DNF: Love & Gelato

I made it to Chapter 10 of Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch before I had to put it away because I wasn’t enjoying it. The writing was poor and the characters were bland. Here, I’ve compiled a list of lines in this book that either made me laugh or just left me completely confused, sometimes both.

-He sounded American, but he looked about as Italian as a plate of meatballs. (59) 

-“Okay. I can pick you up on my scooter. Around eight?” (78) 

  • This really is only funny because in my mind, I was picturing Ren picking up Lina in one of these.


-…excitement started building up in me like steam in a pressure cooker. (80) 

-So…apparently my father spoke Italian. Fluently. (83) 

  • Well, he has been living in Italy for 16+ years.

-He honestly had a dreamy look in his eyes. Did my more-than-a-friend love for food come from him? (84) 

-My cheeks were boiling like a pot of marinara sauce. (87) 

  • Now I’m just hungry.

-He met my eyes, and suddenly I wished with all my heart that I could evaporate, like the steam still curling off my pizza. (90) 

  • If giving inanimate objects feelings is personification, what is called when you reduce a person to an object…and can we not do that.

– A straight-up monsoon was happening in the general vicinity of my face, and the words kept running together in a big, blurry mess. (96) 

  • She was crying. Just say you’re crying.

-“Isn’t it like two a.m. there? (102) 

  • So you knew this, yet you still thought Addie would answer your call?

-“Elena told me there are rooms that she’s never even set foot in, and she and her mom sometimes go days without even seeing each other.”  (114) 

  • This is concerning and definitely should not happen, no matter how big your house is.

-They started raining questions. (117) 

“Ragazzi, dai. My mom will freak out if she finds out you are up here. I had a forty-five minute lecture after the last party. Some idiota left a piece of pizza on the two-hundred-year-old credenza. Come downstairs, per favore!” (124) 

  • Because we’re in Italy. With Italians. In case you forgot.

-“Ren, come on. We’re an hour late. What’s he going to do?” (131) 

  • Lina does what she wants and has no regard for authority.

Check out my full review on Goodreads. Are you confused by any of these lines or is there some philosophical reasoning behind these quotes that is beyond my comprehension?


Review: Eliza and Her Monsters

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Publication: May 30, 2017

Pages: 383

Rating: 100/5

Goodreads summary: Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart. With pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimonaand Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl

The summary doesn’t do this book justice. I received this book in my Owlcrate subscription box, so even though I was interested, I wasn’t too excited about it. Now that I have read it, it’s probably one of my favorite books… ever.

The concept of the book reminds me of both Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl (which I liked) and Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds (which I loved). Half of the book takes place as if it were online, with parts of the dialogue written in text speak and profile pages, representing the good, bad, and ugly of fandom culture. Pages from Eliza’s webcomic are also integrated throughout this novel. On the outside, this book seems trivial at best, and it had me laughing out loud for more than half of the book.

BUT, HOLY SH*T, THIS BOOK IS SO MUCH DEEPER THAN IT APPEARS TO BE. There’s a twist, and it comes out of nowhere. Then, when Eliza’s identity is revealed, important and darker topics are introduced and explored further. We learn about her anxiety after she suffers a panic attack at school, and the healthy ways to live with it. There’s also a brief mention of suicidal thoughts better explained than Thirteen Reasons Why (the show)*. I did not expect to sob over this book, but here we are.

Another reason why I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy this book is because it includes a romance between Eliza and the most popular fanfiction writer, Wallace Warland. I admire that this romance didn’t feel forced. They got together just like your favorite strangers-to-lovers au. After they paired up, they didn’t fight like crazy either, and Zappia portrays a healthy relationship with communication and trust. (Okay, so she lied about LadyConstellation but she had her reasons, also, she was kind of dealing with the whole anxiety thing- it wasn’t right, but it’s forgivable). At the end of the day, this book promotes good friend, familial, and romantic relationships, in addition to taking care of yourself. 

To see what I’m reading next, add me on Goodreads. Also, what kind of reader are you, fast and excited like Eliza or slow and methodical like Wallace?

*To be clear, I’m not hating on the show at all. I think it’s well executed from the script to the actors, but it focuses much more on the external factors of Hannah’s suicide than internal. It spreads the message “be kind to everyone” and “you never know what someone else is going through,” which are good, but is a little harder to relate to (at least personally).


