Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir Review

I wanted to read the novel Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir for a while now. Recently, I finally was able to pick that book up, and absolutely loved it.

book of essie

Synopsis:

The novel is about Esther Anne “Essie” Hicks, who spent her entire life in front of the camera from her family’s reality show, Six for Hicks. The family is a combination of the Duggars and the Kardashians – if you can picture such a thing. Essie’s father is a pastor, while her mother is a “mom”-ager.

The novel begins when seventeen-year-old Essie finds out that she is pregnant, and her mother, Celia tries to figure out what is the best course of action. Should they pretend that it’s Celia’s? Should she go away for nine months? Or, should they marry her off to an unsuspecting boy?

Soon enough, Essie is engaged to be married to Roarke – someone in her class who is hiding a big secret of his own. However, with the help of journalist Liberty Banks, Essie soon tries to take down her family and their big web of cover-ups.

Review:

Before I review this book, I will warn that there are several trigger warnings in this novel for those who have been raped or suffered sexual abuse.

I really liked the novel. I have seen a lot of mixed reviews online and on the bookstagram accounts that I have been following, and many have said that the book was too slow. That was not the case for me. The book held my interest until the end.

One of the biggest mysteries for me while reading this was wondering who the father of Essie’s baby was. Seeing how her family was, I just thought that it was someone that they didn’t approve of her being with for whatever reason. I’m not going to spoil it for anyone, but I was wrong. Really wrong.

The story was told in three points of view – Essie’s, Roarke’s, and Liberty’s. These three people definitely didn’t cross paths together much beforehand. At first, you wonder why they even exist. Over time, you suddenly realize the importance of the three points of view. Furthermore, I thought the insight of Liberty – someone who is a survivor of a cult – truly added to the story.

However, I thought this story was really believable. It was interesting to see how much fame could truly change a family – even one as religious as the Hicks. Throughout the novel, you see several different ideals of conservative Christianity, including: homophobia, abstinence, and the idea that boys will be boys and women have to maintain their virtue.

When someone is as famous and as wealthy as the Hicks family is, the line between right and wrong is erased and replaced by the desire of maintaining appearances. I believe that clouded their judgement, and created half of the problem that Essie experienced.

Overall, I did enjoy this novel, and thought that it was extremely thought-provoking. Therefore, if you’re debating about reading this novel, I say go ahead and do it. Trust me, it is definitely worth it.

*See disclaimer here

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What Does It Mean To Be In A Healthy Relationship?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the relationship that we share with significant others and how much we have invested in them. You know, how much time we spend with them, and what makes a relationship healthy.

I am no expert here, but I do have some opinions about the issue. Personally, I think that the definition of a healthy relationship varies from person to person. Of course, there are a ton of factors that go into it – how much time we spend with that person, the speed of how fast it goes, how much space one needs, and so much else. Furthermore, it’s important to remember that above all, a healthy relationship contains respect and honesty.

However, the question that surfaces is how much is too much? How much time is too much spent together? When should we give our partner space?

Now, as I said earlier, it differs from person to person. However, here are some things that to me makes a healthy relationship:

  • The most important thing to me is having a life that’s outside of that person. You know, friends, family, hobbies and pets. I have had quite a few friends who have basically become invisible when they’ve gotten boyfriends. This is fine, because it’s important to spend quality time with their significant other. However, I do think it’s a problem when you leave your friends hanging – or even cancel – just because you want to make sure that you see your bae.
  • Furthermore, what I think is also important is that you have respect for yourself. This means that if your boyfriend does something that bothers you, you let him know. I have also seen friends who are rightfully upset with their boyfriends, however when they actually talk things over, everything is fine in a few minutes. And, for some fights, that’s perfectly fine. However, I feel like when that happens, some feelings are being overlooked. That’s not okay. In my opinion, it’s important to recognize every feeling and communicate that with your partner. Otherwise, nothing changes and frustration builds.

Like I said earlier, I am not a counselor nor am I an expert. However, at the end of the day, I believe that I can still share my opinions.

This is why I am writing this blog post.

Book of the Month Review: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

This month’s Book of the Month pick is a bit different than my usual choices. For this month, I picked The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.

silent patient

Synopsis:

Alicia Berenson has been silent – ever since she shot her husband in the face six times. Instead of life in prison, she is sentenced to a life at the Grove mental health facility. Berenson, an artist with a history of mental illness, uses a diary as her only outlet of relief.

That is until Theo comes into the picture.

Theo, the new psychotherapist at the Grove, has been following the case closely – to the point where it is borderline obsession. He soon plays detective to help figure out how Alicia ticks, and soon learns more about that night that leaves readers wowed.

