Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release date: February 26, 2013

Purchase from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

SYNOPSIS

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

SPOILERS MAY LIE AHEAD. TREAD CAREFULLY MY LOVELIES.

When I picked this book up, I was sure I would find a lovely story about first love and the obstacles that come along with it. But boy, was I wrong. I was so so wrong.

The synopsis leads you a stray. Sure, it’s about two teenage sixteen-year-olds who navigate the waters of what it means to truly love someone. But the story also highlights Eleanor’s dysfunctional home. Her mother is submissive, while her step-father is cruel, manipulative, and abusive. It was a topic that I never would have thought coursed through the pages of this book. It was surprising, but it didn’t mean that i liked it any less.

Eleanor and Park’s love story is set in the 80’s, which is a rad decade. I loved Eleanor’s spontaneous and rather odd pieces of clothing. I also loved Park’s taste in the “hard emo” music. Most of all, I loved the variety of characters. For example, Eleanor is a red head and Park is Korean (I think…I don’t exactly remember). I loved reading the dialogue from Park’s mom as it was broken English as she herself is full blooded Korean. This part in particular was authentic. I could picture my own mother this way as she was an immigrant and while she tries, her English is still a bit shaky. But it doesn’t mean that people dislike her. People loved Park’s mom and I really liked how the community treated her in a respectful light.

I got off on a bit of a tangent there. Sorry, loves!

I adored the progression of Park and Eleanor’s relationship. At first, it was unknown territory. They each were mindful of each other as if the other was a ticking bomb ready to explode. Slowly. Very slowly, did they finally begin to open up to each other. Eleanor kept her life at home a secret from Park for the most part. She didn’t want to expose him to what she dealt with and for me, it was heartbreaking. I wish she would have told him sooner, maybe the story would have ended in a different way. A happy way rather than ripping my heart open and shattering the pieces all over my bedroom floor.

I cried. A lot. It was kind of sad as I was finishing the book over at Kevin’s and he…bless his soul…did not know what to do with me. I wanted to just stop reading all together and sit in a corner, unleashing the onslaught of tears.

I haven’t cried in a long time over a book and I loved that the story was compelling enough to draw emotion from me. Those are good books. This was an amazing read that encompassed real life situations and struggles. I sympathized with Eleanor the most, being angry, sad, and heartbroken on her behalf.

Rainbow Rowell’s writing captivated me from the beginning, drawing me deeper and deeper into Eleanor and Park’s world. The prose, the points of views, the description – it was all beautifully written and visually aesthetic.

I’m glad that this wasn’t what I expected. It was even better than I could have ever imagined.

addy5star

 

Writing Endeavors: Taking a Chance

musings of a writer tres

Lately, I’ve been writing a lot more often than normal. The following story is a one shot that I wrote last week. I liked it so much that I thought I’d share! I hope you enjoy! Any constructive criticism is welcome. Thank you!

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Layla peered around her computer, listening to the rapid tap tap tap of keys in the empty lab. Well, it was no longer empty. She had not heard the sound of the glass door opening or closing. So deep was she lost in her thoughts that the world disappeared around her.

The incessant tapping was coming from a boy Layla recognized was in her first level Woman’s Studies course. There was no doubt in her mind that Kade was working feverishly on his three page response to the recent feminist movement.

She smiled at his furrowed brow. He looked handsome, even more so than she thought on a regular basis. Kade was brilliant and passionate. That was part of the reason why she found him attractive. He also wore these silly graphic shirts that suggested he still had a child’s heart.

A few weeks ago, Kade had walked into class wearing a Doctor Who shirt. She nearly lost it, squealing in silent delight. The grin that was etched on her face proved to be unbearably inconspicuous. That day she hid her face in her book throughout the entire lecture.

Layla was afraid to approach Kade. She was intimated. He used words like abase and advocacy; words that were difficult to comprehend at times. She sometimes wished she carried a dictionary just to keep up with him in class.