May Wrap Up

This month was all about studying for final exams and applying to university, so unfortunately, I didn’t have a whole lot of time for books. I did manage to read 2 books towards the latter half of this month, and luckily, enjoyed both of them.

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#1. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

I received this book in my Owlcrate subscription box last month, and just got around to reading it. It is a teen romance novel, but not overwhelming so, as Molly goes back and forth throughout the novel weighing the importance and value of her relationship with her crush and her twin sister. For me, it was really easy to start this book although some parts in the middle dragged on.

Amalia’s official rating: 3.7/5

Goodreads summary: Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back. 

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

#2. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown 

I picked this one up because I read her other work The Light of Paris first, and in reviews of that one, everyone was saying they preferred this work. I won’t bore you with a synopsis again, but in case you missed my last post, this book is about the strained relationships between three sisters who have a really hard time communicating with one another (seriously, the first time one of the sisters emptied their baggage to the other was at least two-thirds of the way in). Regardless, I really enjoyed this novel because I love dysfunction and extremely flawed characters in my books and it was resolved nicely by the end.

Amalia’s official rating: 4/5

What did you read this month? And if you want to keep up with what I’m reading, you can add me on Goodreads.

Book of the Month: May

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Publication: January 20, 2011

Pages: 353

Rating: 4/5

Dysfunction and lack of identity are the common themes in this story. It takes place in the small, college town of Barnwell, Ohio and follows the three sisters- Rose, Bean and Cordy, through all their insecurities and past mistakes, as they question who they are and what there role in the family is really.  For Rose, she has lived there throughout her adult life and likes everything to be in its place, so she’s faced with a difficult decision after her husband gets a job opportunity in Oxford, England. Their mother has just been diagnosed with breast cancer, which only adds hesitation to Rose’s big decision. Unlike Rose, Bean and Cordy couldn’t leave their hometown fast enough. Bean, the wild child trendy middle child, jetted off to New York only to return after she’s been fired for embezzlement. Lastly, Cordy is the free-spirit, baby of the family who comes home when she’s finds out she’s pregnant. Neither want to stay in Barnwell, but they also know that they can’t return to the same ways from their old life.

When I first picked up this book, I wasn’t sure of the plot, but since I knew one of Brown’s other works and their was somewhat high praise for this one, I thought I’d give it a read.It’s a slow start, to be honest, and all the Shakespeare quotes can be a little overwhelming at first, but once I got a hang of the style, I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

The book also raises questions about how birth order affects our personality and heavily focuses on Bean’s journey to self identity, with Rose and Cordy as side characters. She has the most growing to do and also makes the most progress in the end, but is still flawed (aren’t we all?). Although the plot may have been subpar, Brown knows how to write characters.

Finally, the book is written in first person-plural, which was a bit confusing in the beginning, but made for an interesting read by the end. I still don’t know if I like it or not.

. . .

Goodreads summary: A major new talent tackles the complicated terrain of sisters, the power of books, and the places we decide to call home.

There is no problem that a library card can’t solve.

The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there.

See, we love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much.

But the sisters soon discover that everything they’ve been running from — one another, their small hometown, and themselves — might offer more than they ever expected.


Parties Are Bad, Surprises Are Worse

For most extraverted individuals or social butterflies, having your birthday fall on a holiday weekend might be a dream. However, I am neither and my perfect day would have consisted of copious amounts of coffee and hours spent reading. Also, cake. For the most part, that’s how my birthday went. There was also a 4-hour ride day trip with my mom to see an art festival, which was fine and wasn’t a disruption to my day because it was planned a week in advance.

So it’s about 6 o’clock on May 27th and I’m feeling a little nauseous because I ate too much, I’m tired from being cooped up in a car for most of the day and jazzed from all the coffee, but all is well because it’s just me and the Hamilton soundtrack. It’s a satisfying end to an otherwise peaceful day until my mom let’s me know that people are coming over tomorrow to celebrate. Wait, so I’m not getting my cake tonight?

(It also seems a little much to extend the not-celebrations further, like I want to have more than one day dedicated to me, myself, and I).