Review:

So, where do I begin? I read this book last week while I was sick and read it in a day. However, even if I wasn’t sick, I’m pretty sure that I still would not have put this book down. The book kept me hooked from page one to the very last page.

However, I did have some questions about the book. For a while, I did question Theo’s motive to getting so involved with Alicia. As I mentioned earlier, it was pretty much on the border of obsession. He followed the case when it first happened. He pretty much worked at the Grove just to help her. Was he a huge fan of her work? He seemed to want to help her, but the motive was still left uncertain. And, the fact that he was willing to jeopardize his job just to get information about the patient was a little weird to me as well.

Furthermore, Theo was a character that had motives. He learns at the beginning of the book that his wife was unfaithful to him. For a while (to the end actually), I was wondering why there was such a heavy focus on it. However, once you read Alicia’s final entry, you gain the answers to everything. And, trust me. It’s more than just a doctor and patient kind of thing.

Finally, I wondered why Theo didn’t end up getting fired for consistently breaking the rules. I’m no therapist, however, I do know that he broke several different ethical laws. While reading the book, I often wondered why no one at the place noticed that he was doing this. And, when you read the book, you pretty much only hear about his work with Alicia. Why wasn’t he with other patients? To me, that wasn’t as realistic, because if you’re a psychotherapist at a mental health facility, then you’re going to see all of the patients – not just one.

Yes, I had a lot of questions with this one. However, don’t let the questions steer you from this – I absolutely loved this novel. I’m hoping that Michaelides writes more, because I’m pretty much obsessed with his debut.

So, with that being said, I highly recommend that you read this book when it comes out in February.

Nook Tablet 7 Review

nook and coffee

Reading is one thing that Barnes and Noble has gotten down pat. Since childhood, the bookstore has become my oasis filled with books and delicious baked goods. I mean, that’s all you ever need to be happy, am I right?

I first started feeling the urge to converse into using an e-reader. This is despite the fact that I have a mountain of unread books in my house.

Now, there are a few reasons why I am drawn to a Nook, versus Amazon’s ecosystem. One is obviously my nostalgic love for Barnes and Noble. Two is that I feel like the Nook is practically made for reading. I’ve had a Simple Touch for years, and it just fits so easily in my hands. This is versus my borrowed Kindle, which felt really heavy to read. The Nook? Pretty damn easy.

Good job, Barnes and Noble.

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My Nook in the box before I opened it.

This year, I decided to use my Christmas gift cards to buy the new Nook Tablet 7. What is different about this new  tablet is that has 16gb of storage. This is nearly double the storage the original one had. Coming from the Nook Simple Touch that I had before, this has unbelievable amounts of storage.

What really drew me to this tablet was two things: the price and the fact that the screen was a color screen. I read a lot of magazines, which looked awful on my Nook Simple Touch. Since getting the device, I’ve subscribed to Cosmo, and I absolutely loved sitting and reading it. Additionally, having a color screen is important in reading in general — especially when you’re reading a book that has pictures.

And, for $49.99, the price tag seemed perfect.

Now, I’ve had the tablet for a little bit over a week already, and I am in love with it. Compared to the Kindle Fire that was borrowed from my mom, it was easy to hold in my hands and comfortable to read on. It’s also really portable, so I can stick in into my bag, so I can read it on the go.

When I was toying with the idea of getting this one over the Nook Glowlight, there was not a lot of reviews about this device. That’s understandable, considering that it’s brand spankin’ new. However, many people often complained about how slow it is, and how terrible the camera is. But, if you’re just reading on it like I am, none of these things truly matter. I actually have yet to try using the camera. . .

With that being said, this device is the one for you if you want a new e-reader and refuse to buy into the Amazon cohort. This tablet is better tailored for readers, and with a price of $49.99 you truly can’t go wrong.

*I was not paid for this review. Check out my disclaimer here.

 

2018, You Were A Rough One. . .

Yesterday, while scrolling on Twitter, I encountered a tweet that said to list five positive things that happened to you in 2018. Up to the challenge, I began to try to list all of the positive things that happened to me this year.

After wracking my brain for over an hour, I could only come up with three. Those were: getting to create wonderful memories with my boyfriend, surpassing my reading goal (no surprise there), and getting to experience the Big E for the first time. Of course, much after trying to write that tweet, I came up with a few more: learning how to knit, and seeing Billy Joel. But, still.

Now, I’m not pessimistic. It’s just 2018 was a rough year for me. The biggest reason is that I lost my beloved Maggie. For all of those who knew me well, you knew how much I loved Maggie. The joke used to be that I loved her more than my boyfriend (yes, you can say that he loved that one). Losing her flat out sucked, and the pain still lingers especially as the holiday season came and passed. Christmas morning wasn’t the same without giving her a bone filled with peanut butter to chew on. And, every time I open a book, there is no one around to sniff it.