She tried to get back to editing her story, but thoughts of him clouded the recesses of her mind. She liked it when he smiled, which he rarely did. But when he found something amusing, the corner of his mouth quirked up and his eyes sparkled a dazzling blue. She wanted to make him laugh. She bet her savings that he had a contagious laugh that filled the atmosphere with an unexplainable amount of light.

Her eyes flickered back to the monitor. She tapped her right forefinger lightly on letter J, debating whether she should take a chance and talk to him. Layla was never the kind of girl to approach a guy, nor was she was the kind of girl where guys approached her. She had always been quiet, not too quiet to the point where she was a hermit. Because of this men didn’t generally look twice at her. She was the kind of girl who practically lived at the library and found comfort in books; a girl who lived in her head more than she lived life. She was the type of girl who liked boys who were way out of her league.

For example: Kade.

She hadn’t noticed that the tapping had stopped from across the room. Nor, did she notice that Kade had walked towards her until he softly said her name.

Layla looked up, her eyes widening at his closeness. She mentally slapped herself. Stop it! You’ll look like an owl!  Hopefully, he’ll think he just startled you.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you.”

She felt warmth pooling at her cheeks.

“You’re in Baker’s class with me, right?”

She nodded.

“This may seem strange,” he started, “but I like your Zelda shirt.”

Layla couldn’t help but smile. She was practically swooning by his presence.

“Would you like to grab coffee with me? I’m heading down to the café now and I was wondering if you would like to join me if you’re finished with-”

“Yes,” she interrupted, “I’d love to.” She could see that he was embarrassed – that he didn’t seem to do this often. She saved him from himself or else he would have looked like a babbling caveman. She found it endearing and adorable.

Layla gathered up her things, saving a copy of her work to a flashdrive and logging off her computer. As they exited the computer lab, Kade opened the door for her, his blue eyes lighting up the dim room.

She never would have thought that he would be the guy who had stolen her heart.

© 2014, Emma @ Books Forget Me Knot. All rights reserved.

Emma

Simply Sunday #20

simply sunday

Simply Sunday is a reading meme hosted by Books For a Delicate Eternity. It’s where you share your favorite quote; be it from a book movie, novella, song, ect.

My favorite quote this week is from Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare:

Why I Chose It

This is one of my favorite quotes of all time. I believe that when a person goes to the darkest of places, there is a light that tethers them home. For Will and for many others, books are a haven. Books take you away from reality when it’s harsh. I love that. I love that there is a place to go when life is too unbearable.

Have a favorite quote this week? Let me know down in the comments below! I would love to read them! <3

Emma

First Bookish Love

musings of a writer tres

Last week, Lauren over at BooksTeaMe wrote a brilliant post about first bookish loves. In the eve of Valentine’s day, a person gets to thinking. How could someone compare to your first love? Well, your first bookish love. That character is irrevocably unforgettable. They were the first to steal your heart utterly and completely.

What made you fall in love with this specific character? Do you remember him or her at all? Do you remember the exact moment when you realized you had fallen in love?

My first bookish love was Dimitri Belikov from Vampire Academy. In the dawn of vampires galore, I saw something different in Dimitri. He’s dark haired, extremely tall (like 6’7), strong, protective, loyal, caring, and has moments of sweetness where my heart melted into a pill of mush. When he called her Roza, in his lilting Russian accent…*sigh* My sixteen year old self wanted to be the Rose to his Dimitri. I loved that he was a badass Dhampir; half vampire, half human. He protected the Moroi (a race of vampires) he was assigned to and also protected the people he loved. He would lay down his life for others, to see them safe. It’s no wonder that he was my first love.

In Lauren’s post, she talks about the standards that these bookish first loves set, and I completely agree with her. Dimitri set a very high standard for any men who would later come into my life. I remember having a list of qualities these boys needed to have in order to date me. It’s unrealistic. I now realize that people can’t be that perfect or fit the exact image of my first love, but people can come oftly close.

With love, you want to feel cared and understood. You want to be able to laugh every day and feel an incredible lightness of being with another person. Most of all, you want to feel loved. Like Rose and Dimitri and the thousands of other couples we come across in books. It’s normal to want what we read, especially when it comes to love.

