, while she took the other book.

Yesterday was a beautiful day. The sun was out and the wild winds from the day before had died down. Leaving only a slight breeze. I sat outside in my back patio and read this lovely collection of poems. And I was floored.

Here are two of my favorites:

PREACH!!

This!!

​​

As much as I enjoyed reading Milk and Honey, this one had a greater impact on me. Some of these poems really moved me. Now my friend and I are waiting for the second volume. And are on the hunt for his other collection of poems!

A Double Dose of Nancy Drew #1

Two Nancy Drew stories today. I realized that if I want to complete this series in a year, I would have to at some point double up on how many of these books I read per week. There are 56 books in this series and 52 weeks in a year. I read one book per week. You see the math? About once a month, I will have a double dose of Nancy. So… here we go.

Nancy Drew (#20): The Clue in the Jewel Box by Carolyn Keene

In this mystery, Nancy has a missing prince to find and a pick pocket to apprehend. 

Nancy meets Mrs. Alexandra, when the older woman has a fainting spell while at the mall. Nancy quickly takes the woman home. It is later, that Nancy discovers Mrs. Alexandra is a queen in her native country. But when a revolution occurred, she fled. Everyone in her family was killed, except her grandson, Michael, who was whisked away to America by his faithful nurse, Nada. Since then, the elderly Queen has been desperately searching for her missing grandson. Nancy happens to stumble across a clue to his whereabouts and sets out to find him. 

Meanwhile, Nancy is also hot on the trail of a pickpocket terrorizing River Heights. It takes her a while to catch on to how he manages to escape capture. It seemed pretty obvious from the beginning. She does eventually figure it out, though. Managing to wrap up one of her mysteries.

Although, for once, Nancy Drew was wrong about one of the cases resolutions. 😱 Early on in the story, Nancy believes she has found the prince. A young man residing in River Heights that goes by the name of Francis Baum. Then he turns out to be an imposter! Which thank goodness he wasn’t the prince because boy, the guy was awful. Obviously she figures out who the real prince is. But not before the fake prince steals a lot of valuable items from the queen (which are later recovered). 

Helen Corning Archer and her husband Jim reappear! She introduces Nancy to a fashion designer name Katherine, who is from the same country as the queen. (I don’t know what country that is. The book never says). Helen and Katherine ask Nancy to model a dress designed by Katherine in a fashion contest. Nancy is hesitant, but finally agrees. 

There is a subplot involving instant love. And I mean instant. Katherine meets Mr. Ellington one day. They meet again at the fashion show where he seems smitten with her. Then two, three days later they’re engaged. Yup. They’ve known each other for at least a week. I guess, when you know, you know? 

Reasons I Liked This Book

1)
Because of gems like this:

Nancy and Ned go to a carnival and get on many rides. Then, 

… Ned bought tickets for the roller coaster. As the car dashed madly down each incline, Nancy held her breath and clung to Ned. He enjoyed this so much that he suggested a second ride.

“No, let’s try something else,” Nancy pleaded. “How about the ferris wheel?”

“Too tame.”

“After that wild ride I crave something mild.”

“Then up we go,” Ned gave in reluctantly.

The poor boy got shut down 😂. You know what’s funny? Situations like this still happen today. Hello, scary movies. How many times have I seen people in the theater clinging to their date in fear? 

This next one is possibly my favorite quote from the book: 

He was glad of an excuse to walk in the moonlight with Nancy. As they followed the road that wound in and out along the river, Ned felt only the romance of the evening.

But Nancy’s thoughts kept reverting to the mystery.

Haha, poor Ned. He’s feeling all kinds of romantic. And Nancy has her mysteries on the brain. 😉 Classic. 

2) Nancy’s friends show some spine.

Usually Nancy and her friends are squeaky clean and nice. This time around, they showed a little more realness. When Francis Baum crashes the groups picnic and acts like an entitled ass, the group of friends flee when he’s not looking, leaving him stranded at the park. Nancy objects to the whole thing, of course. But when everyone runs, she does too. Ha! 

3) Dark Nancy

Nancy asks Ned to help her kidnap Francis. Yes, kidnap. At this point, she strongly suspects he’s a fake and she wants him to confess. She also wants information to the identity of the missing prince, which she believes he has. When he does confess to his crimes, Nancy promptly turns him over to the police. 

