LIVE LOVE FRIENDS: I’ll Be There for You Review & Favorite Friends Episodes

Like so many people, Friends is a constant in my life. The 90s’ and early 2000s’ sitcom is my sister’s all-time favorite TV show and is always on repeat at least once a day in our house. With the show leaving Netflix next year, I’ve been going back and rewatching with my sisters this summer. Between my Friends’ mood and always trying to get to books on my TBR, it was time to pick up Kelsey Miller’s I’ll Be There for You: The One About Friends.

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Rating: 4/5 Stars 

My Thoughts:

I’ll Be There for You provides a ton of background and behind the scenes information about Friends. Kelsey Miller welcomes readers into the book by sharing her own experience with Friends and then dives into everything Friends related. There was a nice blend of information on the show creators, the cast and how the show was perceived at the time—and how it’s more popular than ever thanks to Netflix and cable reruns. I really liked how she integrated interviews with cast members alongside her own interviews with people involved in the show and the TV industry. I loved getting some ‘inside’ information from the cast and crew—for example, Matt LeBlanc really didn’t want Joey to come off as a player and there’s one storyline in the latter seasons the cast really wish didn’t happen. One element I really didn’t pick up as a fan evaluating each season was that the latter seasons are really transition from stories about being in your  twenties to true adulthood and growing up (which silly storylines of course still involved).

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Top Five Wednesday: Standalones I Wish Had Sequels

Since Top Five Wednesday is on summer hiatus, today’s topic comes from July 2016, aka standalone books that I wish had sequels.

As a contemporary girl at heart, I am very used to standalones, even though I absolutely love a good contemporary series. Throughout genres, I think I am at a point where I do prefer standalones to series. However, there are just some characters and stories that I I just can’t simply let go after the final page. And all the fan art and bookish swag based on said book can’t fill my heart like a second book would.

Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith- I’m not sure to what extent this counts as a sequel, but I really want a book about Hugo and his five brother and sisters. Yes, I realize that much of Hugo’s storyline in Field Notes on Love is learning what it’s like to be considered as an individual, not a sextuplet, but I’m too invested in Hugo’s siblings and their dynamic.

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The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker- One of the most bittersweet parts of many contemporary standalones (okay let’s be honest, basically any book) is not knowing what will happen to characters or couples after the ending. While I was pretty content with The Simple Wild’s ending, I am very interested in experiencing a certain couple’s future, specifically seeing where their lives will be together. Sorry for the vagueness, but trying to avoid spoilers as much as I can so everyone will pick this one up!

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Catwoman:Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas- Although it’s technically part of the DC Icon series, Catwoman: Soulstealer is its own story. I just really enjoyed SJM’s take on Catwoman and despite that the book had a solid resolution, I wouldn’t mind another installment featuring Catwoman and Batwing.

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ANOTHER SJM FAVE: Catwoman: Soulstealer Review

Summary (from the publisher):
When the Bat’s away, the Cat will play. It’s time to see how many lives this cat really has. . . .cs
Two years after escaping Gotham City’s slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Batwing is left to hold back the tide of notorious criminals. Gotham City is ripe for the taking.
Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove he has what it takes to help people in his role as Batwing. He targets a new thief on the prowl who seems cleverer than most. She has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and together they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman may be Batwing’s undoing.

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I don’t want to use the expression that I am trash for Sarah J. Maas’s books because I genuinely love her writing and stories. But frankly, I would read her grocery list! Still have to love The Fault in Our Stars for giving us readers that line. Anyway, while I am not the biggest DC extraordinaire- does absolutely loving Wonder Woman count?- I knew I needed to read one of my favorite author’s take on Catwoman and Gotham City. I also enjoyed Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer and found myself heavily addicted to Marie Lu’s Batman: Nightwalker.

Catwoman: Soulstealer reminded me why I love Sarah J. Maas’s writing so much. From the novel’s start, I found myself invested in Selina’s story, living in the slums of Gotham City and trying to support her younger sister who has cystic fibrosis. I liked how the book takes the first two chapters to set this scene, before jumping into Selina’s transformation into socialite Holly Vanderhees and yes, Catwoman. The book quickly transfers from Selina with a East End gang, the Leopards, to her returning to Gotham as Holly. I thought I would want a few chapters dedicated to her training with the League of Assassins, but I loved Selina’s return to Gotham too much. SJM also did a nice job of flashing back to Selina’s training and true to her writing style, alludes to the real reason(s) for Selina’s return. And no worries, much like Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses, she saves a few bombshells for the end.

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Review: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Summary: (From the publisherIt’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down. (less)

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Movies I’ve Watched Recently: Inspired by From Twinkle, With Love

After recently reading and enjoying Sandhya Menon’s latest novel, From Twinkle, With Love, it made me think about some of the movies that I’ve been watching lately. Since I don’t have as much time as I’d like to read during the school year, I use the summer to take a little bit of a break from TV & movie-watching to catch up on ALL the books. But this doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy having a Netflix marathon on a cloudy day or catching up on a TV show before bed. BECAUSE I DO!