All we can do is hope to find someone that can be our other half in life. And maybe not judge to harshly with the people who do come into our lives, who want to be in our lives. I’ve learned not to have a list of things that a person absolutely needs to have. I found that it only leads to disappointment and unhappiness. I’ve also realized that when you get rid of that list, a person does come along that is wonderful and magical all on their own accord, like a rare unicorn found in the desert. And lastly, they do make you feel like you’re the leading heroine to a story and they are your leading man; every day an adventure worth seeking.

xx

Emma

Cover Reveal: Perfect Game by Collette West

Hello lovely people of the internet! Today I am here to share with you the cover to Perfect Game by Collette West, hitting shelves on March 13, 2015. Information and description about the book and author will be provided down below!

Alright. Let’s do this.

SYNOPSIS

For New York Kings’ first baseman Scott Harper, scoring women is easy. He’s ready to get naked anytime, anywhere. But when a hacker leaks his nude selfies, he’s unprepared for the scrutiny his full-frontals receive.

Carrie McKenzie has a love-hate relationship with her body. No longer the fat chick guys can ignore, she wins the job as the Kings’ clubhouse reporter. With her svelte new figure, she nabs an exclusive interview with Scott to get his take on the scandal.

However, the two are already on a first-name basis after Scott came on to her in the hotel bar, and she woke up in his arms. The problem is that Scott doesn’t do relationships and Carrie doesn’t date jocks, yet the way they burn up the sheets is deserving of more than just a one-night stand.

Scott shows Carrie that he has a sweet, caring side beneath all the swagger. But can she really trust her heart to the biggest player in the game?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Collette West grew up as somewhat of a jock-nerd hybrid. Entering the world three weeks premature, her dad nearly missed her birth because he had seats behind the dugout for a sold-out, highly-anticipated match-up between two of baseball’s biggest rivals. Not to be outdone, her book-loving mom taught her how to read by the time she was three. A love of the game coupled with an appreciation for the written word were instilled in Collette’s impressionable brain from a young age. No wonder her characters believe in the philosophy: sports + romance = a little slice of heaven.

Splitting her time between the Pocono Mountains and Manhattan, Collette indulges her inner fangirl by going to as many games as she can from hockey to baseball and downloading every sports romance novel in existence onto her iPad. When she’s not clicking away on her laptop, she enjoys walking her dog in Central Park, satisfying her caffeine craving at the Starbucks on Broadway and keeping an eye out for Mr. Right. But above all, she loves dishing with her readers. Email her at collette_west@yahoo.com.

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I am in need of a steamy NA story and this seems like the perfect one! I am ashamed to say that I have not read any West’s previous novels, but that will change very soon! I am stoked and cannot wait to get to this one! The cover is also gorgeous! It’s the perfect amount of sexiness! ;)

Love it? Hate it? Let me know down in the comments below!

Until next time,

Emma

Book Review: Wolf Children – Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda

Author: Mamoru Hosoda (Art by Yu)

Publisher: Yen Press

Release date: March 25, 2014

Purchase from Amazon

SYNOPSIS

When Hana falls in love with a young interloper she encounters in her college class, the last thing she expects to learn is that he is part wolf. Instead of rejecting her lover upon learning his secret, she accepts him with open arms. Soon, the couple is expecting their first child, and a cozy picture of family life unfolds. But after what seems like a mere moment of bliss to Hana, the father of her children is tragically taken from her. Life as a single mother is hard in any situation, but when your children walk a fine line between man and beast, the rules of parenting all but go out the window. With no one to turn to, how will Hana survive?

 NO NEED TO WORRY. NO SPOILERS LIE AHEAD. ENJOY!

The story is told through a span of 10 years (it’s not an exact timeline, so don’t sue me ;)) Hana falls in love with a man who later reveals a secret – that he is part wolf. Rather than being afraid, Hana accepts who he is. A little afterwards, Hana is expecting their first child. Ame proves to be a bundle of energy. She is rowdy and head strong. About a year or two after, Yuki is born. Shortly after, Hana’s husband is murdered and she has to carry on with life as a single mother raising half human – half wolf children.