Final Thoughts

Some of the subplots were a bit random and unnecessary. But the two main mysteries were actually written remarkably well. They held my attention even after I figured out what was happening. Nancy and her friends weren’t the usual goody-goody’s they always are. Which I loved. It made the character’s a little more believable. And the book had me cackling like a maniac. So there’s that. 

Now, on to the next one!

Nancy Drew (#21): The Secret in the Old Attic by Carolyn Keene

Nancy is asked by her father to help him solve two separate mysteries. The first involves missing music that Mr. Philip March desperately wants found so he can use the money from their sell to raise his orphaned granddaughter, Susan. The music was originally composed by his son, who was a soldier and died in action. Nancy believes the clue to finding the missing music lies in the family attic. The second mystery involves a possible case of corporate espionage. Mr. Drew’s client, Mr. Booker, believes his former employer, Mr. Trott, was asked by a rival company to spy on his factory and obtain a secret formula that is used to manufacture clothes. 

Nancy works this case alone for the most part. Bess and George do appear and help Nancy out a bit. But they didn’t play as active a role as they usually do. Ned appears briefly, to rescue Nancy in the nick of time. 😒 The other boys, Burt and Dave don’t appear at all, though they are mentioned in one scene. It was a nice change of pace. One I liked. 

This story was easy to follow. The pacing was fairly quick. Although the denouement was a bit over the top. It all seemed too convenient. I enjoyed this mystery though. It didn’t have me laughing like the one before, but it had heart. 

You know, I can’t help but admire Nancy’s relentless determination. She pushes through her fears to solve her case. 

Two wonderful mysteries. I’m a lucky girl. 

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

Ah, yes. Good ol’ Philip Marlowe. A tough private eye solving crimes in 1930’s Los Angeles. 

Marlowe is hired by an elderly man, General Sternwood, to investigate the blackmailing of his youngest daughter, Carmen, by a shady bookseller named Arthur Geiger. The General’s daughters are wild, often finding themselves in some kind of scrape. The eldest, Vivian, has a gambling problem and a husband, Rusty Regan, that is suspected to have run away with another woman. Then there is Carmen. Out of control Carmen. When Philip Marlowe begins to look into the case, he quickly realizes that this is more than just a simple blackmailing scheme. There is more going on. As characters double cross one another, and bodies seem to turn up around him, Philip Marlowe manages to conclude his initial investigation. But there is one piece of the puzzle that still bothers him. Where is Rusty Regan?

What puzzles me about this book, is who killed the chauffeur? It wasn’t a suicide, no matter which way the cops want to spin it. But while every death is accounted for, the chauffeur’s has no clear resolution. I suspect it was Eddie. Except I can’t for the life of me fathom why he would kill Owen. Unless Joe Brody lied? Which is a big possibility. Apparently not even Raymond Chandler knew who killed him. Which is frustrating. I need answers!

This is one of those books with a female fatale, a seedy city and a man with a completely cynical worldview. There’s also a nice dose of misogyny and rampant homophobia. (Despite that, it’s still a good book). Anyway, I think the movie adaptation with Humphrey Bogart is the best one out there. It captures the mood and atmosphere that Chandler was trying to convey in his writing. And well, it’s Humphrey Bogart!

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I first read this book in high school. It was a required summer reading assignment. My task was easy.

My original notes

A typed, one page, single-spaced summary of the novel. These are all my original notes and rough draft of the assignment haha.​ Bear in mind, I was a sophomore in high school. That was at least 10 years ago. (Yikes!) 

My original rough draft (pt.1)

I wrote​ everything out by hand then. I could never sit at my computer and write. Something I still haven’t really outgrown. 

My original rough draft (pt.2)

Teenage me liked this book though. It was the grittiest book I had read up to that point. Since then, I’ve read it maybe a few times. (Look at the 10 year, wear and tear on my book). I should really move on and pick up another Philip Marlowe story.

2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge.

Prompt: A book by a local author

21/40 (*50)

Book Haul #1

So… I never thought I would make a post like this because frankly, I don’t spend a lot of time buying books. It’s pretty rare actually. I am always at the library borrowing books. Physical, electronic, and audio. Seriously, I love my local library. It has some amazing resources to feed my reading addiction. 