From Twinkle, With Love follows aspiring filmmaker Twinkle Mehra who has plenty of stories and universes for people to see on screen. When fellow film geek Sahil Roy asks Twinkle to direct a movie for an upcoming arts festival, Twinkle jumps on the opportunity to not only put her moviemaking skills to the test, but to get closer to her longtime crush, Neil, who also happens to be Sahil’s twin brother. From Twinkle, With Love is largely told through Twinkle’s letters to her favorite female filmmakers and coincidentally, my latest movie watches have all been female-centered!

Little WomenLittle Women is one of my most memorable childhood books, so when I saw the 1994 adaptation pop up on Netflix, I knew that it was fate telling me it was time for a rewatch! I just love this story so much—can I be Jo March when I grow up??—and I really like the cast in this adaptation. While Little Women takes place during the Civil War era, I love movies made in the ‘90s and it was fun seeing a young Winona Ryder and Kirsten Dunst on screen.

Marie Antoinette – Soon after watching Little Women, Marie Antoinette popped up on my recommended for you list on Netflix. I had never heard of this movie based on you guessed up, the Queen of France herself, who’s played by Kirsten Dunst. I admit that not a lot happens in this one, but I enjoyed seeing Kirsten play Antoinette and seeing how Antoinette’s life changed, living in French royalty and adjusting to their traditions and expectations. There’s a slight quirkiness that I really appreciated—for example, no one speaks in “old” language and there’s a lot of modern music throughout! It was also very cinematic with all of the amazing shots of Versailles and historical costumes.

Ocean’s Eight- Ocean’s Eight was one of my most anticipated movies of 2018 and being a big fan of Ocean’s Eleven, I’m happy to say that I loved Ocean’s Eight so much! If you love the heist side of things in Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows, you will love this movie. The female cast was absolutely phenomenal (Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, Rhianna, Mindy Kaling to name a few…) and like Ocean’s 11, I found myself asking HOW the entire time!! I also enjoyed the references to Ocean’s 11, and I still believe that Danny Ocean is not dead. Can this be an excuse to get a sequel with our female cast, please?? 

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From Twinkle, With Love Mini Review:

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I read Sandhya Meon’s debut novel, When Dimple Met Rishi, last summer, and I knew that From Twinkle, With Love would be the perfect way to kick off summer.

However, I admit that especially in the beginning, I had trouble adjusting to the book’s format. I love Twinkle’s admiration of female filmmakers, but I think her narration without the letters would’ve allowed us to get the same sense of her voice. We also get Sahil’s POV from his text messages with his best friends. Even though I liked also getting some of Sahil’s voice, I also found myself confused trying to tell who was who in his text messages to Aaron and Skid.

Format aside, I really enjoyed this story and like When Dimple Met Rishi, Sandhya Menon gave us such unique and creative protagonists with Twinkle and Sahil. It was fun seeing their movie and romance come to life, and by the end, what reader doesn’t have a crush on Sahil?? I also loved getting to know Twinkle’s family alongside her Indian upbringing—if I started a Youtube channel, would Dadi also create three accounts just to subscribe to me??

I liked how social Twinkle becomes by the end of the book. However, the drama beforehand does feel quite high school. Although her best friend, Maddie, is often in the wrong and Twinkle recognizes her own faults eventually, I didn’t understand how Twinkle thought some of her actions and words were okay?? Listen to your moral compass, Sahil, please!

Overall, I enjoyed From Twinkle, With Love for its unique and fun story (which did keep me up late into the night to continue), and I’m definitely anticipating Sandhya’s When Ashish Met Sweetie.

Have you read From Twinkle, With Love? What movies have you watched lately? Share in the comments!

My Thursday at Book Expo 2018

I, Haley of Fangirl Fury, fiercely loyal Hufflepuff, Pawnee Ranger, honorary member of the Terrasen Army, reader, blogger, and lover of ‘90s movies, am now officially a Book Expo slayer. In other words, 2018 marks the first year that I have ever attended Book Expo. Thanks to Booktube and many of your lovely blogs, Book Expo has always been my #1 bookish dream and I was beyond fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend the convention this year. Today, I’ll be walking you through my first day at Book Expo, and my experience posts for Friday and Book Con will be coming to a Fangirl Fury near you soon. You can see my full haul from all four days here.

Held at the Javits Centers in New York City, I made my way into the convention’s Crystal Palace (aka main lobby) around 9:30. My first stop was at the Fierce Reads booth for a sampler of Leigh Bardugo’s King of Scars. I’m usually not one for samplers, but like the Language of Thorns sampler, King of Scars was too beautiful to pass up!king-of-scars.jpg

My first stop on the show floor was at the Owlcrate booth, where I realized one of the differences between Book Expo and Book Con. At Book Con, the line for Owlcrate’s spin wheel giveaways can wrap through multiple passageways and often includes anywhere from a fifteen minute to an hour wait. When I got to Owlcrate at Book Expo, there were maybe 5 PEOPLE ahead of me in line for the spin wheel give away. I won a finished copy of Becky Albertalli’s The Upside of Unrequited, which I’m super excited to have because it’s my favorite Albertalli book and I had borrowed it from the library. After, I went back to Fierce Reads for a giveaway and received an ARC of Check, Please by Ngozi Ukazu.

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