Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Swift Summaries

This Is What Happy Looks Like
Jennifer E. Smith            YA

Synopsis from Goodreads:
When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

THIS!  This is what YA romance should be like.  No sex.  No grit.  Not chock full of foul language (Actually, there was none). Instead, a sweet, fun story of first loves.  I couldn’t help but like Ellie and Graham from their first email exchange.  They are funny and sarcastic and just cute.  I enjoyed the story that developed and was excited to know there was a novella sequel.  Which I promptly read.

Happy Again (This Is What Happy Looks Like #1.5)
Jennifer E. Smith            YA

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Ellie O'Neill and Graham Larkin fell hard for each other when a misspelled email address unexpectedly brought them together. Now, over a year has passed since they said goodbye with the promise to stay in touch, and their daily emails have dwindled to nothing. Ellie is a freshman in college and has told herself to move on, and Graham has kept himself busy starring in more movies, as well as a few tabloid columns. But fate brought these two together once before—and it isn't done with them yet.

While I didn’t love this one as much as the original, I did feel there was better character development.  I liked checking in on Ellie and Graham while I felt the reconnection scenario was a bit far-fetched.  A fun follow-up.

Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates             Non-Fiction; Social Commentary

Synopsis from Goodreads:
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? 
Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son.

I’m going to be honest.  I didn’t make it far in this book.  Not because it wasn’t interesting or because I didn’t desire to read it.  The reason is simple:  I have two little ones who aren’t affording me much sleep these days.  My brain is fried.  And this is definitely a book you need your brain sharp and engaged for. 
So I gave it a shot.  And now it’s back on my To Read List.  My hope is that I can try it again in the new year.  I think it’s relevant and important.

Help, Thanks, Wow
Anne Lamott                   Non-Fiction; Self-Help; Spirituality

Synopsis from Goodreads:
New York Times-bestselling author Anne Lamott writes about the three simple prayers essential to coming through tough times, difficult days and the hardships of daily life.
It is these three prayers – asking for assistance from a higher power, appreciating what we have that is good, and feeling awe at the world around us – that can get us through the day and can show us the way forward. In Help, Thanks, Wow, Lamott recounts how she came to these insights, explains what they mean to her and how they have helped, and explores how others have embraced these same ideas.
Completely irreverent with some good nuggets tucked in.  I think I would have enjoyed this book infinitely more had I read it as opposed to reading it.  The author reads on the audio, and I found her voice rather grating. 
I do like the overarching theme that the only prayers we need are “Help!,” “Thanks!,” and “Wow.”
God, I need help with something.  Be it a health issue or a job issue; relational or world encompassing.
Thanks, God!  For all of those things that we should be appreciative of in our lives as well as His grace and forgiveness.
And then “Wow!”  For those moments when we are bowled over by the majesty He has created and sustained. 
Help.  Thanks.  Wow.  Good foundation for your personal communion with God.

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