Rule Number 32

Enjoy the little things. ~Zombieland

Love Letters to the Dead review

Love Letters to the DeadLove Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

SIGH. A big nope from me… A Perks copy that just felt cheap. I wouldn’t have minded such an overlap in content because this shit unfortunately happens to a lot of teens, but the writing style and voice of the MC were way too similar. Ava worked as an associate producer on the Perks movie and wrote a lot of the book while working on that, so umm, yeah……..

95% of these were just letters, not love letters. So Letters to the Dead then… A lot of the letters were just “this is my current situation” and the intended recipient seemed like an after-thought that wasn’t actually connected to the letter or what was happening in Laurel’s life at the time. And this really disappointed me because if you’re going to write an epistolary novel, the letters had better have a huge significance and actually be necessary. But here they felt like diary entries with minimal connections to the dead people who she could have actually really connected to. (I’m not even going to touch the “music is super important to me and my friends” connection between this and Perks. Nope.)

I didn’t give a shit about any of the characters. They made the same stupid mistakes over and over and over again. Does it really take that long to learn from your mistakes?? There weren’t any teenagers featured that had their shit even a little bit together, and I find it really hard to believe that not a single teacher or parent of this large number of messed up teens noticed that they were living such shitty and destructive lives. Like mkay then…

Laurel said a lot of stupid shit that a 15-year-old would have no clue about, like “it wasn’t just the typical college guy party with a keg of beer.” How the actual hell would she know what a typical college party is when a) she’s not in college and has not been to a college party and b) she just started partying a month ago with her new friends?? She’s such a people pleaser, even with her aunt, who is a grown ass woman who should not have to be tiptoed around by her niece.

I only kept reading because at 30% I thought “it has to get better right??” and then at 60% I thought “how many more stupid decisions can get packed in here??” So I kept reading and I swear only maybe the last 8 letters or so actually meant anything to me. I kept going solely for the train wreck that is these characters.

The only thing that stood out to me was the Amelia Earhart quote of There’s more to life than being a passenger and that wasn’t written by this author, so that concludes how I feel about this book. *rant over*

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Messenger Bag

I made this bag for a competition in junior high and thought it was so cool at the time. (Now I think it’s quite ugly!)

Listening to chill music. {The Little Things}

listening to chill music

The best way to relax and take my mind off stressful things like school. The best choice – Lorde.

The Scourge review

The ScourgeThe Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There was information about the world, some characters, and the Scourge within the first few pages, all while she was hanging upside down from a vine in a tree. Nice. And then more characters were added as the main characters developed, and lies and truths were discovered throughout the novel. The plot was generally fantastic, but with some parts that seemed slow or unnecessary.

Ani was tough, resourceful, recognizes her faults, and genuinely wants to help everyone around her. She has the ability to rally the people around her to a common cause, and let’s be honest – she makes a lot of stupid decisions that tend to pay off in the long run.
Weevil was really nice and helpful, so sweet, always thinking ahead, and cares so much about his family and friends.
And Della… well I think if you don’t hate Della at the beginning then you’re a really nice person – she was beyond annoyingly snobby. But then she mellowed out and actually became pretty important to the plot, and it’s obvious that she secretly really cares about those around her.

The were some great ~bad guys~ for the MCs to oppose, creating a lot of tension that fueled the plot and led to some great scenes. The herd mentality was pretty frustrating – no one genuinely questioned the state of their country until their loved ones supposedly had the Scourge. The citizens blindly followed the governor even though a bunch of them thought she was shady… And the Colonists just accepted they were going to die, which is pretty depressing.

But: I liked the huzzah attitude of the Colonists once Ani got there and started stirring up shit, as well as following along as the MCs figured out what was being hidden from them. The ending felt a bit rushed because I wanted some big revolution and a change for a country that had been divided for too long. I’m choosing to ignore the ending for two of the characters because I really wanted this book to show that guys and girls can stay as just best friends… Overall though, this was really fun!

