Sunday, October 22, 2017

Book Review - I'll Have What She's Having: How Nora Ephron's Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy

From Goodreads: A backstage look at the making of Nora Ephron's revered trilogy--When Harry Met Sally, You've Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle--which brought romantic comedies back to the fore, and an intimate portrait of the beloved writer/director who inspired a generation of Hollywood women, from Mindy Kaling to Lena Dunham.

In I'll Have What She's Having entertainment journalist Erin Carlson tells the story of the real Nora Ephron and how she reinvented the romcom through her trio of instant classics. With a cast of famous faces including Reiner, Hanks, Ryan, and Crystal, Carlson takes readers on a rollicking, revelatory trip to Ephron's New York City, where reality took a backseat to romance and Ephron--who always knew what she wanted and how she wanted it--ruled the set with an attention to detail that made her actors feel safe but sometimes exasperated crew members.

Along the way, Carlson examines how Ephron explored in the cinema answers to the questions that plagued her own romantic life and how she regained faith in love after one broken engagement and two failed marriages. Carlson also explores countless other questions Ephron's fans have wondered about: What sparked Reiner to snap out of his bachelor blues during the making of When Harry Met Sally? Why was Ryan, a gifted comedian trapped in the body of a fairytale princess, not the first choice for the role? After she and Hanks each separatel balked at playing Mail's Kathleen Kelly and Sleepless' Sam Baldwin, what changed their minds? And perhaps most importantly: What was Dave Chappelle doing ... in a turtleneck? An intimate portrait of a one of America's most iconic filmmakers and a look behind the scenes of her crowning achievements, I'll Have What She's Having is a vivid account of the days and nights when Ephron, along with assorted cynical collaborators, learned to show her heart on the screen.

My Thoughts: I loved this. As a fan of Nora Ephron I'm always eager to learn more about the wise woman who made so many laugh and love. As someone who calls You've Got Mail one of my favorite movies of all-time I was beyond thrilled to learn more about the making of this movie (and it's cousins When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle) and the two stars of the movie.

This book did not disappoint. There are so many interesting factoids and stories throughout the book and it's written in such a way that it feels like you were having coffee (or maybe lunch at a deli) with a friend who was filling you in on all the good gossip they've heard.

This book is phenomenal and I'm so glad I read it.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Book Review - Capital Gaines

From Goodreads: The most important step is taking the first one.

The funny and talented Chip Gaines is well known to millions of people as a TV star, renovation expert, bestselling author, husband to Joanna, and father of 4 in Waco, Texas. But long before the world took notice, Chip was a serial entrepreneur who was always ready for the next challenge, even if it didn’t quite work out as planned. Whether it was buying a neighborhood laundromat or talking a bank into a loan for some equipment to start a lawn-mowing service, Chip always knew that the most important thing was to take that first step.

In Capital Gaines, we walk alongside him as he relives some of his craziest antics and the lessons learned along the way. His mentors taught him to never give up and his family showed him what it meant to always have a positive attitude despite your circumstances. Throw in a natural daredevil personality and a willingness to do (or eat!) just about anything, and you have the life and daily activity of Chip Gaines.

Capital Gaines is the perfect book for anyone looking to succeed not only in business but more importantly in life.

My Thoughts: As a Fixer Upper fan and someone who enjoyed The Magnolia Story I was quite excited to read more of Chip's thoughts. This did not disappoint.

I was expecting Chip's usual silliness and maybe some family stories thrown in for good measure; I was not expecting such an inspiring sense of "you can do it, I believe in you" but that's exactly what I got.

Chip makes you laugh with his stories, never once hiding something that may make himself look slightly stupid, but also encourages you with tips, tricks, and inspiration.

Whether you're a fan of Fixer Upper or just someone looking for a fun and inspiring book I definitely recommend checking out Capital Gaines.

I received an advanced copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. I also received promotional photos and press releases, including the cover photo I used, from the publisher. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Book Review - Christmas in London

From Goodreads: A charming, glamourous love story set at Claridge's in London during the magical week before Christmas starring a sweet NYC baker and the Cooking Channel Producer who could change her life.

It’s a week before Christmas and Louisa Graham is working twelve hour shifts at a bakery on Manhattan's Lower East Side. When a young cooking show assistant comes in from the rain and begs to buy all the cinnamon rolls on her tray, she doesn’t know what to do. Louisa is just the baker, and they aren't hers to sell. But the show burned the rolls they were supposed to film that day, so she agrees.

The next morning, Louisa finds out that her cinnamon rolls were a hit, but the star of the show was allergic, and the whole crew is supposed to leave for London that afternoon. They want Louisa to step in for their annual Christmas Eve Dinner TV special at Claridge's. It’s a great opportunity, and Digby Bunting, Louisa’s famous baking idol, will be there. Even if he does seem more interested in her than her food.

And then there’s Kate, the show's beautiful producer. On their first day in London she runs into the skinny boy she jilted at St. Andrew's in Scotland ten years ago. Now he’s a handsome, brilliant mathematician, and newly divorced. Their familiar spark is still there, but so is the scar of how they left things. Kate and Louisa are busy preparing for the show, but old and new flames are complicating their work.

Set during London's most festive time of year and filled with delicious food, Christmas in London is about love and friendship, and the season's most important lesson: learning how to ask for and give forgiveness.

My Thoughts: There were parts of this book I really loved. I loved the London setting and the descriptions of the holiday decor. I loved the role that food played throughout the book. Additionally, I loved Kate and Trevor's story and the premise of Louisa and Noah's story. The cover of this book is also one of my favorite covers of the year.

That said, there were a few things I did not like. The characters, especially the men, seem to overreact to basic situations, they jump to conclusions, and they're too stubborn to allow the female characters to explain themselves. There were also a few instances where there was just too much dialogue and multiple sentences were used to describe the same thing but in different words. Sometimes less is more.

With all of that, this is a very cute book and it's a nice holiday read - it's the perfect thing to curl up and read while enjoying a hot beverage and a tasty treat. I'd recommend buying some cinnamon rolls before you sit down to read this; you won't be sorry.

I received an advanced copy of this from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. I also received promotional photos and press releases, including the cover photo I used, from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Banned Books Week

For the final day of Banned Books Week I'm going with a true favorite - The Great Gatsby.

I think this is honestly one of the most beautifully written books, ever. It's a book of perfectly crafted lines, beautifully set characters and locations, and concepts that will live in your head long after the story is done.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Banned Books Week

Today's featured book for Banned Book Week is one of my most recent reads - The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

I read this a few weeks ago and loved it. This is still running around in my head, with random thoughts and themes popping up. While this book is a total slow burner it is phenomenal at hitting you in all the feels at just the right time.

Read the book and then watch the series on Hulu. While it's a painful watch at times it's completely worth it.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Banned Books Week

Today's featured book for Banned Books Week is Looking for Alaska by John Green.

While Alaska was not my first Green book (that would be TFioS) this one really got into my head and stayed there. Green kept me guessing and wanting to know not just what would happen next but why everything was happening.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Banned Books Week

Welcome to day 3 of my Banned Books Week feature. Today's book is one that I truly love and that really opened my eyes when I read it.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker is, in my opinion, a work of genius. Read the book, let it really get in your brain, and then watch the movie. You won't be disappointed.

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