Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Book Review + Talk → To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Book 1 in the To All the Boys I've Loved Before trilogy

Release Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover // 355 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Links: Purchase from The Book Depository or AmazonAdd to Goodreads

"Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren't love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she's written. One for every boy she's ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control."

Right from the start, we see how close Lara Jean and her sisters are. Maybe it's because of their mother's passing, but the three of them hold tightly to each other despite some annoyances. Lara Jean would do anything for her older sister, Margot, and is devastated that she's flying to Scotland for school. But when she leaves, Lara Jean knows she needs to step into her shoes to be the older sister figure and take care of her younger sister, Kitty. I love that this wasn't a book that just focused on the main character and her love interest—her family was involved and played significant roles.

I started to read To All the Boys I've Loved Before in May 2015 but put it down after 30 pages because of two reasons: 1) it didn't capture my attention as well as I had hoped (in the moment) and 2) I thought Lara Jean sounded too childish. But this time around, I felt like I was reading with a different lens. Her stream of consciousness really highlighted her personality and made the story a little more light-hearted and entertaining. Who am I to say how she should be acting and talking at her age? Maybe there are circumstances in her life that cause her to be that way. And I don't doubt that there are some sixteen-year-olds who can relate to Lara Jean. Looking back, I see a lot of myself in her. I, too, preferred staying home, I didn't go out to parties, and I DEFINITELY did not have experience with boys.

This is the first book in a long time (or ever?) that made me want to start over from the beginning after I finished the last page. To All the Boys I've Loved Before was more than just a romance—it included so much about familial love and just navigating the realities of high school. It was fun, and the characters were perfectly imperfect. Boys are not always gonna be as swoon-worthy and precious as we hope. And I forgot to mention all the Korean traditions and cultural elements! I love that it's included in this story but it's not the focus of it. Lara Jean must face the consequences of her exposed love letters and she just happens to be half-Korean.

If you couldn't tell by now, I absolutely loved To All the Boys I've Loved Before. What an excellent rom-com!!!


Other books/series by Jenny Han: The Burn for Burn trilogy, ShugThe Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy

Okay friends, everything I talk about
under this warning will be filled with spoilers!
If you haven't read To All the Boys I've Loved Before yet,
please stop looking any further and go pick up the book!


I've never known Margot to chicken out before, but I suppose in matters of the heart, there's no predicting how a person will or won't behave. (p. 11)

"Okay, okay. You know I didn't mean it like that. I just mean that you should give people a chance to know you." Josh points the remote control at me and says, "If people knew you, they would love you." He sounds so matter-of-fact. Josh, you break my heart. And you're a liar. Because you know me, you know me better than almost anybody, and you don't love me. (p. 223)

He's expecting me to say yes. I want to say yes, but I don't want to be with a boy whose heart belongs to somebody else. Just once, I want to be somebody's first choice. (p. 311)

Around three a.m. I throw away Peter's notes. I delete the picture of him from my phone; I delete his number. I think that if I just delete him enough, it will be like none of it ever happened and my heart won't hurt so badly. (p. 328)


AHHHHHH. I totally cringed while I was reading this scene but also it was kind of entertaining?! Lara Jean was completely out of her element. I really wanted to see this play out on screen, but alas ... ALSO I can't believe she said "thank you" AND PETER SAID "YOU'RE WELCOME." AND THEN IT BECOMES A THING. CUE "START OF SOMETHING NEW" FROM HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL.

I LOVE the relationship between Peter and Kitty. Almost more than I love Lara Jean and Peter together, to be honest. I love that he calls her Katherine!!! And I love that their love for each other is suffocating at times πŸ˜‚

I had mixed feelings about Peter throughout the entire book—I'm pretty sure I only liked him when he was interacting with Kitty lol. He didn't really treat Lara Jean that well, but I GET IT because he's been explicit from the beginning on how he feels about Gen. It's not a secret to anyone and he's being honest, but I still felt terrible for Lara Jean ... no girl wants to be second place. But when they're together and Peter's not talking about Gen, I love the dynamics between them. They work so well together! Peter is used to girls swooning over him and in comes Lara Jean, someone who will not and does not take his crap.


Yes to this whole thing. He woke up early and brought her donuts!!! He negotiated with the man so Lara Jean could have the one reindeer ornament!!! It was such a sweet and carefree moment.

I also really loved everything that happened on Halloween and that whole scene with the dancing and Christmas cookies but it all blurs together in my mind so I cannot put my feels into words. AND THEN THAT ENDING HAPPENED ...

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

August Recap → I have a husband now + going back to school?!

highlights + notes
  • Joe and I got married the first weekend of August!!! I'm going to try my best to put up a post detailing everything. But right now, I'm so relieved to not have to think about anything wedding-related anymore. (Aside from our thank you cards, which will probably take us a long while to write ... but we have time!)
  • We left for our honeymoon two days later and visited Paris, Milan, Rome, London, and Walt Disney World! Let's just say I'll be sharing so many pictures in September :p
  • I started working again the day after we got back—I'm now an aide at a public library! I've been there since the middle of July and it's something I wanted to do in addition to my freelance work. Also, I decided to go back to school to get a masters in library and information science to become a librarian! I submitted my application the weekend we got back and now I'll be going back to school in January. Thankfully, it's an online program so I can learn from the comfort of my own home and still continue working at the library. It's kind of funny because I told myself I didn't want to go back to school when I graduated four years ago ... but if it's to be a librarian, I'm more than willing to. I know it's going to be a lot of work, but I'm really excited. Writing this down so when I'm drowning in papers, I can come back and check myself πŸ˜‚

books i read IN AUGUST πŸ“š

ONE book read // 355 pages

I knew I wanted to read To All the Boys I've Loved Before before watching the movie, so I brought it with me on our honeymoon. But I actually finished it when we got back, mostly because one of our friends LOVED the movie and he wanted to talk about it πŸ˜‚

favorite music (of summer) 🎡

Lost in Japan - Shawn Mendes
Girls Like You (feat. Cardi B) - Maroon 5
2002 - Anne-Marie
Homesick - Dua Lipa
Say Amen (Saturday Night) - Panic! At The Disco
Dying in LA - Panic! At The Disco
The Way I Am - Charlie Puth
Boo'd Up - Ella Mai
Enemies - Lauv
no tears left to cry - Ariana Grande
God is a woman - Ariana Grande


Tell me about your August/summer highlights!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

September TBR

Hi friends!