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The Happiness Project review

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More FunThe Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I think this book was meant entirely for adults in relationships with children. I understood where she was coming from, but couldn’t relate to a lot of the topics or examples (I skimmed a lot of the last third because meh). I didn’t have any epiphanies or decide to change anything about my life because of it. Maybe that means I’m already doing enough things to make myself happy?

I was mostly just agreeing rather than learning. Like about her many paradoxes (wanting to use her time better, while also wanting wander), not wanting to wait for a crisis before having happiness in place, and preferring fewer options over many.

I already try to do a few of the things that she mentioned, like the one-minute rule and doing a long-delayed chore to feel better. But like I said before, most of what she talked circled back to her having a family and a career – and I’m nowhere near that point in my life. Most of her examples were foreign concepts to me in my current life situation. I did think about a few things though, like collections, and how much happiness mine bring me, as well as using things rather than “saving” them for someday in the future.

The few things I picked out to keep in mind: having a shared indoor activity and outdoor activity with a significant other, “you can choose what you do; you can’t choose what you like to do,” and keeping an Interest Log of topics that catch my attention.

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Finding the perfect pair of cute shoes. {The Little Things}

high heels

I LOVE THEM. Absolute perfection.

Love & Gelato review

Love  GelatoLove & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can sum this book up in two words: adorable and mysterious. And I love that the author let it be both! It didn’t turn into the cheesy romance it could have been, and the mystery surrounding the journal didn’t take over the plot. The emotions that Lina experienced felt so real, and I think the loss of a loved one was written super realistically. This book didn’t make me sad as in crying from sadness, but rather as in that ache you get in your chest from someone no longer being there. When her pain was described as big, jagged waves, I was like YES – that’s it. Years and years and years from now when I lose my mom, I think I might reread this (and maybe go to Italy, if I’m being honest) because of how real and relatable that part of the story felt.

Lina’s journey was great – her emotions and relationships felt so true to someone in her situation. She was brave while also being really uncertain, but I think she was so true to herself – and I really admire that. Regarding the journal’s ~mysterious~ X, it seemed really obvious to me that Lina was thinking about it all wrong – but maybe her emotions were preventing her from seeing the obviousness of it all. Her love of food also made her more likeable – girl, I can relate. I really want to go to Italy even more now, mainly for the gelato. 🍨

Ren was full on adorable. He clearly cares about his family and friends so much, and he instantly came across as a great guy. I would’ve liked more scenes with his family because of the great interactions he had with his mom and little sister, but I get that that wasn’t the focus of the novel. The coin throwing nearly made my heart explode. And basically everything else he did.

Howard was such a likeable character – I can’t think of a single thing about him that was bad or annoying. He was there for Lina, but also gave her the space she needed. His protective nature about Lina was so cute and I loved how he kept scaring Ren. The amount that he cared about Lina was so lovely – he did everything he could to help her be happy.

The supporting characters were there just enough to add the story without taking away from the spotlight on Lina and Ren. Thomas was hella gross and I’m not even giving him more than this one sentence – just get out of here Thomas, you’re the worst… Sonia was a cool side character, and I’m a sucker for titles being used in a book’s dialogue:
“You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay, it’s for the same two things.”
“Love and gelato.”


I had a few little problems with the writing – it sometimes felt a bit fake or unrealistic. Lina’s well-written (but kind of cringy) thoughts were one of those problems. Like do people really think things like “he looked about as Italian as a plate of meatballs” in the heat of the moment when meeting someone new?? That could maybe be an afterthought when reflecting on the situation later, but I just couldn’t believe that someone could form a thought like that instantly. But these odd moments didn’t outnumber the really great ones, so I still really loved this. I read the first few chapters really choppily over a few days, which wasn’t the smartest way to start a new book, but after five and a half chapters, I got so into it that I couldn’t stop reading – I stayed up until 2:30 to finish it! The intrigue of the journal and how Lina read it and figured it all out was enough that I needed to get to the ending. So I would strongly recommend picking a day where you can read it in one sitting, and start early so you don’t make bad sleep decisions like me…

A life without love is like a year without summer. ❤️

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