I loved the progression of the story. I liked how the illustrations could elaborate so much more than the words themselves. The artists captured emotion exceptionally and I adored reading this heartfelt story about love, loss, friendship, and coming of age.

You see, Ame and Yuki are polar opposite; night and day. Ame struggles to fit into society where she has to hide a half of herself that she loves, while Yuki wants to just be human and fights what he is. When the years pass, Ame and Yuki’s view change and it is quite extraordinary to see them evolve.

The story itself is very simplistic but beautiful. I don’t read much manga, but what I have read I’ve adored. Wolf Children is definitely on my Top Five Favorite Manga’s Of All Time.

If you’ve never read a manga, give this one a try. It’s cute and heartfelt. You won’t be able to stop yourself from sympathizing with the characters.

P.S. Isn’t the cover absolutely stunning? <3

addy4star

Simply Sunday #19

simply sundaySimply Sunday is a reading meme hosted by Books For a Delicate Eternity. It’s where you share your favorite quote; be it from a book movie, novella, song, ect.

My favorite quote this week is from Jeffrey Eugenides:

You never get over it. But you get to where it doesn’t bother you so much.

Why I Chose It

I’ve learned that wounds heal with time, but the scars never fade. At first, they are painful reminders until the day they become a distant memory. There will always be a part – a small part – that will always remember those times and fill you with a sadness that is unexplainable. It won’t be so hard – not like it was in the beginning…but it’s still there.

Got a favorite quote this week? Let me know down in the comments below! :)

Hope everyone had a FUNday Sunday! <3

Emma

Cover Reveal: Flirting With Love (Lovelly #1.5) by Clara Stone + Excerpt!

Hello lovely people of the interwebs! I am here to bring you the cover reveal of Clara Stone’s new novel, Flirting With Love, the follow up to Forever Kinda Love – which I reviewed last year right here! Flirting With Love hits shelves on March 6, 2015. You bet my little tush will be pre-ordering this baby.

So….ready for cover reveal?

TADA!

SYNOPSIS

Hudson Lovelly leads a charmed life-successful career, loving family, beautiful wife. And on the eve of his daughter’s birth, he’s counting his blessings. Life wasn’t always so generous . . .

Seventeen-year-old Blake never expected to fall for the pretentious, golden-haired boy on the opposing debate team. But she soon learns that looks can be deceiving, and not all men exist to disappoint. When a harmless prank starts to turn into something more, she discovers that sometimes, all it takes is a little Hope for love to find it’s way.

The day she walks into his life, exploding on the scene like a firecracker, is the day eighteen-year-old Hudson knows everything is about to change. Quick-witted, Blake is a prankster with a heart of gold, ensnaring him more than any girl ever has. He’ll do anything to be with her, even if it means pretending.

But when danger threatens Blake, he can’t conceal his growing affection. Pretending is no longer an option. They never planned for their friendship to grow into a love story. But it did. This powerful companion to Forever Kinda Love tells the history of Hudson and Blake’s love. Laced with haunting emotion and beautiful sentiment, this is a tale about overcoming even the darkest moments, reminding us all to love more. Give more.

Without regrets.

EXCERPT

I nod and study each of them, until my glance lands on Golden Boy. I narrow my eyes, glaring at him in the scariest way I can muster. At least, I hope so anyway.

He stares back, the earlier smile completely vanished. He jumps to his feet and saunters forward. I gulp, feeling uncertainty stirring in the pit of my stomach, and my palms sweat from nerves. I don’t know if it’s because of his godly good looks, the fact he’s towering well over six feet on my five foot seven inches height, or because I can’t read his all too calming features, but suddenly, I feel like coming over here wasn’t my best idea.

I watch him as he approaches, slow and confident, like a lion unconcerned by the presence of a cheetah. His pressed, white button-up shirt stretches across his chest, and the loose tie around his neck hangs over his unbuttoned collar. His expression is stoic, but there’s something in his hazel eyes that makes me feel awkward and on display. He doesn’t exactly scream “bad boy,” but I know there’s something in him that sizzles just under the surface, a wildness.

