#5 of 40: Eleanor and Park

As part of my 40 in 366-day challenge, I set out to read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. Based on the recommendations from friends, co-workers and family, I got it from the library and added to my reading list.

*Photo Credit

The synopsis via the publisher:
Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.
Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

My thoughts:
From the synopsis is sounds like such a great book and I am so disappointed I didn’t like it more. Without giving too much away, it was a good, easy read and overall okay. Now that I’m a little bit older, sometimes it’s hard to relate to such a young main character (sometimes, not always). I really did enjoy the overall theme and I could relate to the main character (mainly because we’re red hair twins!).

My rating:

On a scale of 1 to 5 (one being the worst and 5 being the best), I would rate it a 2...don’t hate me! I know that everyone ranted and raved about this book but I just don’t get it. I think the character development was a little off, their relationship a little too rushed and the ending frustrated me. However, if you’re looking for an easy read, you’ve found your perfect book. 

What did you think of Eleanor and Park? Am I alone in my rating?

P.S. Follow along with me on Goodreads, I would love to see what you are reading.


#4 of 40: The First Affair

I am guilty of reading those cheesy, sometimes borderline, trashy romance novels and this one honestly, is no different.

I had no intention of ever reading or buying this book.  However, on a recent hunt for the popular games Exploding Kittens and Cards Against Humanity, I found myself at Barnes and Noble. I was feeling defeated after not being able to find the games but stumbled upon The First Affair of a bargain price of $4.98. I couldn’t say no, especially with the cover art of a girl with red hair (new BFF’s).

I got home that night and started reading and couldn’t stop...a sure sign that this book wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it might be. Read on for my review.

The synopsis via the publisher (abridged version):
Jamie McAlister has resigned herself to the fact that in this job market, her painfully expensive degree might only get her a position at Starbucks, when she suddenly lands a prestigious internship at the White House. Although she doesn’t hit it off with the other interns, she is eager to work hard and make the best of the opportunity while it lasts.
An unexpected encounter late one evening with the charismatic President Gregory Rutland seems like just a fleeting flirtation, but when he orchestrates clandestine meetings and late-night phone calls, their relationship quickly escalates. Jamie knows what she is doing is wrong: he’s married, he has kids, he’s the President. 
With the conflicted desires of the most powerful man in the world driving her to her breaking point, Jamie can’t help but divulge intimate details to those closest to her. But she must have confided in the wrong person, because she soon finds herself, and everyone she cares about, facing calculated public destruction at the hands of Greg’s political enemies, and—perhaps no matter how much he cares about her—at the hands of Greg himself.

My thoughts:
This book held my attention the entire time and I honestly liked the plot line. If you like watching the hit TV show Scandal (which I love), I really believe you will like this book. I thought that the book was a pretty realistic view and thoughts of a young, impressionable 20-something. Not being too removed from college, I feel Jamie’s pain with finding a job post-grad and I can completely sympathize with her on the job front (not with the affair).

There’s just a couple of things that really bother me about this book. If you’re in fact having an affair with the leader of the free world, why on earth would you tell anyone? Jamie ends up telling a handful of people. While granted, she’s lonely all by herself in DC, I still don’t think you would/should tell anyone – keep that ish to yourself, Jamie! The other thing that bothered me is just the development of Jamie – she never really seems to stand up for herself throughout the book, which annoys me. If you have the balls to have an affair with the President, at least have a spine and stand up for yourself but that’s just my opinion.

My rating:
On a scale of 1 to 5 (one being the worst and 5 being the best), I would rate it a 3. I really enjoyed this book and it was a fairly entertaining and enjoyable book. You couldn’t completely guess the plot line and there was some unexpected surprises and twist and turns. It was an easy read, perfect for spring break and summer.

Have you read The First Affair? 


40 books in 366 days

That’s my goal for 2016. Have I reached that goal? Not anywhere close…yet. Over the past year I was so disappointed the lack of books I’ve read. I decided that I need to make reading a priority again. Reading makes me feel whole, happy and well-rounded.  

I tend to gravitate towards the cheesy romance novels or dystopian young adult books but I’ve also decided I am going to try different genres and see what I like. You never know until you try it right?

I posted a list of 40 books I wanted to read back in March of 2015 (a whole year ago?!) and I’ve updated it with the latest and greatest books I’ll read this year.

By putting this out on the interwebs, I feel like this will be the accountability I didn’t have last year.

Be on the lookout for more book reviews!

Any book suggestions I should add to the list or your favorites?  I keep a running list on my Goodreads account. If you use Goodreads, I would love to see what you are reading.



Growing up in New Jersey for the bulk of my childhood (I moved to Florida when I was about to be a sophomore in high school or about the ripe young age of 15), I never understood the strawberry obsession.

Let me tell you how wrong I was.

Right now, it’s peak strawberry season in Florida and I can’t get enough of fresh, delicious strawberries. Luckily I live in an area that we have a lot of local farmers with fresh crops of strawberries. I've been going every week for some fresh berries. I only live about two hours south of the Strawberry Festival. If you’re ever in the Plant City/surrounding area during the height of Strawberry season, you must go! It's a huge festival all about, you guessed it, strawberries! 

There’s nothing better than freshly picked strawberries. Actually, the majority of the strawberries that are picked right now, go to supermarkets across the country. Look for the stamp “picked in Plant City” and you know you have the best dang strawberries around.

Since I was not able to harvest my own strawberries (are they easy to maintain?) I am sharing some of my favorite ways to use these delicious berries!

Strawberry shortcake // I’m not a fan of the sickeningly sweet cake you purchase from the store. If you want a strawberry shortcake without making the biscuits yourself, head to your refrigerated section and grab a container of Pillsbury biscuits – you won’t regret it.

Strawberry Preserves // I haven’t quite mastered canning yet but making preserves is easy! Who doesn't love using their mason jars? Tip: Make sure you use canning jars vs. regular jars, they are different!

Strawberry Trifle // I’ve made this time and time again for parties, showers, BBQ’s, Easter – you name it, I bring it. It’s such an easy recipe, tastes heavenly and looks like it took hours to prep.  

Doesn't this make your mouth water?
Strawberry Parfait // I love bringing parfaits to work, it’s such an easy and delicious snack (or meal) to keep me on track for the day. I add some fresh cut strawberries and the granola of the week and wahlah!, a perfect snack.

Do you have a favorite way to eat strawberries?