Anyway spending $20 on a book I can get for free at the library isn’t a Sophie’s Choice type of situation. Those $20 can go to my groceries. Besides, I have absolutely zero room. The books I already own are stored in boxes. 

Then I discovered my library’s used bookstore. Every once in a while, I would stroll in and buy one book. Maybe two. But lately, my friend has gotten into reading and wants to build up her little library at home. Hallelujah! Which means, I had to show her the ropes when it came to bargain shopping for books. So the past two weeks have been a book buying whirlwind! 

I bought all of these books for about $20-$25 dollars. That’s the price I would have paid for one book at my local indie bookstore!

From Bottom to Top:

The Complete Collected Poems by Maya Angelou

    I paid $3 for this at a Goodwill Bookstore. $3!! And I actually bought this a few days ago on what would have been Maya Angelou’s 90th birthday, April 4th. Kismet?

    Dracula by Bram Stoker

    The classic vampire tale. One of my favorite books. It’s nice to finally have a physical copy of it.

    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

    Vida Winter is a reclusive author who has made up life histories for herself. As she begins to ail, she decides to finally tell the true story of her life. I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews on this one. But the premise is interesting. And it’s supposed to be a love letter to reading so I’m willing to give it a try.

    Lucky by Alice Sebold

    In this memoir Alice Sebold recounts her brutal rape and all of its horrid aftermath. This book was recently added to my TBR when Online Offal posted about it not too long ago. In these times, it seems like a pertinent read. 

    Summer Sisters by Judy Blume 

    A novel about two best friends who meet in the summer of 1977. A look at a friendship through the years. My friend chose this book for me. It seems right up my alley and it was only $1 at a Salvation Army thrift store. So sure, why not give it a read.

    Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

    In 1843, Grace Marks is found guilty of murder. But she has no recollection of the events. A mental health expert is tasked with helping her unlock those hidden memories.
    The Netflix show convinced me to get this book. I thought the show was great so I can only imagine how amazing the book must be!

    Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

    A look at a group of female African-American women that helped the space program get launched. Haven’t read the book or seen the movie. *ducks for cover* I know, it’s about time I get to it. 

    The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

    About a married couple who go to a dinner next door. Some kind of crime occurs which leads to secrets being told and the “unraveling of a family”. This has been on my TBR for a while now. 

    The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah

    A woman has a brief affair with a man. Then he and his family end up dead. And this woman’s own family may be in danger.
    My friend actually bought this book haha. But the premise caught my attention. So I kept it. In all fairness, I should mention that we traded books. I let her keep my $2 copy of The Nightingale. Aka one of my favorite books!! (St. Peter I hope you remember my unselfish deed).

    The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty

    Three Australian girls become pen pals with guys from another school. The story is told through letters, email, etc.
    A $1 impulse buy *shrugs shoulders*

    The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
     A story about the formerly Aristocratic family, the Compson’s. Told using various narrative styles. I’ve been wanting to read this for a while now. I think I’ll be getting to it soon. Hopefully.

    East of Eden by John Steinbeck

    I recently finished this book (Review can be found here). And I was lucky enough to find a copy of it yesterday!! YAY!!

    Nancy Drew (#53): The Sky Phantom by Carolyn Keene

    Does this need an explanation? It’s Nancy Drew!! 

    Girl Scouts (#2): The Girl Scouts at Singing Sands by Mildred A. Wirt

    Written by the woman who ghost-wrote the original Nancy Drew stories! And as a former Girl Scout, I had to buy it. It has only 3 ratings on Goodreads, no reviews. 

    The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

    A self-help book dealing with the law of attraction. My two-year old picked this out for me haha. She has great taste when it comes to picking out her own books. So I trust her judgment. Although all the bad reviews on Goodreads is making me hesitate. 

    Lady Susan/ The Watsons/ Sanditon by Jane Austen

    I remember reading Lady Susan before and not liking it a lot. But I did need this book for my Jane Austen collection. A $1 buy from my library’s used bookstore.

    Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

    Um, it’s Anne!! Love her, love the series (well the one’s I’ve read). So this book buy was a no-brainer.

    Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams

    A brilliant private investigator in a sci-fi setting. Another show-inspired buy. The show is weird and I love it. 




    Now, where to put all of these books???


    Happy blogging everyone! 🙂

    The Versatile Blogger Award

    🎉 This is my first blogging award. Ever. So I’m pretty excited right now. A big THANK YOU to Catherine @ This is One for the Books for the nomination!! 

    THE RULES

    • If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award
    • Thank the person who gave you this award
    • Include a link to their blog
    • Select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly
    • Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award
    • Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself

      LETS TALK ABOUT ME

      1) I created my blog while I was watching Casablanca. Hence the name. It’s inspired by one of Bogey’s lines in the movie:

      2) I am not tech savvy. At all. Which is why my blog is as basic as it can be. Honestly, some days I can barely work my phone. So if any of you techy people want to help a girl out, I would really appreciate it! ☺ 

      3) When I was in college I studied abroad in Italy for about 4 months

      Siena, Italy

      It was the first time I had ever been on a plane (sort of), left the country (again, sort of) and  traveled anywhere by myself. It is to this day one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done in my life.

      4) When I was almost 2 years old I was briefly kidnapped in an airport. My sister was the one who first told me this story. I didn’t believe her though. I thought she was just being a mean older sibling. A few years later, I overheard my mom telling one of her friends the story, and I realized that my sister had not lied to me after all. Apparently a man grabbed me from my mom’s arms and proceeded to run away with me. He sat me down next to a group of kids as he got ready to board a flight with me (this was the early 90’s, so pre-TSA). My mom had chased after the guy, so she quickly found me and rescued me. Who knows where I would be now if my mom’s momma bear instincts hadn’t kicked in. 

      5) Classics are my jam. I like classic books, movies, tv shows, music, etc. I don’t know. There’s something about old things that draws me in. 

      6) I like spoilers

      I do not mind them one bit. In books, movies, whatever. Chances are that by the time I get to said book or movie, I will have forgotten what the spoiler was. And if I haven’t, then it’s something I can look forward to. Sometimes the spoilers are what get me interested in a book or movie in the first place.

      7) A bookish confession. *takes a deep breath* When I was in middle school I read the first Harry Potter book and didn’t like it *immediately ducks for cover* The movies on the other hand, I loved. It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I decided to sit down and give the series another try. Now I love Harry Potter and understand the hype. I appreciate the magical world that JK Rowling created.

      Ah! Seriously harder than I thought it would be! I want to thank Catherine once again and encourage everyone to check out her fabulous blog! Her latest post was on Literary Themed Restaurants Around the World. Yeah. I said her blog was fabulous!! 😉 

      Now on to MY NOMINEES:

      ADVENTURES OF A BIBLIOPHILE

      BOOKISH LUNA

      BOOKISHNERDYGIRL

      BOOK SENSATION

      BEINGFICTIONAL

      CELEBRATION OF BOOKS

      EMILY’S ESCAPIST BOOKS AND READING

      FLORALREADS

      GEMSBOOKNOOK

      HOWLINBOOKS

      MORGANA’S BOOK BOX

      OWL’S LITTLE LIBRARY

      SIDE BY SIDE

      THE BOOKISH CRONK

      THE GIRL IN THE GARRET

      No pressure to anyone to complete this! 🙂

      Happy blogging everyone!

      Nancy Drew (#19): The Quest of the Missing Map by Carolyn Keene

      This book was actually suspenseful. I know, it’s a mystery, it should be suspenseful. But most Nancy Drew stories are straightforward. No big twists and turns. This one was different though. 

      Nancy Drew is asked by Ellen Smith and her father Tomlin Smith, to help find half of a missing treasure map. As Nancy takes up the quest, she meets Mrs. Chatham and her little daughter Trixie. They live in a beautiful home, once owned by an inventor who had all sorts of gadgets and secret passages hidden in the home at the time of his death. When Trixie claims that one of the cottages on the property is haunted, Nancy sets out to investigate. A treasure hunting adventure ensues with a ring of bad guys hoping to get to the treasure first. 