He runs his fingers over his perfectly-combed, golden locks and extends his hand for a handshake, the tendons on his forearm popping below his rolled up sleeve. I stare at his arm and blink.

“Pleasure to meet you,” he says. His voice is incredibly warm, amused.

When I look up at him, his lips stretch wide in a wicked grin that shines right to his eyes. I feel light on my feet, like I’m on cloud nine or something.

“Hudson, Blake. Blake, Hudson,” Hope introduces us, reminding me that we aren’t alone.

“Blake,” Hudson says, like he’s tasting my name on his tongue. “That’s an odd name for a girl. Don’t you think, Hope?”

That brings me back to earth and lands me on my butt—figuratively speaking, of course.

“Hudson!” Hope squeals disapprovingly, backhanding him across his chest.

I glare sharply at him, thinning my lips. “Remember this moment, Golden Boy. Because karma is mighty pissed, and she pays back with interest.”

I don’t give either of them a chance to respond before I pivot and head back toward my teammates.

Wesley meets me halfway and leans down, asking, “What did you say to them? He looks like he got hit by lightning.”

I throw a glance over my shoulder and smile at the stunned expression on Hudson’s face. Good. When I turn back to Wesley, the rest of the team has caught up to us. “It’s time to bring out the big guns. You guys up for it?”

Murmurs fill the air, almost all in agreement, until Wesley speaks.

“We can’t risk getting caught, Blake.”

I grin. “Oh, trust me, there’s no way we’re getting caught.”

Excitement fizzles around us as the team starts to throw out ideas. Golden Boy and the other stuck-up douche-nuts won’t know what hit them.

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I am so ready to have a finished copy in my hands! I love love LOVE the cover! It is positively lovelly ;)

xx

Emma

Goodbye January, Hello February (2015)

feb2

Ello lovelies! We can officially cross of a month into 2015. It’s been a rather productive month. Kevin and I took a trip to L.A., school began, and I read more than I thought I would.

As always, my monthly favorites consist of my favorite books, movies, shows, music, ect. Anything goes! I have quite a few favorites this  month so I apologize in advance if I ramble on too much.

Hope you enjoy!

Favorite Book

15513156Of Triton by Anna Banks. I’ve been wanting to read the sequel to Of Poseidon since I finished it in 2013. Why it took me so long? I don’t know. I tend to have a very long TBR list and neglect books often :(. Anyways, I am so glad I read Of Triton this month! It reminded me of Emma’s spunk (which I love), Galen’s charm and need to protect those he loves, Rayna’s impulse, and Toraf’s cleverness.

The book itself had an interesting story line. It was full of love and adventure. I practically devoured it in a two sittings.

I can’t wait to see where the next book takes me. I hope I don’t wait another two years to pick it up though ;)

Favorite Music

My most recent favorite Maroon 5 song is Sugar. The music didn’t help much in my obsession with the  band. I absolutely loved it and hope they’ll crash my wedding someday.

 

Favorite Show

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

In January, I binged watched the entire first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I didn’t know what I would expect and I was pleasantly surprised!

So what is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

After the Battle of New York, the world has changed. It now knows not only about the Avengers, but also the powerful menaces that require those superheroes and more to face them. In response, Phil Coulson of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division assembles an elite covert team to find and deal with these threats wherever they are found. With a world rapidly becoming more bizarre and dangerous than ever before as the supervillains arise, these agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are ready to take them on. — IMDB

I’ve been a comics fan since I was a kid. I don’t read comics (I wish and it may be something I pick up this year) but I am a fan of movies and t.v. shows. I also love D.C. as much as I like Marvel. I was a little late to the S.H.I.E.L.D parade, but it is always better to be late than never. Am I right?

I really liked the story line of the show and absolutely love how story lines from the Avengers and Captain America interlace within the show. There are references here and there about Thor and Cap (I love it when they say Cap). There was even an appearance of Lady Sif from Asgard. Pretty cool, huh?