Losing Maggie wasn’t the only thing lost. This year, I learned that sometimes, it’s okay to let go of people in your life who don’t make you happy. These people can be friends who you’ve outgrown, or even people who just bring you down. Of course, there’s no drama or anything like that. That’s just a cruel part of growing up.

However, on the last day of 2018, I try to remain hopeful that 2019 will be much better. While I don’t have a “squad,” I have a few people that I can count on, including my wonderful boyfriend. I hopefully will be getting a dog, who won’t be replacing my Maggie by any means, but will ease the loneliness. I also will make more time for fun, for beach days, and for trying to read more.

Not every year is meant to be your year. In life, we are going to experience some rough moments and patches. But, what gets you through them is the moments of self care and the people who love you.

And, of course, a ton of chocolate.

Happy New Year, to all.

2019 Resolutions

Can you believe that 2019 is less than a week away? Nope, neither can I. With a new year looming, I’m doing what many of you are probably doing: making resolutions. So, as we ring in 2019, let me share what my goals for the new year are:

  1. Save money. I’ve had this happen to me so many times. I would have an emergency or need money right then and there. Only, the money that I had would not cover it. My goal this year is to put that money aside and have that money when I need it. Furthermore, I want to have more savings in my account as it is — especially as I get older. To do this, I’m going to start by saving 10 percent of my check per week. It may not be much, but it’s a start at least.
  2. Buy a new cell phone. I have an iPhone 6 currently. However, recently my battery is starting to go on it. And, let’s be honest here — I want a better camera as well. Therefore, my goal this year is to upgrade.
  3. Clean out my closets. It’s safe to say that I have a lot of clutter in my house. However, I want to eliminate the stuff I don’t use. Currently, I try to clean out closets and drawers whenever I can. It’s been a slow progressing project. With that being said, I want 2019 to be the year I fully tackle this project.
  4. Read 75 books. Every year, I resolve to read 52 books on my Goodreads. And, I usually meet this goal by September. However, this year, I want to up that challenge. And, with the addition of an e-reader in my life, I’m sure that I will be reaching it with ease as well.

So, those are my resolutions for this year. What are yours?

Why Do We Feel Guilty Treating Yourself?

A few days ago, I had a few hours to kill before clerking a meeting. Rather than go home only to turn back, I decided to treat myself to a nice dinner and walk around the shops before heading back. So, I got Chic-Fil-A and walked around the Barnes and Noble where I ate a blondie.

With still an hour to kill, I headed to Best Buy. It was on my way back to the highway, and I figured why not? I needed to get a Micro-SD card anyways, so it worked out.

After I found the card, I began to walk around to the FitBit section. Since getting my Versa back in June, it has become a habit of mine to check out the bands whenever I go somewhere that sells FitBits. I love changing them, so it couldn’t hurt to look. Right?

Anyhow, I found a package of three bands, one of them a silver mesh band for the smart watch. Keep in mind, I have been looking for one of those for a while. The price was right, and I figured why not?

When I went home, my mom said: well aren’t we self-indulgent? My response: I work pretty hard, so every once in a while, why can’t I reward myself for it?

According to an article on Forbes entitled Why You Feel Guilty When You Spend Money and How To Stop, spending our hard-earned money should be “exciting and not regretful.”

The article cites that a big reason why we feel guilty about doing so is the fear of it going towards something more practical. And, how many people can relate to this? Let’s say you have a rough day at work, and fall in love with a purse at TJ Maxx. So, you buy it. Of course, it is supposed to make you happy. Instead, you feel guilty.

Why is that?

This, the article says, is a result of “lack of planning.” That money you spent on a purse could have gone towards your savings. It could have gone towards rent, or paying a bit extra on your credit card.

Now, how can you get rid of that guilt? The article suggests having a plan for the money in your paycheck, and setting aside some “fun” money. By being able to enjoy your money is actually a sign of financial health.

With that being said, the only time you should really feel guilty is when you’re either dipping into your savings or getting into debt doing so.

Therefore, have a plan people.

With that being said, no one should make you feel guilty about doing that. I have so many friends who complain about money, and that also is a factor when I splurge.

But, here’s my train of thought: if my bills are paid for, and my car has gas in it, then if I want to spend money, I will. I try to be mindful, which sometimes works. And, I work pretty hard, so sometimes I will ask myself what am I working for? when I can’t enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Therefore, for all of you who are staring longingly at something that will make you happy, maybe this is the push you need to treat yourself. Just make sure that everything else is paid first.