      Kudos to the person who wrote this story! It was very well-written! There were a few times where I thought “okay no way is Nancy getting out of this obstacle any time soon”. Of course she did. But the fact that I doubted. That never happens to me! That just goes to show how good this mystery was.

      Nancy’s usual mystery-solving gang (Bess, George, Ned, Burt, and Dave) all make an appearance. There were also more details than usual about Hannah. Where she worked before becoming the Drew’s housekeeper. Apparently besides sleuthing, Nancy is now taking art classes. 😒 Very convenient seeing as she makes use of her drawing abilities while working this case. Nancy is also kidnapped/held hostage twice. And she bangs her head so many times! How many concussions must this girl have in a year? 

      Still wondering where her dog Togo is. You can’t introduce him and never mention him again. I need continuity! 

      All in all, a really refreshing change of pace. An exciting mystery, for sure.

      East of Eden by John Steinbeck

      A sweeping history of two families (the Trask and the Hamilton’s) with biblical parallels primarily set in the vast expanse of the Salinas Valley from the American Civil War to the First World War.


      There are so many themes that this book touches on. Love, guilt and acceptance being those that first come to mind. And Steinbeck uses biblical references to tie all the various themes together. Mainly through the story of Cain and Abel. Cain whose jealousy of his brother Abel drives him to commit murder. 

      I want to keep this post short. I’ve been battling a nasty cold for a few days 😷  so I think I will only focus on what I found interesting.

      The characters. They were realistic. From Sam Hamilton’s wisdom, Lee’s realism, Caleb’s guilt, and Aron’s drive to be good embodied. I didn’t think any of their personalities was exaggerated or unrealistic. And I liked them all. Even Cathy. Cathy and her world of depravity. I think there were so many nuances in her that were quite fascinating. 

      The idea of Timshel, or “Thou mayest. One person cannot be all good, or all bad. We have a choice. It’s pretty profound. Especially in how it relates to various characters. Specifically the ending, with Caleb Trask. He is his mother’s son. But he is also Adam’s son. And although not perfect, Adam is a good person at heart. So it’s Cal’s choice whether he chooses to do good or bad. There’s a freedom in that.

      The paternity of the twins. Cathy in a moment of spite, hints that Adam may not be Aron and Cal’s father. Obviously we all knew that was a possibility. I think Charles is the father of one, and Adam the father of the other. It’s possible! They’re fraternal twins after all. Two separate eggs fertilized by two different sperm.

      Ugh, my brain is a fevered mess. I can’t put my thoughts into words. 

      Suffice it to say I loved loved loved this book. Definitely a new favorite. The descriptions alone. Wow. I think they do the Salinas Valley justice. I’ve been through there before and it was a beautiful green expanse of farmland. With modern cities/towns trickled about.​

      Salinas Valley

       
      I’m not the most religious person but I seriously enjoyed reading this novel. As my first Steinbeck, I would say this was a great introduction to his writing. I was expecting a long boring story, and it was absolutely nothing like that at all. It was insightful. If you haven’t read this book, I seriously recommend you give it a go. 

      ​ 

      2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge.

      Prompt: a book with alliteration in the title 

      The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

      I found this book confusing at first. The structure. Not the writing. The alternating stories threw me off. 😕 One section about the four women in the Joy Luck Club. The next section their daughter’s stories. The following section once again about the mothers. And so on. You get the gist. It was a little hard for me to keep up with the storylines. Especially since within the sections, the stories themselves were all out of order. It was frustrating, to say the least.

      I did find the book itself to be insightful. We have four Chinese-born women who immigrated to the United States, now residing in San Francisco. And their  Chinese-American daughters. At it’s core, that is what this novel is about: mother-daughter relationships. 

      As a first-generation daughter myself, the daughters’ stories really resonated with me. It’s difficult to have a relationship with someone who not only grew up in a different generation, but in a separate country. Two vastly distinct worlds. It really got me thinking about my relationship with my mom. At times, a bit contentious. I don’t know. Growing up, I always wanted Lorelai Gilmore to be my mother. She had such a firm grasp on who Rory was. Instead, I’ve always felt that my mom is more like a combination of  Emily Gilmore and Mrs. Kim. Now this book has me over here thinking I’ve completely misjudged my momma. Sigh. Mother-daughter bonds are wonderfully weird.