Not only is the story line amazing, but so are it’s characters! The motley crew are a band of different sort of characters. There is strong and meticulous Melinda May, computer hacker Skye, brainiacs Fitz and Simmons, deadly Grant Ward, and ring leader Phil Coulson. Their character dynamics are quite extraordinary and it is a sight to watch them evolve within each episode.

There are so many twists and turns. Especially, those last few episodes of the season where you are like:

Dean is so distraught.

If you have yet to watch this show, I highly recommend it. It’s fun, action packed, and full of suspense you won’t be able to stop yourself from going into the next episode.

Favorite Beauty Product

Nourish Organic Eye Cream

I have really horrible dark circles. I don’t wear foundation or have found a good concealer that works with my skin tone. When I got my Ipsy bag for this month, I received a sample of Nourish Organic’s Eye Cream. And OH.MY.GOD. This stuff is pure heaven! I really like how it smooths out my skin around my eyes. It also has lighten my dark circles a tad.

The formula used is natural. The two main ingredients are avocado and argan oil, which help replenish and hydrate the skin.

This retails at 19.99 on the website and is totally worth it if you are a person who wants to reduce the sight of dark circles.

Favorite App

Trivia Crack

Similar to Quiz Up, Trivia Crack is a family and user friendly app that tests your knowledge on history, art, entertainment, science, geography, and sports. The objective is to be crowned in all six genres within a game between an opponent. (See those six cute animations? You have to win all of them within a match.)

You can play with friends from Facebook if you chose to link your account or you can select random opponents from around the world! It’s quite fun and addicting. Plus, it challenges your knowledge on six different genres. In the end, you become a well rounded person by knowing historical, art, sports, [ect.] facts.

If you want to add me on Trivia Crack my username is @lenastarkov. You get cool points if you know what character I am referencing!

Favorite Place

Little Tokyo

When Kevin is off for vacation we tend to go somewhere. Living in the city can be draining, especially when there are a few fun things to do like explore Mt. Charleston, scale the heights of Red Rock, and act like tourist down at the Strip.

We spontaneously (I say spontaneously because we decided to go on the trip the night before) took a trip down to Little Tokyo in L.A. for a night/day adventure. The drive was long and we were lucky we did not get stuck in rush hour traffic in L.A. A good thing is that Little Tokyo resides on the outskirts of L.A., so traffic was more than pleasant.

We started our morning off bright and early with complimentary breakfast at the hotel. Then, we set out on our adventure – driving to Little Tokyo and walking the area that consisted of 4 blocks. We should have checked the weather forecast as it did rain while we were there. But it was light rain and we didn’t get sick ;)

I probably spent more than I should have and walked away with some special gems like a manga of The Wolf Children, adorable pens, a jade necklace, and a cute bowl with a cat on it (I should have bought a dozen of them since I use it for storing purposes ;).

I also had exquisite Japanese cuisine.

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I absolutely loved January! It was a great start to the new year. I’ve kept up with my new year’s resolution of cutting back soda and exercising. It’s nowhere where I want to be, but I am making an effort. There is a lot of stuff I didn’t do that I told myself I would so I am going to try to aim those goals for February.

I hope that this month is just as great as last month! This will be my year! :)

What were some of your favorite things in January? Let me know down in the comments! I’d love to hear all about them! <3

Take care and have a wonderful month,

Emma

Simply Sunday #18

simply sunday

Simply Sunday is a reading meme hosted by Books For a Delicate Eternity. It’s where you share your favorite quote; be it from a book movie, novella, song, ect.

My favorite quote this week is from an unidentifiable author:

About Me:

I like the smell of earth, the touch of waves,

the taste of berries, the sight of trees,

the sound of laughter, and the feeling of being fully alive.

Why I Chose It

I love how this expresses the beauty of life and what it means to live to the fullest. It’s about appreciating the sights and sounds around you every day. And to find precious moments in the simplest of things.

Do you have a favorite quote this week? Let me know about it in the comments below :)

Happy Sunday!

Emma

 

 

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