Book of the Month August Reviews

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August marked the first month for me being a member of the Book of the Month (BOTM) Book Club. Since I am a new member of the club, I was allowed to get an extra book for free, which was awesome. The books I chose were The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle and Goodbye Paris by Antsley Harris.

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle:

Synopsis: Everyone has done this at least once in their lives — pick five people who you would like to go to dinner with, dead or alive. However, how many of us have actually had the opportunity to actually do so?

Sabrina walks into her 30th birthday party thinking that it’s just going to be another dinner with her best friend, Jessica. However, when Audrey Hepburn, her old college professor, her ex-boyfriend, and her long lost father show up, that’s when she knows that she is in for a weird evening. What unfolds is a tragically beautiful love story, told in the midst of an awkward dinner.

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Review: Okay, so I am going to be honest here. I chose this book because I love Audrey Hepburn. However, this book was absolutely amazing and extremely well-written. It also is, if you’re looking for a book to read, an easy and fun read.

What I liked most about the book was how realistic it was. Sure, it’s a bit of a fantasy when you have dead people in the mix. However, the emotions of the characters were really realistic. For instance, you can see the strain in Sabrina’s relationship with Jessica over the years — their frustrations due to Toby (Sabrina’s ex) and how they drifted apart. I thought that this realistically showed the transformation of female friendships throughout the different stages of life.

And, while the story was really well-written, the ending was absolutely beautiful. In fact, it is one of the only books to have the ability to make me cry. That is an extraordinary feat within itself.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book (and highly recommend it).

Goodbye Paris by Antsley Harris:

Synopsis: Since the traumatic end of her music career, Grace has found comfort in both fixing instruments and her affair with partner, David. But, here is the kicker, David is married. The two have been together for over eight years, until one incident at a train station unravels all of his secrets — one that they can never return from.

Suddenly, Grace is forced to rebuild her life — one of which that doesn’t involve David. This becomes a success with the help of an unlikely combination of an elderly man and a teenage girl.

Review: Okay, so I had a problem with this book on a number of levels for the first half. The first is that Grace was so stupid. I mean after eight years, chances are the relationship is going anywhere if he hasn’t left his wife already. Furthermore, she was blind to so much. The relationship that she shared with David was built on nothing but pure fantasy — that one day that they will have their own child and get married.

Guess what?

It never happened.

However, I did enjoy reading the other half of the book. I liked reading about Grace pushed through her sadness and worked through her anxiety. And, I did think her reaction to the end of her relationship with David was perfectly normal. I mean, if a guy that I was seeing for eight years betrayed me, I would be a little distraught.

With that being said, this was a fifty-fifty for me. While I liked the second half, the first half was pretty slow. But, I still recommend it.

Book Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Move over Rainbow Rowell, John Green, and Sarah Dessen. There is a new YA author in town — Becky Albertalli.

Becky Albertalli is the author of three wonderful books — all of them intertwined. They are: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, The Upside of the Unrequited, and the latest, Leah On The Offbeat.

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The book is the sequel to Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. And, it was an amazing sequel.

It was told in the point of view of Leah Burke, who is the best friend of the protagonist of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, Simon. Leah is different than many of her friends. She was raised by a single mom, and as a result, doesn’t have the same amount of money as they do. And, as prom and college grow closer, it becomes a reminder of that.

With that being said, Leah is also hiding a secret from her friends — that she is bisexual. Of course, she would be accepted by them. After all, she is best friends with Simon Spier who has been madly in love with Bram since the first novel.

But, that’s not the only secret that Leah is hiding. Leah has a secret crush on someone. At first, she thinks that this is only a friendship, but over time, it blossoms into something more than Leah could have ever anticipated.

And what does this turn into? One of the greatest young adult novels to portray the end of high school in a long time.

First off let me say this: I love, love, loved reading this book — so much that I ended up reading it in two days flat. The characters were amazing. They all were easy to fall in love with, and were relatable — even as a 20 something. Furthermore, they were realistic — some of them were queer while others were straight. Definitely a good portrayal of a modern high school.

I loved how it realistically portrayed Leah’s friendships — especially as she fought with a friend over a comment made. I found myself cheering for her as she stuck up for Abby.

However, what I really loved reading about was Leah’s relationship with Simon. It was very similar to my relationship with my gay best friend and it reminded me so much of that.

Nostalgia factors aside, what I also loved about the book, is the ending. It was cute and very swoon worthy. I am a huge fan of cute endings that tie up nicely, and Albertalli did an amazing job with that.

All in all, this book was wonderful. The only bad thing about it for me was that it ended too quickly. However, it’s a book that I do plan to reread down the line.

So, if you’re looking to read this book — or its predecessor– I highly recommend that you do so.

Why Kim Kardashian’s Weight Loss Comments Are Flat Out Offensive

Kim Kardashian isn’t exactly my favorite celebrity. Recently, my opinion of her downgraded even further — if that was even possible.

On Sunday, Kardashian’s sisters Khole and Kendall Jenner complimented her weight loss. These compliments weren’t just the typical oh you lost weight, you look great ones. Oh, no. According to an article in Women’s Health entitled Why Kim Kardashian’s Weight Loss Comments Are So Toxic, her sisters said that she looked “anorexic.” Kendall expressed concern about Kim’s weight, while Khole said “I’ve never seen a human being look this good. You are a walking Face Tune doll.”

Kim’s reaction? “Oh my god, the compliments!” She then said that she’s down to 119 pounds.

As you could imagine, this is pretty much screwed up. And, this can trigger someone who suffers from an eating disorder. These comments are ignorant and offensive to those who actually suffer from an eating disorder.

Imagine if you’re a young girl whose already insecure about her body weight, and you’re tuning into this Instagram. You’re a huge fan of the Kardashians, and you see that. You’ll think that if she’s this weight, and you’re not, then you’re the one who is overweight. And, that’s not true at all.

Furthermore, this discussion is offensive to people who suffer from an eating disorder. First and foremost, they said that they are so “skinny that she’s anorexic.” And, it was taken positively!

As you and I both know, anorexia isn’t a positive thing. It is a dangerous one. It can send someone down a dangerous path — especially if someone is recovering.

According to the article, many people on social media referred to these comments are triggering. And, they are not wrong. A trigger, according to the article, is something that is “defined as something that sets off cravings in recovering individuals.”

This, as you can imagine is triggering. They are practicially glorifying her weight loss, and the importance of being skinny. Not good.

Furthermore, what’s more alarming is that Kim mentioned a specific number for her weight. For anyone listening to that, especially with someone with an eating disorder, they make think ok, this is where they are at. I need to get lower than that. 

Additionally, it’s also offensive because they are freely using the term anorexic. Saying that someone is so skinny that they are anorexic is offensive. It means that they need to be that dangerously skinny to be considered normal or beautiful.

And, that is seriously screwed up.

That’s definitely not good for someone to hear in recovery. Or, anyone in general. It’s offensive and insensitive.

And, believe it or not, people really do look up to the Kardashians. Hearing this conversation could only lead fans down a dangerous road — or even spike an eating disorder.

With that being said, this just shows how culture portrays weight — and how crazy it in fact is. Your weight is just a number. Remember that. It doesn’t matter if you are a size zero. It matters that you are eating a balanced diet and exercising. And yes, that includes the occasional cupcake. Treat yourselves, guys.

At the end of the day, being “skinny” shouldn’t be an aspiration. Being healthy should be.