So much has happened during these past couple of months ... I didn't read a single page for at least six weeks 😳

But before I tell you all where I've been and what I've been up to, here's what I plan to read in September! I know it's a lofty goal, but I'm itchin' for some really good reads :)


Warcross by Marie Lu
Alexa has been non-stop championing this book, so I know it'll be an excellent read!

Vicious by V.E. Schwab
I always wait so long to read books I KNOW are gonna be good ... but I haven't been spoiled yet, so I better get to it before it happens πŸ˜…

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
This one is going to be a doozy ...

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I tried reading this one a couple of years ago and it may have just been bad timing, but I couldn't get through it. 100% willing to try it again, since *so* many people love it.


Believe Me by J.P. Delaney
I didn't get to my early copy from NetGalley because July was so busy for me, but I still want to read and review it. The Girl Before, Delaney's debut novel, was really good.

Contagion by Erin Bowman
I've read an embarrassingly low number of sci-fi/space books, and I told y'all I wanted to read this one soon ... note to self: MAKE IT HAPPEN. I can't be going around, telling people I love sci-fi only having read a handful on the subject πŸ™„

Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer
This one is a maybe (hopefully) since I'm not sure I'll be able to get it from my library in time. I won't be bummed to push this one back to October though—I think it'll be the perfect read for Halloween since it's on the dark side.


City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab
Another Schwab book I'm hoping to get to. I've heard all sorts of good things from Emma and Madalyn at Novel Ink!

Midnight in the Piazza by Tiffany Parks
I'm working at a public library (more on that soon!) and have been particularly interested in the middle grade reads, so I wanted to try and pick a book to read each month—not based on reviews or anything I see about it online, but just by the blurb (and I'll be honest, the cover too.) Right when I saw "ROME" in the summary, I knew this would be my September choice. It was one of the cities my husband and I visited during our honeymoon!

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
To be honest, I'm not too interested in this book ... but Mary Poppins Returns is coming out in December and it's a MUSICAL. That LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA is in. So sign me up πŸ˜‚


Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan + P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han


What are you planning to read this month?

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The TBR Tag

I saw this over on Morgan's blog last month and thought it would be a lot of fun to share the details of my ever-growing TBR pile. (If you didn't know, TBR stands for "to be read!") This tag was created by Rachel from A Perfection Called Books and Dana from Dana Square.

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?
I organize everything through Goodreads. I have a shelf for all the physical books I own but haven't read yet, yearly releases (2014 through 2019) that I eventually want to get to, the books I must get to this year, series to start, and series to continue. There is no way I could remember all of these without Goodreads!

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?
Aside from the one or two ebooks I received for free, it's all print! (I just checked and I actually have five: The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows, Voice of Gods by Eleanor Herman, Ignite by Lily Paradis, This Night So Dark by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, and Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I will probably only read two of these, lol.) If I really want to read a book from my TBR that I don't own, I usually try and borrow the ebook from Overdrive.

How do you determine which book to read from your TBR next?
Oh man, where do I even start? I have a document of all the 2018 releases I want to read, and ideally I try and read an author's backlist (if they have one) before their newest book is published. I rarely stick to this though, because I will read whatever my heart desires πŸ˜‚Usually, I'll also try and read a book before the movie/TV show adaptation comes out. But more recently, I've been focusing on new releases!

What book has been on your TBR the longest?
Legend by Marie Lu. I added it on July 6, 2013 πŸ™ˆ

What is the last book you added to your TBR?
I added four books to Goodreads on June 4, 2018: Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett, A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman, and The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill. (The Tea Dragon Society is the only one that has been published.) For my physical TBR, I purchased I See You by Clare Macintosh yesterday at Half Price Books!

What book is on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?
No book makes it on my TBR if 1) the story doesn't sound good *or* 2) it doesn't have good reviews. But if I must choose, I have to mention The Tea Dragon Society again. I don't know what it's about, but Alexa from Alexa Loves Books has spoken many good things and the art is *so* lovely.

What is a book on your TBR that you never plan on actually reading?
I have an exclusive shelf on Goodreads titled "on my radar," which includes all the books I'm on the fence about but could still possibly end up reading. I added Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde to my list in 2013 but now that I think about it, I'll probably never get around to picking it up. I don't want to remove it though :x

What is an unpublished book on your TBR that you're excited for?
The Map from Here to There by Emery Lord, 100%!!! The Start of Me and You is one of my all-time favorite books!

What is a book on your TBR that basically everyone has read except you?
I will easily name four: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

What is a book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you?
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo immediately popped into my head. But it's not a recommendation from anyone in particular, just one that has been mentioned over and over again in the bookish community!

What is a book on your TBR that you're dying to read?
Aside from The Map from Here to There, a published book I really want to read is Warcross by Marie Lu!

How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?
Number of books I've added to my Goodreads "want to read" and "on my radar" shelves = 598
Physical books I haven't read = 207


How do you determine which book from your TBR you'd like to read next?
Feel free to get as detailed as you'd like πŸ˜‚