You know the movie/tv show trope where the shy, loner kid starts dating the goody-goody, well-liked chick, and then the BFF of the quiet kid accidentally slips and tells their GF that it’s their birthday and then the girl is all “we gotta have a surprise b-day party because I’m super nice and never do anything with malicious intent so it’ll be fine,” and then the BFF is all, “I don’t know about that, [shy kid] much prefers to keep their birthday low key (insert tragic backstory for *~*emphasis*~*). Flash forward to the birthday party scene, the guest of honor shows up and is unpleased with the turn of events but fakes it anyway to put off the inevitable break up. Well that shy kid was me, only my GF is my family and the BFF’s (my) complaints only fell on deaf ears.

I don’t know why I dislike celebrating my birthday so much or when it all started, but I’m assuming it’s because I really really do not like being the center of attention. What am I supposed with my eyes, face and myself in general when they bring out the cake and start singing “Happy Birthday!” Seriously, if anyone knows, please enlighten me.  Thankfully, there wasn’t the usual hiding and screaming that is synonymous with surprise parties, and if it would’ve been held at a restaurant, I would’ve CTRL + ALT + DELETE (SHIFT + COMMAND + Q on a Mac) myself right then and there.

What do you think: do you agree with my stance on surprise birthday parties or am I being too cynical?

Happy New Year!

At the end of each year, people are either stoked to accomplish those new year resolutions or they complain because “you can change at any time, why wait until the new year?” It’s a nice sentiment and all, but from my experience, it’s mostly talk.

I’m the type to casually make new year’s resolutions and then not follow through with them…until right now. (It also works out that my birthday is on Saturday, so it technically is a new year for me).

Since I never do this, and I have never seen anyone do this, I thought it would be a cool idea to check in on the resolutions I made at the start of this year and see how much I have accomplished. I’ll explain each one, and then give it a check-in rating on a scale of 1-10 (1 being not very accomplished to 10, have completed).

#1. Read at least nine books 

It’s specifically nine because it’s one more than I read last year. Currently, I’ve read five. Check-in rating: 6/10 

#2. Communicate with friends and family more 

I am a huge introvert and also incredibly shy, so it’s hard for me to open up to people. It’s better now, but there is definitely room for improvement. Check-in rating: 4/10

#3. Transfer to a four-year 

This one is pretty self explanatory and I think I just put it down because I wanted to be able to check something off by the end of the year. Currently, I have submitted the application. Check-in rating: 5/10. 

#4. Write!!!! (Literally anything)

For someone who prides themselves on being a writer and wants to succeed in writing, I don’t write that much. However, this blog is a step in the right direction. Check-in rating: 4/10 

#5. Track personal growth and get to know myself 

I created this when I was still bullet journaling and had this pretty chart that would remind of the areas I wanted to improve. I ranked “personal development” a 3/10 and I don’t think it’s changed that much since January. Check-in rating: 1.5/10 (the .5 is for sympathy) 

In all honesty, I’m kind of surprised that I’ve stuck to my new year’s resolutions this much. Wait a minute, do these things actually work? Let’s test this theory and add on a few more to accomplish by 2018.

  • Read fifteen books (including the five I have read)
  • Try reading not-YA books (I love YA, but I gotta expand my collection)
  • Have a routine/schedule for this blog 
  • Learn how to cook three basic meals 
  • Enjoy nature more i.e, leave the house every once and awhile 

That’s where my list ends. Did you make new year’s resolutions for this year and how have you done so far? If you don’t make resolutions, why not? Let me know!

Why I Hate The Word “Just”

I had this epiphany awhile ago so I can’t fully remember its context, but I assume it was in reference to me saying “I just go to community college.” That phrase is only fueling the bad reputation community college gets in comparison to its superior sister “university.” Like I had no idea what I wanted to do when I started, but I should garner all this student loan debt at a four-year institution only to find out that maybe this very-expensive-school might not be the best place for me? Yet, I’m the dumb one.

I thought about this topic again while writing my final exam for my media writing class (at the aforementioned community college). Personal anecdote aside, I normally hear “just” being used to simplify something or to belittle someone. It’s the latter that gives me the most trouble because you’re not just anything. You are whatever you want to be! You have the power to be anything you want to be! And whatever that is, it is completely valid! So, it’s not to say that I will never ever use the word just, but I’m more consciously aware of it now and I think about what I’m trying to say before I use it.

Before writing this, I did a quick google search of the title and found that I’m not the only one with this view. This one nails my thoughts right on the head. What are your thoughts on the word “just,” and are there any other words that you hate for similar reasons?

P.S. My first post!! AH!!!!